January 31, 2020
by Kenny Yeo
A very happy new year to you! It’s a brand new year, and I’m afraid we are going to have to start with some not-so-good news. Rolex has just increased the prices of some of its most popular models. Watches such as the Submariner 114060 and GMT-Master II 126710BLNR will now cost around 5% more. Next, we offer some predictions on what the new year will hold for the watch industry.
From around the Web, we first take a look at the workshop of Akrivia. Founded by Rexhep Rexhepi, who is just 33 years old this year, Akrivia is one of the hottest brands in independent watchmaking. Speaking of independent watchmaking, we also visit the workshop of a young watchmaker in Singapore who is making enamel dials. Finally, we take a close look at a replica Rolex Submariner that has a cloned 3135 movement.
It’s no secret that Rolex is trying to move upmarket and create a more premium image. It’s trying to carve a niche for itself by positioning itself away from rivals like Omega and trying to align itself closer with the likes of Audemars Piguet. One way to do this is by adjusting prices. And on the first day of the new year, Rolex did just that. Overall, prices have increased by around 3% to 6%. But for many people, this is a moot point because the most popular Rolex watches remain hard to find in boutiques. Hence, if you think about it, the timing of this price hike could not have been more opportune.
The Bangalore Watch Company is one of the more interesting microbrands because it is based in Bangalore, India, possibly the only watch microbrand to be based in India. Bangalore, as it turns out, is the home to the now-defunct watchmaking duo of HMT and Hegde & Golay. The brand has just introduced its second major watch collection, the MACH 1. The inspiration behind the watch was the Indian Air Force (IAF). In particular, the MiG 21 Type 77, which was the backbone of the IAF’s fleet for five decades. Have a closer look at the watch here.
I’m still reeling in shock from the news that basketball legend Kobe Bryant is no longer with us. Such is the uncertainty and fleeting nature of life. In this article, we take a look back at Bryant’s watch ventures and his own collection of watches. Around 2009, Kobe invested in a new luxury watch brand called Nubeo. He even designed a Black Mamba watch. Unfortunately, the financial crisis of the time scuppered plans to launch the watch and brand. Thereafter, Kobe became an ambassador for Hublot, and he had several limited-edition watches made in his name by Hublot. Read all about it in the link below.
2020 will be an intriguing year for watch-lovers. I’m most looking forward to April, when SIHH 2020 and Baselworld 2020 will be held back-to-back. It’s an understatement to say that April will be a massive month for watches. That aside, it will also be important to keep an eye on developments in Hong Kong. The city is one of the most important markets for watches and business there has been negatively affected by months of civil unrest and tension. Ariel shares more of his thoughts on what to expect in 2020 in the link below.
Last year saw big changes to Rolex’s GMT-Master II lineup. The brand introduced the new 126710BLNR, which is essentially a 126710BLRO with its red and blue bezel swapped for a blue and black one. Rolex also discontinued the 116710LN and 116710BLNR. In other words, if you want a stainless steel GMT-Master II, it has to be with a Jubilee bracelet. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing since the Jubilee bracelet is immensely comfortable to wear and the watch itself has numerous upgrades, the most significant being the movement. It has Rolex’s new caliber 3285, which boasts the company’s new Chronergy escapement, a long 70-hour power reserve, and is regulated to +2 and -2 seconds per day.