Follow our Editor-in-Chief, Scarlett, as she embarks on her first trip to the internationally acclaimed watch fair, Watches and Wonders.
I’ve often described Watches and Wonders as the Fashion Week of the watch world. New novelties, unseen and shiny, are shared with the eyes of the world for the first time, and years of secrecy and dedication are gifted to the public to lust and admire over. The press flock in their many, fastening the innovative and outlier timepieces to their wrists, snapping photos, communicating via the nuanced language of horology. Buyers and retailers flitter between appointments, eager to activate the sensory experience you feel with a watch, running your fingers over its grooves and lines, understanding the alchemy of these art forms.
Losing my Watches and Wonders chastity, I can liken it only to walking into a candy store for a child prohibited from eating sugar throughout their youth. Overwhelming, but in the most superlative way. Should the Brits amongst us have any hazy recollection of The Clothes Show, a fashion-meets-beauty showcase that was almost a right of passage in my hometown, where vendors and nationally-regarded brands would trade for your attention and your pennies, Watches and Wonders is like that, but tenfold. By all accounts, Watches and Wonders is a trade fair and celebrated concept celebrating fine watchmaking on a global scale. Fusing physical and digital, it plays host to the world’s leading retailers, journalists and VIP guests, to consider and marvel at the hallmark of excellence between watch brands new and old.
If there’s one song that sums up my experience in the watch industry over the past year, it would be 50 Cent’s infamous ‘Window Shopper.’ With more of a look but don’t touch approach, putting an entire Rolex store, filled with Yachtmasters and Day Dates and a Patek Philippe locus, filled with IRL Nautilus’ sent the dopamine swimming around my body, and then some. As storytellers of the industry, and I merely at the prologue stage in my journey, often the visual language of this hallmark timepieces are translated through press releases and imagery, and despite the lengthy didactic speeches that accompany the models with details of their anatomy, to see one in the flesh and actual gauge its size is a whole new experience. To hold a Nautilus in your hands, imbued with so much heritage, is to see the original monogrammed Louis Vuitton handbags, or Cristobal Balenciaga’s balloon dresses. It’s a wealth of history, and lest we forget it, aptitude, presented in a miniature canvas of a watch case.
In a maze of brands, what is it that, for a newcomer like myself, sets them apart? The ability to summon the senses. And not just with a gift bag. The frontrunner for this synaesthesia so far is IWC Schaffhausen, rendering a stage of shipping containers (the first nod to sustainability), with the leading mastery of Pantone, to produce five Pantone shades for the IWC range. Why stop there? Each color has been paired with an audio, created by the legendary Oscar-winning Hans Zimmer, to create an entirely immersive experience that triggers the ears and eyes and hands to work in unison in order to completely understand the narrative behind the Top Gun watch.
So in the lead so far, this luxury Swiss watch company takes the biscuit. But watch this space, we’ve 3 more days to go!