SIAR Watchmaking in Mexico
Mexico’s premier show for fine watchmaking took place last week, and offered a few fun surprises for fans of high watchmaking.
Some of the CEOs present at the three-day fair included Armin Strom owner and CEO Serge Michel, who explained he was inspecting the market and talking to the interested public. There was quite a response to this first-time exhibitor, which probably explained the smiles to be had by both Michel and his head watchmaker, Claude Greisler. Carl F. Bucherer managing director Sebastian Marten, Cyrus co-founder Laurent Lecamp, De Bethune CEO Pierre Jacques, Stephen Forsey of Greubel Forsey, Louis Moinet founder and director Jean-Marie Schaller, Hautlence co-founder Guillaume Tetu, Jacob & Co. founder Jacob Arabo, new Montblanc global CEO Jérôme Lambert, Monsieurs Richard Mille and Romain Gauthier themselves, Slyde director Jorg Hysek Jr., and Vacheron Constantin’s prominent creative director Christian Selmoni were all present in Mexico City.
A number of new timepieces found their way to Mexico City, making visitors to the sunny location among the first to see them. These included both the A. Lange & Söhne 1815 Rattrapante Perpetual Calendar and the Montblanc Exotourbillon Rattrapante, which came directly to Mexico from Hong Kong, where they had debuted at Watches & Wonders. Hot on their heels was Audemars Piguet’s new Royal Oak Offshore LeBron James, which arrived directly from the launch event in Miami.
Cyrus’ Lecamp brought the brand-new, manually wound Kambys limited to 188 pieces, while Hautlence introduced the HLRQ 01 in rose gold in honor of the boutique brand’s fourth showing at the SIAR: a 44 mm rose gold timepiece featuring a black DLC-coated titanium case band housing a manually wound movement. Louis Moinet debuted the Stardance, an automatic ladies’ watch in a white ceramic case that has been preselected for the upcoming Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève.
Richard Mille created a thirty-piece limited edition of the RM 30 just for the event, whose case and dial is adorned with the country’s patriotic colors: its ultra-light carbon nanotube case bears the green, white and red hues of Mexico’s flag, while green carbon fiber decorates the upper flange and the crown protector is a vibrant red.
Girard-Perregaux brought along its historic La Esmeralda pocket watch, which was the inspiration for a one-of-a-kind rose gold Bi-Axial Tourbillon with Three Golden Bridges for the Mexican market presented at the fair.
And Corum announced a new partnership with Rebecca de Albar, a top model and TV presenter in Mexico, during the SIAR.
Mexican Only Watch
Vacheron Constantin, Sotheby’s and the organizers of the SIAR also created something unprecedented: a private auction to sell a unique version of the Patrimony Traditionnelle World Time in a 42.5 mm 18-karat rose gold case. The highly unique element aside from the world time display, which cleanly depicts 37 time zones, is the enameled map in the center: instead of the regular blue-toned dial, this version made just for the Mexican market possesses a map that is more green than anything else in honor of the Mexican flag. The pre-auction estimate was US$40,000, but after the bidding – which took place at dinner solely among those in the room – Sotheby watch head Geoffrey Ader finally hammered the watch for $80,000. “We are very pleased with this result,” Ader confirmed the next day.
The elegant fair was crowned by the presentation of the SIAR awards, which took place at the end of the final day in the presence of hundreds of interested guests. In the hotly contested ladies’ watch category, Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Rendez-Vous Celestial just edged out Vacheron Constantin’s Florilège. De Bethune took home the honor of up-and-coming brand of the year as signified by the DB28T Black Gold, a prize that visibly delighted CEO Pierre Jacques. Girard-Perregaux took home two awards on that evening: the Constant Escapement won both best concept watch and the “premio de la critica” (critics’ choice). Cartier was also a double winner with the Rotonde Double Tourbillon Mystérieux taking home the jury-awarded “best watchmaker’s value” prize and the visitors to the SIAR awarding it the “people’s choice” prize. The best chronograph was hotly contested, but the Louis Vuitton Tambour Twin Chrono won out over the established competition, while Blancpain’s Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe took home the prize for the best sports watch. In the high complication category, A. Lange & Söhne’s Grand Complication edged out Blancpain’s Tourbillon Caroussel.
The SIAR Watch of the Year drew an interesting comparison: the final three watches in this category were Antoine Martin’s Slow Runner, Omega’s Seamaster Aqua Terra 15,000 Gauss, and the Swatch Sistem51. Here we have an exotic independent, an industry standard looking to improve overall quality and stability, and the anniversary Swatch, which is not only 100-percent made by Swiss robots, but also contains progressive synthetics and no lubricants. The Swatch Sistem51 took home the much-anticipated prize, proving the international jury’s ability to think in all directions and appreciate various levels of watchmaking.
Finally, Carlos Alonso – founder of the magazine Tiempo de Relojes and the SIAR – took the stage to present the Premio Especial (special award) of Tiempo de Relojes. This went to TAG Heuer’s Guy Sémon, who was unfortunately not present, for his contributions to the science of watchmaking.
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