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Watchmaking week in the ‘other’ Geneva venues - The best of the fringe events

Watchmaking week in the ‘other’ Geneva venues The best of the fringe events

Alongside the SIHH, several brands exhibit all or some of their new models for 2014 in Geneva. A sampling from a number of brands with eclectic profiles.

The SIHH attracts journalists, retailers and VIP clients for a highly exclusive week. Other brands make the most of their presence in Geneva to unveil their own new releases. Some are based in Geneva and are thus on home ground, while others do double product launches both there and at Baselworld, where they are also exhibitors. 2014 saw a reduction in the size of these presentations that are sometimes referred to as “fringe” events such as one sees on Broadway or the Avignon Festival. Despite this downscaling, the week yielded a plentiful crop of interesting new models.

The first re-edition of Zenith’s El Primero 410 watches in 2013, had been issued in a limited series, while the second interpretation is no longer a limited run and features two changes on the dial. The day and month apertures are no longer topped by the somewhat pointless little stars found on the previous models; and the dial is a new kind that Zenith calls velouté (velvety), meaning finely beadblasted. The result is indeed aesthetically pleasing, since the indications on this complete calendar are harmoniously arranged around the dial.



It had been eagerly awaited and is now here: Bovet’s very own in-house movement… without any highly sophisticated horological complications. Accustomed to offering tourbillons, world time models, as well as dials adorned with specially committed miniature paintings, the brand from Fleurier with its impressive production facility did not have a simple hours, minutes and seconds movement in its repertoire. The Virtuoso calibre finds its place in two new watches, thereby demonstrating its inherent adaptability. In the Récital 12, it drives hours, minutes, small seconds and a power-reserve indication (7 days by default, which is pretty impressive). In the Récital 15, it is the force behind jumping hours and retrograde minutes on the front, and a power-reserve display and another small seconds display on the back. The brand’s cherished double hand-fitting principle has been applied, meaning that the Virtuoso movement is thus both reversible and flexible.



Urwerk consistently astonishes observers and stands out from the crowd. Whereas the watchmaking world generally considers exhibiting at a watch show as a mandatory exercise, the futuristic and geeky brand announces that it will not be gracing Baselworld with its presence this year. It therefore went ahead and unveiled its next model already – the one destined to replace its former best-selling UR103. For timing-related reasons, we can’t show this model, but it definitely exists and is every inch an Urwerk. The brand also presented its EMC, the watch first introduced last year and which enables its wearer to adjust the rate with incredible precision thanks to a built-in laser-measurement system.



Delaneau has the soul of a poet. This discreet and highly exclusive brand works with the finest enamellers and gem-setters, who craft superlatively refined watches that are still relatively little known. Its Rondo Daisy is a perfect example, with a grisaille enamel dial depicting flowers carved into the enamel itself. A daisy in gold and plique-à-jour enamel has been added, a dainty miniature painting that is at once sombre and cheerful, resulting in an exceptional and indeed truly unique creation.



It’s a traditional-looking timepiece, yet beneath its large guilloché dial, the De Bethune DB28 Digitale conceals a mechanism enabling this watch to display the brand’s cherished three-dimensional moon, as well as jumping hours and minutes on a large disc. The workmanship performed on the surface is astonishing, alternating between classic guilloché silver and outstanding blued and polished titanium. Setting the perfect finishing touch, this model with its cylindrical case is fitted with the fabulous flexible or ‘floating’ lugs invented by De Bethune and which ensure unique comfort on the wrist.



Unique is an adjective that certainly applies to the Poker from Christophe Claret – although crazy, unbelievable and amusing would also work. After the Baccarat and Blackjack models, the brand now presents its third casino complication: Poker in its Texas Hold’em version. Several discs bearing cards appear beneath the openworked dial. They are shuffled by pressing a pusher at 9 o’clock, and three players can view the hand they have been dealt through the slatted dial windows. Another press on the other pushers then reveals the flop. The photo shows four aces, and winner takes all!



Hublot is supremely self-confident, since the brand is even breaking one of the strongest marketing rules by playing with its own logo. The Big Bang Pop Art is a ladies’ model featuring a gem-set dial and a pop-coloured dial featuring painted accents surrounding the hour-markers, as well as the brand’s signature H and name. An entertaining way of not taking oneself too seriously, while showing a truly free-spirited attitude.



Graham makes chronographs and virtually nothing else. They are large, expressive, colourful and firmly anchored in the world of car and motorbike racing. While the Silverstone Vintage 44 is an example of the latter inspiration, it is neither colourful nor huge. This chronograph with a beige dial and knurled bezel is perfectly suited to smaller wrists, as well as being elegant. It remains true to Graham’s distinctive design codes, including the oversized pushers and large chronograph counters that ensure the aesthetic harmony of this generously proportioned watch.



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