Asia’s prestigious watch fair, which took place from September 30 to October 3 in the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center, saw the art of watchmaking as interpreted by 12 distinctive Maisons. Piaget’s take on watchmaking took on a dreamy tone with its Secrets and Lights collection, while IWC Schaffhausen reminisced on its colourful journey in watchmaking with the 75th anniversary edition of the Portugieser. A true celebration of timepieces, Watches and Wonders delivered on its promise of watchmaking artistry and engineering feats right at the gateway to Asia.
Baume & Mercier
A Promise Kept
Incorporating the Chinese symbol of eternal happiness, Baume & Mercier’s Promesse Jade combines the fascinating symbolism of heritage and good fortune with the art of watchmaking. In the new timepiece for women, the delicate green-tinted gemstone adorns the oval bezel, while 61 0.65-carat diamonds on the outskirts of the jade accentuate the unique illusion created by the dial’s rippling contours and oval bezel inside its round 34mm dial. Complemented with a pristine white alligator strap, the Watches and Wonders exclusive piece is available in eight limited-edition pieces.
Combining the masculinity of IWC Schaffhausen with the romance of Portofino, Watches and Wonders served as a platform for the watchmaking label to introduce four Portofino novelties to Asia: the Portofino for Two, the Portofino Hand-Wound Day and Date, the Portofino 37 and the Portofino Hand-Wound Mono-Pusher. Interpreting the allure of the Italian city with a dash of glamour, the Portofino Automatic Moon Phase 37 features a striking moon phase and a mother-of-pearl dial with 12 diamonds marking each hour. Also making an appearance at Watches and Wonders was the Portugieser Hand-Wound Eight Days 75th Anniversary Edition celebrating the birthday of the Portugieser watch family.
A Mythical Journey
Diamonds falling from the sky in Piaget’s Watches and Wonders booth instantaneously set the tone for the Maison’s lavish presentation. Unapologetically extravagant, yet artful and ridden with significance, the Secrets and Lights collection took viewers on a trip to Venice and Samarkand with its Haute Joaillerie and Haute Horlogerie pieces. The décor of the Samarkand palace served as an inspiration for the secret watch, with gold star marquetry imitating the palace’s iconic décor, while the Emperador Coussin interprets the journey through the Silk Road with poetry in its meticulously line-engraved dial.
In Your Pocket
Adopting the mechanism of the Maison’s iconic pieces, Roger Dubuis’ Excalibur Spider Pocket Time Instrument combines components of the Excalibur, the Quator and the Spider in one watchmaking marvel. The pocket watch is an ingenious amalgamation of the past and the future, fusing the shape of an antique timekeeping device with the futuristic silhouette of a skeletonised structure. On the aesthetic front, the Excalibur Spider Pocket Time Instrument evoked the meticulous and inventive character of the resilient arachnid and the intricate construction of its web.
Translating the engineering feats of its timepieces into bigger dimensions, Officine Panerai presented two new table clocks at this year’s Watches and Wonders. The larger pieces incorporate Panerai’s P.5000 movement, hand-wound with an eight-day power reserve. The table clock features a classic dial and a completely transparent mineral glass sphere confining the entirety of the shape. In the second table clock, the sphere encloses a California dial: a design that recalls the popularity of the dial’s Arabic and Roman numerals and alternating markers. The perfectly spherical table clocks are surrounded by a stainless steel loop, their original design inspired by elements of sailing yachts that recall Officine Panerai’s naval history.
An Affair to Remember
Seduction begins with a glimpse of an intriguing possibility without fully revealing the wholeness of the proposition. With the Rendez-Vous Ivy Secret decked out in full evening dress, Jaeger-LeCoultre was prepared to seduce and dazzle with the timepiece’s lavish artistry. The design of the jewellery watch is inspired by a 1960s archetype, evoking the charm of an antique jewellery watch. In the new model, the watch is set with 304 diamonds, each precious stone sparkling fervently as it catches light. Like a succulent secret, the timepiece half opens to reveal the time on the dial, on which the hand-painted and hand-engraved ivy leaves sit.
Van Cleef & Arpels
Presenting a modern reinterpretation of a 1935 high jewellery design at Watches and Wonders, Van Cleef & Arpels’ Cadenas collection is a celebration of the Maison’s heritage and bold spirit. The Cadenas Pavée shines a spotlight on the artistry of the jewels, with princess-cut diamonds embellishing the case and serti-neige diamonds wrapped around the timepiece’s dial, case and clasp. A dazzling stunner at Watches and Wonders was the pink gold version of Cadenas Pavée. Set with diamonds and pink sapphires, its undulating rose hue was a treat to the eyes.
A. Lange & Söhne
200 Years of Engineering Feats
At this year’s Watches and Wonders, A. Lange & Söhne celebrated the birthday of its founding father, Ferdinand Adolph Lange, with the 200th Anniversary F.A. Lange in honey gold. The emblematic timepiece features a honey gold case and solid silver argenté-grainé dial, with its artisanal decoration paying tribute to its Saxon origins and traditional finishing techniques. Every detail of the timepiece epitomises Saxon watchmaking artistry, exemplified by the three-quarter plate constructed from untreated German silver and hand-engraved balance clock. The 40mm watch is available in 200 limited-edition pieces.
A summary of the Maison’s expertise in watchmaking and jewellery design, the Heures Créative collection revisited three iconic periods with three remarkable creations. The Heure Romantique reminisces on the Art Nouveau period with sensuous swirls and arabesques, while Heure Discrète, recalling the Maison’s 1919 design, sees a timepiece disguised by an Art Deco outline of a fan. The Heure Audacieuse celebrates the feminine freedom of the 1970s with the crisp, clean lines of a belt buckle silhouette translated into a watch. Fabricated from 2.5-carat round-cut diamonds, 11-carat diamonds and 172 baguette-cut diamonds totaling 11.3 carats, the trilogy is a tribute to women and the imaginative powers they inspire.
Paying homage to the Portuguese explorer who discovered a marine route between Europe and India, Montblanc fittingly presented the Vasco da Gama special editions at Hong Kong’s Watches and Wonders, where it was formally introduced to Asia. The Montblanc Heritage Chronométrie Exo-Tourbillon Minute Chronograph Vasco da Gama depicts a deep blue sky in its dial, with the diamond stars within lighting up its horizon. The in-house calibre MB R230 and the Exo-Tourbillon give the impression of rippling currents and winds, while the sub-dial with date indicator floating in the night sky evokes an image of a ship making its journey in the sea.
Simplicity is Key
Boiling every design and mechanical component down to the basics, Cartier presented a beautifully simple collection and invited viewers to appreciate the robust timelessness of a simple design. The Clé de Cartier Flying Tourbillon watch combines a simple silhouette and straightforward mechanism with a dash of extravagance, with 478 brilliant-cut diamonds totalling 3.56 carats adorning its case. The Clé de Cartier Mysterious Hour incorporates a mysterious movement complication and an open-work dial within a streamlined outline, the entirety of complex components displaying the Maison’s fine watchmaking codes.
The wild child of the bunch, it comes as no surprise that Richard Mille presented a timepiece that combines mechanical innovation with a touch of naughtiness in this year’s Watches and Wonders. The RM 69 Erotic Tourbillon, laden with innuendos, contains a collection of suggestive words that displayed its wearer’s desires unabashedly on the timepiece’s dial. Featuring 41 jewels, a visible tourbillon carriage and 69-hour power reserve displayed at 4 o’clock, the 30-piece limited-edition watch is available exclusively in Richard Mille boutiques worldwide.