May was an engaging month in the watch space, with several compelling new releases, including the updated Breitling AVI series, Audemars Piguet’s polarizing Royal Oak Concept Tourbillon Spider Man, the new additions to Bulgari’s Aluminium line, and J.N. Shapiro’s impressive and historically important unveiling of the Resurgence model. We’ll head to our comments section to discuss whether the small watch trend is here to stay, and whether that’s a good or bad thing. From around the Web, we’ll sit down for a round table discussion about Cartier with the brand’s CEO Cyrille Vigneron, Revolution Magazine Founder Wei Koh, and collectors Auro Montanari, Eric Ku, and Shary Rahman. Finally, we’ll head to Fratello to consider the merits of a somewhat obscure neo-vintage IWC reference: the Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar ref. 3750. Lastly, veteran collector GaryG walks us through his fascinating collecting journey and shares some lessons he learned along the way. Let’s get into it!
1. From The Comments: Smaller Watches Aren’t Going To Hurt You
From the comments is an interesting series that poses topics of conversation for our very own comments section here at aBlogtoWatch. As many will acknowledge, small watches have been making a comeback recently. Though bigger watches dominated the marketplace for some time, there has been a renewed interest in smaller, more refined-looking watches. The shift can be attributed to different factors, including the resurgence of vintage-inspired designs, which tend to have a more understated feel. Like most things, watches have trends, and every trend tends to repeat itself. As Jake Witkin discusses in this article, we aren’t even waist-deep into the small watch resurgence yet, and the negative pushback there has already been substantial. As you might imagine, the comments section in this piece is also worth a read!
2. New Release: Breitling Classic AVI Chronograph 42 Watches
Perhaps there is no brand that has as rich of a history in aviation as Breitling. Since its founding more than a century ago, the brand has created some truly iconic pilot’s watches. While their most popular and longstanding design is the iconic Navitimer, the AVI series has a compelling backstory and history in its own right. In celebration of the 70th anniversary of its original ref. 765 AVI “Co-Pilot” watch, the brand has unveiled seven new AVI chronograph models. These include a new black ceramic rendition of the 46mm Super AVI that is inspired by the Mosquito Night Fighter airplane, as well as a limited-edition vintage reissue piece that pays tribute to a specific version of the ref. 765, which was produced in 1964. However, arguably the most noteworthy new models from this latest batch of releases are the other five watches, which collectively form the new Breitling Classic AVI Chronograph 42 collection. Compared to the 46 mm variants of the AVI released in 2021, these new 42 mm versions are more versatile and compatible with a wide variety of wrists.
3. New Release: Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Tourbillon Spider-Man Watch
Following its 2021 release of the Royal Oak Concept Tourbillon Black Panther, Audemars Piguet has launched another Marvel collaboration timepiece – the Royal Oak Concept Tourbillon Spider-Man. While many have found AP and Marvel to be a strange and somewhat dissonant juxtaposition, the Royal Oak Concept Tourbillon Black Panther generated a fair amount of positive buzz upon its release and has since been worn by celebrities such as LeBron James, Kevin Hart, and the Weeknd. The piece even garnered nearly half a million dollars at auction in September of 2021. In this article, Mike Razak breaks down the new release and discusses how it plays into AP’s master plan.
4. Hands-On Debut: J.N. Shapiro Resurgence Is The Most “Made In America” Mechanical Watch Since The 1960s
The story of Los Angeles-based independent watchmaker J.N. Shapiro has been fun and downright inspiring to watch. Approximately 12 years ago, Shapiro picked up Watchmaking by George Daniels and became fascinated with the fine art of engine-turning. Since then, he has become one of the most well-respected independent watchmakers in the watch world today. His most recent release, the Resurgence, represents a watershed moment, as it is the most “Made in America” mechanical watch since the 1960’s. Boasting a beautifully hand-finished case, dial, and movement, J.N. Shapiro Resurgence is truly remarkable, and backs up its impressive manufacturing efforts with an array of distinctive features. In short, Shapiro is putting high-end American horology back on the map.
5. New Bulgari Aluminium Watches Announced For Summer 2023
There are perhaps no watches more evocative of the late 90s/early 2000s aesthetic than the Bulgari Aluminium. First released in 1998, the original Aluminium pieces represented a notable departure from the status quo in luxury watch design. Utilizing unconventional case materials and a bold, distinctive visual footprint, the Aluminium collection appealed to a younger, more fashion-forward demographic than Bulgari’s previous designs and soon became beloved as a cult classic and arguably one of the brand’s most iconic watches. New for 2023, Bulgari has expanded the line with a few colorful renditions of this quirky sports watch.
7. A Conversation with Cartier: The Rise & Success of Cartier Timepieces and the Man Behind It
Love it or hate it, Cartier is one of the most historic watch manufacturers in the world, and for good reason. Recently, the brand has risen to take the number two spot in terms of global watch sales, behind only Rolex. In this engaging roundtable discussion, Cartier CEO Cyrille Vigneron, Revolution Magazine Founder Wei Koh, and veteran collectors Auro Montanari, Eric Ku, and Shary Rahman explore why the brand has so much staying power and how it has managed to appeal to a broad audience while staying true to its rich heritage and design ethos.
8. Culture and Community: A Recap of San Francisco Windup Watch Fair 2023
For those who don’t know, Windup Watch Fair is an annual three-day-long shopping event that brings watch brands and customers together in a fun, approachable, and engaging environment. While the event has always enjoyed large turnouts, it seems like it is becoming more and more popular every year. This year, the show attracted a record turnout and more brands than ever before, including Accutron, Christopher Ward, Fortis, Oris, Zodiac, G-Shock, Junghans, and Collective Horology. For folks who were unable to make it, this article and video will give you a taste of what it was like.
Source: Worn and Wound
9. Wrist Game Or Crying Shame: IWC Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar Ref. 3750
Fratello’s popular “Wrist Game or Crying Shame” series is back with a particularly provocative article on an interesting, somewhat obscure neo-vintage IWC reference – the Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar ref. 3750. It is a feat in and of itself for a watchmaker to produce a mechanical perpetual calendar – a watch that accounts for seconds, hours, minutes, days, dates, months, years, and even leap years. In 1985, IWC watchmaker Kurt Klaus took the complication to the next level. Unlike other perpetual calendars, his creation had no external push buttons or pin holes to facilitate setting all of the functions – all adjustments took place with a quick turn of the crown. This allowed a level of ease of operation and synchronicity that to this day, other perpetual calendars simply don’t have. For example, if the IWC Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar Chronograph Moonphase has been sitting idle for several days, there is no need to manually reset each of the (many) different displays — simply turn the crown and the functions will all advance in harmony. Beyond its history and impressive technical specs, the Da Vinci is a downright charming watch – I was rooting for it, and I’m glad it pulled out the win, as Fratello’s audience voted it to represent “Wrist Game” as opposed to “Crying Shame.”
Source: Fratello Watches
10. Selling Watches To Buy Watches: One Collector’s Story
Watch collecting can be hard work. Yes, you read that correctly. While that is perhaps one of the most “first world” problems you can possibly have, it’s true. For us watch nuts, curating the perfect collection can take an incredible amount of trial and error. Many of us relentlessly agonize over minute details while selling ourselves into and out of various timepieces in what can seem like a neverending process. In this article, GaryG walks us through his collecting journey, explaining how each watch led to the next, as well as sharing some overarching lessons he learned along the way.
Source: Quill and Pad