As I sit here typing my draft post to end the year, I smile to myself as I recall what a rollercoaster year 2007 was horologically. Finally Tempus returned to Singapore and serious collectors all over the world converged at Raffles City Singapore to learn, hear, view, touch, inspect, photograph and in some cases buy timepieces of note. Clearly the Tempus was the highlight of the year for collectors and brands alike. All credit goes to the vision of Mr Michael Tay and his team at the Hour Glass for conceptualising and realising such a gathering of industry. Conceptually a variation of the annual BASEL and SIHH exhibition - for collectors and watch enthusiasts instead of the industry itself.
The impact of Tempus I have learnt has since reverberated to all parts of the globe resulting similar events being planned such as one executed in Paris. I have heard rumours that even Tempus itself may possibly be syndicated to overseas where the HourGlass itself could be partnered to bring its expertise and network with the brands and collectors together in another venue. So exciting times ahead.
As for the watches launched and seen in 2007, of note were MBF no.2, Omega Hour Vision, Glashuette Original's Rattrapante, Chopard Mark 3, and the Breguet Fusee Tourbillon. Easily the most important watch for me is the Breguet Fusee Tourbillon. While its not a watch that many can afford, it will most definitely be within the list of important contemporary watches of this generation. There were others in the title chase but Breguet has for me, won this important title. The other important release for me, is the Chopard Mark 3. This may surprise many but for me, it’s the return to basics and Chopard has designed and made a beautiful dress watch that can be worn to the office. Yet it is being priced at the entry level of luxury watches. With such a fine movement, finishing and design, it will easily be a sell out and collectors should get one - if they can find it.
The year is not without its low points. The first being a new brand that chose to launch itself with the use of steel recovered from the Titanic vessel. It is a tragedy that such a creative industry with so much talent and capital had to go so low to gain market position. Enough said.
Then there was the report of how some auctions had been manipulated by brands to raise its profile and status amongst collectors by publicising the high confirmed auction prices transacted. I did not report this on the blog specifically but it had left a bitter taste in the mouth for many and I am no exception. Though I do not frequent auctions it’s the thought that collectors are being duped by all means and sundry by unscrupulous brands and the watch industry can be disheartening. My fellow collectors will always remind me that brands are businesses and they are in it for the profit - howsoever they wish to package their information about their brand and watches. That is painful medicine to take but it is a good reminder how we should be careful in our pursuit of collecting watches.
In contrast to the low points, the Revolution magazine, a homegrown watch magazine has reached international status with it being syndicated in Russia various parts of Europe and US as well. Horomundi.com - the associated forum with Revolution also gained credible growth of following from the local and regional collectors. Their participation and partnership at Tempus was evident.
WatchingHorology was also very fortunate to have Mr Su Jia Xian as a guest blogger and he has kindly contributed some of his views and his respected insights of the goings on here and the industry.
What is in store for the new year? Yet again, drawing out the proverbial crystal ball, I think brands are realising that there is only so much that can be done to add complications. More emphasis I believe than ever before will be focused on design and positioning of models in the collectors' ladder of desires. The industrial mechanised look has spread and taken root and watches that do not have any complications are given a complicated look - appear to be the call of the day. Almost every brand of note has also launched a black watch. I am not sure if this trend will continue nor will there be a strong market for black cased watches. However, for me the Tempus U1 is a wonderful success as its honest watch with real virtues.
I hope that this year, as I did last year - we will see the return to sanity for the way watches are being priced. The Chopard Mark 3 is one such virtuous watch. I hope that more brands will follow suit.