Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Breitling's Gotta' Bounce

In a press release so clumsily worded it left me expecting a request for my social security number and bank routing details, the folks at the BaselWorld party planning committee announced that Breitling was "Audi 5000" for BaselWorld 2020. 

Having read through the press release several times, and realizing that it was not written and sent by a former "most excellent prime leading-minister's daughter's son-in-law" promising to share a secret government stash of cash, I came to understand that despite their best efforts, the management team responsible for BaselWorld 2020 were not able to convince Breitling to stay on for the fair next year. 

And in all honesty?  I am of two opinions here.  The brain trust that is the Breitling PR/Communications group is not known for "warm fuzzies" in terms of their ability, or let's be honest, willingness, to engage with the press at large.  When I can get an appointment with pretty much any other brand, and when my emails and even phone calls to every possible branch of Breitling go unanswered, I get the sneaking suspicion that the folks at Breitling are really not bothered as to whether I cover them or not.  So on a personal level?  I really could not care any less than I already do whether or not Breitling and their "squads" will be within a country mile of Hall 1.

But hey, that's just little me.  But for the fair organizers?  This is a big deal.  Ironically, Breitling was given pride of place in Hall 1 and have, essentially, turned up their nose.  Now truth be told, their arguments are all valid - the show is going to be happening too late to really accommodate what they (and every other brand) are hoping to accomplish by participating in the world's biggest watch fair.  That being actual retail partners coming in and placing actual orders.  Most of the real sales work will have happened already.  It does not help that the show is in lock-step with the SIHH which is also happening much too late in the year.  Add to that those pesky  holidays that will very likely impact and curtail the number of participants from around the world.  

You can't put all of the blame solely on BaselWorld.  The SIHH botched this up just as much.  But despite all of the warnings and suggestions being offered, both fairs seem determined to ignore the concerns of the brands, the retail partners and the press at large.  But in all honesty, if they can?  They should change the dates of both fairs.  This would, of course, mean admitting a mistake by both the BaselWorld organizers and the SIHH, but wouldn't a slightly bruised ego be a small cost to pay for creating a better set of fairs?

We shall see, but for now all we can do is watch as Breitling's Squads fly off into the sunset.


Sunday, April 14, 2019

What was Cool at BaselWorld - Patek Philippe

One of the rare, halfway decent pictures you will find posted by yours truly ; )

This is the 5168G - Aquanaut.  If there was a theme of sorts this BaselWorld, it was the use of green.  And some were better than others, but suffice it to say, the Aquanaut was my personal favorite. 
So it is important to make a few things abundantly clear - I am not a denizen of what the marketers at Patek would consider their demographic.  I have never owned one, and I do not have a towheaded son who will "never actually own my Patek Philippe" either.  I tend to try and maintain my sense of reality and remember what I learned while working behind the counter at Tourneau -
just because I sell expensive watches to the great and good, does not make me one of them.

Having said that, I can certainly appreciate the risk that went into offering a version like this one.  Patek, like Rolex attracts a certain cult of "sameness",  with the excitement being that rare little quirk.  I go to a fair number of events with collectors and enthusiasts, and I have noticed that the fellas (let's be honest, they all tend to be a bit of a sausage fest) don't generally speak in terms of Submariner or Nautilus, they tend to go right for reference numbers.  And I guess that's fair enough.  I have been reading Magnus Walker's book -
Dirt Don't Slow You Down
editor's note - I HIGHLY RECOMMEND IT!  It is an excellent read and pretty damn inspirational.  I also encourage you to check out Mr. Walker's TED Talk which I shared with my class of English for Banking students.  You can view it here:

Regular Tempus Fugit readers will have no difficulty understanding that I am not likely to be what is known as a "Porsche Person"(not that there's anything wrong with being one), I am pretty risk adverse.  But in reading about Mr. Walker's transformation into perhaps the best-known car ambassador of all times, I was struck by the shared obsession for minutiae among car collectors and watch collectors - it's often all about the reference numbers.  And yes, I realize that we've drifted off topic ; )  But before we return to our regularly scheduled programming - the relationship between Porsche and Mr. Walker reminds me of the relationship between Omega and Robert-Jan BroerWonderfully organic.

So back to the watch, here are the pertinents, straight from Patek Philippe -


Self-winding mechanical movement. Caliber 324 S C. Date in an aperture. Sweep seconds hand.

Khaki green embossed, gold applied numerals with luminescent coating.

White gold. Screw-down crown. Sapphire-crystal case back. Water resistant to 120 m. Diameter (10 - 4 o’clock): 42.2 mm. Height: 8.25 mm.


Composite material, khaki green. Aquanaut fold-over clasp.

Friday, April 12, 2019

What was Cool at BaselWeek - Holthinrichs

I have written previously about Michiel Holthinrichs and his growing brand.  It is a charming story that lends itself well to the idea of a truly "made by hand" watch.  Now it is important to note that while I just said "made by hand", the watches in many ways marry the best of two schools of thought - hand crafted / artisan (yes, I will from time to time use the "A" word), and modern technology through their use of 3D printing.

Apologies for the less-than perfect photo, but by now you've learned that unlike Playboy, you actually do read Tempus Fugit for the articles ; )

But I will "borrow" an image from the Holthinrichs Watches Facebook page to show the same layout, and the dynamic duo behind the brand -

Shamelessly borrowed from the world-wide infoweb
With a new partner/colleague involved in the day to day of Holthinrichs, my suspicion is that they are on the verge of greatness, as the team is well-balanced and focused with equal parts old-timey craftsmanship and pragmatic business sense, my suggestion for the team at Holthinrichs Watches?  Get ready for greatness!

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

What I Like - Hager Aquamariner Black

Sometimes you get a wee-bit tired of the press releases, and barking and clapping your flippers like a trained seal hoping to get a smelly, slimy fish tossed into your gaping maw.   Sometimes you just want to write about something that you actually like, that actually speaks to you.  
Courtesy of Hager
I would love to tell you that this attraction is rational, based on what the chuckle-heads over at some of the other outlets term the "value proposition".  And by the way, how douchey is that?  It is the ultimate back-handed compliment -

"Hey, your watch doesn't cost much money, and it looks marginally better than that other shitty wrist-bound turd for the same price!  And if I had a shitty job and couldn't do better, then by golly I'd buy it!" 

I guess you get to be the "value proposition" for a smaller retainer than to be a full-blown "dope-assed-watch" with some outlets ; ) 

But I digress...

Back to irrationality - I love the Hager Aquamariner Black for the very reason that it does not tick my usual boxes.  It is a completely and utterly visceral reaction (positive) for me.  I can't explain it with the "Well, for the amount of money spent, divided by the name recognition, multiplied by the jackass factor, this watch scores a..."
So let's dispense with the hyperbole.  I just like it.

Some Henki-lore that might help put this into perspective -
I am not, and have never thought myself to be, a bad-ass.  I am simply a middle aged man that never realized his full potential.  I have no fantasies about punching out a Nazi on the beaches of Normandy.  I do not fantasize about jumping out of airplanes or climbing mountains.  I LIKE room service and clean sheets, I like driving the speed limit, I closely follow the machinations of the local school board (even though I have no children enrolled there).  I entertain no misplaced notions that a watch will transform me into anything other than I am - a middle aged man who never reached his full potential.  

But all that being said?  The Hager Aquamariner Black?  It speaks to me.

Here are the pertinents, straight from the Hager site, and for the record, the retail for this time machine is (I believe) $650 US:

DLC case with a satin finished DLC steel bracelet equipped with a slidelock extension. Uni-directional rotating 60-minuted stainless steel engraved bezel with a black insert. Black dial with luminous silver-tone hands and luminescent dot hour markers. Minute markers around the outer rim.  Automatic hacking movement (Miyota 9015) with a 42 hour power reserve. Date Display at 3 o'clock. Scratch resistant sapphire crystal. Screw down crown with tube.  Solid case back.  Water resistant at 300 meters / 1000 feet. Functions: hour, minute, second.  Case diameter: 41 mm.  Case thickness: 12.75 mm. Lug to Lug: 50mm.  Band width: 22 mm.

What was Cool at BaselWorld - Bereve

This is the Numbers from Bereve.  It was one of the most talked about watches at the fair and drew a great of traffic to the star-crossed incubator pavilion.  

The Numbers is apparently available in either a silver or gold dial, but to be very honest with you, gentle reader, I couldn't really spot the difference, they are both stunners.

Courtesy of Bereve
The case measures 42 mm in diameter and is of stainless steel with a display back.  The movement is from Vaucher, based on the 3002.

Here are the pertinents, in their entirety courtesy of Bereve -

DIAL: Enamel Grand Feu – Champlev√©, twenty colors with Ugo Nespolo’s opera “Numbers”.

CASE: Stainless steel 316 LM, height 14.41 mm, sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating.

DIAMETER: 42 (without crown).

WATER RESISTANCE: 5 ATM (50 meters).

MOVEMENT: Bereve BV02, Vaucher Manufacture 3002 based, self-winding mechanical movement, Adjusted in five positions, double barrel rapid rotation in series, two hands, Fitting of 11 ½”, Thickness of 3.7 mm, 189 components, Flat balance-spring, Tungsten oscillating weight, Ceramic ball-bearing, Incabloc Anti-shock.

JEWELLING: 28 jewels.


FREQUENCY: 4 Hz (28’800 A/h).

HAND: Feuille.

INDICATION: Hours and minute.

STRAPS: Handmade blue Louisiana alligator leather.

BUCKLE: Stainless steel 316 LM, custom buckle deployante 

three parts with buttons.