The best watches from LVMH watch week
The beginning of the year always marks the launch of many new watches, but this year it was LVMH Watch Week over the typical SIHH that commanded the watch world's attention.*
Four CEOs attended the show, along with a gaggle of journalists, retailers and collectors. Stephane Bianchi of TAG Heuer (and the head of LVMH’s watch group) was joined by Ricardo Guadalupe of Hublot, Julien Tornare of Zenith, and Bvlgari CEO Jean-Christophe Babin.
“We wanted to showcase our novelties. We wanted to drive business in the first quarter,” Bianchi said. “Then we decided to do it in Dubai because Dubai at this time of the year—it’s a warm place! And it’s a bit in the middle of the world, so quite accessible for many journalists and many retailers.”
Brands including TAG Heuer, Hublot, Zenith and Bvlgari were eager to showcase their new wrist-worthy wares, launching new timepieces and limited edition watches right here in Dubai.
Let’s take you through some of the highlights.
*Because this year watch and jewellery show SIHH has been re-named Watches & Wonders, and moved to April this year to better correspond with another watch and jewellery trade show, Baselworld.
The best of Hublot
Hublot Big Bang Unico Integral
Hublot finally caved to the metal bracelet trend and produced it's very first sports watch with an integrated metal strap. Watches like AP’s Royal Oak, Rolex Datejust and Patek Phillipe Nautilus are iconic because of their bracelets, so it makes sense for Hublot to have made one for its flagship Big Bang line. The Integral comes in an all-black ceramic satin-finish, and with black-plated titanium screws.
Hublot Big Bang MP-11 Red Magic
The main draw with Hublot’s Red Magic is the bright red ceramic case. It’s so hard to create that Hublot owns the patent for the material. The dial features seven barrels which can hold a whopping 14 days of power after being manually-wound, while the number of days left in the power reserve count down on a wheel at the far left of the barrel system. The small dial is solid sapphire, with red hands to match the case. The MP-11 is limited to just 100 pieces.
Hublot Classic Fusion Gold Crystal
The unique dial of Hublot’s new Gold Crystal range is exactly that – a 24-karat gold crystal created in Hublot’s mad-hat research and development lab. The dial – of which no two are alike – is created by heating gold until it basically becomes a gas. Once the gas hits a cold surface, it collects in a crystallised form. Then Hublot wraps the dial in a ceramic case, further highlighting that striking gold dial.
Hublot Spirit of Big Bang Rainbow
Hublot’s larger-than-life rainbow watches always command attention, and this year the brand has chosen to adorn its rectangular Spirit collection with precious stones. The case is made of Hublot’s own King Gold material, and the 42mm skeletonised dial features a ring of sapphires, rubies, topazes, tsavorites and amethysts around the bezel.
The best of Zenith
Zenith Elite Classic
Zenith took some time away from its favourite Big Pilot range to concentrate on its classic Elite range for the year. This updated collection stands out for its simplicity and refinement, along with the inclusion of rare materials (including one diamond-adorned model) and Moonphase complication. The Zenith Elite comes with an 18-karat rose gold case, with gold-plated hands and hour markers.
Zenith Defy 21 Land Rover Edition
Continuing its partnership with British off-roader Land Rover, Zenith unwrapped a matte grey timepiece in honour of the Defender (which Land Rover is re-launching onto roads this year). The watch boasts the brand’s El Primero movement, along with a 50-hour power reserve and a ceramic case.
Zenith Pilot Type 20 Rescue
Of course, Zenith were never going to completely ignore its flagship pilot line, and have updated the Type 20 with a stainless steel case and slate-grey sunray dial. Its oversized Arabic numerals also come coated with Super-LumiNova, while the brand 'Pilot' has been printed on the dial in yellow – a recurring colour in the world of aviation.
The Best of Bvlgari
Bulgari Octo Finissimo Steel
Bvlgari’s super-slim Finissimo range continues to be a favourite among sports watch owners looking for something a tad more inventive than your bog-standard Royal Oak. Bvlgari is counting on that, producing an Octo Finissimo in lower-priced stainless steel.
Bvlgari Octo Finissimo Minute Repeater Sandblasted Gold
In 2016, Bvlgari set a world record for the thinnest ever minute repeater made in titanium. It’s chosen to update that record, coating the ultra-slim 3.12mm mechanical movement with sandblasted rose gold. It’s still an impeccable feat of technical engineering, complete with 42-hour power reserve and the ability to strike out the time by flicking the pusher at the 9 o’clock position.
The Best of TAG Heuer
TAG Heuer Carrera 160th Years Silver Limited Edition
Alright, so TAG Heuer didn't properly unveil this at LVMH Watch Week – instead, it gave select journalists and creators a sneak peek at the watch, before properly launching it a few days after.
The new TAG has been created to honour both the first Heuer Carrera chronograph, as well as the company’s 160th anniversary. The brand has largely stayed true to its original aesthetic, including the monochromatic silver dial with sunburst pattern, and three chronograph counters.
Its size has been upgraded – from 36mm to 39mm – and the shape of the hands are bulkier to allow for SuperLuminova coating. It is now powered by TAG’s Calibre Heuer 02 movement, with a power reserve of 80-hours. It's limited to just 1,860 pieces.