Reflection-Watch Industry Looks Back

Clock items have become increasingly common here on the Manolo. No matter if you are fascinated by the mechanical or just see them as an elegant male accessory so there is an interest in man’s most accepted piece of jewelry. Today, we look at the trends that we perceived in the industry in recent years. Perhaps the brightest trend: Vintage.

After decades of strong sales figures for the Swiss watch industry last year showed a sales forecast that was expected to be the lowest in number of sold watches since the Millennium. While the number of sold as is on about the same level as 2000 (around 30 million copies) and the business turnover of more than double (CHF 20 billion vs 9 mijarder CHF in 2000). This is mainly due to an aggressive increase in prices of many players in recent years.

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At the same time as demand is sated on new watches, we see the strongest sales of vintage watches ever. The market for vintage Rolex and Patek Philippe, but in recent years even Heuer, Longines, Omega, Cartier has grown ever stronger, and we see new record lows for the respective reference each year.

Most obvious was perhaps the auction house Phillips sale of Patek Philippe perpetual calendar 1518 in steel from 1940 ‘s (one of only four known examples) last year as contingent record price of about 100 million kronor and the place as the world’s most expensive wristwatch ever sold at auction.

Patek Philippe REF. 1518 in steel, the world’s most expensive watches. This together with his siblings in yellow and rose gold.

In addition to this extreme example, the hysteria surrounding the Rolex “Paul Newman” Daytonas continued up at a pace that leads many to wonder how long it can actually continue with prices on several occasions is around 1 million dollars. Even simpler references as GMT Master 1675 or Submariner 5513 has more or less doubled their value in the last 4-5 years.

Models from Heuer with a rich history of racingtkronografer from the 1960 and 70 ‘s has awakened in earnest and we now see versions of the Autavia sold for over a million dollars. Absurd sums that were almost unthinkable only a few years back.

Rolex Daytona REF. 6264 “Paul Newman” in 18 k gold with the very rare yellow painting often called Lemon dial sold in Christie’s auction may 15 with an estimated price of between 500 000-800 000 $.

So, what has the strong trend in vintage watches with today’s article to make?

Well, as these watches conditioned fantompriser the past few years, the Bell companies ‘ launches, all more or less had one thing in common: one looks backward.

During the Basel fair 2017, it was clearer than ever. The majority of all the major manufacturers launched tribute versions of their own historical references. Omega banged on large and celebrated not only Speedmasterns, but the whole of the Holy treenhetens (Seamaster 300, Railmaster’s and Speedmaster) 60-year anniversary.

Tribute models were so well done that it was almost scary, when more or less cloned the original bells. The exception was the links and movements that are updated to modern standards but purely aesthetically it was terrifying like the clocks from 1957.

“New” Railmastern at 38 mm, which was launched during the Basel fair.

The original model 2914-1 from 1957 as we got the opportunity to look at the face of Bukowskis auction “Important Watches” last fall.

While TAG Heuer, a company that in recent years has focused mostly on its Connected Watch had a vintage scented model in the launch. Not surprisingly, it was Autavian who received a new version in which the company’s customers in the previous year been given the opportunity to vote for which historical models which might be interpreted.

The choice fell on the model from 1966 which was carried by Jochen Rindt but unlike Omega it chose not to clone the original model but created a slightly larger (42 mm vs 39 mm) version but with clear influences from the original.

Autavian from TAG Heuer at 42 mm from the Basel fair.

Reflection-Watch Industry Looks Back

T if conservative Patek Philippe tumbled into the vintage track with his new perpetual calendar 5320G in white gold. A typical vintage design but in somewhat enlarged performance on 40 mm. To Pateks defense there is no so-called imitated patina or the exact reference in mind but rather of a design language that usually associated with the 1940 ‘s and 50 ‘s.

5320G is an excellent example of a modern clock with clear historical inspiration.

You can continue with almost as many examples but instead we would ask ourselves how this affects the industry both in the short and long term? The aim is to appease the customer demand or is it a sign of lack of creativity? Many critics argue that the companies are shooting themselves in the foot and should instead spend time and energy on creating the next classics instead of watering down his past.

There is no doubt that we love the aesthetics of old watches. There is a design, a design and not least a nostalgia that is hard to ignore, but the question is whether the reproduction of such design really is the solution.

The concept of “almost-watch” is usually used for cheaper players inspired or even copy the famous brands and models. Steinhart, Marina Militare and Invicta are some examples and how affordable or well designed they may be so they lack an essential part: they’re not original. Buying such a clock that really wants a Rolex might seem like a logical compromise on the budget does not allow for anything else but the risk is imminent, that it rather will remind you of what you don’t have instead of still craving for the model.

The same thing is likely to happen with this massive vintage trend we see among this year’s launches. To customers and enthusiasts are crying out for new launches of their favorite models is nothing new, and how neat some models are so patience to repeat: they are not original. They don’t have decades of patina and character and they’re not innovative for its time (like the original was often). If it’s vintage, which really attracts, it is not certain that a modern version is the way to go and there is no fejkpatinerad yellow lysmassa that will change the fact.

There are of course lots of positive aspects with them so as to allow for modern technology and functionality (movements, water resistance, lysmassa etc) but an aesthetics of yesteryear. Are you blissfully unaware of the original model or is really only interested in a stylish, modern clock need it in no way to be wrong.

In the case where the US managed to best has taken small subtle elements from the original models, but kept the identity of the new. Rolex is an example of this where you constantly working to produce technically better watches and a design elements from the past implimenteras so it will still mean a technical improvement like the Black ceramic ring on the recent Daytona which brings to mind the REF. 6263 from 70-and 80-ties.

Rolex Daytonas design-related development where we see the latest model to the right for the first time with black bezel since reference 6263 furthest to the left. (rolexpassionreport.com)

Another way to get away with a vintage design is to simply never take it out of range. Omega is a shining example of this with the Speedmaster Professional, which by and large is the exact same watch today as when it was featured in the 1969 Moon landing.

The same goes for Audemars Piguet and their Royal Oak “Jumbo”. A model for several decades been in parallel with the more commercial models, and had more or less identical specifications that Gerald Calina masterpiece from 1972. When 40-year Jubilee 2012 moved down AP logo until 6 on the Board similar to the original, it was just the kind of subtle wink to the original that really works.

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Audemars Piguet’s Royal Oak was extremely cutting edge 1972 and has since then become the most important model with the slogan “From Avant-garde to Icon”.