Geneva Watch Days 2022 hit a hat trick with their third edition this year, though this was an in-person event. In the watch industry, where alliances form and dissolve with increasing frequency, trade events and exhibitions have been rearranged to better reflect the new power dynamics. As a result, many watch companies that used to exhibit at Baselworld and SIHH (which evolved into Watches and Wonders) have shifted their focus to Geneva Watch Days. The fair had a low-key beginning, but it has exploded in popularity over the past several years and is now widely regarded as an early indicator of important aesthetic and technical trends in the watch industry.
This year, spread across 3 days from 29th August to September 1st, it saw various Maisons and indies come forward and showcase new collections – some hitting the ball out of the park while some just missing the point. Let’s hear what RedBar Members from across the globe had to say about the new watch releases.
To begin with Vasu Kulkarni, RedBar Newyork Chapter had a favorite that surely made it to almost every watch collector’s list. He said, “It was an underwhelming week of releases, but I’m gonna have to go with the MB&F Evo split escapement. Didn’t see that much I was too excited about, at least personally, for my taste.”
Another member from RedBar Newyork Chapter Anirudh Manan said, “For me, it was the EVO Split Escapement in titanium and the Doxa army. It’s Max’s best work, putting a legacy machine with dive watch wearability. Most of Max’s watches before the EVO were unwearable when enjoying life. They were dressier watches. The EVO line changes that.”
The MB&F Evo Split Escapement also made it to Nishad Kulkarni from RedBar Bombay’s and Abhishek Krishnan from RedBar Hong Kong’s list. “It’s a no-brainer. The chilling blue dial (my favorite color) is superbly paired with a gray dial, open counters, and to top it all Titanium grade 5. Sigh! When will I afford my love? Max – if you are reading, please gift one to your biggest fan”, Nishad Kulkarni.
“I’d say the LM Split Escapement Evo for its technical ingenuity in a very wearable and rugged package”, Abhishek Krishnan.
While MB&F’s launch surely made noise, we also saw connoisseurs show their love for the Bulgari Octo Finissimo and Doxa Army.
Aditya Jassi from RedBar Bombay had two favorites – Bulgari Octo Finissimo and the MB&F. He said, “Aesthetically, the Octo is one of my most desired dials, and with the launch of the gold, it’s giving me major FOMO MB&F is just a beast. Max is one of my three favorite watchmakers, along with Journe and Konstantin Chaykin. MB&F never fails to push the boundaries and comes up with something new every time as opposed to someone like Jacob, who’s primarily a jeweler and not a watchmaker.”
Debjyoti Dutt from RedBar Singapore picked the De Bethune Perpetual Calendar + Moonphase and the Doxa Army Re-issue. “It combines two of my favorite complications in a perfectly symmetrical dial. I find the 40mm case design and guilloche lugs to be edgy yet subtle. However, being a limited production, I don’t think mere mortals like me will be able to get a hand on it!
I have long been a fan of the Doxa 300 and 300T, but haven’t added one to my collection for some reason. I quite like the color of the new Army, and it looks like it’s the piece for me! Would definitely want to add this to my collection”, he said.
Pattabhi from RedBar Bombay also leaned towards the Doxa Army, saying, “It has to be the army given the color pop of my grail barakuda.”
If you ask me, the watches that rose in terms of an icon would surely be the Bulgari Octo Finissimo Sejima Edition. In this new Bulgari, designed by Japanese architect Kazuyo Sejima, every surface is polished to a mirror finish. Reflections from the watch’s face give the impression that the seconds hand is floating in space. It’s like a window into your very being. One of the many bizarrely cool new timepieces introduced at Geneva Watch Days is this one.
Not all of GWD’s timepieces are unique; some are merely superior to the norm. That first group includes the Doxa Army. The Army, which debuted in 1968 for military divers, is now available in stainless steel with a black bezel and bronze with a hunter-green finish. The thick orange hands and Tetris-like blocks for indices add the necessary drama to this dial.
MB&F is the only Manufacture that consistently produces watches and clocks in the shapes of alien spaceships and robotic humans. The brand released another “icy cool” colorway of the LM Split Escapement EVO, as well as a limited edition model with a black dial for GWD. The dial’s suspended balancing wheel is the pièce de résistance. There is advanced horological magic at work here.
Ulysse Nardin’s Rainbow Blast, rightfully named, there is both style and substance here, as seen by the 50 sapphires and rubies that adorn the bezel and the dial’s mainly skeletonized design that reveals the workings of the watch’s inner mechanisms.
But wait, there’s more. While Geneva Watch Days 2022 saw several launches, did you know 11-year-old, Amandine, the youngest watch influencer, shared wrist shots and interviewed Jean-Christophe Babin, CEO of Bulgari, during Geneva Watch Days? Making big moves, indeed.
Cap: Youngest watch influencer, Amandine at Geneva Watch Days 2022 (Image Credits: The Hindu)
The Horological symposiums also saw some intriguing conversations and eye-opening facts. The harsh reality- the rise of the independents vs the burgeoning demand and short supply.
First-half exports this year are up 11.9% over the same period in 2021. With hundreds of potential buyers for a single limited-edition timepiece, how were these Manufactures ever going to find the appropriate person to wear their expensive timepieces? How do they fairly distribute them to new consumers while still remaining loyal to existing ones?
Bulgari’s Babin, who unveiled the mirrored new Sejima Edition of the Octo Finissimo through a Zoom call, said that while the company values exclusivity, it can be challenging to identify buyers.
It takes a lot of work, as H Moser & Cie’s Edouard Meylan freely confesses. The CEO and owner of the company claim, “We follow the market every day and check every sale to make sure that we do not sell to a flipper. Flippers are investors who purchase trendy watches at retail prices with the intention of swiftly reselling them online at a higher price.”
After witnessing some of our most desirable limited editions sold on the secondary market for large multiples, CEO Xavier de Roquemaurel has decided to “follow the example of Ferrari,” and provide special edition models only to “trusted enthusiasts or partners with a passion for timepieces and not seeking a quick return.”
Looks like it did end well. A record-breaking attendance at Geneva Watch Days 2022!
- 33 participating brands,
- 230 watches exhibited in 52 windows,
- 1 Pavilion of 1000m2 in front of the Water jet,
- 1200 watch professionals – retailers, agents, distributors, journalists from all over the world (Europe, USA, Middle East, Asia),
- 2500 unique visitors in the pavilion (collectors, watch enthusiasts, final clients),
- Several dozen guided tours,
- An official inauguration by the State Counsellor.
And on that note, it looks like we saw some head-turners, eye-openers, and a few misses at Geneva Watch Days 2022.
To know more about the Geneva Watch Days 2022 Launches