We’re just two months into 2023, but this year is already shaping up to be a compelling one! February brought us several intriguing new releases, including the Longines Pilot Majetek, Blancpain‘s Fifty Fathoms Tech Gombessa, and more. Breguet held an installation at the Frieze Los Angeles Art Fair, allowing enthusiasts the opportunity to learn more about the unique intersection between the brand’s own horological artistry and Pablo Bronstein’s fanciful graphic reinterpretations, as well as the chance to operate one of the brand’s historic rose engine lathes. LVMH announced the return of storied brand Daniel Roth, though it remains unclear as to whether Roth himself will have any involvement in his eponymous manufacture going forward.
Our curated stories from our friends around the Web include an insightful interview with Girard-Perregaux CEO Patrick Pruniaux in which he discusses the brand’s goals for the immediate and long-term future, as well as his position on distribution and GP’s authorized retailers. On the heels of President’s Day, we take a look back at the timepieces worn by various United States presidents. Lastly, we explore timepieces from an investment perspective, considering how popular and difficult-to-obtain watches fare compared to other previously over-inflated assets including tech stocks and cryptocurrencies.
1. Breguet Blends Horology And Fine Art At Frieze Los Angeles Art Fair
This month, Breguet held an installation at Frieze in Santa Monica, CA, allowing the brand to showcase the artistry of its own products alongside custom-made installations by Argentinian illustrator Pablo Bronstein. Bronstein’s illustrations combine mechanical details from Breguet movements with ornate rococo motifs that tie directly into the Ancien Régime France that gave birth to the brand.
Our aBlogtoWatch team was able to tour the installation on February 18, 2023 and had the opportunity to learn more about the unique intersection between the brand’s own horological artistry and Pablo Bronstein’s fanciful graphic reinterpretations. We especially appreciated the interactive and educational components of this event — Breguet craftspeople were on hand to provide live demonstrations of both movement assembly and guillochage, and enthusiasts were afforded the ability to use one of Breguet’s historic rose engine lathes to create a small guilloché pendant.
2. Hands-On Debut: Longines Pilot Majetek Watch
It’s no secret that Longines knows how to produce a good heritage-inspired timepiece. Over the last few years, the brand has shown a penchant for consistently tapping into its extensive back catalog of important vintage watches and releasing attractive, engaging modern interpretations that resonate with the collecting community.
One particularly storied vintage Longines timepiece is the 1935 “Majetek” Pilot’s Watch. Short for “Majetek Vojenské Správy” or “Property of the Military” in Czech, this distinctive, elegant cushion-cased pilot design was made to order for the Czech Air Force by the Swiss brand from the mid-‘30s up through the beginning of World War II. Longines has long been aware of the enthusiast following surrounding the Majetek, with multiple revivals over the years, and for its latest vintage-focused entry the brand has returned to this unique style for a new generation. Our Sean Paul Lorentzen goes hands-on with this exciting new release.
3. Daniel Roth Watch Brand To Return Under LVMH’s La Fabrique du Temps Swiss Manufacture
Earlier this month, LVMH made the surprising announcement that the world’s biggest luxury group is due to revive the Daniel Roth watchmaking brand in 2023. This news comes at an opportune time, as collectors have become increasingly interested in acquiring Daniel Roth timepieces over the last few years. Daniel Roth himself has not had a relationship with his eponymous brand for some time; it was purchased by The Hour Glass in 1994 and sold to Bulgari in 2000. Now, LVMH will be transitioning Daniel Roth to Louis Vuitton’s La Fabrique du Temps manufacturer. With an emphasis on ultra-high-end, complicated dress watches with unconventional case shapes and hand-finished components, the brand is expected to produce approximately 200 to 300 timepieces per year.
4. Time Machines: Exploring How Vintage Reissues Can Surpass The Originals With The 2016 TAG Heuer Monza
While heritage re-issues are all the rage in the watch world, reinterpreting a classic design while actually improving the original concept beyond technical advancements is a rare achievement. In this piece, Sean Lorentzen explains that when a vintage piece is redesigned in the form of a modern watch, something is almost always lost in translation; however, every once in a while that translated work surpasses the original. The 2016 TAG Heuer Monza is a rare instance of the remake surpassing the original work, and although the Monza line has since moved on to more complex, aggressive, and futuristic territory, this “best of both worlds” approach remains a beacon to watch brands aiming to create new classics out of beloved vintage models.
5. Hands-On Debut: Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Tech Gombessa
2023 marks the 70th anniversary of Blancpain‘s most important timepiece — the Fifty Fathoms (AKA the first modern dive watch ever produced). In celebration, the brand has already released two new iterations of the iconic watch, including a 42mm-wide version produced as a limited edition of just 210 pieces and their most recent release: the Fifty Fathoms Tech Gombessa. The Tech Gombessa will appeal primarily to technical divers, and even more specifically, those who utilize a rebreather: an expensive device that replaces used oxygen and allows for a longer, more comfortable diving experience. I find this release to be particularly interesting because it’s arguably a tool first and a luxury watch second. Evidently, Blancpain remains a pioneer in the dive watch field, and the new Tech Gombessa forges an aggressive new path for the classic series in both styling and engineering.
6. Hands-On: Vacheron Constantin Historiques 222 Re-Edition Watch
In this hands-on article, David Bredan explores one of the hottest, most elusive pieces to come out of 2022: the Vacheron Constantin 45th Anniversary Historiques 222 Re-issue. The iconic 222 was originally released on the occasion of the 222nd anniversary of the brand in 1977, serving as one of VC’s first sports watches and a break in the stylistic trajectory of the brand. The 222 and its integrated bracelet design would later lead to the first generation of the Overseas, now the brand’s best-selling luxury sports watch. The Overseas is now widely regarded as a modern classic and is one of the most coveted pieces on the market today. Accordingly, the 222 is an extremely significant piece for the brand, as it set the scene for the brand’s most culturally relevant modern watch. Measuring a svelte 37mm-wide by 8mm-thick, the “new” 222 retains the exact measurements of the original released 46 years ago but is finished to an even higher degree, and now bears the Geneva Seal.
7. THE BIG INTERVIEW: Girard-Perregaux CEO Patrick Pruniaux
While Girard-Perregaux has always maintained somewhat of a cult following, the brand has experienced more mainstream appeal over the last several years, thanks in large part to the success of its Laureato collection. In this insightful interview, Girard-Perregaux CEO Patrick Pruniaux discusses his long-term strategy for the brand, exploring various distribution channels and advocating quality over quantity when it comes to watchmaking and retail partners.
8. First Watch: U.S. Presidents And Their Timepieces
Posted on President’s Day, this article is an engaging exploration of the timepieces worn by United States Presidents, including the Rolex Day-Date gifted to JFK by Marilyn Monroe in 1962, Warren G. Harding and his “Masonic” pocket watch by Waltham, and the Vulcain Crickets worn by presidents Lyndon B Johnson, Harry Truman, and Dwight D. Eisenhower.
9. The Most Exciting New Watches Of 2023 (So Far)
The year is young, yet there has already been a myriad of different compelling watch releases in 2023. Luckily, Gear Patrol has compiled a running list of all the year’s new watches, complete with pictures, detailed information, pricing, and links to learn more.
Source: Gear Patrol
10. Rolex, Audemars Piguet, And Patek Philippe Outperform Crypto Currencies And The Stock Market
As collectors, we try not to look at watches as investments. However, this isn’t an inexpensive hobby, and secondary market pricing is one variable many collectors take into account when purchasing a watch. Moreover, it’s been interesting to see how secondary market prices ebb and flow over time. Some have noted that over the last 12 months, price falls from Rolex, Audemars Piguet, and Patek Philippe have followed roughly the same trajectory as other inflated assets including tech stocks and cryptocurrencies. However, a new report by investment bank Morgan Stanley suggests that luxury watches were actually a better bet since the start of 2021 than other alternative investments because they rose in value faster through the first quarter of last year, and declined more slowly once the market turned. This article considers the current state of the secondary market across all brands and digs into the implications and potential flaws of the Morgan Stanley report.