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Editorial - A Year Of Uncounted Birthdays

Editorial A Year Of Uncounted Birthdays

Does this mean we all get to stay the same age for another 12 months?

Each year that ends with a zero is supposed to be a big deal. I don’t know why that is, but as a species we seem to enjoy the sense of completion and accomplishment that comes with each additional decade of existence. Of course, birthdays and anniversaries take place each year — such is the nature of such occasions — but not many of those who were looking forward to celebrating milestone decades this year have had the opportunity to do so in the way they expected.

Case in point, 2020 is the 40th anniversary of Hublot, an occasion that they are celebrating later today with an online get-together of friends, ambassadors and supporters. Knowing well Hublot’s propensity for exuberance and spectacle — stuff that makes a big bang! — one can safely assume that if 2020 had been like any other normal year, this would have been a party of record proportions. 

A Year Of Uncounted Birthdays

Classic Fusion 40th Anniversary © Hublot

Other anniversaries that were passed with much less fanfare than planned: the 175th anniversary of A. Lange & Söhne, the 160th birthday of Seiko founder Kintaro Hattori, the 45th anniversary of the Girard-Perregaux Laureato, the 20th anniversary of the Chanel J12, the 15th birthday of MB&F.

An example of a missed birthday that hits closest to home is the 20th anniversary of our sister magazine, GMT. Although it hasn’t been a completely quiet year in terms of festivities — check out the commemorative book released just in time to coincide with this landmark occasion! — it’s clear that most 20th birthday celebrations are not characterised by this level of sobriety.

A Year Of Uncounted Birthdays

1815 Thin Honeygold, 1815 Rattrapante Honeygold and Tourbograph Perpetual Honeygold © A. Lange & Söhne

And so perhaps I can propose something in this year of postponed events and premieres. We all know someone who has stopped celebrating birthdays and professes to remain the same age indefinitely; why not take a page from their book? Birthdays that aren’t celebrated are culturally accepted as not having taken place, so why don’t we all agree that we’ll start doing birthdays again when we’re able to do so properly?

One of my favourite authors, British writer Nick Hornby, wrote in his 1995 novel High Fidelity (from the perspective of the book’s narrator Rob, who finds himself confronted with a birthday during a particularly difficult year in his life), “Birthdays should be suspended in years like this one: there should be a law, of man if not of nature, that you are only allowed to age when things are ticking along nicely. […] Please retain all cards, cakes and presents for use on another occasion.” And then, because this is a British novel from the 1990s, there is some swearing involved, but I won’t reproduce that here. 

A Year Of Uncounted Birthdays

J12•20 © Chanel

The thing is, I wholly agree with this sentiment. And while I’d still like to wish all the abovementioned a very very happy birthday in 2020, I’d be even more elated to make that wish at a time when I can do so with a real handshake, with a real hug, with a real kiss. Here’s to that time!

In the meantime, to warm your heart, there is always our competition of the month.

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