You know the brand and the watches. But do you know the backstory?
In his new book Bulova: A History ofFirsts (Assouline Publishing, $195) writer and editor Aaron Sigmond gathers up a crew of luminaries and tastemakers to tell the tale. The result is an engaging (and beautifully presented) look back at an American watch company that took great risks in marketing, advertising, and design, all while pushing the technical boundaries of watchmaking. Divided up into eight chapters, this glossy tome features tons of archival material with over 100 photos and illustrations, showing us just how “America Runs on Bulova Time.”
Spending time at work, hours and minutes can often feel slow and deliberate. But when visiting a foreign city on vacation, rules change. Scheduling becomes irrelevant. In a recent issue of Watch Journal, we featured a travel story about Berlin, a city our friends at NOMOS Glashütte know well. Concurrently, the German watch brand brings us a new series of watches with a significant update: Tangente, Orion, and Ludwig, each with a radically redesigned caliber, the neomatik date DUW 6101. These pieces require less maintenance, provide greater precision, and offer super-legible date indicators. Perfect for getting the most out of a day in Berlin, a bustling city that demands punctuality.
The ideal watch to start the day, the Tangente easily synchronizes to local time (GMT +2). Gained or lost a day in transit? A simple turn of the crown sets the date backward or forward, with a cool, red marker that travels around the outer ring of the dial.
“This boutique hotel occupies an old public bathing house [designed by architect Ludwig Hoffmann in 1898]–the rooms still have some of the old features, and, more importantly, the swimming pool is open to all. We held an event here last summer to launch our Aqua series.”
– NOMOS Glashütte
10:30 am – Tour The Boros Collection, but keep an eye on the Tangente. The museum can only accommodate 12 people at a time, and German-language tours start on the full hour, English on the half-hour. Open Thursday thru Sunday, 10 am to 8 pm. (Make sure to book a viewing in advance.)
“Only in Berlin can you find 3,000 meters of exhibition space in a converted war bunker. We share the Boros’ love for clean and creative design, rooted in the 20th century but constantly in dialogue with today’s developments.”
Midday is ideal for contemplating great German design. The Ludwig has it in spades. Its date window sits at the 4 o’clock position, displayed in Arabic type—a smart, contrasting twist alongside the dial’s elegant Roman numerals.
“This is one of our favorite museums in Berlin, as it focuses on local art from the past 150 years, giving a real insight into the cultural history of the city.”
– NOMOS Glashütte
3:00 pm – Visit the Istanbul-inspired Turkish Bazaar. Again, timing is everything here. The open-air market is only open on Tuesdays and Fridays from 11:30 am to 6:30 pm.
“NOMOS employees can often be found here on their lunch breaks, having a stroll, or getting groceries.”
Nighttime is ideal for the Orion, named after the constellation, with its elegant golden indices, small seconds at the 6 o’clock position, and date window at 3. Ideal for a stylish night out on the town. Here, that means a fabulous dinner at Katz Orange. Reservations can easily be made online via OpenTable.
“We also think [Katz Orange] has great taste in desserts—try the petit fours, to which we have dedicated our latest series of Tetra watches.”
And when it comes to sartorial versatility, nothing beats a fine timepiece inside a steel case. It can take you anywhere and everywhere. This year, reassess your wardrobe by eliminating the unnecessary and paring down to the essential. Here are a few ideas…
The Look: Rolex Oyster Perpetual 39 ($5,700); rolex.com + A.P.C. Serge Shirt ($220) + A.P.C. New Standard Jeans ($220); apc-us.com
The Look: Breguet Type XXI Chronograph Ref. 3817 ($13,900); breguet.com + Todd Snyder Striped Brushed Wool Sweater ($298) + Todd Snyder Unconstructed Sport Coat ($598); toddsnyder.com
The Look: Glashütte Original Seventies Chronograph Panorama Date ($14,900); glashuette-original.com + Berluti Unlined Supple Wool Double Breasted Jacket, ($3,700) + Berluti Classic Wool Trouser ($1,010); berluti.com
The Look: Patek Philippe Nautilus Ref. 5711/1A ($24,836); patek.com + Officine Generale Paul Wool Pants ($370) + Officine Generale Benoit Italian Poplin Shirt ($225) + Officine Generale Cashmere V Neck Sweater ($475); officinegenerale.com
The Look: TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 1887 ($4,500); tagheuer.com + Ralph Lauren Cashmere Tickweave 3-Piece Suit ($9,995) + Ralph Lauren Purple Label Tailored End-on-End Shirt ($350); ralphlauren.com
The Look: Tudor Heritage Black Bay Chronograph ($5,050); tudorwatch.com + Louis Vuitton Double Face Jacket ($2,530) + Louis Vuitton Pique Crew Neck, ($920); louisvuitton.com
Independent watchmakers have a lot in common with today’s top designers.
They’re fearless risk takers, pushing boundaries with new shapes, innovative technologies, and high-tech materials. Preserving that independence allows for true individuality, giving watchmakers the ability to carve out unique identities and, in turn, enabling their products to stand out from the crowd. While many of these watchmaking marvels can stand alone by virtue of their complications and technical prowess, they are nonetheless meant to be worn. Sure, the watch you choose might be the rarest, the most complex, the most unusual. But if it doesn’t pair with your favorite outfit—game over.
Here, we’ve taken some recent standouts spotted at the Carré des Horlogers, the independent wing at the SIHH 2018 watch fair, and paired them up with groundbreaking trends from the spring/summer 2018 menswear collections. Result? The edgiest style inspiration you’ll need this year.
On March 6, Louis Vuitton designer Nicolas Ghesquière unveiled his fall/winter 2018 fashion collection in a little-used hidden courtyard at the Louvre Museum, in Paris. An inspired visionary, Ghesquière’s ideas of how we’ll want to look in six months will, no doubt, have repercussions on fashion for years to come. Science fiction references have always been an integral part of his work, interweaving idealized concepts of the future and what humans will want to wear. The latest garments referenced multiple time periods, paired with a single long glove, astronaut style name tags, and printed bags resembling circuit boards. The models emerged on what appeared to be the hatch of a spaceship, introducing the Vuitton fall/winter collection with a startling intergalactic appeal.
Two weeks earlier, on the other side of the globe, La Fabrique du Temps Louis Vuitton, the equally visionary watchmaking division of LVMH, unveiled another avant-garde timepiece, the Tambour Moon Mystérieuse Flying Tourbillon, with a little less fanfare. Resembling the clean lines of Star Trek’s Enterprise, the platinum Tambour Moon updates the 19th-century “mysterious” concept to propose a modern-day movement that appears to be floating in space.
Created using sapphire crystal discs with imaginative ingenuity, the optical illusion plays an important technical part in the mechanics of the watch, but magically disappears before your very eyes. And, like the iconic Vuitton luggage, the back of the tourbillon cage can be personalized with the customer’s own initials. The mesmerizing gleam of the spinning mechanical elements brings to mind the interlocking initials and fleur-de-lis symbols of the iconic “LV” monogram.
The LV 110 caliber, which boasts a remarkable eight-day power reserve, is concealed within the 54 mm Tambour Moon’s concave platinum case. The manual wind mechanical movement displays hours and minutes, along with a tourbillon cage designed to resemble a monogram flower that rotates around the dial every 60 seconds. Beneath the Monogram Flower at 12 o’clock lies the co-axial double barrel, above the central wheels dedicated to the hours and minutes, followed by the tourbillon carriage at 6 o’clock, all forming a vertical straight line.
This is where the “mysterious” use of transparent sapphire crystal comes into play, allowing for the appearance of the lack of connection between the winding crown and the double barrel, along with the spinning flying tourbillon that rotates around the dial once every minute. The introduction of the Tambour Moon propels Louis Vuitton into the stratosphere of high watchmaking, while still adhering to the original fundamental codes of the house.
Founded in 1854, Louis Vuitton has always played a supporting role in developing transportation technologies by creating innovative goods for all types of travel. This has helped the maison evolve, keeping pace with changing times by proposing solutions for passengers and operators of automobiles, passenger liners, trains, and airplanes, all intended for ease of use, freedom, and, of course, style.
It will only be a matter of time before Vuitton introduces goods for space travel; the day of taking your moon phase to the Moon (and someday Mars) will be here before you know it. Just as fashion shows allow us, however briefly, to look seasons ahead, the Louis Vuitton Tambour Moon Mystérieuse Flying Tourbillon envisions the future with startling clarity.
The famed architect (and watch designer) sounds off about Hermès timepieces, the evolution of inclusive luxury, and why he’s “never belonged” in the world of design…
You designed the Hermès Carré H eight years ago, then redesigned the dial for a special re-release this year. When you conceptualize a new timepiece, do you have an idea of what you want, or do you start from scratch?
The initial brief [in 2010] was very open. It was by Jean-Louis Dumas, the former CEO of Hermès, who since passed away. He was just like, “What would an Hermès mens watch be for you?” The idea of the square wasn’t even there. It was supposed to be a chronograph.
I’d never done a watch before, only architecture. I told Jean-Louis Dumas, “I think that when it comes to a men’s watch, it’s always an incarnation of your hero, like an actor or sports star.”
To me, the hero for Hermès would be someone who inspired you to do new things, this kind of character, like an explorer. We started trying to define this person. It felt like a mission. We used to joke about Saving Private Ryan. Like we have to save Hermès by finding the identity of this watch.
So who’s idea was it to revisit the Carré H?
I started to have discussions with [Hermès artistic director] Pierre-Alexis Dumas, the son of Jean-Louis. We had a conversation about bringing back this watch, making it more consensual. The first one was maybe, at least in the shape, a little bit edgy. This one is more easy to approach, more seductive, and in 2015 we began work on it.
When you renew a model, the first solution is to follow the trends. I was really interested in looking at it [in terms of] evolution, an evolution of the world and society in the wider sense, which brings us back to the explorer. The world is getting more and more diverse; people are traveling, exchanging. I experienced this through my architectural office and my own creation, but also through my family. I come from a long line of “perfectly French” people … I now have a grandson who is mixed race.
The first [Carré] was for a small group of initiated people. The second incarnation … it’s a wider expression for people connecting to it. It’s [still] this man who travels, who is curious, who will cross cultures, but [now] he doesn’t have to be from such a small group.
As an architect, do you ever have the desire to go back and change a building?
This has happened to me, yes. I was in charge of the architecture for Galeries Lafayette [department stores], the French equivalent of Saks Fifth Avenue. To go back and move an escalator, just to move these mechanical stairs, was more complicated than being at war. I’m a very technical architect and very passionate about [protecting history], but at the same time [open to change], due to my career path, because I went from architecture into design. Especially in France, we’re like, “You’re a doctor, and you’re going to be a doctor. You did this kind of study, and you’re going to follow it.”
The fact that I switched, I never belonged completely. So when I’m with technical people, they consider me a poet, because I have this designer side. And when I’m on the side of the designer, I’m also not enough, because I’m an architect. It’s like I passed from one world to the other my entire life.
With a completely transparent encasing of its Grand Complication, Hublot redefines the concept of what a precious material can be.
By Stephen Watson
Pink gold? Platinum? Titanium? Market trends predict a return to a new type of discretion. So how about a grand complication that can barely be seen yet has nowhere to hide?
We’re talking, of course, about the magnificent watch on this month’s cover: Hublot’s Big Bang Unico Sapphire. What at first glance appears to be a timepiece made out of clear plastic is, in fact, an ingenious see-through case cut from a solid block of sapphire crystal. Incredibly scratch-resistant and almost as tough as diamond, the case lays bare the inner workings of the HUB1270 UNICO Manufacture self-winding perpetual calendar and chronograph movement in all its technical virtuosity. It’s a watch that must be seen to be believed.
Watch Journal had the opportunity to speak with Ricardo Guadalupe, CEO of Hublot, about the brand’s cutting-edge creativity, mechanical innovations, and enduring devotion to the Art of Fusion.
How did the concept of the clear watch come about?
The idea was to play with the visible and the invisible—to present the heart of an exceptional timepiece as if it was suspended in the air. With a transparent case, a movement can be admired at 360 degrees. Our dream had long been to produce such a watch entirely in colorless sapphire, which is light, nearly invisible, and virtually scratch-proof. Sapphire is one of the hardest materials on earth, second only to diamond.
We also liked the idea that a transparent watch would allow us to highlight Hublot’s tradition of constant innovation in using and developing new materials.
Speaking of cutting-edge materials, Hublot is known for what it calls the Art of Fusion. How has this helped to define the brand’s DNA?
Combining two materials that never coexist in nature is the driving idea at Hublot. Even the first Hublot models from 1980 merged gold cases with rubber straps—quite extravagant for that time! Just like watchmakers in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, we will use classic materials such as gold for the case or brass for the movement—however, we combine them with other materials like titanium, ceramic, carbon fiber, Kevlar, even rubber. And we don’t stop there, because we also develop our own new materials. For instance, we have worked in conjunction with the EPFL in Lausanne on basic scientific research for many years. And from this cooperation has arisen a scratch-resistant gold and ceramic alloy that Hublot calls “Magic Gold.”
As a motto, the “Art of Fusion” refers not only to the materials themselves but also encompasses more abstract ideas: the fusion of past and present, tradition and innovation.
How is the sapphire material generated?
Sapphire can be generated by various types of processes, but the ones we use are the Kyropoulos and Verneuil processes. Because sapphire is so hard—measuring 2,000 on the Vickers scale—it requires specific machines to manufacture it and to polish it. Making the sapphire crystal itself was not the issue for us—it was the manufacturing of our components in sapphire that was challenging.The material comes to us in a raw block, which then to be cut into the correct shape. We invested several million Swiss francs in machinery to be able to produce the components and we also invested in machines able to polish the transparency of the sapphire. It took us nearly twenty years to develop the tools and technology that could create the watches to our satisfaction.
What are the possibilities of generating this material? Colors? Textures? Patterns?
The standard color for sapphire is “clear,” but by adding additives during the growth of the crystal, it is possible to create different colors. In 2017 we introduced the sapphire in red and blue. Regarding textures and finishes, it is possible to have a matte or a polished surface finish. Regarding the patterns, for the time being, we use black metallization (for the realization of black smoked sapphire) as well as laser engraving and fill with color lacquer for engravings on the caseback of the watch.
Can you talk us through some of the steps of the watch’s fabrication?
The different essential steps include diamond wire cutting for the raw material, diamond milling for the components to roughed out and diamond polishing of the finished components, so that the surfaces are perfectly polished, revealing the total transparency of this material. The polishing step is very complicated because this is not easy to do on complex shapes and there is a considerable risk of breakage. Sometimes the end step of polishing will also reveal minimal defaults in the crystal.
How long does the process take from start to finish?
It takes between twenty to thirty days to grow a crystal which weighs around 110 to 150 kilos. After this time, we need to cut the raw material, mill it, and polish it. Depending on the component, it can take hundreds of hours to achieve a finished component. And the results aren’t guaranteed until we polish and carefully examine the result.
How do new elements, such as sapphire, help reimagine traditional luxury?
Hublot stands for always being first, unique and different. I think there will always be a place for watches like ours because we are producing watches that are eternal. You have a world of emotions in a box that will last for the next fifty, hundred or two hundred years, but we give them a contemporary design thanks to the unique materials we use and create.
Need some ideas for a fabulous holiday gift, but that platinum complication or Italian sports car is little out of your price range? Watch Journal has some excellent suggestions.
A wealth of new books have arrived this season aimed precisely at the mechanical mindset, showing that the link between cars and watches has never been closer. The wintery roads outside may be dangerous, but curl up on the sofa where you’re safe and sound, and take in the latest in mechanical masterpieces. Because as every watch, car, and book lover knows, there is always something aspire to and always more to learn.
Ferrari: Under the Skin
Written to coincide with an exhibition at the London Design Museum on view until April 15, 2018, Phaidon Press releases Ferrari: Under the Skin, richly illustrated with history, technical drawings, master models, and striking photography of one of the most famous racing machines of all time. A must-have for Ferrari fans, as well as anyone wanting to know more about one of the most compelling cars in history.
A 100-year legacy gets celebrated in The Cartier Tank Watch, by Franco Cologni and from Flammarion-Pere Castor, a look at the fascinating history of one of Cartier’s greatest masterpieces. Based on the lines of the Renault “landships” or “tanks,” an enduring classic was born, a sleek, rectangular timepiece that looks as modern today as it did a century ago.
A photo history of the romance between art and cars gets smartly considered in a book created specifically for the Foundation Cartier, Autophoto: Cars & Photography, 1900 to Now, from Éditions Xavier Barral. More than 500 works made by 100 historical and contemporary artists from around the world are shown, including Brassaï, Robert Doisneau, William Eggleston, Walker Evans, Robert Frank, Jacques Henri Lartigue, Joel Meyerowitz, Catherine Opie, Martin Parr, Ed Ruscha, Malick Sidibé, and Stephen Shore.
Author Nick Foulkes explores the enchanting world of automatons, or highly articulated mechanical figurines, in Automata, from Éditions Xavier Barral. These mechanical animated objects, explicitly linked to watchmaking, were designed to inspire thought, science, literature, and the performing arts. Beautifully illustrated with photographs, manuscripts, and documents, the book examines these fascinating marvels from ancient times to the present day.
Hublot’s Innovative Materials and Horological Excellence Get Celebrated in New York City.
On December 13th, the “World Tour” of Hublot’s Art of Fusion stopped off in New York City to celebrate with Surface Media an evening of style, watches, and fun. The Art of Fusion, the essential element that lies at the heart of Hublot, pairs watchmaking traditions with an avant-garde sensibility to extend the philosophy of the brand with groundbreaking materials and technology. Various novelties were on display, from the innovative Magic Gold and the imaginative use of transparent sapphire crystal to hyper-modern masterpieces from the MP Collection.
The December issue of Watch Journal investigates the idea of Art of Fusion further in an interview with Ricardo Guadalupe, CEO of Hublot. He explains, “Just like watchmakers in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries; we will use classic materials such as gold for the case or brass for the movement—however, we combine them with other materials like titanium, ceramic, carbon fiber, Kevlar, even rubber. And we don’t stop there, because we also develop our own new materials. As a motto, the “Art of Fusion” refers not only to the materials themselves but also encompasses more abstract ideas: the fusion of past and present, tradition, and innovation.”
Skeletons from Bell & Ross and Girard Perregaux, a race-inspired TAG Heuer, and more.
F.P. Journe Chronomètre Holland & Holland
Catering to the world’s most discerning sportsmen, Holland & Holland has been manufacturing guns since 1835, in a store that conjures visions of time-honored country life, with its deeply ingrained British traditions and quirks. Joining forces with watchmaker F.P. Journe, they used two 100-year-old barrels from the Holland & Holland museum to create limited edition “browned” Damascus steel–patterned dials using traditional gun-making techniques. The two barrels were registered by hand in the company’s books. Barrel No. 1382, dating back to 1868, yielded 38 dials, while barrel No. 7183, dating to 1882, produced 28 dials.
Third-generation watchmaker Laurent Ferrier plainly states on his website his horological values: simplicity, precision, and pure, uncluttered beauty. These ideals are exhibited perfectly in his limited-edition porcelain-dial Galet Square watch, which houses an exclusive in-house movement developed and assembled in the Laurent Ferrier workshops. The gentle curves of the case bring to mind the shape of a pebble, the direct translation of the French word galet. Breguet numerals with a red 12 o’clock and gold-colored minute outer rail beautifully set off the glossy white dial—so difficult to produce that only 10 pieces will be made worldwide.
Bell & Ross is well known for its aviation association, with distinctive square-shaped watches resembling instruments taken directly from a cockpit control panel. Made of titanium, matte white ceramic, and rubber, contrasting red details provide excellent readability of the automatic skeletonized chronograph movement. The BR-X1 White Hawk looks precisely to business aircraft for its stylish inspiration, the white-and-gray materials taking their cues from private-jet interiors.
First launched in 1975, the sporty and versatile Laureato design from Girard Perregaux continues to evolve with the all-black Laureato Skeleton Ceramic. Brushed and satin finishes enhance the dark surface of the Laureato by intensifying the dramatic black PVD-treated openwork movement with exposed 18-k pink-gold details. The Laureato style is entirely adaptable, the stealth and contemporary look making this version appealing to a new generation.
TAG Heuer AUTAVIA Jack Heuer 85th Anniversary Limited Edition
2017 will go down as the year of the chronograph, especially for styles referencing the golden age of auto racing. The 42 mm polished-steel TAG Heuer reissue, a limited edition of 1,932 pieces, features the new Heuer-02 caliber proprietary chronograph and all the best features of the 1960s original redesigned by Jack Heuer himself. Jack says, “The story of the Autavia is a rich drama, full of twists and turns. It is one of my proudest achievements to have successfully converted chronographs into the Autavia wristwatch in 1962, so this collection has a special place in my heart.”
Behind the scenes at one of the year’s finest collector events.
On Thursday, November 30th, Watch Journal celebrated Parmigiani Fleurier with an exclusive collector dinner taking place at the glamorous La Cava restaurant located at Faena Hotel Miami Beach.
Hosted by Ruggero Mango, the General Manager of Parmigiani Americas, and Stephen Watson, Editor-in-Chief of Watch Journal, the intimate dinner party brought together an elite group of watch experts and aficionados to view highlights from the recent Parmigiani collections.
“During the SIHH watch fair in Geneva, Michel Parmigiani always reveals something special he’s been working on, a heavily jeweled table clock or a magically animated automaton, and you realize what a rare and special brand Parmigiani is,” says Watson.
The warm Florida evening brought about a relaxed, tropical vibe, as Ruggero Mango made everyone feel at home by welcoming the guests to become part of the extended Parmigiani family.
On hand to view these special pieces: Prince Percia Piétrolungo, CEO of OWN Realty/OWN Financial; Jack Yeaton, CEO of the Yeaton Group; and collectors Matt Goren, Pat Gibson, David Hayes, and John Scarlatos.
An interview with Baume & Mercier’s brilliant Design Director.
Do you remember your first watch?
Yes, very well. It was square plastic Casio with a calculator and a lot of small push buttons.
Are you sentimental about any personal watches?
Yes, about nearly all of them. Each has a special story and sentimental value. For example, one of my first luxury watches came from my uncle. He had decided to leave it to me because of my love for watches and but also the engraving on the caseback: 1967—the year he purchased the watch and also my birth year. Another important watch for me is a Classima chronograph gifted to me by my previous boss. I received it one year after the launch of this model and commemorated the strong success of the design.
What makes a beautiful watch?
First, the pleasure you have to wear it! Second, the perfect quality of its finishes and the importance and time spent on all of its details.
What is your favorite complication or watch feature?
I like the moon phase. It is very simple and a bit poetic. I also like the minute repeater. It is so complex inside and really amazing to hear.
How did you become part of the watch world?
After finishing art school, I took the chance to join the Cartier design team for accessories. After two years, I began working on designing watches for Yves Saint Laurent (at the time, Cartier had the license for their jewelry, accessories, and watches). After some success with these collections, I started to design watches for Cartier…. The rest is history.
How does the watch industry attract the next generation?
That is difficult to answer today, as many young people do not wear watches. Yet, there are constantly new watch brands and designs created for this young clientele. They are very creative, very cheap, and certainly a good way for the next generation to discover the watch universe. As for traditional watches, we need to communicate differently to the younger consumer and even change our mindset in terms of design. We are working on it!
What is your favorite time of day?
Early morning. When the day is just beginning, and everything seems possible, yet nothing has been done. When you are alone at the office, and you have time for you. It is time for reflection and time for creation. I need this part of the day.
What is your favorite Instagram account?
There are a lot…. A few of my favorites are @hirozzz (Hiroaki Fukuda), a great Japanese photographer. @sebmontazstudio (Sebastien Montaz), another cool photographer from our mountains. And @indianmotorcycle, with our new partnership.
What is your favorite place to visit?
Japan. Definitely! I love the kindness of Japanese people, the beauty of their arts, the vast tradition of craftsmanship, the spirit of nonstop learning, and the beauty of all the different landscapes.
Who is your favorite artist? Museum?
What a difficult question. There are a lot! If I had to choose, for example, to take a single book of artwork with me to an isolated island, Leonardo da Vinci would be the one. In a totally different field, Alexander McQueen is another genius. And for the museum, I love the Louvre in Paris and the British Museum in London.
If you could turn back time, where would you go?
Far, far, far away in the past. Perhaps before the presence of humans on the earth. Wild and pure!
What is your favorite design object?
The Chaise Longue of Le Corbusier and the Panton Chair of Verner Panton.
What do you collect?
When I was young, a lot of different things. Now, nothing. It is too time-consuming.
Which watch brand do you most admire?
Vacheron Constantin. And also François-Paul Journe.
Who is currently the most influential person in watches?
The younger generation: Millennials.
Is there a dream watch you would like to own someday?
Yes, a minute repeater, but perhaps this dream has to stay a dream.
How do you define style?
A mix of elegance and confidence without extravagance.
Tiffany & Co. riffs on the past for a Jazz Age–inspired watch.
By Stephen Watson
Entering the Tiffany store on Fifth Avenue feels like walking into a peaceful sanctuary. Its serene environment offers a welcome respite from the Midtown craziness of tourists, shoppers, and pop-up protests targeting the store’s infamous next-door resident-in-chief, Donald Trump. Its graceful combination of elegance and history is breathtaking, immediately bringing to mind Holly Golightly’s famous line: “It calms me down right away, the quietness and the proud look of it—nothing very bad could happen to you there, not with those kind men in their nice suits, and that lovely smell of silver and alligator wallets.”
Imagine all the positive accumulated karma earned over the years from joyful engagements, marriages, and tokens of love sold in the store’s 180-year-old history.
To honor this anniversary, Tiffany has looked back to the roaring ’20s to introduce the Tiffany Square, an elegant timepiece designed, engineered, and manufactured in Switzerland. The 180-piece limited edition features a rare square-shaped, manually wound movement with a 42-hour power reserve, which signals the store’s return to in-house caliber manufacturing. The watch’s art deco styling harks back to a significant design period for Tiffany, capturing all the style and sophistication of the legendary Jazz Age.
“I have to say it was love at first sight. We reviewed a series of timepieces belonging to our 20th-century heritage, and certain pieces immediately caught our attention,” says Nicola Andreatta, vice president and general manager of Tiffany & Co. Swiss Watches Sagl. “One of them was the original Square Watch, which in my opinion had all the qualities to be considered the quintessential Tiffany watch for a man.”
The new yellow-gold Square Watch replicates the same 27 mm case size, and the watch retains its original proportions, a size that might be considered small by today’s standards but somehow feels completely modern.
“The Jazz Age refers to a glittering moment in time when America came alive through jazz music, unbridled optimism, innovation, and glamour,” says Andreatta. “It is this explosion of creative energy and social change that defined the American spirit, and it continues to inspire.”
On Thursday, Oct. 26, Surface Media celebrated this month’s Travel Issue with famed chef and restaurateur Nobu Matsuhisa and Japanese watch brand Grand Seiko. The exclusive dinner party of 60 guests was hosted at Nobu Malibu in the exterior lounge overlooking the ocean, where guests enjoyed a sunset cocktail hour followed by a nine-course dinner of Nobu specialties. Joining Matsuhisa, Surface editor-in-chief Spencer Bailey, Watch Journal editor-in-chief Stephen Watson, and Grand Seiko Chairman Akio Naito were joined by Gregg and Madson Buchbinder, Brandi Garnett, Alex Israel, Annalynne McCord, and Sudhin Shahani.
The dinner honored Matsuhisa’s cover feature in the issue and commenced with a toast from Bailey. “Nobu is the first chef we’ve ever featured on the cover of Surface in its 24-year history,” he said, “[He] thinks very much like a designer in so many ways. Quality is at the heart of what he does and is at the heart of what we do at Surface, so featuring Nobu on the cover was a very natural fit.” Turning to Naito, Bailey continued, “Grand Seiko is a company that also appreciates quality, design, and craftsmanship. The way in which they incorporate Japanese culture into their watches—it’s that global perspective that is very aligned with what Surface values.”
Read the feature story on Nobu here, and get to know the cover star a little better here, and read more about Grand Seiko here.