After a lengthy period of mingled hesitation, impatience and excitement, you at last decide to take that step: the watch of your dreams is finally yours! As you delicately open the presentation box, you feel a tug on your heartstrings, recalling a pampered childhood when the red-clad and bearded Santa appeared to delight you once again. Emotions reach new heights when “your precious new object” at last encircles your wrist. You have just experienced the kind of unforgettable moment that transforms any adult into a little child with stars in his eyes. Some brands have keenly understood the “devastating” effect that the Peter Pan syndrome can have on certain consumers, which is why they are keen to strike a nostalgic chord designed to kindle the flame of the child slumbering in each of us.
Providing reminders of this candid imaginary world is the cornerstone of the work done by Maximilian Büsser, who loves to draw on his childhood memories in offering exceptional timepieces. The HM6 with its tourbillon framed by four domes in each corner of the case is strangely reminiscent of a space vessel landing on Earth for a courtesy visit. A look at Destination Moon, the latest co-creation from MB&F and L’Epée 1839, confirms a striking resemblance with Tintin’s rocket in the eponymous comic book. It is a tip of the hat to the Apollo 11 mission that thrilled an entire generation in 1969, notably featuring a tiny astronaut detachable from the clock and named Neil after Neil Armstrong, the first man on the Moon.
From Earth to Moon
Among watch connoisseurs, the mere mention of the 1969 moon landing naturally sparks thoughts of another well-known model: the Speedmaster. For several decades, this iconic Omega watch has maintained an understated design entirely to the original. The imaginary world surrounding this model takes baby-boomers back to that famous July 21st when, eyes glued to their TV screen, they discovered that dreams can in fact come true. The message has indeed become embedded in the collective consciousness to the point of ensuring that personal acquisition of a Speedmaster is experienced as a “pioneering act”.
Another generation brought another TV “product” that has also made its mark on the watchmaking world: the fictional world of the Transformers, standard Saturday morning viewing for countless children, often accompanied by a bowl of chocolate cereal. Cars transformed into gigantic robots to save the planet were a source of admiration and fascination. Optimus Prime, the leader of these otherworldly superheroes, inspired Urwerk for its UR-T8, a transformable watch presented at the SIHH 2017. A small button is enough to pivot the watch and reveal a spiked titanium “shield” designed to protect against invaders.
A number of brands enjoy tickling a sense of juvenile naivety. No mention of this creative vein would be complete without Romain Jerome, which brilliantly interprets every possible expression of playful or fantasy-inspired imagination in almost all its collections; Jaeger-LeCoultre with its special Batman Reverso; and Hautlence with the Pinball watch.
Fine Watchmaking timepieces are often associated with a traditional world of high society evenings graced by monocled aristocrats. This outdated cliché that is far removed from current reality is gradually giving way to creations intended for the inner child of which we should never lose sight.