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Author: Gaby Ignacio

Ah, February. The season for roses, candies, and copious bottles of fine wine to celebrate romance. And while those traditional symbols of Valentine’s Day are wonderful in their own right, we also believe that the deepest, most lasting, most meaningful relationships should be commemorated with something as enduring as your love.

Here, we’ve picked out a few of our favorite pairings— so this season, you can wear your heart on your sleeve, and on your wrist.

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sihh 2019 trends 01
Photo courtesy of SIHH

Trends in the watch industry are an interesting phenomenon: definitely not adherent to fashion’s model of trends—changing from day to day in drastic leaps—but still very much reactive to a demanding market’s (regional or global) tastes, preferences, and sense of aesthetics, albeit with the consideration that, unlike clothes, watches are essentially machines meant to last a lifetime.

While traditionalism and classic design will always be in vogue in the world of horology, we couldn’t help but notice a few interesting trends and developments at this year’s edition of SIHH.

Colored Dials

sihh 2019 trends 02

Specifically, in blue, green, and black. The movement that prompted every manufacture to create timepieces in everything from aquamarine and cobalt to navy and turquoise is still going strong in 2019, with nearly every brand—with notable adherents like Jaeger-LeCoultre, Girard-Perregaux, and Vacheron Constantin leading the pack—imbuing their timepieces with different iterations of the hue.

Green was a massive favorite with brands as well, specifically when paired with bronze cases and details which serve to highlight the tones of both the dial and the metal that surrounds it, as in IWC Schaffhausen’s reimagining of its iconic Pilot’s watches.

Have a penchant for the darker side of life? Also spotted were black watches of every persuasion, with many clearly designed to cater to the tastes of a younger market.

Skeleton Movements

sihh 2019 trends 03

Few details scream high horology like a skeleton movement, which puts a manufacture’s expertise front and center through a masterful blend of minimalism and frills.

This year, manufactures such as Roger Dubuis show off their respective design visions and ideals with signature pieces that pull the curtains back on the feat of engineering that is the mechanical timepiece, releasing pieces inspired by everything from hypercars to the cosmos.

Bejeweled Watches

sihh 2019 trends 04

Minimalism was definitely not a buzzword at this year’s edition of the Genevan watch fair. From monochromatic stunners paying tribute to specific stones to rainbow-inspired pieces, to diamond pavé on any and every surface imaginable, manufacturers explored gem-setting techniques and pushed the boundaries of their aesthetics when creating men’s and women’s watches alike.   

Rose Gold

sihh 2019 trends 05

No matter what the manufactures are calling it—rose gold, pink gold, or any one of the exclusive proprietary alloys in the same family—the metal was having a movement.

There was barely a yellow gold sighting in Geneva, with manufactures like A. Lange & Söhne and Ferdinand Berthoud spotlighting the warm, rosy complexity of this material to complement and elevate more neutral and traditional tones, textures, and finishes.

Innovative Materials

sihh 2019 trends 06

For manufactures, this was a year of experimentation with new techniques and materials, with iconic models reimagined in ways that brought together design and technology.

SIHH 2019 was abuzz with the unveiling of iconic models in proprietary materials like A. Lange & Sohne’s Honey Gold Langematik and Panerai’s many, many Submersibles in Carbotech and BMG-Tech. Taking familiar materials like ceramic, but giving them an added aesthetic twist, as in IWC’s sand-colored ceramic in its Top Gun-edition chronograph and Audemars Piguet’s brand new Offshore in a chocolatey take of the material, were also key highlights of the fair.

Ultra-Thin Watches

sihh 2019 trends 07

Much like the quest for accuracy, watchmakers have challenged themselves with turning already minuscule movements into thinner and thinner mechanisms. Many have achieved this ironically herculean task, showing off their achievements in Geneva, with many watches seemingly slimmer than the last. Best embodied in Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Ultra-Thin models and Piaget’s Altiplano, and even Audemars Piguet’s extra thin Royal Oak, this year, thin is in.

ALS SIHH 2019 01 lange 1

This year, A. Lange & Söhne looks to its roots in exceptional mechanics and sleek, powerful German design for an exceptional collection that expresses the manufacture’s undeniable mastery of high horology.

Here are some of the highlights from SIHH 2019.

Zeitwerk Date

ALS SIHH 2019 02 zeitwerk date

Who’d have thought that it’s been 10 years since the inception of the groundbreaking Zeitwerk? Introduced in 2009, this easily-recognizable timepiece is reimagined this year with an additional function—a ring-shaped date display—that demanded the creation of a completely new movement. In line with the spirit of innovation and exceptional design, this watch takes an oft-overlooked complication and gives it a distinct edge, building on it in a way that only the manufacture can.

Langematik Perpetual Honeygold

ALS SIHH 2019 03 langematik perpetual HG

This year, the manufacture melds its exclusive metal alloy, Honeygold, and the self-winding Langematik Perpetual timepiece. First created in 2010, the warm-toned metal is a special mix of fine gold and other minerals specially heat-treated to make it harder than any other gold alloy. Imbued with the exceptional warmth and lustre of this metal, the Langematik Perpetual is taken to new heights even beyond its outsize date display, perpetual calendar function, and patented zero-reset mechanism.

Richard Lange Jumping Seconds

ALS SIHH 2019 04 RL jumping seconds

One look at the Richard Lange Jumping seconds is enough to understand that this timepiece is a mechanical force to be reckoned with, and the newly-released white gold and black variation on this contemporary classic is a dark, Bauhaus-inspired take on the model. Like its predecessor, the new release is all at once a tribute to Richard Lange’s contributions to the world of horology, an exhibition of the manufacture’s expertise in creating high-precision timepieces, and a modern reimagining of one of the brand’s most beautiful releases.

Lange 1 “25th Anniversary”       

 

Kicking off the manufacture’s 25th anniversary series is a watch that is the very definition of groundbreaking. First launched in 1994, the iconic model celebrates a quarter of a century of horological excellence, accuracy, precision, and design. The dominant blue and silver that runs throughout the design hark to this period’s key aesthetics, but interpreted in a uniquely A. Lange & Söhne way, while a white gold case houses the manufacture’s L121.1 manual movement. A commemorative “25” is engraved on the balance cock, viewable through the clear caseback, while the hinged cuvette is engraved with a depiction of the Lange’s historic headquarters, the names of its founders, and a relief of the words “25 Years Lange 1”. Only 250 of these beautiful pieces will be produced.

GP SIHH 2019 01 - cosmos1

For this year’s edition of Geneva’s biggest watch show, Swiss manufacture Girard-Perregaux explores the ideas of time and space with pieces inspired by a singular theme, namely, “Earth to Sky.”

Here are a few of our favorites from SIHH 2019.

Laureato Absolute Chronograph

GP SIHH 2019 02 laureato chronograph

The manufacture’s iconic sports watch since its inception in the 1970s, the Laureato’s angular, powerful presence is reimagined in three new variations: the Absolute, the WW.TC, and the Chronograph. Melding modern trends and classic design with an avant garde twist, all are powerful statements, but it’s the latter that we fell for. The 44mm, polished black titanium case houses an automatic GP03300-1058 chronograph movement, and its black and blue gradient dial echoes the iconic image of space. Water-resistant to 300 meters, and with an injection-molded strap, it’s a sporty piece perfect for the fearlessly fashion-forward gentleman.

Cat’s Eye Plum Blossom

GP SIHH 2019 03 cats eye plum blossom

Girard-Perregaux’s signature women’s collection, Cat’s Eye, also gets a cosmic makeover for 2019. The Cat’s Eye Plum Blossom adds a dash of whimsy to the line with the addition of a subtle, beautiful detail—the plum blossom—which oscillates to serve as a small seconds hand. The distinct elliptical case is adorned in three new finishes, namely mother-of-pearl, diamond pave, and aventurine. Aligning with the global trend for blue dials, it’s the aventurine that stays true to this year’s universal theme, reminiscent of a night sky shimmering with a million stars.

1966 – “Earth to Sky Edition”

>GP SIHH 2019 04 1966

Initially perceived as the subtlest piece—in our humble opinion—in this release, the 1966 –“Earth to Sky Edition” seems almost reserved in design next to the other models unveiled at SIHH. This contemporary classic, however, adheres strongly to the Girard-Perregaux ideals of watchmaking excellence. It’s all in the details for this limited edition piece: a black DLC treated 40mm steel case houses the manufacture’s time-tested Calibre GP3300 calibre, viewable through the sapphire caseback, while touches like a rubber-patterned alligator strap and almost minimalist smoky blue dial, clearly inspired by the cosmos, round off this beautiful piece.

Bridges Cosmos

GP SIHH 2019 01 cosmos2

We’ve saved the best (in this case, most complicated) for last. Staying true to its expertise in haute horlogerie, Girard-Perregaux unveiled the Bridges Cosmos, an undeniable ode to the wonders of the universe. This three-dimensional stunner houses the brand-new Calibre GP09320-1098, and features a tourbillon, world time complication, and sky chart. The latter displays the most visible constellations laser engraved on a blue-tinted globe, which rotates in the same amount of time as a sidereal day—23 hours, 58 minutes, and 4 seconds. A scale model of the Earth serves as a world time display, and offers impressive details like hollow oceans and raised continents. This unique timepiece also does away with a crown, symbolizing the limitlessness of the universe; all adjustments are made on the back of this masterpiece.

roger dubuis sihh 2019 01

It came as no surprise that the Roger Dubuis display was one of the most photographed presentations at SIHH this year: The manufacture, after all, has managed to seamlessly combine two of the most obsession-worthy things on the planet—cars and watches—and has constantly created buzzworthy pieces backed by both technical excellence and really, really cool campaigns.

Here, we run down three of the manufacture’s best releases at Geneva.

Excalibur One-Off

roger dubuis sihh 2019 02 one off

Inspired by the first ever custom hypercar created by the auto manufacturer’s Squadra Corse motorsports division, the Lamborghini SC18 Alston, this futuristic beauty brings together modern art and groundbreaking technology. The Excalibur One-Off is a ceramic and carbon fibre stunner that, in true Roger Dubuis fashion, is a testament to fine watchmaking, with its openworked dial, purpose-built RD106SQ movement’s double flying tourbillons, jumping hours counter (just like on a Lambo!), and a function selector all but pulled from the SC18 Alston.

Excalibur Huracán Performante

roger dubuis sihh 2019 03 huracan performante

Don’t write off supercars just yet, because the new Excalibur Huracán Performante is an ode to the Lamborghini with which it shares its name. This limited-edition piece, of which only 88 are available, takes every aspect of its inspiration and translates it into a fabulous piece that screams for attention on the wrist. A skeletonized spider case in titanium houses the RD630 calibre—which features an angled balance wheel inspired by the revving of V10 engines—while the strap harks to iconic Pirelli tyre design. Missed out? An unlimited production model—which, of course, features changes like a less ornate dial and strap—is also available.

Excalibur Shooting Star

roger dubuis sihh 2019 04 shooting star

Talk about a study in contrasts: we adore the juxtaposition of details like diamonds, pink gold, mother of pearl, enamel, and colored alligator against the sharp, sleek, Roger Dubuis movement. But this watch isn’t just gorgeous; it also houses a high complication in the form of the RD510SQ calibre’s skeleton flying tourbillon. Two years in development, this diminutive (well, for Roger Dubuis) limited edition 36mm piece, available in pink and blue, is all at once luxurious and ingenious.

#4 Corvette Racing, Corvette C7.R, GTLM; Oliver Gavin (GBR), Tommy Milner (USA), Marcel Fassler (CHE), #78 Jackie Chan DCR JOTA, ORECA LMP2, P; Ho-Pin Tung (CHN), Antonio Felix da Costa (PRT), Alex Brundle (GBR), Ferdinand Habsburg-Lothringen (AUT), #64 Scuderia Corsa, Ferrari 488 GT3, GTD; Bill Sweedler (USA), Sam Bird (GBR), Townsend Bell (USA), Frank Montecalvo (USA)

On January 26, 2019, some of the world’s most skilled drivers will compete for the title of the best of the best in North America’s pre-eminent endurance race, the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

This year marks the race’s 57th anniversary, and Rolex’s 27th year as its official timekeeper, though its connections to Daytona go back to the early 20th century: British motorist and author Sir Malcolm Campbell’s 1935 land speed record, for example, was set on Daytona’s beach with a Rolex on Campbell’s wrist. In 1992, ties between the race and Rolex were formalized when the latter became the Official Timepiece and Title Sponsor of the day-long challenge.

Practice #4 – Drivers take their position for the start of practice

Held during the depths of winter, 13 of the race’s eponymous 24 hours will be held in darkness, with each driver’s abilities in pace control, traffic management, pit strategy, and changeovers being challenged as they navigate the steep banking of the 5.73-kilometer course of the Daytona International Speedway. Each team competes to be the first to complete the previously-set record of over 800 laps.

Five-time race winner and friend of Rolex Scott Pruett—who retired following the 2018 edition—serves as the Grand Marshal for this year’s race, kicking off the grueling race with the iconic words, “Drivers, start your engines.”

The driver that emerges victorious will receive a Rolex Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona to commemorate their exceptional sporting achievement. “Rolex and Daytona are inextricably linked. To be presented a watch engraved with the word ‘Winner’ after 24 hours of intense racing is a moment that lives with you forever,” shares Pruett. “Your Rolex is a constant reminder of the perseverance and hard work that goes into succeeding at the highest level. Every driver who competes at Daytona is racing for the ultimate reward – a Rolex watch.”

watch faux pas anchor

We understand that many people might question why wearing watches would have rules of conduct—which, consequently, lead to committing a faux pas—but to us, it isn’t as much about being pretentious as as it is about being proper. “A man’s manners are a mirror in which he shows his portrait,” the 18th century German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe once said. After all, how you carry yourself in every aspect of your life says a lot about your character, so paying attention to the little things makes a great deal of difference.

We also suppose it must be said that this comes with a disclaimer: This article should be read with a grain of salt, because to be perfectly frank, we aren’t really talking about, say, global economics or domestic policy at the moment.

Here are a few things we’re trying to avoid doing.

Wearing the wrong type of watch

We understand having a personal preference, but to be truly stylish, one needs to know which situations and outfits work with which watch. Much like how you wouldn’t wear a tux to the beach or board shorts to a formal wedding, the formality of your watch needs to tie into the event you’re attending. Field, racing, dive, and pilot’s watches, for example, should be worn with smart casual clothing, while dress watches should not be worn with casual wear.

Wearing a watch that’s too big or too small

Think of the discomfort of a watch that’s too tight or too loose. The same goes for a watch that’s way too oversized or too small for your wrist. Lugs digging in where they shouldn’t, bracelets dangling or leaving marks… just like ill-fitting clothes, an ill-fitting watch can be uncomfortable enough to ruin your day, and your look.

Constantly checking your watch

Are you timing a race? If not, frequently looking at your watch while having a conversation with someone or while at a meeting comes off as terribly rude. It sends the message that your time could be better spent elsewhere. And heaven forbid you do this while on a romantic dinner: it’s the fastest way to guarantee you won’t be getting another date with the person anytime soon.

Asking inappropriate watch-related questions

By this we mean asking how much someone paid for a watch, where they got the watch, if they’re selling it, and the like when the topic at hand isn’t that watch. Showing your appreciation for another person’s taste by complimenting their timepiece is great, but much in the same way you wouldn’t discuss politics, or religion with strangers or acquaintances in most settings, delving into someone’s purchases reeks of impropriety.

Turning EVERY conversation into a discussion about watches

We get it, you know your chronographs and tachymeters from your tourbillons and minute repeaters, and that’s great. Still, the whole world doesn’t need to hear you proclaim your horological expertise every single time you open your mouth, especially when the ongoing conversation isn’t even tangential to anything related to watches. Most people—even watch newbs—can tell when you’re just showing off. Trust.

Wearing a fake watch

We’re unsure if we need to qualify this statement with the disclaimer “and trying to pass it off as real”. Just don’t be that guy.

Nothing can really prepare you for the day you’re asked to put together a watch movement. Nothing.

Not a week spent mulling the idea over in your head. Not the jealous proclamations from all your friends (ranging from “You’re so lucky!” to “Can I come?”). Not even the sense of security provided by the fact that this aforementioned watchmaking workshop would be hosted by one of the most respected watch manufactures in the world, A. Lange & Söhne.

To be frank, knowing just how much skill and precision go into making their legendary watches might have made me even a little more nervous than I should have been. But, alas, one must hurl oneself into the abyss for the sake of journalism, and so I jumped, proverbial guns blazing.

The Calm

It started off easily enough. After the requisite socializing over cocktails (coffee, thankfully, was not served, saving us all the worry of caffeine-induced jitters), Robert Hoffman, A. Lange & Söhne’s head of the Zeitwerk team, walked us through the painstaking process that each of the manufacture’s watch movements—and watchmakers—undergo.

A. Lange & Söhne’s Head of Zeitwerk, Robert Hoffman

Each A. Lange & Söhne movement that makes its way into one of the 4,000 to 5,000 watches produced annually goes through two rounds of assembly to achieve something as close to perfection as possible. The first to make sure that, well, it works, and the second for the laborious process of hand finishing each of the hundreds of miniscule elements that make up the movement.

From the plates and gears to the tiny blue screws—which, contrary to popular belief are not painted but rather, heated to a temperature that turns the metal a distinct cobalt blue—no piece is left to bear the slightest imperfection. As if that weren’t complicated enough, every movement utilizes up to 10 different finishing techniques, from hand-engraving to two types of graining and many more in between.

Every A. Lange & Söhne movement is assembled twice and contain hundreds of parts
 

Seeking Perfection

It would be easy to scoff at the impracticality of this amount of effort put into something that would be hidden during daily wear, but according to Hoffman, many of the brand’s clientele are so particular about watch movements that they even have their own versions of the microscope used by professional horologists, and use them to study the quality of the pieces they’ve acquired. The microscope in question is a sight to behold, and every blemish that mars the surface of whatever is placed under it is highlighted and put on display.

 

Many of A. Lange & Söhne’s watchmakers are in their 20s and 30s
 

To achieve this level of skill, watchmakers are typically schooled for three years, and released into the workshops to first perfect their talents on bigger movements (think clocks, pocket watches, y’know), before moving on to the jobs that require slightly more finesse. It must also be said, albeit anecdotally, that female participants of A. Lange & Söhne’s regular series of workshops typically have a much easier time than their male counterparts. Just saying.

The phrase “slightly more finesse”, I came to realize, meant superhuman steadiness, dexterity and really, really good eyesight, none of which I have. Nonetheless, off we went.

Up to Bat

Because none of the participants could chalk up to having assembled a movement before, despite being avid watch wearers, we were all given simpler (read: bigger) movements to work with. Hoffman and the A. Lange & Söhne team also considerately provided watch parts and tools clearly separated according to the order they were supposed to be fitted into the main plate. Apparently, our motley crew needed all the help we could get.

With these precautions in place, I thought, how could anything go wrong?

 

A steady hand is a priceless trait in a watchmaker

Surprise, surprise. Many, many things, I soon realized, could go wrong. From potentially losing one of the tiny parts and jeopardizing the entire venture—apologies to my seatmate who ended up dropping his movement’s balance wheel when I unwisely suggested “flipping it over to see if all the parts stay in place”—to misaligning plates and even possibly snapping a screw with overzealous twisting, a certain level of grace and polish are absolutely necessary in horology.

Once you get the hang of things, however, all the anxiety melts away and what takes its place is a feeling of calm collectedness, of almost Zen-like focus. It was easy to pretend that I was one of the manufacture’s talented watchmakers as I slipped my loupe on and off, squinting to see how each piece fit together on the tiny plate before me. I can say now that nothing makes a person feel as capable as when they’re literally single-handedly installing a screw with newfound dexterity. And when a piece is finished and the tiny gears all work in perfect harmony? The feeling of satisfaction is absolutely magical.

Art & Craft

The entire session lasted the better part of an hour. We were told a skilled watchmaker could assemble and dismantle a simple movement in about five minutes. But no matter; each participant was aglow with pleasure from having accomplished what they set out to do. In my case, it was to break nothing. Mission accomplished.

 

Some of A. Lange & Söhne’s 2018 Novelties

Watchmaking, from designing to assembly, is a noble craft, and practiced in its highest form, as A. Lange & Söhne has done for more than 170 years, it is elevated to art. To be a watchmaker of this caliber is to be part of an elite group that creates beautiful machines that measure and reflect our progression and existence through time itself.

In this sense, a watch is not as much a timekeeping device as it is a symbol of our drive to seek perfection and make sense of our existence. As much a work of wearable art as it is a machine, a watch, made with passion, is a clear testament to the creativity and expertise of each pair of hands that built it from start to finish, turning metal and stone into feats of engineering. A watch, then, is a symbol of how far we have come as a people—and what could be more amazing than that?

Illustrations by Mawee Borromeo

It comes as no surprise to anyone that Asia plays no small part in the Swiss watch market’s boom, with a notoriously discerning market that’s made centuries-old brands sit up and take notice of what Asians want—nay, demand—in their timepieces.

So, we wondered, what would the book’s (well, movie’s) unforgettable characters, to whom money is literally no object, hypothetically wear, watch-wise? Various other outlets have already discussed what would possibly be in their wardrobes. We, however, felt the need to theorize what these notorious jet-setters, fashionistas, and even royals would wear on the occasion they’d need to glance on their wrists and figure out which time zone they’re in, if their stocks need to be checked (care of their broker, of course), or whether it’s simply time for tea.

  • 01 RACHEL
  • 01b Rachel
  • 02 NICHOLAS YOUNG
  • 02b Nick
  • 03 ELEANOR YOUNG
  • 03b Eleanor
  • 04 ASTRID LEONG
  • 04b Astrid
  • 05 MICHAEL TEO
  • 05b Michael
  • 06 CHARLIE WU
  • 06b Charlie
  • 07 GOH PEIK LIN
  • 07b Goh
  • 08 COLIN KHOO
  • 08b Colin
  • 09 ARAMINTA LEE
  • 09b Araminta
  • 010 EDDIE CHENG
  • 010b Eddie
  • 011 OLIVER TSIEN
  • 011b Oliver
  • 012 PRINCESS INTAN
  • 012b Princess I
  • RACHEL CHU:
    The protagonist of the series, Rachel is an ABC (short for “American-born Chinese”) economics professor at New York University. The only child of a single mom, her middle-class upbringing has turned her into a pragmatic, practical, and driven young woman who isn’t afraid to speak her mind when she feels the situation calls for it.

  • WHAT SHE’D WEAR: The Omega De Ville Tresor: It’s stylish and shiny, but in an elegant, low-key way that marries looks with functionality—perfect for a tasteful young lady who’s just getting into luxury timepieces.

  • NICHOLAS YOUNG:
    Nick Young is practically perfect in every way: good-looking, of course, and brilliant—like girlfriend Rachel, he’s a professor at NYU—but although a scion and heir to one of Singapore’s (if not Asia’s) richest, oldest, and most esteemed families, he’s also incredibly kind and down-to-earth. Oh, and he speaks with a charming accent.

  • WHAT HE’D WEAR: The Patek Philippe 5320G: Classically, fundamentally Patek, it’s impressive without being showy, harks to a more genteel age, and looks as good with a suit and brogues as it does with a pair of chinos, a linen shirt, and boat shoes.

  • ELEANOR YOUNG:
    Imagine the quintessential Tiger Mom; that’s Eleanor Young. Nick’s overbearing mother, Eleanor is every inch the respectable society matron, a traditionally stylish and elegant figure who values family pride, prestige and, of course, pedigrees. Sure, she’s scary, but only because she cares, you know?

  • WHAT SHE’D WEAR:The Breguet Reine de Naples: What could be more fitting for one of Singapore’s queens of society than this refined piece, inspired by a watch created for a literal queen, Caroline of Naples?

  • ASTRID LEONG:
    Nick’s elder cousin, a double heiress, and always the most stylish woman in any room she enters, Astrid is the very definition of an It Girl. Uniquely beautiful, with exacting, unparalleled taste, she’s a study in contrasts in that she loves the traditional, highly coveted trappings of extreme wealth while remaining incredibly private.

  • WHAT SHE’D WEAR: The Chopard Fabulous Lady’s Diamond Tourbillon: Limited edition and studded with beautiful baguette diamonds, this watch isn’t just beautiful to look at, but features a technically impressive movement—equally a study in contrasts.

  • MICHAEL TEO:
    Astrid’s hunky husband, Michael is a combination of brains (he built his own IT startup) and brawn (a former military man, he first captured his wife’s attention modeling for a charity gala). His working class background is a major plot point in the book, and one of the reasons he’s developed, erm, issues being around Astrid’s family.

  • WHAT HE’D WEAR:The Panerai Luminor Submersible: No watch comes to mind as immediately as the Panerai Submersible if you’re thinking of a model for the sort of man who can go straight from a literal battlefield to a proverbial one like a meeting room. It’s sporty, chic, but also a statement.

  • CHARLIE WU:
    The son of Chinese billionaires, Charlie isn’t just a tech tycoon in his own right—he’s also Astrid’s former fiancé, who introduced her as a teenager to the finer things in life, like shopping for haute couture in Paris, blowing thousands on champagne brunches, or impulse-buying works of art.

  • WHAT HE’D WEAR:The Roger Dubuis Excalibur Aventador S: Performance and precision are embodied by this sporty, flashy, ultra-modern and uber-cool piece. It’s also inspired by another feat of engineering, the sports car, so how could it not be on every former-nerd-turned-hot-billionaire’s wishlist?

  • GOH PEIK LIN:
    Her family may only be millionaires, but Goh Peik Lin, Rachel’s college best friend, can probably outshop anyone on this list save for Astrid. She’s unabashedly flashy and unashamed to spend a good chunk of her wealthy dad’s fortune on designer everything, but she has a golden heart and still manages to place equal footing in the both real world and her privileged lifestyle.

  • WHAT SHE’D WEAR: The Hublot Big Bang Unico Sapphire Rainbow: A literal rainbow of baguette cut gems are the highlight of this statement piece, while a skeleton dial shows off its chronograph movement—it’s the perfect piece for this fantastically fun character.

  • COLIN KHOO:
    Colin isn’t just Nick’s best friend and ride-or-die: he’s also a scion of one of Asia’s richest families, in line to inherit his father and grandfather’s hotel and real estate billions. He’s the fun-loving, life-of-the-party type…all grown up, and about to be wed in the most awaited ceremony of the year.

  • WHAT HE’D WEAR:The A. Lange & Sohne Triple Split: Because Colin isn’t your typical rich bachelor, and this isn’t your typical watch. The Triple Split is elegant, yes, but a technical achievement as complicated (and dare we say, sought after) as he is.

  • ARAMINTA LEE:
    A runway model, a former McQueen muse, a hotel heiress, and the fiancée of one of Asia’s richest men: Araminta was destined to be society’s queen bee. Despite her highly-publicized life, she’s a surprisingly kind character who’s as comfortable in a hawker center as she is at Paris Fashion Week.

  • WHAT SHE’D WEAR:The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak: With its iconic shape and devotion to both aesthetics and performance, the Royal Oak is what we imagine this cover girl would wear when she’s hiding from the paparazzi on her days off.

  • EDDIE CHENG:
    Nick’s and Astrid’s elder cousin, Eddie is the sort of guy whose penchant for luxury screams “money”, whether it’s through expensive suits from the most esteemed designers, a posh flat, private jets, million-dollar sports cars, and, yes, luxury timepieces.

  • WHAT HE’D WEAR: The Rolex Skydweller: Synonymous with wealth and success, Rolex would be his watch of choice for various reasons: this model goes with his suits, is appropriate for a high-powered finance mogul, and is an icon recognizable from a mile away.

  • OLIVER T’SIEN:
    Dapper, stylish, and with an old-world sensibility and sense of style, Nick’s cousin Oliver works channels his finesse, passion for history, and exacting tastes into his work as an Ancient Asian Arts expert for British auction house Christie’s.

  • WHAT HE’D WEAR:The Jaeger-LeCoultre Duometre: A technical masterwork, yes, but an aesthetic one too, this piece was designed as the historic manufacture’s attempt to push the boundaries of watchmaking, something this character would definitely appreciate.

  • PRINCESS INTAN:
    Sure, she may not have been in the book, but Kris Aquino’s portrayal of Princess Intan was definitely one of the highlights of the film for Filipinos everywhere.

  • WHAT SHE’D WEAR:The Patek Philippe Twenty 4: Elegant, and able to slip from casual events to more formal ones—pavé notwithstanding—the Twenty 4 is an ideal choice for a character played by a presidential daughter and our very own Queen of All Media.

During the Philippine leg of the Swiss manufacture’s 150th global birthday celebration, IWC Schaffhausen’s very own Stanislas Rambaud, Managing Director for Southeast Asia, sat down with Lucerne Luxe Magazine to talk about the brand’s advocacies, its consumers, and how it manages to stay relevant in a quickly digitizing world.

Lucerne Luxe Magazine (LLM): How do you think IWC, with its 150 years of history, manages to present its heritage while still reaching a younger, more digitally-inclined market?

Stanislas Rambaud (SR): I think it starts from the very beginning—it starts in our DNA. Just to give you a bit of a background, our founder, Florentine Ariosto Jones, was an engineer and watchmaker from Boston. His idea was to travel to Switzerland to combine his engineering skills with the savoir faire of Switzerland in watchmaking. I would say innovation is part of the IWC DNA, and has been from the very beginning. It is how we grew over the years: by being loyal to the heritage of our founder, to our products, and to this innovation. Our watches remain mechanical, but the way we communicate is embracing digital. We were the first to have a strong community on social media, we have been very advanced in e-commerce, and in all our partnerships, such as the 360-activation campaign with Bradley Cooper and many digital touchpoints. Digital is a great way to speak to our customers and to reach new, younger audiences.

 

IWC’s recent campaign with Academy Award-nominated actor and watch enthusiast Bradley Cooper broke new ground with the use of interactive technology.

 

LLM: What are the insights that you’ve gleaned from your audience and how are you going to integrate them into how the brand markets itself?

SR: That’s the beauty of digital and all this transformation: we get a lot more information compared to 10 years ago. Our role is to better understand our customers through social media, through digital. With all this information we understand what our customers like in our products, if our partnerships are in line with our customers’ values and expectations. You can communicate almost instantly with your customers and you can get almost instant feedback. That way, you can also adapt and react quickly. Everyone talks about multi-channels or omni channels, but today, there’s really no channels: you have to be everywhere. Brands will be able to sell products on their websites, their partners’ websites, Instagram, Facebook, through apps…Now, you have to make sure that you can reach your customer wherever they’re shopping. This brings new challenges. It is the challenge of the industry, ensuring a consistent and qualitative customer experience across all these channels.

LLM: IWC’s sustainability efforts are something to be very proud of. Is giving back something that matters more to and resonates with your audience now, compared to how it did in the past?

SR: It is all about giving back. Today, we are a successful brand and we believe it is important to give back. Part of our values—which include a passion for perfection and precision—is our passion for protecting the environment. Over the last few years we have forged partnerships with different organizations and people who support the same causes, and it’s not something that’s going to change in the next few years. We are strengthening our existing partnership with the Costeau Society, and the Laurel Foundation, and other foundations all over the world. We are giving back to society, and I believe we are the first watch brand to be carbon neutral—it’s a commitment and statement we made years ago. We are all responsible for the future of this planet and the future of our children. Everybody has to act—whether they’re an individual or a company—and IWC is a leader in bringing the industry in that direction.

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