The year 2016 was a leap year. But I’m sure I didn’t have to tell you that. Your perpetual calendar timepiece — or, that friend with the perpetual calendar — probably made it a mission to point out the 29th of February 2016 to you. But what is a leap year? And why is it that we have to consider this extra day in February on a four-year cyclic basis?
You see, the earth, when it spins on its axis, takes what we understand to be a year, to make a complete revolution around the sun. Now, you and I understand a year to be 365 days on regular years and 366 days during a leap year. This method of measuring a year — which is today most universally practiced — is what is called the Gregorian calendar.
The exact time, however — when you maintain a 24-hour day — that the earth does take to orbit the sun once is 365.25636 days, which is just roughly 365 and a quarter days. But look, it’s not going to work for anyone if we had to sing Auld Lang Syne at 6am in the morning, at which point the next time we’d clink our champagne glasses, a year on, would be at 12pm.
You get where I’m going with this. Who wants that kind of math messing up New Year parties? So, what we’ve always done — as put into practice by Julius Caesar — is to consider a year to be 365 days long with a 366-day year every four years to make up for the quarter day that we’d otherwise be losing out on. So that’s why we had an extra day in February, earlier in 2016.
But I like to think that 2016 was a leap year also because of the new understandings of reality and humanity that the world took on itself. Understandings that have given new definitions to what a family is, or the qualities that are necessary in order to become the president of the most powerful nation in the world.
When I apply those two words — leap year — in the context of the Schaffhausen-based manufacture of fine timepieces, however, what is conveyed is that 2016, for IWC, has been a year full of leaping into newer bolder territories that few other brands have dared to capitalize on in the Swiss watch industry.
First, IWC started the year off with an incredible line-up of Pilot’s watches that catered to a customer in almost every possible segment relevant to IWC. Then, there was the way in which the manufacture captured the digital and social media space. That’s not to say that IWC didn’t have a presence in the sphere previously — IWC, in fact, probably has one of the strongest presence scores in this regard — but now they’ve taken things up a notch by progressively empowering their local markets to push out their own social media identities. Why? The idea is very simple, and it’s a lesson that we at Revolution are attempting to emulate. The intention is to be globally impactful, while being locally empowered. And this is incredibly practical thinking, because it would be very difficult to grow worldwide influence without first being relevant to the needs of those who are right there in front of you.
Next, there is the announcement that IWC made earlier in November that, as of the end of the year, IWC will be retailing, or rather e-retailing, a curated selection of their timepieces through NET-A-PORTER first, and then soon after on MR PORTER. This is phenomenal news, not because brick and mortar retailing is dead, that still has its place, but the truth is that an online sales avenue must exist in order to capture the next generation of customers who are more gratified shopping from their couch than they are when out and about on Orchard Road.
Says Wei Koh, Revolution’s founder and editorial director, “Georges Kern has always been a pioneer and visionary in terms of connecting luxury watches with the world of today and tomorrow.” Of course, there is no need to just take our words of admiration at face value; the works of Mr. Kern’s hands in the past year are self-evident.
Which brings us then to ask, what’s in store for IWC in 2017? How can, and how will, Mr. Kern make the next leap forward?