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Michaud - Watches and Wonders: Debrief with Laurent Michaud

Michaud Watches and Wonders: Debrief with Laurent Michaud

Laurent Michaud, head of Michaud’s Neuchâtel boutique, looks back at the Geneva watch fair

Now fully recovered from the effort of exploring the astronomical number of timepieces showcased at Watches and Wonders Geneva 2022, Laurent Michaud, co-CEO of Neuchâtel’s eponymous watch and jewellery boutique, shares his impressions of this new kid on the watchmaking block.

Watches and Wonders : débriefing avec Laurent Michaud

Laurent Michaud © Michaud

What are your conclusions from Watches and Wonders Geneva 2022?
First of all, I thoroughly enjoyed it! I enjoyed discovering a watch fair that was worthy of the name; I enjoyed catching up with partners, colleagues and friends; and I enjoyed indulging our shared passion for watchmaking! Over the last two years of the pandemic watchmakers have shown great imagination, introducing their latest releases by video conference, and sharing their strategy in virtual presentations. But nothing compares with face-to-face conversation, and being able to see the watches in person, touch them and try them. The “SIHH” format of the old fair was a welcome start, but there’s room for better cohesion among the participants. Also, we need to have a discussion about including other brands.

Watches and Wonders : débriefing avec Laurent Michaud

Defy Skyline © Zenith

Which watch really stood out for you?
All of the brands we represent introduced some stunning and highly marketable products, featuring new shapes, new concepts and bold use of materials and colours. For me personally, there were three that really stood out:
1. Zenith Defy Skyline: an extremely well-thought-out evolution of the Defy. It has a beautifully clean finish and impeccable engineering, thanks to the new El Primero 3620 calibre with 1/10 of second display.
2. Hublot Square Bang: a bold new case shape that looks highly unusual, but is a delight to wear.
3. Ressence Type 8: pure minimalism.

Watches and Wonders : débriefing avec Laurent Michaud

Square Bang © Hublot

Which three brands, in your opinion, have created the most promising products for the coming year?
I’ve already mentioned three brands, but I must also emphasise the excellence of Rolex which, year after year, introduces new developments in its collections while remaining absolutely true to their well-defined lines. Then there’s Tudor, which is growing at an incredible rate, and has made its mark on the market as one of the most promising brands of this decade. And Chopard, which is building out its Alpine Eagle collection, an icon in the making.

Watches and Wonders : débriefing avec Laurent Michaud

Alpine Eagle Flying Tourbillon © Chopard

As a watch and jewellery retailer, which jewellery watches would you put on the podium?
Two jewellery watches particularly stood out for me this year. First, Chanel, with their J12 Tourbillon Diamant, which has a solitaire diamond rotating on top of the tourbillon cage. It’s a perfect balance of Haute Horlogerie and Haute Joaillerie. Then there’s Rolex, whose rare jewellery models have kept a relatively low profile up to now (not a bad thing, since they are extremely hard to get hold of). The quality of the stones and the setting on the legendary Daytona Rainbow is absolutely breathtaking.

Watches and Wonders : débriefing avec Laurent Michaud

J12 Diamond Tourbillon © Chanel

If you were to go out and buy a new watch tomorrow, what would you spend your money on?
I’m afraid I’d have to go off-brand, again! I have the immense good fortune to be able to wear iconic models from each of our partner brands every day. But the one I would love to buy tomorrow wasn’t at the fair. It’s from a brand we don’t represent, but which I have always admired (along with its creator): the Legacy Machine Perpetual by MB&F. This watch represents everything I admire in watchmaking: extremely complex mechanics based on a very simple concept, with a completely visible movement. The balance wheel levitates above the overlapping wheels and bridges, and it comes in a supremely elegant, avant-garde case.

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