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Editorial - Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow!

Editorial Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow!

The unarguable tie between fine watchmaking and bad weather.

I’m only half-serious about the title. I’m a tropical girl, so the less snow the better, as far as I’m concerned. However, the fact remains that this morning as I stepped out of my apartment building, I saw the first snow of the winter, resting in a neat little layer atop the lone car in my street, a rather defeated looking Peugeot 408. 

This being my third winter in Switzerland, you’d think that I’d be used to the weather by now. Well I’m not. But I’ve developed a way to deal with it — unsurprisingly through horological means. The main problem, as I see it, is that I perceive snow and frost and cold weather in general as Bad Things. The obvious solution then would be to psychologically link snow (for example) with stuff that I like; videlicet, watches. It would then become, by association, a Good Thing. The Sub-Zero Mind Experiment begins…

People tend to think that winter-themed watches, being all white and sparkly and largely gem-set, are categorically for women. Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, this idea could not be more wrong. For example, the frosted gold watches of Audemars Piguet, despite being presented initially as a feminine series in 2016, are decidedly unisex. After all, the Royal Oak Frosted Gold 41mm first caught my eye at the 2017 Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) as it adorned the wrist of Audemars Piguet CEO François-Henry Bennahmias. 

The hand-tooled surface of the frosted gold resembles nothing more than the ground of my neighbourhood park after a particularly severe winter evening, blanketed in microscopic ice crystals that reflect the slanting rays of morning sun. And you have polished six-sided bezel screws of the Royal Oak, standing out against the frosting like the shiniest, most perfect snowflakes. (You see, I’m starting to like the cold better already.)

If it’s the softly opaque, smoothly white carpet of snow you prefer, like the ankle-deep stuff I found outside my apartment building last winter and had to wade through in suede boots, then the Chanel J12 in white ceramic is the watch for you. High-tech ceramic (which in most cases is zirconium oxide put through a sintering process) is well known for being highly scratch resistant, with a surface that stays practically perfect even over years of wear and physical abuse. The pristinely white ceramic pillows of the J12 bracelet links brings to mind the rounded caps of snow that settle on outdoor furniture; the acres of unbroken snow cover around the Châtelain ceramic production facility in La Chaux-de-Fonds recall the Chanel cases and bracelets made within. Whereas the Zenlike effect of all that snow can be marred by something as simple as a single footstep, however, it’ll take a lot to make a dent in your Chanel J12.

Geneva is bisected by its famous lake, which turns dark and sullen when the winter winds descend, drenching piers and pathways in lake water, which then freezes into hazardous panes of ice. Instead of thinking about this slippery menace, how much more pleasant to imagine rippling sheets of iridescent mother of pearl, like on the dial of the Jaquet Droz Lady 8 Flower, surrounded by hoarfrost haloes of diamonds. 

The thing is really to keep your mind off the cold and on pleasant, warming thoughts, which I imagine is the only way to survive things like the Coupe de Noël, an event in Geneva where people dressed for summer frolic in the lake in the dead of winter, scaring the ducks and raising questions of their (the people, not the ducks) mental fitness. 

Actually you know what, that’s too extreme for me to mitigate even with thoughts of fine watchmaking. Have your ice-cold lakes, your panicked water-fowl, and let it snow! I’m spending Christmas with family in Singapore and will be doing my own coupe de Noël in my parents’ condo pool. 

Lecture 1 Comment(s)

16 December 2019
Stephane Tencer
Edito sympa et original et belles images pour raconter le froid vu par une fille des tropiques. J'éspère que la méthode coué et les métaphores horlogères feront effet. Bonnes fêtes......au soleil.