Geneva & Wonders

Travel is part of the human dimension, and an invitation to travel was the Watches and Wonders exhibition, which brought together the biggest Swiss and global watchmaking brands in Geneva at the beginning of April

Many brands presented watches with GMT or World Time complications, the tools for globetrotters who like to move with dynamism and elegance. The GMT function allows the local time to be displayed by means of the normal 12-hour hand and the time of the place of origin by means of an additional hand that makes a single turn of the dial in 24 hours, typically arrow-shaped and of a different colour than the 12-hour hand. For the most part, GMT time is read via the 24-hour bezel or flange. The World Time function, on the other hand, displays the time zones on the flange or dial, with the names of 24 cities around the world and an hour disc rotating with the hands. This complication, invented just under a century ago, has given rise to extraordinary watches. The master of the World Time is Patek Philippe, which in Geneva amazed with watches such as the Universal Time Ref. 5230P-001, which for the first time combines a platinum case with a blue dial and strap, with the centre of the dial embellished with a circular guilloché pattern. The High Craftsmanship Universal Hour Ref. 5231G-001 has a Grand Feu cloisonné enamel map in the centre of the dial, depicting Oceania and South-East Asia. The new Travel Time Annual Calendar Ref. 5326G-001 is distinguished by a date indexed to local time, which changes back or forth when the time zone is adjusted.

The Arceau Le Temps Voyageur by Hermès is a poetic interpretation of the World Time: the complication is truly vagabond because the “travelling time” mechanism, developed exclusively for the brand, has a disc-shaped display of the 24 time zones, like a satellite orbiting on a fantastic map, designed on the dial and imagined by Jérôme Colliard for the brand’s “Planisphère d’un monde équestre” scarf. Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Master Grande Tradition Calibre 948 has a translucent lacquered and guilloché gold dial with a champlevé enamel decoration representing the globe as seen from the North Pole; its flying tourbillon undertakes one complete rotation of the dial in 24 hours. Montblanc takes us by the hand on a journey around the Earth with the 1858 Geosphere Chronograph 0 Oxygen and its World Hours displayed via the rotating northern and southern hemispheres in relief at 12 and 6 o’clock. There is no oxygen inside the case: the watch will be on the wrist of Nepalese mountaineer Nirmal Purja, the brand’s ambassador, in his attempt to climb Everest without the use of oxygen.

Aesthetically less appealing but more practical, the GMT function was brought to Geneva by Tudor with two watches from the Black Bay collection: Pro and GMT steel and gold. The first is more masculine, the second more elegant; the Pro has a 39 mm steel case and a brand new look for the collection, with a bright yellow GMT Snowfl ake hand; the GMT has a 41 mm steel case and the whole is softened by touches of yellow gold on the bezel, crown and bracelet. Then there was the brand who produced the fi rst GMT watch and turned it into an icon, Rolex. At the show, it presented a stroke of genius for the GMT-Master II collection, destined to become a must-have for collectors. In the watch, the crown is located on the left side of the case, a move that required re-engineering the movement and modifying the precision testing process for some fi nal checks. The date window and lens have also moved and appear at 9 o’clock. The black and green bezel completes the look of a watch that has already been the talk of the town and will continue to be the focus of dreams, not only for travellers. Blue, on the other hand, is the distinguishing feature of Grand Seiko’s Evolution 9 collection, the chronograph with GMT function whose seconds hand, thanks to Spring Drive technology, has a fl uid movement that recalls the natural fl ow of time. With the Tonda PF GMT Rattrapante, Parmigiani Fleurier interprets the complication with two superimposed hour hands, one in rhodium[1]plated gold and the other in rose gold. When the push-button at 8 o’clock is pressed, the upper rhodium-plated gold hand dedicated to local time moves forward, revealing the rose gold hand showing the time at home. Once the second time zone information is no longer needed, pressing the rose gold button integrated into the crown repositions the hands on top of each other: a user-friendly complication in keeping with the spirit of the brand.

Outside Watches and Wonders, Dolce&Gabbana gave travel a meaning in tune with its mission to enhance and defend Italian-made products. For the fi rst time, it showed together the pieces of the Manifattura Italiana collection, a grand tour through the cities of art of the “Beautiful Country”, interpreted in unique watches. The engineering accuracy and precision of the movements, hand-assembled by master watchmakers in Geneva, are Swiss, the creativity in decorating cases, dials and bracelets is Italian, and all this is expressed in the six models of the collection: Milan, Rome, Naples, Palermo, Venice and Florence. Dreamscapes and fun instead form the idea of journey that Gucci has staged with the Gucci Wonderland event in Geneva. A journey through childhood emotions and memories, in a real and virtual, luxurious and playful fairground, which was the setting for the presentation of fi ve new high-end timepieces. Pieces in which the most refi ned watchmaking complications appear alongside rainbow-like gems and celestial wonders, in a collection perfect for both lovers of worldly elegance and globetrotters always on the go. And the invitation to the journey is pure joy

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