October 2, 2014

All clocked out: Watches & Wonders 2014 in Hong Kong

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I had the opportunity, courtesy of Sassy Hong Kong and IWC Schaffhausen to attend the Watches & Wonders exhibition at the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre (HKCEC). Haute horlogerie may be better understood as fine watchmaking. The Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie defines fine watchmaking as such:
  • Historic Maisons and Manufactures whose manufacturing facilities are fully-integrated or majority-owned by them.
  • Ateliers and Master Watchmakers which produce their own movements and creations. Brands which invest in Fine Watchmaking by inventing and creating Fine Watches which are partly made in-house or by other Maisons or Manufactures, or by acknowledged suppliers and movement-makers, and whose medium-term objective is to fully integrate production.
  • Movement-makers which develop and produce movements and complications for third parties.

Exhibiting Maisons (French: houses) were A. Lange & Söhne, Audemars Piguet, Baume & Mercier, Cartier, IWC, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Mont Blanc, Panerai, Piaget, Richard Mille, Roger Dubuis, Vacheron Constantin, and Van Cleef & Arpels.

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Beautiful display at Richard Mille - would've been 10x spectacular if it were an ice sculpture!

Personally, I know little about watchmaking but I love looking at beautiful things... Quote Oscar Wilde, "To cure the soul by means of the senses..." although I must admit after walking through the exhibition, I was a little dizzy from all the bling!

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"Padlock your lovers' wishes with a ribbon" made Baume & Mercier's booth more memorable.
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Charming pendant watches from Jaeger-LeCoultre
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Piaget ultra-thin mechanical self-winding diamond-set skeleton
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Vacheron Constantin beauty

Besides that, there was also a cultural exhibition on the connections between astronomy and horology. My favourite piece - a Petite Sonnerie clock with complete calendar and moon phases:

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All in all, my favourite Maisons were:
  • Baume & Mercier for their delicate women's designs... albeit in the 1950's. There was a lovely bracelet watch during their period, with a delicate green and gold leaves pattern.
  • Mont Blanc for their simplicity
  • Roger Dubuis - very opulent yet classy. Loved their Corset and Silk Stocking concept watches.
  • Vacheron Constantin - stunningly complex and elegant.

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