Attending to the top of 2021 itself requires a celebration, given the grim outlook in the beginning of the yr. I consider it’s a sentiment shared by Ashok (Editor-in-Chief WOW Singapore), Ruckdee (Editor-in-Chief WOW Thailand) and Kelvin (Affiliate Writer WOW Malaysia) as we navigated numerous restrictions imposed on us by our totally different (Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia respectively) governments. The sunshine on the finish of the tunnel does appear a tad brighter and as we hope the return to normalcy accelerates, allow us to take a while to rejoice and savour the unimaginable watches launched this yr which have stored us transferring ahead.
The yr 2021 is really one among celebration for Seiko and Grand Seiko because the Japanese manufacture commemorates its 140-anniversary; Kintaro Hattori based the corporate in 1881 on the tender age of 21. A stellar lineup was launched to mark the momentous event — headlined by a pair of platinum watches within the vein of the Masterpiece Assortment Seiko a hundred and fortieth Anniversary Restricted Version SBGZ007 and Heritage Assortment Seiko a hundred and fortieth Anniversary Restricted Version “Tree Rings” SLGH007 amongst the opposite unique releases such because the Prospex SPB213. Other than its a hundred and fortieth anniversary, Grand Seiko unveiled the following technology Spring Drive calibre 9RA2 and was properly represented on the 2021 version of the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève. Nominated for the Iconic and “Petite Aiguille” classes respectively had been the SBGW258 Re-Creation Of The First Grand Seiko and SJE083 Re-Creation of King Seiko. The icing on the cake is the SLGH005 “White Birch” profitable the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève Males’s Watch Prize.
Choosing a watch from this yr’s stacked checklist of Grand Seikos and Seikos is not any stroll within the park. This struck me much more once I was requested by one of many native Seiko reps just lately about my favorite watch from this yr’s novelty launch. With 10 subcategories mixed below Grand Seiko and Seiko (4 and 6 respectively, excluding Credor), releases had been spaced correctly all year long. Simply once I thought mannequin X was the one, one other launch comes alongside and takes my breath away. Such is the predicament I confronted once I was sifting by this yr’s new watches.
Sustaining a robust yr of novelties is not any straightforward feat and for that, I tip my hat to the Japanese watchmaker. It started in March and with each subsequent quarter after, a slew of latest watches stored coming our means. In different phrases, there’s something new to speak about each Grand Seiko and Seiko each month. I personally consider this would be the best means for manufacturers to schedule their releases transferring ahead. With two model new calibres to work round with, I consider Grand Seiko will proceed to impress in 2022 particularly now that the model is formally confirmed to take part in subsequent yr’s version of Watches & Wonders. And earlier than I current my decide, I’d prefer to make one last observe and that’s to congratulate Grand Seiko for garnering the now notorious waitlist for the SLGH005 “White Birch”. For a model that continues to be underappreciated in Singapore, this a robust signal of progress.
Having had the chance to deal with extra jewelry watches this yr and now being an advocate of males’s diamond watches, my eyes had been drawn to the Grand Seiko Magnificence Assortment Spring Drive SBGY008. When completed tastefully, diamond watches could be the final word type of discreet luxurious and the SBGY008 embodies it completely.
The 60-piece restricted version SBGY008 sees 53 diamonds (~0.38 cts), set within the case sides. Unconventional, however as I discussed, understated. Whether or not it’s worn below a shirt cuff or displayed in a jewelry field, not many will discover the diamonds at first look. The valuable stones are set in keeping with measurement — those within the center are the biggest and the sizes steadily lower to comply with the tapering in the direction of the lugs. Grand Seiko opted for a rose-gold case that enhances the textured dial. Mirroring the ever-popular “Snowflake” dials, the SBGY008 captures the ephemeral great thing about shizuri-yuki or light snow on the wintery Shinshu Watch Studio, residence of Grand Seiko’s Spring Drive watches. Naturally, a Spring Drive motion does timekeeping responsibility right here as Grand Seiko prefers the guide winding 3-days 9R31 to take care of a svelte profile. The facility reserve indicator set on the rear ought to face little to no protests as a result of it doesn’t disrupt the beautiful dial.
This decide would have stunned many however selecting from the same old suspects felt too predictable. The “White Birch” was positively on the checklist alongside the “Tree Rings” however in the end my vote went to the underdog.
Le Régulateur Louis Erard x Alain Silberstein II
The regulator makes for an fascinating case examine — a traditionally vital complication that also sits on the periphery of recent watchmaking. Amongst the varied collections of quite a few manufacturers, it’s an unusual sighting with an equally unusual (however distinctive) format. For Louis Erard although, the complication kinds an vital pillar amongst its choices and goes from power to power because it ends the yr on a excessive with a slew of distinctive regulator novelties.
From collaborations with Alain Silberstein and Romaric André to the trio of treasured stone and artisanal glass dials or courting barely additional again to the Vianney Halter piece, selecting a favorite isn’t straightforward, however since they every have such robust and distinct design languages, you naturally end up gravitating in the direction of yet another than the others. This was a dialog Ashok and I had over textual content, albeit very briefly, and we each agreed that the Le Régulateur Louis Erard x atelier oï ranked excessive on our lists.
Sticking strictly to novelties launched in 2021, the Le Régulateur Louis Erard x Alain Silberstein II referred to as out to me, primarily for its quirky, whimsical and unconventional design. Regardless of the way you view it, the timepiece is sure to polarise opinion to the extent that hardly anybody can sit on the fence about it — both you want or dislike it.
An evocative conflict of shapes, colors, supplies and mechanical motion highlights a mischievous strategy to watchmaking. You could possibly even reckon it as an anti-establishment reply to the same old severe and at instances stoic expressions of Swiss watchmaking. Tearing aside the layers of enjoyable and humour is the masterful execution of proportions guided by Silberstein’s design philosophy, closely
influenced by the Bauhaus artwork motion. That in itself is a stroke of Parisian genius that received my coronary heart over.
The II denoted on the finish of the watch identify represents the second collaboration between Louis Erard and Alain Silberstein with probably the most notable distinction being the case building. Comprised of a mix of grade 2 and 5 titanium, the case building is a departure from the standard shapes utilized in watchmaking. It sees a pair of brancards prolong from the principle case to satisfy on the lugs — De Bethune’s floating lugs instantly come to thoughts. Silberstein then populated the dial along with his signature lacquered fingers — flashes of crimson, blue and yellow pop in opposition to the greyish black dial. It may appear so much to absorb at first but it surely will get higher when you get the grasp of issues. As with all regulator watches, the handsets are separated. The crimson circle pinned with a triangle is Silberstein’s newest iteration of the hour hand whereas the prolonged blue arrow and wavy yellow “S” formed hand serves because the minute and second hand respectively.
Launched alongside the Le Régulateur Louis Erard x Alain Silberstein II had been the Le Chrono Monopoussoir Louis Erard x Alain Silberstein and La Semaine Louis Erard x Alain Silberstein. The whole capsule assortment is proscribed to 178 fashions every, 78 of that are to be bought in a collector’s field consisting of all three watches and comes with a private, non-fungible token linked completely to the triptych. Sadly, the items had been snapped up in a flash just about instantly upon launch and should depend as “a type of that received away.” Though costs of the Le Régulateur Louis Erard x Alain Silberstein II haven’t reached unrealistic ranges, possibilities of discovering one with a comparatively respectable price ticket stay pretty slim, although hopefully and success, a cut price would possibly come my means this Christmas.
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