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Showing posts from 2023

Sig.ra Iliaria Resta, In Her Words

Sig.ra Resta, photo credit Audemars Piguet. News broke this week that Audemars Piguet's board has selected Sig.ra Ilaria Resta as their new CEO. The commentariat quickly went to work (literally in comments on Instagram but sometimes in story posts). I saw a flury of opinions about what this leadership change "means." Of course, when someone who is not cisgender male is hired (or even elected ) into a position of leadership there is often a ton of baggage that goes into the subsequent discussion. Without pointing fingers at anyone in particular, I regrettably think we're seeing a bit of this play out in the present discussion of AP's leadership change. And, I will be the first to admit that as a cisgender male, my own post may not be as unslanted as I would otherwise like. In order to perhaps minimize that risk, I decided to see if I could find sources where Sig.ra Resta, herself, actually described her leadership philosophy, achievements, and experienc

Decoding the Tudor Rose

I recently had a chance to discuss many things Rolex and Tudor with a man held in high regard by collectors and the industry alike. For the sake of discretion, we'll call this man Elias. As I've told him, the opportunity to visit and converse with him was a bit of a bucket list item which helped me understand much more about two legendary watchmaking brands. Despite the fact that I spent roughly eighteen months researching and writing about Rolex marketing, I remain convinced that so much of the present and past of Rolex and Tudor remain unknown, untold, and often misunderstood. Before my conversation with Elias, which took place in Geneva, I had a chance to preview a large number of watches that were up for sale at Sotheby's. A Tudor Black Bay "RaSP" which sold at Sotheby's in Geneva this month. One of those watches was the Tudor Black Bay "Platinum Jubilee RaSP" (abbeviation PJR henceforth). This watch was specially commissioned for members of

Horoloscopy and Uncertainty

Let's begin with that first word in the title of this post: horoloscopy. As far as I know, I made it up. It is a riff on the term "dactyloscopy," which is not a term I made up. Dactyloscopy is the study of fingerprints in order to establish identity. Most of us are familiar with this practice from crime movies and stories. A detective "lifts a print" off a crime scene, sends it to "the lab" and a "match" in some database of known fingerprints reveals the identity of a person of interest. An AI generated image of a watch with a fingerprint on the dial. So what do I mean by this made up term "horoloscopy"? Well, since I made it up, I guess I get to define it. No, it's not an unpleasant procedure recommended for your watch when it hits 50 years of age (sorry, couldn't resist). Instead, I'd define horoloscopy as the study of minute wrist watch characteristics in order to establish the identity of a wristwatch. Now, I wa

Moving Forward un-Wonderfully

The watch community has attracted a wide range of impressive characters. An AI generated image of a Rolex Cosmograph Daytona on a red rubber strap. Much of this article will discuss a particular collector who is fond of such straps. I'm all on board with the idea that inclusion should be at the center of the watch community. Regrettably, though, there is always this background matter that's become known as the Paradox of Tolerance, which was developed by philosopher Karl Popper. Here's the paradox: does tolerance extend to those who are intolerant? Relatedly, do you need to be inclusive towards those who are not inclusive? A bit of a warning here, in what follows I explore the topic of mysoginy and describe some potentially upsetting material. I also discuss loss of life in an accident. I'm not a philosopher and, admitedly, I haven't read Popper's work beyond a short excerpt I encountered online . But my understanding is that Popper's solution to the

Watches and Wonders 2023: the Public Reaction

One of the more praiseworthy aspects of the watch community is those moments of self-effacement marked by a comment like "nobody else really cares," or "does anyone else pay attention to this stuff?" These moments of humility when discussing five or six figure watches are important, I think. They keep us grounded (side note: I've previously discussed why I do think people should care ). The Palexpo venue, where Watches and Wonders is held. Source: Google Earth. If there is any moment when the world might spare some of its valuable attention for the watch industry, it's now, when the tradeshow juggernaut Watches and Wonders is underway in Geneva. Of course, readers of this blog have seen that I prefer to employ data whenever possible. So, I turned to Google Trends in order to asses the impact of Watches and Wonders. The TL;DR on this is that the world is, in fact, watching (no pun intended, for real). How do I know? Google top searches in the Unit

2022 FinancialSwatch

I spent some time reviewing the Swatch Group 2022 Annual Report recently. To be more specific, I jumped into the financial statements and, by and large, skipped over the larger narrative in the 244 page document. That narrative is undoubtedly interesting, but sometimes a narrative distracts from the message sent by the numbers in various tables covering asset, liabilities and related financials. And, those numbers are actually audited by outside parties. The wordsmithing in a narrative doesn't necessarily have to follow requisite standards. The box of a MoonSwatch, showing iconography used on the crown. Overall, the financial picture looks good for Swatch Group. The company increased its dividend, which they wouldn't do if there were a crisis. Net sales increased by roughly CHF 140 million and almost all of those net sales benefitted the Swatch Group bottom line. The operating result (one measure of profit) increased by CHF 115 million. In addition, this operating result

Fifty Fathoms Anniversary Act II: the Tech Gombessa

Although there are still some who debate the point, much evidence suggests that the first watch to check the requisite boxes for scuba diving (rotating bezel, luminous material, automatic winding and, obviously, significant water resistance) was the Fifty Fathoms introduced by Blancpain in 1953. This year marks the 70th anniversary for the watch and we’ve already seen “Act I” of a commemorative sequence of watches. In early February, a limited series of 210 watches with special dial marks (reading “70th Anniversary” and the series number of the watch) was introduced, 42mm in size. Panelists at the Blancpain preview event earlier this week. Earlier this week, I joined a number of guests at the Blancpain boutique in Manhattan for a preview of the Fifty Fathoms “Act II.” The event was truly global, with participants “tuning in” to a live stream featuring five hosts. Marc Hayek (Blancpain CEO and President) and Marc Junod (VP and Director of Sales) broadcast from Switzerland while Jas

Lovell Hunter: American Independent Artisanal Watchmaker

Confession: I struggle with whether I sometimes take this whole watch thing too seriously. Don’t get me wrong, I think it is completely healthy to approach watch collecting as an enjoyable leisure activity. Lightheartedness about horology, from a certain perspective, just makes sense. Part of the watch collecting “canon” is that watches are not necessary for keeping track of time. Collectors are also drawn to humor. I laugh at meme accounts on social media and even try my hand at making a meme now and then. When it comes to sustaining an industry, casual clients are just as vital as hardcore “savants.” But part of me starts getting a little uncomfortable when I hear people referring to watches as a “hobby” or as “something nobody needs.” I did not dwell on this discomfort until I had a conversation with an extraordinarily accomplished American watchmaker named Lovell Hunter. We spent a bit of time discussing Lovell’s education and experience as a watchmaker, a topic I’ll return to in

Highlights from the Kari Voutilainen HSNY Lecture

This week, it was my distinct pleasure to attend a lecture delivered by legendary watchmaker Kari Voutilainen at the Horological Society of New York. Kari Voutilainen, center facing, lecturing at the Horological Society of New York on February 13, 2023. I was on the fence about whether I would attend, but I still have regrets about missing Fran├žois-Paul Journe's lecture a few summers ago. If there is a pantheon of present-day traditional, independent, artisanal watchmakers, both Journe and Voutilainen are almost definitely members. Moreover, I've been priviledged to see Voutilainen's work "in the metal" more often than almost any other living master independent watchmaker. So, after lecturing four hours in the morning, I made the trip to Manhattan. I wasn't going to regret missing this one. The Zenith X Voutalainen X Phillips watch. Dial side (top) caseback (bottom). The room was packed. Earlier in the day, an email request went out: 60 people were o

Scabby the Rat Visits His AD

An inflatable rat in front of a Rolex property in New York City, source: Google Maps. While following up on a recent Instagram post, I spent some time reviewing properties owned by Rolex in the New York City metropolitan area. One property, in particular, caught my interest because it seemed to be "off the beaten track." In order to learn more about it, I used street view in Google Maps to access some pictures of the building. As I virtually strolled down the middle of the street, I approached the building's main entrance. Surprise doesn't even begin to describe my reaction when I saw an inflatible rat positioned on the sidewalk facing the door. This thing was big, maybe 12 feet tall. A carnival-esque rodent was the last thing I expected to see near the entrance to a Rolex building. There were three people standing nearby, one wearing something like a construction hat. Having seen a number of labor-related demonstrations in the recent past, my gut told me th