Geneva Watch Days 2021 – for me: 5 days, 28 brands, 38 meetings (including the social events), a lot of champagne and just a few hours of sleep. But the most important would be the chance to see present and future releases. This will be a short presentation of my activities during GWD.
I travelled on Sunday afternoon, leaving a cold and rainy Germany for a sunny and 25°C Geneva. I found a nice Aparthotel close to Beau-Rivage (the hottest point of GWD) with accessible parking. Those travelling to Geneva by car, are already familiar with the difficulties in finding a good and well-priced parking space.
The first meeting I had was a lovely time at Parmigiani Fleurier. I discovered a new and complex collection meant to attract the new generations into the brand and offer the collectors a sporty, contemporary selection.
My favourite piece from the date, chrono and calendar was the Tonda PF Split Seconds Chronograph. The combination of a monotone dial with the beautiful movement impressed me.
Meeting a legend
The second meeting was a true pleasure. Meeting independents in their habitat is always a very sweet experience. Seeing them work on the vintage horological tools is an experience that I recommend to any watch lover. It is something special.
I was dying to see live not only him at work but also the result of this work. The latest collaboration with Benjamin Chee HH combines exceptional and traditional watchmaking techniques that will be explained in a future articol.
Back at Beau-Rivage, I have encountered the latest DOXA SUB 600T Pacific Limited Edition – a nice, summerish collaboration with a great team of content creators Time+Tide. This light and fun piece combines the Doxa spirit with lively colours and adventure spirit.
Lume and Sci-Fi
URWERK UR-100 Electrum is the latest creation from independent duo Martin and Felix, two exceptional people with apassion for Sci-Fi and watchmaking. Not less than an hour I spent with Martin Frei talking about Asimov, cult Sci-Fi, Russian masters and watchmaking from antiquity till present.
The new Electrum is inspired by the natural alloy used in antiquity for jewellery. I was really sad that I have to leave Martin and our engaging subjects, but the next meeting was also a reason for joy.
Knowing what is cooking, I was thrilled to finally see the result: the Streamliner getting the fabulous Moser QP movement. A few changes have been made here and there to create a pure Moser beast. Of course, the secret signature was there to enchant me (but also to make my life hard by hiding with stubbornness during the photo session).
Could I resist to wrist-trial the tourbillon? Of course not.
While my mind and (especially) my budget tells me it is not the time for a De Bethune, my hearth is always rushing me to see the spectacular creations. DB25GMT Starry Varius is one example that makes my heart skip a beat, then go really fast. And don’t worry, a full report of this and the DB Kind of Two Tourbillon will come soon.
Black and red with a purpose
Next was the turn of the Chronométrie Ferdinand Berthoud Chronomètre FB 1.6-3 to impress me. This exceptional maison does not leave room for chance or room for mistakes – everything is breathtakingly realised. Impressive in design and execution, one needs not only the finances but also the understandings to fully enjoy this piece. Moreover, this one it is a unique piece. So very happy and humble to have been one of those who had the chance to have it on the wrist.
The next meeting was with the friends from Czapek. This brand that I follow since the very beginning for the beautiful designs has grown in my heart due to their passion and continuous search for excellence. Antarctique Rattrapante is confirmation of their quest. It is perfect? Not yet, but they are working tirelessly to achieve perfection. And this is not a promise but a real fact: they are actively changing the improved components (so if you buy a watch and they improve something afterwards, you can send the watch to be upgraded).
Yes, I was that of an idiot not to photograph the newest MB&F + L’EPEE 1839 ORB. I was so impressed by the eight-day calibre and versatility of the clock that I wanted to know more about the technical side. Doing pictures seemed insignificant. But while I don’t have live images with the ORB, I promise I will bring you live pictures with the next MB&F creations. So stay tuned!
The evening was spent in the Geneva Watch Days tenth at Rotonde du Mont-Blanc on Quai du Mont-Blanc street, just vis-a-vis from the Beau-Rivage Hotel.
While the first day at GWD was full of emotions, the second day continued in the same manner with nice surprises and monumental launches.
On my first meeting I could taste a bit of high horology from Arnold & Son. The charming Globetrotter Steel is just one of the super-cool watches of the brand. A bit of redesign improved the legibility of the watch and also brought some new details in an already complex face.
The Luna Magna Ultimate I piece is breathtaking – I could no resist a wrist-shot. The bad part was when I had to return the piece since it was perfect with my coloured outfit.
Due to the pandemic situation, I was not able to meet the Charles Girardier1809 Cobalt Blue 41 mm in the metal. While the secret signature is just a nice mechanical gimmick, the watch is well executed with a special note to the fantastic enamel work – a lot of depth.
Breitling – or how to have one of the most spectacular events of the year
George Kern has keen on drama. In an extensive setup at Palexpo, Breitling organised an event to be remembered: the launch of the Breitling Top Time Classic Cars – a collection based on three classic supercars.
Of course, a full report of the event and the review will follow soon.
Russian fun and expertise
Back from Palexpo, it was the time to meet one of the most intriguing independents – Konstantin Chaykin. Wristing the Konstantin Chaykin Minotaur is an interesting experience. The patented double disk day indication and the Joker based time indication are not only original but also highly technical. Konstantin works tirelessly and has to split his time between production and design and innovation.
Mars Conqueror Mk3 Fighter uses a Mars-Earth time translator unique in this world and can be used for real on Mars as time tracker for both planets. Exceptional idea and original implementation.
Pleasure for the eyes, training for the mind
Krayon Anywhere is a watch produced by the independent Rémi Maillat. This watch, just like the ones from Urwerk and Chaykin, offers a unique perspective of the world. The high complexity mechanical function (sunrise and sunset indication for the entire year, anywhere in the world) is highlighted by exceptional finishes applied to beautiful architecture.
The surprise of the evening
My last meeting of the day was at La Réserve with Bovet 1822. This beautiful scenery is the ideal place for the high-end horology from the Castle of Môtiers maison.
Besides the ultra-modern Bovet Virtuoso VIII Chapter Two DLC SLN visible above, I had the pleasure to have a look at some of the more “traditional” pieces like the Fleurier 19Thirty, the Virtuoso VIII Chapter Two or Miss Audrey.
But the biggest surprise of the day was meeting Battista. The gorgeous EV is a tech specs monster and a widely bespoke-able machine. Since I got quite a good insight note from one of the people that work for this hypercar, a report will follow soon.
The evening was closed by a party at the GWD tenth. Meeting friends and making new ones is one of the small pleasures the world of watches bring. So don’t be surprised if you will see some new things coming in the Watch I Love Magazine “menu” of subjects and topics.
Part 1 ends here. The first two days were quite full, as you can easily observe. The rest of the show will be reported in the next article, so don’t go too far.