In the aftermath of the New Year’s celebrations I have found a few quiet moments to reflect on the year that was here on The Watch Lounge. And what a year it has been! We’ve welcomed a number of new faces in the form of our international contributors, introduced a ‘French’ category and have had the opportunity to speak with some of the biggest names in the business to find out why they do what they do.
We could not have done it without all of you, our readers, however, and so we thank you for supporting us in our efforts to bring you interesting, original and relevant content that you simply won’t find anywhere else! As we look forward now to another successful year in 2011 we think it timely to a take a few minutes to look back on the year that was.
The Year In Review
We started things off with a bang by giving away this indestructible watch from CX Swiss Military valued at $5,000. Without a doubt this has been our most successful competition to date and the level of participation experienced exceeded all expectations. It wouldn’t be the only successful competition we ran during the year, however. We also gave away not one but two copies of the 2010 Wrist Watch Annual, an essential guide for any watch fan, as well as this retro-cool, vintage Bulova Accutron donated from the vault of MB&F.
When we weren’t giving away watches, we were busy reviewing them. Starting us off was this classic beauty from Glashütte Original – the Senator Chronometer, first catching our eye with its flawless attention to detail and elegant design. Then came a delightfully minimalist piece from chic newcomer Xetum based in San Francisco. Utterly simplistic in its design the Tyndall was an instant hit and we would later get the chance to review one ‘on the wrist.’
The Grieb & Benzinger Platinum Minute Repeater 2
Something changed, however, when we were introduced to a very special brand – Griebg & Benzinger Platinum. Masters of their craft, this small company specialises in extremely high-end, one of a kind pieces based on historically significant movements. First there was the Minute Repeater 2, which would be followed later in the year by the equally superb Blue Wave and Blue Sensation.
Spurred on by the discovery of these sublime timepieces we embarked on a weekly search to bring you some of the most incredible timepieces in the world in our Wow Watch Wednesday feature. Although there are far too many exceptional timepieces to list individually here, we have picked a couple for special mention: Frédéric Jouvenot’s Helios; Rebellion’s T-1000; Marc Jenni’s Prologue; Claret’s Dual Tow including an exclusive interview with the maker, Christope Claret; Greubel Forsey Edition Historique; Haldimann’s H8 Sculptura; Rudis Sylva’s Harmonious Oscillator; the Marin 2 Thalassa; Harry Winston’s Opus X and Laurent Ferrier’s Galet Classic Tourbillon Double Balance Spring. If you have some free time though, we really do recommend going through the entire category, you will not be disappointed!
On the opposite end of the scale we found ourselves reviewing a Chinese made timepiece featuring a flying tourbillon complication, in the form of the Longio SG3824A Flying Tourbillon. News of this timepiece caused us to ask ourselves (and our readers) “What’s A Tourbillon Really Worth?” Conflicting views emerged and made for some very entertaining and insightful reading, showing us along the way, that not only were our readers incredibly passionate they were also very well informed. This sentiment would be re-enforced when we asked “Does The Movement Really Matter?” in response to the Swatch Group’s announcement that they would stop supplying ebauche (blank) movements to any company outside of the group at the end of 2010.
Undeniably though, the greatest level of controversy seen on The Watch Lounge in 2010 would emerge as a result of our open letter to the Luxury Watch industry, discussing the role of bloggers and how companies could better work with them to achieve mutually successful outcomes. Some of the most successful and influential watch journalists in the world, such as Elizabeth Doerr, Jack Forster, Ian Skellern and Meehna Goldsmith weighed in with their thoughts, with the on-line blogging community equally represented by well-known names such as Ben Clymer, Robert-Jan Broer, Frank Geelen and Ariel Adams. The end result was a detailed, thought-provoking discussion highlighting what has become a very interesting topic in the industry.
We weren’t the only ones stirring up a bit of controversy, however. Richard Mille set tongues wagging when he created the half a million dollar RM 027 Tourbillon for professional tennis player Rafael Nadal. Thanks to an interview in the New York Times and the fierce discussion that erupted around this piece, this story became easily the most read on The Watch Lounge for 2010. It wouldn’t stop there, however, as rumors that Rafael Nadal’s $525,000 RM 027 Tourbillon had been stolen further fanned the flames.
Not to be outdone, Hublot also did their part with this in-your-face ad campaign which had readers sitting on both sides of the fence as to whether it was pure genius or just simply bad taste. In an exclusive interview Hublot CEO Jean-Claude Biver told us that “Of course it’s not an advertisement, but a series of 3 campaigns. It’s our mission to stand up against hatred, racism, cowardice and violence”. Many remained skeptical, however, and so the discussion raged leading many to suggest that this advert or campaign or whatever it was, had actually succeeded in its original goal: namely to get people talking about the brand.
2010 also saw the announcement and subsequent release of some of the most mind-blowing pieces we have ever come across, and it seemed that in this department MB&F had the lion’s share. Led by the effervescent, creative genius of co-founder Maximilian Busser, MB&F unveiled several highly successful timepieces, including; the HM No.2 SV which Max talked to us about personally; the Thunderbolt Calibre which would be the animating force in the highly acclaimed HM4 Thunderbolt; the HM3 Frog whose creation we were also lucky enough to have Max talk us through personally and finally, ending the year in dramatic fashion was the dazzling JWRLYMACHINE created in conjunction with Boucheron.
MB&F’s HM4 Thunderbolt
MB&F weren’t the only ones crafting beautiful timepieces this year, however. MCT Watches unveiled their gorgeous Sequential One All Black; Ateliers deMonaco showcased their In-House Minute Repeater; Urwerk unleashed their pet Black Cobra; Ludovic Ballouard gave us the world’s first ever Upside Down Watch and Dutch Master watch-making brothers Tim and Bart Grönefeld created the subtlety brilliant Grönefeld One Hertz 1912.
Quite a year indeed!
Shifting our focus slightly our four-part ‘Origin Of Legends’ series featured some of the very first sketches of your favorite timepieces, literally taking us back to where it all began: the drawing board. We also went on a visual journey of ‘what drives value’ in a high-end timepiece, using the exceptional photographic skills of Guy Lucas de Peslouan to explore the intricate details of Peter Speake-Marin’s ‘Thalassa’.
Throughout the year we were also fortunate enough to talk to some of the most interesting and influential people in the luxury watch industry today, including but by no means limited to; Eric Giroud, Thomas Prescher, Laurent Picciotto, Jean-Claude Biver and Christophe Claret. We certainly enjoyed reading what they had to say and we hope you did also.
The Final Word
It has been an amazing first year for all of us here at The Watch Lounge. As Editor I could not be more proud of the efforts and contributions of the team from their different vantage points around the world and believe we are well and truly on track to building a watch media outlet worth your time (no pun intended.) As always we are always open to feedback and suggestions on how we can improve and welcome any input that you may have.
Thank you again for your loyal patronage and we look forward to making 2011 an even bigger success!
Category: Recommended Reading