But that wasn’t even my favorite watch to come out of the TAG meeting. No, that would be the solid gold Aquaracer with a gorgeous brown/gray fumé dial. I can already feel this watch becoming a lingering obsession. I’m here for the mix of high and low, making what is essentially one of their most approachable pieces in a precious metal. And maybe it’s rapidly approaching middle age (who am I kidding, it’s here), but I like the casual, sporty, opulence. I don’t currently live a lifestyle where a watch like this would make any sense at all, but I love it.
Last year’s meeting with Hermes was one of my favorites. The watches are beautiful, but the people at the brand also provide a wonderful experience and are just incredibly friendly. This year’s meeting was much the same, and we’ll have more on some new watches in the H08 line coming soon. But the real highlights this year were the artisanal pieces. The level of craft is mindblowing. We were shown a pocket watch with a case accented with gold thread and real horse hair. A one-off piece that has already been sold, the only reason for it to be at the show is to flex, which with this watch and many others, Hermes has earned the right to do.
My second full day of Watches & Wonders was mired by a set of completely shot vocal chords. Being a productive member of the team was difficult, but thankfully you don’t need a working voice to get some writing done. After some tea (thanks, Fernanda!) I found myself in serviceable territory to take some meetings and see some watches. While many great watches were indeed scene, the real fun was spotting in the halls between meetings. Seeing the likes of Lange, Laurent Ferrier, vintage Zenith, as well as previously unknown watches was just as incredible as seeing the new stuff. I mean seriously, look at this thing.
Perhaps the most impressive watch seen at the show thus far came in the Ferdinand Berthoud meeting, where I was able to view and even briefly handle some truly impressive horological machinery. We’re talking fusee and chain constant force, cylindrical tourbillons, sapphire bridges, and some truly spectacular finishing at every angle. To truly appreciate these movements, you’d have to have a watchmaker with you to translate some of the ideas at work into layman terms. Luckily, I had one with me, so keep an eye out for more impressions on those watches coming soon.
My favorite watch spot of the day? A vintage Zenith Pilot chronograph Sub Sea, a watch I’ve come close to buying on more than one occasion. It was on the wrist of the Zenith historian, who was present to explain Zenith’s history in pilots watches, which is ample. But the charm of the watch on her wrist surpassed many of the new watches under the glass.