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Editorial - Top watch brands unveil new timepieces at CoutureTime Show

Editorial Top watch brands unveil new timepieces at CoutureTime Show

The CoutureTime show may have been a little slow traffic-wise, but retailers were ordering and a few top watch brands were offering sneak-peeks at watches that were under embargo until now.

The end of May into the first week of June is a big week for American watch and jewelry brands and retailers. That’s because the largest exhibitions take place over the course of a week in Las Vegas. The shows include JCK, Luxury, Couture, CoutureTime and a host of other smaller exhibitions, including an antique jewelry show.  The CoutureTime show, held concurrently with the Couture show, witnesses a few dozen brands on the show floor at the Encore, and another dozen in the Wynn Villas. 

The trends were exactly as we would expect – fresh on the heels of the other watch shows around the world. Watches are sportier, more colorful, more affordable and a bit smaller in dimensions. No surprises there.  We did witness an uptake in auto-inspired watches at the affordable price range. Additionally, there were a host of new aviation and pilot style watches, but much of that was due to a host of brands creating watches in honor of the 75th anniversary of D-Day that occurred on June 6. 

Because the show takes place just a couple of months after Baselworld, we don’t necessarily expect to see new products – especially from the watch brands. This year, though, was a surprise, as at least a half a dozen top watch brands offered trusted journalists a behind-the-scenes look at watches that are making their debut this week, and at others that will be revealed in September. 

Here, we take a look at a few new watches – so new they aren’t in stores yet – that made their debut at CoutureTime.  The new Corum lineup includes a hand-sculpted dragon inside a round Golden Bridge watch. The meticulously carved gold dragon wraps around the in-line movement and its tail holds a precious pearl. It retails for about $100,000. Additionally, the brand is showcasing a new Golden Bridge Round watch with thin cables instead of the traditional thick ones for dramatic appeal. On the sporty side, Corum unveils the Admiral AC-One 45 Openworked Automatic Tourbillon ($58,900) and the Heritage Lab 01 in three color ways (red, blue and white). The tonneau shaped watch with skeletonized dial houses the CO 410 automatic movement and is crafted in titanium with black DLC. The color comes into play as accents on the strap and the movement/dial, as well as with a case side in rubber. The watches retails for $13,800. 

Top watch brands unveil new timepieces at CoutureTime Show

Admiral AC-One 45 Openworked Automatic Tourbillon © Corum

Unveiled to the world this week (with a sneak look during CoutureTime), Parmigiani Fleurier showcases the new Tonda 1950 watch with small seconds subdial at 6:00. Crafted in 18-karat gold, it retails for  $18,100. Additionally, the brand offered a behind-the-scenes look at a great new Tonda 1950 coming out in September but that is off the record for now.   

Top watch brands unveil new timepieces at CoutureTime Show

Tonda 1950 © Parmigiani

 Frederique Constant revealed its newest Perpetual Calendar Tourbillon Manufacture watch in two versions: stainless steel and rose gold. With a navy blue skeletonized dial, the watches are powered by the FC-975 movement made totally in house. Thanks to the layout of the dial, the complete calendar functions and tourbillon placement, the watch is incredibly alluring. It retails for $22,995 in steel and $32,995 in rose gold.

Top watch brands unveil new timepieces at CoutureTime Show

Perpetual Calendar Tourbillon Manufacture © Frederique Constant

On the sportier side, there were a host of new timepieces unveiled. Alpina, for instance, released the newest Seastrong Diver 300 watch. At an incredible retail price of $1,395, the steel and titanium PVD watch features a unidirectional rotating dive bezel and is water resistant to 300 meters. Offered in two color ways, the watch is technical instrument.  Bell &Ross also unveiled its new aviation watches in drab green and orange to emulate the flight jackets pilots used to wear. The brand also has a new watch category making its debut this September and while I would love to show it to you, it is under embargo.  Same with a new Oris watch coming in September and a few others. Stay tuned. 

Top watch brands unveil new timepieces at CoutureTime Show

Seastrong Diver © Alpina

Grand Seiko used the CoutureTime show to unveil its newest Four Seasons watches.  The timepieces, each representing a different season, underscore the Japanese culture’s respect of time and nature.  We will explore the details futher in an upcoming article.

Perhaps the only down side to the show was the lingering question: Will watch brands join again next year? In 2020, SIHH and Baselworld take place end of April and first week of May. The CoutureTime show takes place the last weekend of May. As such, it is almost guaranteed that brands will not have new watches not seen in Switzerland.  I asked the question of exhibitors and it seems it all comes down to the retailers.  For some of the brands catering to smaller American retailers, CoutureTime makes sense because those retailers don’t attend either of the Swiss shows. Similarly, brands that don’t exhibit at the two Swiss shows need to showcase at CoutureTime.  So whether or not next year’s CoutureTime will be successful remains to be seen.

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