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Q&A: Watches Of Switzerland Group Buyers

By Sarah Jayne Potter   |   12 minute read

IWC Schaffhausen

We pride ourselves on being an authority on horology knowledge, and our buyers are skilled experts in finding some of the most exquisite pieces and buying into some of the most popular trends. From infamous brands like Rolex, OMEGA, and TAG Heuer, to niche brands like Oris, Panerai, and more, we have it all at the Watches Of Switzerland Group. So no matter your wants and needs for your next model, we will have a style to match. We’ve put our buyers in the spotlight in this article to discuss the latest pieces for Summer 2020, and to find more about them, and their views on the world of horology.

Mark Toulson, Head Of Watch Buying

Which timepiece have you chosen as your top pick for Summer 2020?

It’s Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Master Control Chronograph Calendar in steel.

What makes the timepiece so special in your opinion?

Jaeger-LeCoultre have produced over 1,200 calibres, or types of movement, in its 189 year history so its quite something when they produce a new one. Their chronograph full calendar, Calibre 759 is a first for them making it very special not only in that respect but also from its aesthetics. The 40mm case is the “Goldilocks” size, as in “just right”. It’s large enough to have great wrist presence but not too big to be overwhelming, indeed it’s the perfect size for a classic type watch. There’s a wonderful mixture of satin and highly polished surfaces on the case and the gentle curve of the lugs perfectly shows this off. Despite combining the functions of a chronograph, day and month windows, a moon phase, and date ring the silvered dial is a paragon of simplicity, balance, and clarity. Retained by the understated tan Novonappa leather strap this watch is one elegant timepiece that I’d never tire of looking at.

How or where would you wear this watch?

I’d be proud to wear it anywhere and everywhere!

Jaeger-LeCoultre Master

What is your prediction for the next big trend within horology.

That’s a really difficult one! We have seen an increase in blue dials and also to a certain extent green dials over recent years from a cosmetic perspective. New materials such as silicon and improved manufacturing techniques are leading to greater accuracy and longer power reserves in movements which is a really good thing for all of us. There’s also a trend towards updated versions of retro dive watches which I love. You can see this with Breitling’s recently launched SuperOcean Heritage ’57, Panerai’s 70 year celebration of Luminor, any Doxa and the 55 year anniversary Seiko Prospex watches. All are cool watches and obviously the Rolex Submariner has been a constant presence with its iconic design since the early fifties. Overall though it’s important to note that not everything in this wonderful industry seeks references from the past. Some “heritage” brands such as Ulysse Nardin are producing bold, new styles such as their X collection whilst HYT and H Moser from the independent sector are making the future classics today.

What is your favourite watch of all time, and why?

I probably lack any sort of originality here but it would an A Series 5402 Audemars Piguet Royal Oak. Its historical significance in watchmaking is well known to watch lovers but for those unfamiliar with this legendary timepiece, it was the most expensive steel watch at the time of its launch in 1972. No one had seen it’s like before and it really shocked the world. At 39mm it was christened “Jumbo” as it was considered a big watch for the time. That it was produced in steel on an integrated bracelet was a revelation and priced at 3,750 Swiss Francs it was over 4 times more than other steel watches of the time. It must have blown people’s minds on seeing it….yet little did they know that they were seeing the future!

If you could bring one model back into production, which would it be and why?

Tudor is a brand that is really popular right now and they have a terrific history with some great watches in their back catalogue. Whilst they have dive watches in their collection (Pelagos) I’d love to see a faithful reproduction of the 7928 Submariner, their first with the squared off crown guards. I wouldn’t drift very far from the design of the original so I’d keep the dial pure and date free to maintain its symmetry. Similarly and maybe a little controversially I wouldn’t use the “snowflake” hour hand. I’d keep it to the round “Mercedes” style of the original. People would go crazy for this, and so would I!

If you could invent your perfect watch, what would that look like?

We all have preferences for certain styles, colours and functions and for me I love a two dial chronograph – particularly where the sub dials are placed at 3 and 9 o’clock. I think that brings balance to the dial and indeed the watch as a whole. The case would be round and most likely to be on a strap. Whilst my usual material of choice is steel I think I’d go for an 18ct rose gold case with a midnight blue dial and simple batons to mark the hours. A date is always a useful function, so I’d need that to be placed at 6 o’clock in order to maintain the balance. I also have a bit of the thing about the background colour of the date. It would need to blue to match the dial rather than be white as is so often the case.

Faye Soteri, International Watch Buyer

Which timepiece have you chosen as your top pick for Summer 2020?

I loved the IWC Portugieser Yachtclub launched this year.

What makes the timepiece so special in your opinion?

IWC revisited the Portugieser collection which is a very important one to them; it’s a classic and iconic pillar for them, The Yatchclub isn’t new but this years’ introduction was a new form. I personally loved the steel and rose gold model – actually the only model across all the collections with steel and rose gold for IWC – so that’s a stand out point for the brand. They aren’t known for their bracelet watches but the bracelet is just great on this model.

There are so many watches from so many brands that one can applaud for their technical ability, or how the brand have looked to develop on complications and price points. We work in a an industry that’s built on its mechanisms as much as its aesthetics and sometimes you just see a watch that just makes you smile! And this one did – Its big, bold, and a little bit brave for IWC yet still on brand.

How or where would you wear this watch?

It’s a big case, just under 45mm, and based on the Yacht Club heritage so it’s a nautical sports watch with the characteristics you’d expect including a fly back chronograph, however there are so many tools watches whereby their functionality is never used. You really don’t need to have an interest in water sports to wear this – I say, If you love your watch you wear it!

IWC Schaffhausen

What is your prediction for the next big trend within horology?

Based on the current climate and what every market is experiencing this year, I doubt we’ll see new trends. Brands will be respectful of the impact of Covid globally and I’d say we’ll see commercial pricing and real loyalty to bestselling lines/ collections – now isn’t the time to be brash or experiment. It’s an industry with centuries of heritage and legacy, maintaining that will be imperative now, more than ever.

What is your favourite watch of all time, and why?

A yellow gold Rolex DayDate 36mm on a President bracelet. I’d take a few dial options but champagne diamond dial would be preferable. It’s an icon, it’s an indicator, the original oyster models haven’t changed hugely, so even at this price point it’s stood the test of time. It’s a watch you can recognise at 50 paces. There’s a huge amount of variety of models in precious metal, it’s not a traditional dress watch, or professional model/ tool watch and so for me it can be worn for every and any occasion and is utterly timeless.

If you could bring one model back into production, which would it be and why?

I think models are discontinued for several reasons, either they don’t sell or it’s time to review with an upgrade as part of the evolution. There are, however, a few models that are no longer in production that would cause an utter frenzy if they were brought back in to current collections- I quite like the myth of some of those and as such I’m not going to interfere with history!

If you could invent your perfect watch, what would that look like?

If I could invent a perfect watch I’d be in a very different job! I shall leave that to the experts.

Lisa Broun, Senior Watch Buyer for the UK

Which timepiece have you chosen as your top pick for Summer 2020?

Looking a little past the Summer, I would choose the beautiful Cartier Pasha that launches in September.

What makes the timepiece so special in your opinion?

I remember the original from the 90s & was sad to see it delisted from the range. I am thrilled it has been relaunched!

How or where would you wear this watch?

This watch fits perfectly as an everyday watch and adapts to whatever you are doing.

Cartier Pasha

What is your favourite watch of all time, and why?

You can’t beat the classic Rolex Datejust covering all case sizes, metal types and dial options. An icon!

If you could bring one model back into production, which would it be and why?

My dreams were answered with the Pasha return.

Heather Grant, Junior Buyer for Specialist Watch Brands

Which timepiece have you chosen as your top pick for Summer 2020?

I have chosen the new Panerai Carbotech Luminor Marina as my top pick for summer 2020 as it is a fresh, innovative take on the distinctive Luminor collection. Such a statement piece for this year.

What makes the timepiece so special in your opinion?

Carbotech is an innovative material, exclusive to Panerai, which not only has great technical performance but a stealthy matt black appearance. What I love most about this material is how lightweight it is and also that every piece is unique- no two watches are identical in appearance due to the cutting of the Carbotech. The blue Super Luminova markings on the sandwich dial are amazing against the chic black dial and case.

How or where would you wear this watch?

I think this watch is very versatile, especially being delivered with two different strap options; sportech & rubber. The two sporty straps make this piece ideal for an active lifestyle however subtle enough for everyday wear also. With the spring bar system, the straps can be changed easily to suit any occasion.

Panerai

What is your prediction for the next big trend within horology.

I believe that there will be more focus on core collections but in a more contemporary way. A focus more so on the sustainability of more classic timeless pieces with true heritage behind them. I have seen some beautiful reinventions of classic collections, likewise brand new collections with key iconic features, each with a rich history and great story to tell.

What is your favourite watch of all time, and why?

I have only been in the industry for a short time, however my favourite watch of all time is the Piaget Altiplano ultra thin, specifically the 910P. It is the icon of watchmaking with timeless elegance. I also had the pleasure of visiting the manufacturer where the 910P is made. This is not just beauty, but pure skill and craftsmanship.

If you could invent your perfect watch, what would that look like?

My favourite styles are ones with sophistication and pure elegance. I really don’t think I could create anything more perfect than some of the beautiful pieces I have the pleasure of dealing with everyday. I really wouldn’t do it justice so I will leave it to the experts.

Elizabeth Millward, Watch Buyer UK

Which timepiece have you chosen as your top pick for Summer 2020?

The new TAG Heuer Connected Golf Edition.

What makes the timepiece so special in your opinion?

This is the second time that TAG Heuer has created a watch specifically for the golf community; the first edition that launched in 2019 was an immediate hit with our clients. So I am very excited about the launch of the fantastic second edition! The model is ultra-lightweight, with a 45mm black titanium case and is presented on a special white rubber strap with green stitching and a texture that resembles the pattern on a golf ball, as well as a black perforated rubber alternative for every day and more formal uses. It comes with an added bonus of special packaging including a travel pouch, the extra strap, divot tool, 4 golf Ts, and 3 balls. With a whole list of updated app features to help you improve your game.

How or where would you wear this watch?

Although it is predominantly a sports watch, given the fact you can change the strap options and it has a number of different watch faces which are customisable and also downloadable you can easily swap between uses, so this watch can be worn during exercise, every day or even as an evening watch.

TAG Heuer

What is your prediction for the next big trend within horology.

I am seeing both green dials and bezels continue to grow in popularity. In addition further introductions of bronze cases and bezels which look fantastic and give the customer a really individual and personal look.

What is your favourite watch of all time, and why?

For me it would be the Cartier Tank Solo. It’s elegant and timeless in both the strap and bracelet options. A watch I would love to add to my collection.

Sophie Conroy, Junior Buyer on the Classic Team

Which timepiece have you chosen as your top pick for Summer 2020?

The Oris’ 43.5mm Green Aquis- a sure winner for the Summer!

What makes the timepiece so special in your opinion?

A worthy mention, first of all, is its price. Keenly priced at £1,600, for an automatic diver’s watch, this piece really is unique. It is a contemporary diver’s watch, featuring a stainless steel bracelet, green dial, rotating green bezel, date window and luminescent markers and hands. In 2017 Oris revisited the Aquis family and has refined and evolved the smallest details, making sure every element just right.

How or where would you wear this watch?

It’s a perfect formal- casual wear watch with this classic colour combination that goes from day to night.

Oris

What is your prediction for the next big trend within horology.

We see many amazing collaborations with brands including sporting collaborations and also fantastic collaborations with foundations who are supporting the preservation of our planet. For me, the next big trend is an increased number of brands collaborating with creative individuals and businesses. We’ve recently seen this with Bremont’s collaboration with Ronnie Wood last year, Oris’s collaboration with Japanese Denim brand Momotaro as well as the very exciting launch of Zeniths’ partnership with Carl Cox.

What is your favourite watch of all time, and why?

The Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso One Duetto. Its unique 2 dials – which are powered by the same mechanical movement, allow you to wear this timepiece as an everyday or dress piece which is pretty special. Not to mention it is a collection with such a rich history. I am a big fan of small ladies timepieces, and with this Reverso being 20mm in case size, 2 rows of diamonds and its deep purple dial… it’s definitely on my wishlist!

If you could invent your perfect watch, what would that look like?

I am loving the simplicity of a colourless, off white palette – something we have seen on many releases so far this year, with tonal hands and markers on a satin dial, adding in a moon phase which creates a pop of colour. A white gold bracelet, and as I’ve mentioned I am really into smaller/mini size ladies bracelets that create a really elegant look, and not to forget a diamond set bezel of course!

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