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WorldTempus Newsletter
Editorial - One minute after midnight…

Editorial One minute after midnight…

A new collection, a new direction, Serge’s selection and a humorous reflection

If there’s one thing that everyone will remember from the SIHH 2019 it’s Code 11.59. It’s a rather strange name for a watch collection. The 11.59 is supposed to signal the arrival of a new day, although for an Anglo-Saxon audience it could just as easily be the minute before lunch time. But the SIHH is now over, the new day has begun and it’s one minute after midnight. Time to look ahead…

I noticed two things at the SIHH that help to give an indication of where the industry might be heading. One of them made headlines while the other didn’t. But both are examples of how luxury brands are taking a more customer-centric approach to product development, at both ends of the price range. Cartier, which has all but abandoned haute horlogerie over the past few years and re-focused on ladies’ watches, presented a new in-house quartz movement that effectively doubles the watch’s battery life to up to six years. Vacheron Constantin, on the other hand, set new standards in the power reserve for mechanical watches. Two months is the new benchmark. How did the traditional brand achieve this? Not by innovating in materials or mainspring barrels but by offering wearers of its new “Twin Beat” perpetual calendar the possibility of switching its movement to a lower frequency of 1.2 Hertz when it is not worn, guaranteeing a power reserve of 65 days. 

In our Monday interview, Raymond Weil’s CEO Elie Bernheim talks about the “mini revolution” that has shaken the company as it switches to a product lifecycle aligned with the start of the year, rather than with Baselworld. He is still keeping an eye on Baselworld, however, but an even bigger one on Brexit, justifiably concerned about how things are dragging on in his second biggest export market. 

Our collector Serge Panczuk provided his first in-depth review of an SIHH product overnight last week after the IWC “Mojave Desert” edition caught his eye. He will be giving the same detailed attention to a few other watches from the SIHH, which we will publish over the next couple of weeks. In the meantime, you can read his thoughts on the playful Ralph Lauren Teddy Bear watches today.

On the subject of fun, the SIHH was not without its little touches of humour this year. Aside from the hilarity of a malfunctioning robot greeting visitors in English and French, Richard Mille brought us a light-hearted “Bonbons” collection featuring sweets and lollipops on the dial and Hermès once again scooped the prize for the best watch name, following last year’s “Grrr” with “Awoo”. I’ll leave it up to you to guess which animal is on the dial.