Six of the most covetable watches from the Swatch Group’s Time to Move event
When the industry’s biggest watch conglomerate – the Swatch Group – says it’s Time To Move, it’s time to move.
Backstory: In 2017, Baselworld celebrated its 100th anniversary. As the reigning ‘world’s largest watch and jewellery fair’, one would think that its organisers – MCH Group – had found the right formula for success. Or had they? Just a year later, in 2018, the Swatch Group, the biggest watch group in the industry (by both revenue and industrial capacity), announced that they were pulling out of Baselworld.
According to Nick Hayek, CEO of the Swatch Group – which counts 18 brands in its fold – it’s not that they no longer believe in the premise of an annual fair but in the case of Baselworld, “it is necessary that they reinvent themselves, [respond] appropriately to the current situation and [demonstrate] more dynamism and creativity.”
In a sort of ‘If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself’ sentiment, the Swatch Group went on to announce that they would organise their own event, Time To Move. For retailers, Time To Move was held in Zurich to coincide with Baselworld 2019 in March.
For a select list of 190 invited guests and journalists, Time To Move was held in May. The format, too, was different: More roadshow-style, with invitees being ushered across Switzerland’s various watchmaking hubs to experience the 2019 novelties, as well as witness the places and circumstances of their manufacture.
The invitees were hosted by six of the Group’s most luxurious brands: Blancpain, Breguet, Glashutte Original, Harry Winston, Jaquet Droz and Omega.
It was a chance for the invitees to visit Biel to see Omega’s new state-of-the-art manufacture; La Chaux-de-Fonds for Jaquet Droz; the Jura Valley for Blancpain and Breguet; and Geneva for Harry Winston and Glashutte Original (the brand’s birthplace of Glashutte, Germany, was deemed to be too far away).
These are the highlights of the novelties that were presented.
Legend has it that the Air Command was based off a watch that was originally commissioned by the French Ministry of Defence. The watch had to have a black dial with luminous hour markers and hands for legibility, a flyback chronograph function, and a small seconds indicator. A few years later, the American Navy, which was already a fan of Blancpain’s Fifty Fathoms dive watches, started looking for a watch with similar capabilities. The Air Command was made available to American military pilots through the distributor Allen V. Tornek, and today it is one of the most sought-after military chronographs of the late 1950s. This re-creation is limited to only 500 pieces, and offers “old radium”-type SuperLumiNova – which replicates the orange hue of the original – but is powered by a modern F388B movement.
Classique Tourbillon Extra-Plat Squelette 5395
Even if you’re not one for skeleton watches, the technical mastery and craftsmanship it took to produce the Breguet Classique Tourbillon Extra-Plat Squelette 5395 is something any watch enthusiast can appreciate. The extra-thin calibre 581 alone boasts an extraordinary design thanks to the peripheral rotor and completely redesigned tourbillon. Breguet removed 50 per cent of the material from this 18-karat gold calibre, all without compromising the structure. On top of that, the engraving, engine-turning, and anglage on the movement make it a watch that deserves to be in the collection of the most discerning connoisseurs.
Senator Chronometer Tourbillon
The decorated movement displayed for all to behold may be stunning but the true beauty of the cal. 58-05 of the Glashutte Original Senator Chronometer Tourbillon is actually hidden away in its construction. This flying tourbillon also doubles up as the seconds hand of the watch and in order to allow its wearer to set its time even more precisely, Glashutte Original has incorporated a hacking tourbillon carriage and zero-reset seconds. How it works is when the crown is pulled out into the first position, the tourbillon stops. Then when it is pulled to a second position, the seconds hand will snap back to zero, only starting again when the crown is returned into its original position. This may seem like a simple task but its construction led to the filing of two patents by Glashutte Original.
Histoire de Tourbillon 10
The story of the Histoire de Tourbillon that started in 2009 has finally come to an end with the Histoire de Tourbillon 10. With a timeline of watches as epic as these, Harry Winston chose to go out with a bang. The Histoire de Tourbillon 10 is a behemoth of a watch that houses no less than four tourbillons with four separate balances, making it the first watch to ever do so. Admittedly the effect on its precision versus the effort it takes to produce one of this is scarcely justified. The Histoire de Tourbillon 10 is no longer about practicality but rather an example of how far a manufacture can go in pushing the boundaries of traditional watchmaking.
Grande Seconde Chronograph
The creation of a new chronograph watch isn’t something overly challenging especially when you are a brand like Jaquet Droz. The challenge with their latest Grande Seconde Chronograph came with the constraints of making a timepiece with a chronograph function and have it adhere to the philosophy of readability under all circumstances and a clean and minimal aesthetic. The movement found within the case is exclusive to Jaquet Droz and uses a column wheel construction in keeping with the great watchmaking tradition of the chronograph.
Speedmaster Apollo 11 50th Anniversary
“One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” These words uttered by Neil Armstrong are still well remembered today, 50 years on. And for watch enthusiasts, it is the Omega Speedmaster, the first watch worn on the moon, that is remembered along with this historical moment. Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, Omega released a Speedmaster Apollo 11 limited edition to mark the occasion. The watch that went up to the moon was clad in stainless steel with a stainless steel bezel. This new version (limited to 6,969 pieces) comes with accents of 18K Moonshine gold, a material exclusive to Omega that offers a paler hue compared to yellow gold and higher resistance to fading. Its bezel is made from black ceramic.