August 2012 Archives

The watch industry, like any large industry, has it's own internal awards. These include the the Aguille d'Or(golden hand), given at the annual Grand Prix de l'Horlogerie de Genève, a "for us, by us" type of award, like the Oscars.  Also given are "press" awards by the various magazines, more like the Golden Globes, including the Watch of the Year, given by Montres Passion, the TimeZone Watch of the Year and even the Couture Design Awards, given by a Jewelry industry publication, has a watch category.

So there are plenty of awards for watches, for the best, the newest, the most complex or the most blinged-out watch, but there are no awards for the worst, the most derivative or the least inspired attempt to get a bite of the apple. There is no watch industry analogue to the Golden Raspberry or the Bulwar-Lytton Award for bad fiction. Since we're nearing the end of the 2012 watch model year, by October we'll start hearing pre-release "buzz" for the 2013 Baselworld and SIHH releases, I present my picks for the 2012 Watch Industry Razzies (I was going to come up with some sort of bad acronym to spell out WRIST, but that will have to wait). Note that these are my opinions only and only reflect the high-end of the watch industry.

Words, Names and Press Releases
First, in the realm of letters, we have 3 awards, two for Press-Release rediculousness and one for a product name.

Worst PR Text, Florid Prose Division
Roger Dubuis for the PR for their new Venturer - "For ever walking on a tightrope, always off the beaten path, the boundaries of normality have no meaning in his life. The world of the Venturer is marked by danger and challenge. Adrenalin is his fuel, action is his engine, intelligence and alertness are his protection. This is the world that permeates the new Pulsion Collection from the Genevan watchmaker ROGER DUBUIS. These are timepieces made in his own image: naturally powerful, and effortlessly controlled." (source)
Worst PR Text, Absurdly Overdone Metaphor Division
Stefan Kudoke for his Kudoke White Flower - "Flowers are in need of warmth and light. Therefore it has been planted behind two translucent sapphire glasses like in a greenhouse. The body heat of the wearer warms the sensitive plants.....Due to years of research Stefan Kudoke succeeded in cultivating a flower species that is able to cope without any water. That is why the case is protected against water. The flowers vigor is fertilized by a Swiss automatic winding movement delicately refined in Kudoke manner. " (source)
Worst Acronymic Hash
Christopher Claret - "X-TREM" (source)

X for Experimental
T for Time
R for Research
E for Engineering
M for Mechanism

Watches and Movements
Now onto the technical awards, from cases to watches and onto things kinda like watches, but not really.

Piaget for their Emperador Tourbillon Coussin and a case-back pavee set with diamonds (source)
Smallest change to make a new model
Girard Perragaux for their Laureto 3-bridges Tourbillon. They changed replaced clear sapphire bridges with pale blue Spinel ones.
Press Pic (source)Side by side (source). Since it's nearly impossibly to tell, the one on the right is the old one, with clear bridges. The one on the left has the new blue bridges.
Most I love the 90s
IWC and their weird fixation on Top Gun (source)

As an aside, why is there a "Spitfire Perpetual Calendar" model in the Top Gun Collection?

Middle-finger to the collectors
Beat Haldimann H9. It has neither hour nor minute hand, nor any indication to record the current or the elapsed time. It doesn't even show the beat of the, what one assumes is a, fantastically made and finished movement within. (source)


Special Raspberry of the year, 2012

This year, the Raspberry of the Year goes to the entire industry as an award for pandering, specifically the the Year of the Dragon special editions. Several of these are actually quite fantastic, for example Piaget's sculptural dragon or Jaquet Droz's playful one, but the overall effect of nearly every watch brand (excluding Patek Philippe and Rolex, bien sur) having one, some as minimally "special" as just to have a different engraving, is overwhelmingly mercenary.
(all brand names link to the image source)

PiagetGrieb & BenzingerAPCartier
Angular MomentumParmigianiVulcainIWC 7-day dragon rotor
KudokeJaquet DrozChopardPaul Picot

(All the images are from the manufacturer except the AP Dragon, from PuristsPro user Allen and several images by PuristsPro user Z3, the Piaget caseback, the Parmigiani Dragon and the GP Tourbillon comparison)


This is somewhat of an obvious piece once I stopped to think about it.  Paris, mostly as an abstract feeling of "love" or a distillation of the architecture, has become a popular theme in jewelry and watches, take Van Cleef or Louis Vuitton, for example.  Philippe Tournaire (previously mentioned) is most noted for his architectural, as in representing actual buildings rather then the vague term that has come to mean "massive", jewelry, in particular rings.  He's already done a series of Paris rings, and so it wasn't a huge leap to do a Paris wristwatch Paris Forever, with a tourbillon movement base by Technotime.  

The watch consists of a double-bezel, set with small white and yellow diamonds, set on 4 columns which suspend it over the movement and caseback, as the sides are sapphire.  This setup gives you a better view into the massively thick movement which represents, in tiny form multiple Parisian monuments:

  • The Trocadero gardens, identifiable by the blue-diamond at the center of the fountain
  • The Louvre, seen from the Académie Française
  • The Pont Neuf, set with white diamonds and the top ruby bearing of the tourbillon
  • The sweep of the Eiffel tower up the Champs Elysee to the Arc de Triomphe



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