The art of transforming the glittering towers and glassy spires of a buzzing metropolis into a recognisable watch design is no mean feat. Extravagant and irreverent, the Excalibur Blacklight is an ode to vibrant cites like Hong Kong, Singapore and Beijing at the height of their nightly splendour.
The secondary watch market has been one of the year's biggest stories. From takeovers to dedicated sales spaces, from market studies to consumer analyses and brand-hosted events, pre-owned is hot news. And for a simple reason: at 8% growth per year, second-hand is the luxury industry's best-performing segment.
While we don’t have a particular need for the musical watch in contemporary society, the minute repeater delights not only for its artistic complexity but also for its ability to engage time with both sight and sound.
Over 1,000 journalists, 12,000 visitors, 19 brands. And hundreds of precious watches on display, the result of thousands and thousands of hours of work and selfless devotion to the year's new creations. All these figures pertain to the recent Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie in Geneva, and they all give me grounds for reflection and, why not, a suggestion that is perhaps less practical than visionary and, who knows, even a little prescient.
In 2010, the Swiss watch sector came through the turbulence of the previous year. After wristwatch exports pulled in CHF 15.1 billion, the sector is within a hair's breadth of equalling its record of 2008. The blots on the horizon: a strong Swiss franc and higher raw material costs.
With a 59.1% surge in the Swatch Group's share price and Richemont shares gaining 58.3% in 2010, both groups were clearly two of the market's favourites last year, particularly considering that the Swiss Market Index lost 1.7% for the same period.