Let’s get the disclosure out of the way in which: sure, this text will comprise the phrases “pandemic” and “Tiffany,” however I’ll do my finest to maintain them from showing in the identical sentence once more.
What a 12 months! I feel that many people had been hoping and even anticipating a return to normalcy on the earth of human interplay in 2021, and for one shining month in November with each the Geneva public sale week and Dubai Watch Week it appeared we’d simply have crested the wave. However as I sit right here writing throughout the remaining week of the 12 months if something we’re in retreat as soon as once more. I’m not significantly given to fearless predictions, however I hope that in 2022 the world will discover its technique to one thing resembling “the earlier than instances,” no less than in terms of hanging out with watch friends.
Wanting again at 2021: including to the gathering
I’m the “Resident Collector” right here at Quill & Pad, so please forgive me if I dive proper in with the brand new items that joined my assortment throughout the previous 12 months.
Earlier than I took inventory, my sense was that this was a little bit of a misplaced 12 months for modifications to my assortment; however the info counsel in any other case. I’ll embody the Rolex Oyster Perpetual 41 proven above as a 2021 piece because it arrived just some days previous to the brand new 12 months. However after that it was Might earlier than two fairly completely different items joined it: the 1815 Rattrapante Honeygold by A. Lange & Söhne and the 2021 version MB&F LM101 in white gold with purple dial.
After I in contrast the 1815 Rattrapante to the opposite split-second chronograph in my assortment, Reference 5370P by Patek Philippe, I predicted that the 1815 would discover its means onto my wrist typically, and that has been the case. It’s a wearable masterpiece and although it’s in gold the black dial and particular tone of the Honeygold alloy add a level of stealth that one won’t anticipate.
“Stealth” shouldn’t be a phrase that I’d affiliate with the Machines from MB&F, and so it’s with my LM101. I had my decide between this piece and the blue-dialed metal model and simply discovered the purple too charming to go up. I’ll use the cliché time period and say that regardless of the peak of its dome, this can be a watch that simply slides underneath the cuff – factor as its dramatic look may in any other case draw undesirable consideration.
At the least in 2021, being a longtime buyer of a model had its privileges. My entry to the limited-edition A. Lange & Söhne 1815 Rattrapante was one instance. Later within the 12 months, current relationships paid off two extra instances with the alternatives to buy the M.A.D.1 from Max Büsser and the Chronograph 2 from Kurono by Hajime Asaoka.
I virtually missed out on the possibility to purchase a M.A.D.1 as I purchased my LM 101 late in Might, simply because the eligibility window for the M.A.D.1 was closing, however managed to sneak in underneath the wire and obtained my completed watch in November. I’ll offer a “Why I Purchased It” rationalization in early 2022, and I’ll confess that as I’ve solely begun taking pictures of the watch and dread having to wash it once more for capturing, I haven’t as a lot as put it on my wrist. All in due time!
One other watch that hasn’t but seen any wrist time is the Chronograph 2 by Kurono. I’ll be doing a full “Why I Purchased It” on it as properly, however I’ve to admit that I’m a little bit of two minds on the watch to date. Aesthetically it’s hanging, however there aren’t any fewer than 4 scales (pulsometer, tachymeter, telemeter, and seconds) for the chronograph second hand alone, and with out sporting it for some time I’m not but totally satisfied in regards to the diameter-to-thickness ratio. Extra to return on this one, so please keep tuned.
My spouse wears it, however I purchased it: the pleasant Klub Medio GMT by Alain Silberstein, her third Silberstein watch. I’m a bit embarrassed by the backstory on this one: a buddy tipped me off that it was at public sale at a really cheap value, and I purchased it earlier than I decided that he had in truth been taken with it for himself! Fortunately, he has forgiven me and appears fairly pleased to see it on my bride’s wrist.
November introduced a watch I’d been awaiting for 3 years: the RRCC Chronomètre Contemporain by Rexhep Rexhepi and Akrivia. Keep tuned for a 2022 comparability article between this new masterpiece and the OG, Philippe Dufour’s Simplicity. Maybe I’ll additionally put my digital camera to make use of for a gaggle “Behind the Lens” characteristic on my three gold/black items: the RRCC in pink gold, the A. Lange & Söhne 1815 Rattrapante in Honeygold, and the yellow gold Patek Philippe Reference 2526 “Gobbi Milano.” For now, I’ll simply say that the RRCC is getting substantial wrist time and doesn’t disappoint.
Lastly, the watch of this 12 months or of any 12 months! Some time in the past, a buddy despatched me a hyperlink to an app that converts a selfie right into a cartoon rendering. I utilized it to a photograph of myself and subsequently posted it on-line to normal derision, together with an announcement from Quill & Pad colleague Ian Skellern that it will be a nightmare to see that picture on the face of a watch.
You possibly can see the place that is going: as shortly as you possibly can seek for “your face on a watch,” I had ordered up two examples of the piece you see under: one for Ian and one to maintain. Complete price: 55 bucks.
I managed to maintain the venture underneath wraps till our group’s November journey to Geneva, throughout which Ian obtained his instance with good humor, and varied watchmakers we visited howled with laughter at my piece. Ian was type – or loopy – sufficient to take the watch to Dubai Watch Week, the place it appeared in my stead whereas I used to be again in the USA for Thanksgiving.
Journey and different adventures
It was so unbelievable to have the chance in November to journey with associates to Geneva for every week of auctions, boutique visits, and conferences with watchmakers on the town and at their ateliers. I’ve summarized the week’s occasions right here beforehand, so gained’t recap intimately. The very brief model: didn’t win something at public sale, renewed friendships with many aged associates from across the globe, made new associates, and was reminded as soon as once more that whereas there are watches concerned, it’s all in regards to the individuals!
I used to be very unhappy to overlook out on Dubai Watch Week this 12 months however adopted it with admiration from afar and can hope to get again within the loop in future years. As evidenced by the 2021 Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève’s Particular Jury Prize, Dubai Watch Week has develop into a pressure to be handled and it’s a splendid occasion to attend as properly.
In different adventures, I minted my first watch-related NFTs based mostly on high-resolution images of watches in my assortment. I’m happy to say that mine was the first-ever watch-related NFT by an unbiased artist to promote, and as of at this time I’ve offered three NFTs in complete.
And for the primary time I took on a contract business images task on behalf of a model, capturing a prototype model of a brand new launch for them to share with potential consumers and on the similar time establishing my business fee sheet for future commissions.
The 12 months in swag
In the event you’re like me, you take pleasure in a considerate, small reward sometimes from an organization you do enterprise with, and although 2021 appeared in some ways to proceed the downward pattern in such tokens, I’m happy to say that whether or not it was the Tribe hat from MB&F, the standard Christmas Stollen from A. Lange & Söhne, a Kurono sweatshirt, or a number of different gadgets from firms I patronize, it was good to be remembered.
One sudden merchandise for which I’m very grateful: the English-language model of the excellent picture biography of Konstantin Chaykin by Alexey Kutkovoy. I’ve lengthy admired Chaykin’s work and naturally purchased the primary model of his Joker watch. And whereas one other Joker adorns the quilt of this e book, the inside is crammed with photos and descriptions of masterpieces such because the Moscow Comptus Easter Clock and the Cinema watch from this underappreciated grasp.
As I’ve lengthy stated, nevertheless, in terms of these types of issues my opinion can’t be purchased, and I’d by no means descend to associating my title or picture with a model simply because, as an example, they wrote it in large letters on the entrance of a sweater. Then once more . . .
2021: a collector’s view of tendencies and happenings
I’m positive I’ll be addressing a lot of these matters in upcoming articles, however right here’s a rapid-fire set of observations on the 12 months’s happenings and what they portend.
The watch market is turning into extra just like the artwork market. Focus is shifting from company manufacturers to particular person makers, sellers are inserting themselves into secondary market transactions and controlling accessible stock, fascinating items are being steered to influential consumers slightly than being freely accessible, a number of manufacturers are having fun with mega-appreciation, and the market general is turning into opaquer.
However with parts of different style classes. As shortly as an “current relationship” grew to become a criterion to achieve entry to essentially the most sought-after new watches, for a lot of manufacturers the needle moved on to grant desire to celebrities and media figures: witness LVMH’s first few publicized allocations of the Tiffany Patek Philippe Reference 5711 (Tiffany belongs to LVMH and was the official vendor of this watch).
In the meantime, Audemars Piguet appears to be on the way in which to being a poor man’s Richard Mille, and different manufacturers are hopping on the life-style bandwagon.
Rise of the YouTubers. Instagram was nice, however now it appears that evidently the most recent wave of on-line watch gamers are utilizing their IG presence to steer visitors to their YouTube posts. The nice majority of what I’ve seen there may be drivel, and as consideration spans proceed to shrink it’s a thriller to me why so many individuals will take heed to a speaking head droning on. However simply because I don’t perceive one thing doesn’t imply that it isn’t taking place or legitimate. And in a world the place TikTok has simply handed Google as the preferred net area I suppose I shouldn’t be stunned.
Clubhouse comes and goes. Clubhouse briefly appeared actually cool as a digital technique for group contact amongst like-minded people, however quickly grew to become a spot the place the identical few individuals say the identical issues time and again. See “droning on,” above.
Hype watches get even hype-ier. Moaning about it can make no distinction, however when a watch that I simply gained an allocation for at its launch (the Stella-inspired Rolex OP 41 Turquoise) strikes quickly from obscurity to promoting for triple its retail value after which goes fully nuts as a result of its dial colour appears to be like considerably just like the Patek Philippe Tiffany Reference 5711, we’re coping with a market crammed with low-information, trend-chasing consumers.
Everybody – and I imply everybody – goes sport. By the point Romain Gauthier launches a real sport watch (Continuum) and even Kari Voutilainen labels a titanium-cased piece the “28Sport” we will conclude that the period of the sport-dress watch and sport watch is completely upon us.
Musical chairs, with some early outcomes. It appeared that much more watch firm executives modified jobs this 12 months: notables included Guido Terreni heading from Bulgari to Parmigiani; Davide Cerrato trying a revival at HYT; and Antonio Calce getting into the highest seat at Greubel Forsey. At the least to date, I like what I’m seeing at Parmigiani and Greubel Forsey with an emphasis on the Toric line and improved aesthetics on the former (in keeping with what I really useful for the model a lot of years ago) and a tiered product technique on the latter that will likely be attention-grabbing to see unfold.
Most boats rise with the tide. The increase within the watch market general and the newfound curiosity in independents has been a tonic for a lot of makers. Previously endangered indies like De Bethune and Laurent Ferrier now appear on the mend, and secondary market costs for great-but-underappreciated manufacturers together with A. Lange & Söhne are displaying indicators of power.
Some classic costs stay sturdy. Choose classic items did extraordinarily properly at public sale this 12 months, however to my eye there appeared to be a shift in public sale consumers’ preferences to small-production latest references and even items just like the A. Lange & Söhne Pour le Mérite Tourbillon and Vianney Halter Antiqua within the creatively named “neo-vintage” class. If it retains raining right here in California, I’ll sit down with the 2021 public sale outcomes and do some deeper evaluation, however for now I’m counting on my sense of the market.
Collaborate, child. In each watch creation and watch promotion it appears to be like as if collaborative efforts are right here to remain, from Massena Lab’s items with Ming and Luca Soprana to Habring’s a number of collaborations with retailers and net media.
Security issues: Security out in public whereas sporting good watches has been a priority for some time now, however the variety of horror tales about robberies appeared to hit a brand new peak this previous 12 months. Keep protected on the market!
Micro manufacturers on the march. All year long, we noticed interesting designs and appearances in venues together with Solely Watch and the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève from Baltic, anOrdain, and lots of different design-centric, moderately priced manufacturers.
It stays a thriller to me why so many, together with of us I respect, appear drawn to the blatant imitation (all the way down to the brown duo-fold presentation field) of a classic Patek Philippe that’s Furlan Marri, however there you could have it. Proper now, I’d hate to be a small unbiased packaging up an insourced motion and making an attempt to promote the ensuing watch within the $5,000 to $10,000 vary.
Strapping it on. Is it simply me or does it appear that placing “new footwear” on watches went to a different degree this 12 months? One enabler: the prepared availability of customized straps in an immense number of supplies and colours and at very cheap costs, from fast-turnaround outlets corresponding to Handdn in DaNang, Vietnam, makers of the strap proven on my Greubel Forsey Invention Piece 1 under.
Centered-purpose watch occasions win, omnibus gala’s lose. One of many few bits of enterprise recommendation that’s true nearly with out exception: focus and win! Baselworld is within the tank, and if the pandemic results in the cancellation of an in-person Watches and Wonders Geneva in 2022 we may even see it go the way in which of the dodo as properly. In the meantime, Dubai Watch Week with its tight concentrate on training and new-customer recruitment and Solely Watch with its charitable mission transfer from victory to victory.
Hard-earned, simple go. Rising tide or not, at this time’s sweetheart may be tomorrow’s sufferer. As an illustration, the Ming group had a tough go in 2021 with web site ordering issues, customer support complaints, and motion glitches in its Massena collaboration piece, knocking among the gloss off this former highflyer.
Simply prior to now few days, prospects obtained an announcement that sooner or later Ming’s customer support wouldn’t be trying to deal with communications by means of social media and that every one queries ought to come by means of e mail solely. I occur to love utilizing e mail, however then once more I’m three or 4 many years older than the perfect goal demographic for a model like Ming – when the criticism is “you don’t reply to my requests on social media,” the response shouldn’t be “and we’re not going to!” Professional tip: examine rigorously what Kurono has executed and take some classes.
It’s a golden age for watchmaking and for collectors. Ups and downs, ins and outs apart, are you able to imagine how nice issues are for watch lovers as of late? The number of nice items in any respect value factors is superb, established masters together with Kari Voutilainen, Vianney Halter, Greubel Forsey, F.P. Journe, and even Philippe Dufour are nonetheless lively, a complete new era of younger masters together with Rexhep Rexhepi, Romain Gauthier, and Petermann Bédat have come to the fore, and for these with the means to pay among the biggest classic watches of all time are frequently coming to market. What’s to not like?
Subsequent day out, I’ll check out my favorites from my watch pictures taken in 2021, together with many who haven’t appeared beforehand on Quill & Pad. I hope you’ll tune in for that. Within the meantime, pleased sporting!
For extra data on the Konstantin Chaykin e book or to order straight, please go to chaykin.ru/store/en/product/konstantin-chaykin-haute-horlogerie-with-russian-soul.
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