Geneva Watch Days – a personal journey in wrist shots, part 1

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Geneva Watch Days 2022 was, according to the official numbers, a real success: 33 participating brands, 1200 watch professionals and 2500 unique visitors. For the third consecutive year, I participated with the Watch I Love Magazine – I could not miss again meeting old friends and seeing live watches, especially since my firm position of not participating live in the Watches & Wonders show due to a well-known conflict. This article shows my chronological journey to GWD and additional events only in wrist shots.

My journey started on Sunday 28th of August when, a bit in a hurry, I packed everything in my car and hit the road. Although I have reserved some time for random traffic issues, I reached Geneva slightly late for my first appointment with Sevenfriday for the launch of the Yacht Club III.

After a long evening and a lot of fun, I reached my hotel in France. Initially, I booked a hotel in Geneva’s centre, but after careful consideration, I decided to cancel and booked a hotel in France close to Geneva. Using my own car offered the freedom to easy travel and save a considerable amount of money (Geneva ain’t cheap, you know…).

Mornings in Geneva – view from Le beau Rivage Hotel

The first meeting at GWD 2022 was, as always, with URWERK. For me is the perfect way to start a busy week: pleasant small talk, exceptional watches and general good fun. The UR-100V UltraViolet represents a new step into colour and daring personalisation. The choice of colour was due to its position in the visible spectrum, just at the end of it. Beyond that frequency, the eye and brain can not perceive it anymore.

The next meeting was with another brand that I adore Arnold & Son. While part of a big group, this small manufacturer feels more like an independent. Maybe due to the relatively low number of pieces and their approach to the haute horlogerie. The Luna Magna Ultimate II is using again a special Osmium dial that uses the light as a perfect toy for its playground.

I could not miss meeting my friends at MB&F and seeing the latest LM Split Escapement EVO that uses the new “spring” technology to make the Legacy Machine a more sporty and robust piece. Nevertheless, the newest development remains a true MB&F machine.

Czapek & Cie. revisited their movement inside the Quai des Bergues to bring a more sophisticated set of finishes. While I enjoyed a lot the first iteration, in direct comparison, the old movement looks like an unfinished prototype. The differences are major and the result is amazing. Congratulations to the team of watchmakers behind this calibre.

What would be a watch show without one of the most daring brands out there, H. Moser & Cie? The new Streamliner in solid gold brings the Vantablack and tourbillon together in a daring sports piece as never seen before. The tourbillon benefits from the extra stage created by the deepest black of all and the hands float above a void.

Doxa extends its line with a new Army wristwatch with some appealing visual characteristics and historical stories behind it. The whatch is not only good-looking but also a serious tool watch for professionals and enthusiasts.

I was impressed to see the evolution of Bianchet. Launched last year, also during GWD, the new independent brand gains from the successful business experience of its owners that learned from the feedback of customers and specialists and established the brand as more solid on the market.

A new independent brand, Byrne comes with a super cool idea – piggybacking the date change at midnight, the watch changes between four sets of indexes that can be highly personalised.

The second day at GWD started with the familiar and warm environment of De Bethune. This is a brand that I love for its unusual approach to high-end horology and it never failed to amaze me. For this event, De Bethune launched a DB25 perpetual calendar featuring superb details in the independent’s specific style.

The next three meetings were with brands with pieces under embargo so, unfortunately, I cannot share the beauties I wristed. A stop at the Ulysse Nardin Boutique allowed me to play with the Freak S. A barrier breaker for two decades, the Freak is one of the greatest achievements of the now-independent brand.

Visiting Bulgari is always a tremendous experience: opulence in name style in design. The pieces follow strictly the Roman code of being bold and recognisable. More details will follow in the review articles.

Going to the Rue du Rhône, I visited Purnell Watches at their lovely boutique. The double triple-axis tourbillon is king and deserves all the attention that the brand can offer. Playing with rare and hard-to-process materials, Purnell brings technical solutions for some incredible issues – like the diamond setting on the tourbillon’s cage.

Returning to Beau Rivage Hotel, I met with the team behind HYT watches – that crazy independent taking “time is fluid” remark to another level. The perception of time is metamorphosed into a futuristic approach. Still, after all these years, I am deeply impressed, especially as an engineer, by their use of liquid to display the passage of time. The amount of troubles that this display implies is hard to comprehend for everyone without deep technical knowledge.

The last brand of the day was Hautlence. The Vagabonde Series 4 is a fresh interpretation of their wondering hours with a more intuitive time reading and a spectacular lume insert.

The day ended at the GWD tenth meeting people and celebrating watchmaking. Superb fireworks made the evening’s highlight.

Stay tuned for the next days at GWD and a new set of wrist shots.

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