The communication strategy of the majority of brands now favors the continuous presentation of new products throughout the year, the objective being to permanently occupy the media space. The Geneva Watch Days are one of those privileged moments to unveil new pieces, but it is far from being the only one. This is why the number of novelties on the board for the 2022 edition of the Geneva Watch Days was limited. I also prefer this approach because too many novelties kill novelties (customers tend to get lost) without forgetting the context that affects the entire industry: the difficulty of producing given multiple bottlenecks. It is therefore important to concentrate on delivering what is already ordered in order to meet customer expectations and avoid causing too much disappointment with considerable delays.
The assessment of the content of the Geneva Watch Days offer is no less satisfactory, if not spectacular. The back-to-school period is more conducive to the presentation of variations and adjustments than real new models or movements. However, some very interesting pieces seduced me without forgetting that I was also able to discover new concepts. Finally, it should be noted that several brands have presented models under embargo. Too bad, for example, that Breitling, one of the flagship brands and contributors to the Geneva Watch Days, only unveiled models that cannot be shown before October. It would have been relevant, in my opinion, to be able to present one without an embargo in order to legitimize the Geneva Watch Days a little more. However, let’s pay tribute to Breitling, which was able to open its store wide and offer a pop-up store with a summery atmosphere during the event. This gave the opportunity to see the novelties of the 1st semester in good conditions.
The novelties on which I can communicate and which have marked me the most are the following:
1) My favorite watch of the 2022 edition of the Geneva Watch Days was undoubtedly the Moser Streamliner Tourbillon Vantablack. Its perfect size (same diameter as the Center Seconds), its soft colors (I was afraid of the too marked contrast between the gold and the black dial but the result is very controlled, almost soothing), the magic of the tourbillon highlighted by the refined dial, all these elements make this watch a real success which confirms the very positive dynamic around Moser.
2) I also really liked the De Bethune DB25sQP. Its more contained size (but still 40mm) and its aesthetic approach that is both classic and contemporary appealed to me a lot. The quality of the execution and the charm of the three-dimensional moon do the rest: this watch is simply magnificent and it is someone who generally does not like calendar complications that tells you so.
3) Let’s stay with the three-dimensional moon! Arnold & Son unveiled a very beautiful variation of the Luna Magna in a gem-set version, the Ultimate II. Its assets are the quality of the crimping which is neither flashy nor aggressive and the colors chosen with care. The watch is truly luminous and can be worn by a woman or a man looking for a precious watch. And as I particularly appreciate watches with moon phases without a date, I could only be seduced.
4) Hautlence starts on new bases and wishes to take advantage of the potential of its case in the form of a television screen while relying on the technical capacities of Moser. I really liked the Linear Series 1 due to the consistency between the display complication and the design. The Vagabonde Series 4, on the other hand, is less convincing in my opinion.
5) Bulgari was once again very active in the various collections of its catalogue. My favorite watch is the Octo Finissimo Skeleton 8 days. I simply found it beautiful and more readable than the Octo Finissimo Skeleton that I have known in the past. Finally, the very technical rendering goes perfectly with the Octo case.
6) MB&F presented two versions of its new model, the LM SE (Split Exhaust) EVO. Basically, I’m not an absolute fan of the LM SE, but the EVO treatment suits it very well, thanks to an excellent idea: the fact of proceeding with a slight rotation of the movement in order to break the symmetrical rendering of the dial. The result is more dynamic and attractive. Finally, MB&F’s EVO approach is a great idea that hits the mark every time. What a pleasure to be able to wear such watches even in more relaxed and demanding contexts.
7) The GMT Convex Pendulum of Greubel Forsey perfectly symbolizes the new approach of the Manufacture. The watches are aesthetically more streamlined and much more versatile and wearable. Undoubtedly, they better meet the expectations of today’s collectors who are looking for pieces, including very complicated ones, that can accompany them in all circumstances.
8) Frederique Constant benefits from the success of the Highlife collection but wishes to revitalize its dressier collections so that the growth of its turnover is evenly distributed. This is the goal of the new Classics Heart Beat Manufacture. The positioning of the aperture at 6 o’clock, the absence of a date display and the much more qualitative finish of the dial change this dimension reference. The prices are higher but logical given the perceived and actual quality.
9) Oris equips its Divers Sixty-Five with its manufacture movement and this results in a very well-made watch with a very sober design, bordering on austerity. But it works very well because the Sixty-Five 12H Caliber 400 is perhaps my favorite Oris of recent years. The timeless approach, not devoid of elegance, far from fashion effects and summer colors, suits this piece that I would describe more as a versatile watch than a diver’s watch (the water resistance is 100 meters).
10) Jacob&Co has strongly contributed to the success of the Geneva Watch Days due to the audacity of its novelties. It’s an antidote to gloom. Admittedly, the exuberant style can put off, especially in a European context in search of more discretion and reason, but it’s good to see brands that let go and dare. How to summarize this offer in a single watch? maybe with Metaverso Astronomy which explores different planets and which is distinguished by Ben Arabo’s pencil stroke.
11) Louis Erard happily pursues its collaborations thanks to the aesthetic transformation potential of its regulator. The latest version is the result of a partnership with Black Label. I was afraid at first to discover an “all black” watch but the execution is very well done because it brings contrast and pretty light effects. A very good surprise for me.
12) The last watch in this selection is the Joker Five of Konstantin Chaykin. Its strong point is the spectacular finish of the dial without forgetting the perfect integration of the complication of the retrograde display of the days of the week. The Joker turns out to be a watch with considerable aesthetic potential.
I could also have mentioned the new products from HYT, Ulysse Nardin and Urwerk, but as always, I preferred to limit the selection to a dozen watches, especially since the number of new products was not considerable. In addition, I wanted to cover several price segments through this selection and avoid concentration in price zones that were too high. I mentioned in the preamble the discovery of innovative concepts. I will present two of them.
The first comes from the new brand Byrne. The principle is clever. Every 24 hours, the dial of the watch is transformed thanks to the change that takes place on the 4 main indexes. This magical effect is made possible thanks to a mechanism based on 4 studs which rotate on themselves, thus making it possible to embed 4 different types of dial for a single watch. This change of dial takes place in passing and not on demand to avoid excessive stress and a risk of weakening the mechanism. The studded system makes it possible to obtain a more elegant dial aesthetic and better integrated indexes than a disc system which would have required windows. The watch Gyro-Dial is intriguing and has been the subject of a sophisticated aesthetic approach as underlined by the work carried out on the case in order to erase the feeling of thickness. The result is in any case interesting, truly innovative and also offers customization possibilities.
It’s the same watch with 24 hours difference!
The second concept is that presented by Claude Meylan through the watch Window on Time. The basic idea is simple: the hour hand consists of an opening on the dial and therefore the latter performs a complete revolution in 12 hours. Two circular openings on the dial make the movement visible, allowing as the rotation progresses to discover specific elements. I found the concept interesting because the piece remains more mysterious than a skeleton watch because it reveals itself over time. The concept has excellent potential, now I think it deserves to be worked on more in depth, especially from an aesthetic point of view.
Through this selection and these concepts you could see that the menu of the Geneva Watch Days was copious. Nothing very surprising or revolutionary, but I was able to see relevant developments in it that are in line with market expectations. The watches must be easier to live with and this is reflected in the different proposals. The event has now found its place in the calendar and is clearly in the minds of the brands. I am convinced that the next editions will also be fruitful. In any case, the timing is interesting because it offers media coverage to brands presenting new products in the middle of the new school year.