Normally I hate working on Sundays, I would much rather potter around the house in my PJs, cup of coffee in hand, a little Scooby Doo with my six year-old, maybe bake some cup cakes if I am feeling particularly energetic (I know I could rock the FT How To Spend It’s Perfect Weekend!). But today is an exception—it is the start of the Geneva watch fairs, and I am awake even before my alarm goes off!
The first appointment of the day is at Watchland with Backes & Strauss. I arrive in the parking lot 20 minutes early only to find Sharon, Revolution Switzerland’s Assistant Editor, already there and even more impatient than me for the fun to start. We count the minutes until 10:29 and then go inside where we are greeted by Backes & Strauss’ charming CEO, Vartkess Knadjian, and the lovely Laetitia Hirschy, Head of Communications.
Within the space of 30 minutes, we have seen more diamonds than most people see in a lifetime. The brand presented four new spectacular timepieces—Piccadilly Princess Royal Blue, Royal Ashoka Diamonds, Duchess, and the brand’s Jester Collection in a new 36mm size—each one as gorgeous and sparkling as the other.
The next appointment is in Geneva’s city center and there isn’t a car on the road, so I sail through in record time. All the billboards along the lake road are displaying new watches that I have yet to see. For the first time in my life I find myself wishing for a traffic jam and red lights so I can take a better look. I spot an ultra thin Piaget Chronograph, a new Audemars Piguet, a skeletonized Richard Mille, and then I clip the curb, jolting me back to reality. I decide that it might be more prudent to wait for the SIHH to open tomorrow.
We pop by to see Lisa Feldman at Romain Jerome’s offices and discover some really fun new timepieces. A new Steam Punk collection (that’s the one with steel from the Titanic in it) that keeps all the design codes of the original, and yet is now available in a slimmer and smaller case. We get to play with the brand’s Batman watch, a watch commemorating the falling of the Berlin Wall, the latest Level Two PacMan watch, and a new Space Invaders timepiece that will only be available in the brand’s e-shop.
The next stop is the Hotel des Bergues and De Bethune where we have the pleasure of sitting down with the brand’s co-founder and head of the technical department, Denis Flageollet, who explains the fine workings of the brand’s DB28 Maxi Chrono in such detail that I regret not filming him. We also see two exciting new developments—a DB25T and a DB28GS—that are everything De Bethune fans could possibly dream of.
Across the hall we say hi to Anouk Danthe at Revelation where we discover a new ladies’ watch in the works for BaselWorld that we will definitely be going back to see.
The day ends with the traditional Christophe Claret press conference and the unveiling of the much-awaited Aventicum timepiece. Claret has been supporting Switzerland’s Roman museum in Avenches for a few years now. This new collection celebrates the fascinating moment in Swiss history when Avenches was the country’s capital city over 2,000 years ago. The watch features a mirascope that magnifies a golden bust of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius in the center—a must to see if you are in Geneva this week.
See you tomorrow for the official opening of the SIHH.
Weather: A chilly 2°C
Watches seen: 40