I spent the last 26 years of my life working in the jewelry and watch industries in one way, shape or form, and as a native Philadelphian, I knew — and dated — my fair share of guys who were into certain types of watches. Many of these guys were Italian-American, just as I am, and a number of them wore what they considered to be the quintessential Italian guy’s watch… A Panerai.
I have no doubt this is the reason that decades later, when I started writing about watches for a living, I shied away from writing about the brand. No matter what they did, or how many of my colleagues loved them and built them up and wore them, I just couldn’t bring myself to warm up to Panerai. I didn’t even want to try, even though, year after year, they would send me the most delicious Panettone cake for Christmas. I fought liking anything they produced. I mean, I fought it hard. But there comes a point in everyone’s life when the fight isn’t worth the effort any longer, especially when there are so many glorious reasons to throw in the towel. And today, that’s exactly what I did. Today, I decided that the fight was no longer worth it, and that my past shouldn’t define my present. Today’s decision couldn’t be helped. From here on in, the decision has been made…
I officially, unequivocally, like Panerai.
You didn’t think I’d go into the whole Panerai story without including them in the highlights now, did you?
For me, it was this one new Panerai launch that made me go apeshit in a good way. The Submersible QuarantaQuattro ESteel™ collection — available in three colors (the gray was *chef’s kiss* for me, personally) — uses 72g of recycled materials corresponding to 52 percent of the total weight of the watch (which is 137g). This creative and eco-friendly way of thinking makes my heart go pitter-patter, but when combined with the new packaging made almost entirely of recycled materials, as well as how the company is going eco-friendly at their manufacturer by offering incentives to employees who bike, carpool or use public transportation to get to their jobs, there was no way I could still be a hater.
Not to mention the fact that this 44mm Submersible has a dial that resembles what the water looks like in the dive world: lighter at the top, where the sun hits the water, and then darker toward the bottom where there is no light. It’s a glorious gradient done right, and I, for one, have been sold.
I’ve never really been a “white watch” kind of woman, but then again, despite what Swiss watchmakers have believed for years, women should never be put into any sort of box, as their preferences are as unique as any of their other attributes. But the new IWC TOP GUN “Lake Tahoe” chronograph watch released this week made me rethink my stance on white (and the lovely and light snow falling outside of my window in Geneva right now isn’t helping).
The 44.5mm white ceramic case houses the caliber 69380-caliber self-winding movement, which offers the wearer 46 hours of power reserve. The white rubber strap and black chronograph dial complete the contrasting look of the timepiece, which, to be honest, was like nothing else seen at the fair thus far.
Speaking of things that are white, let’s talk about diamonds.
In my opinion, not enough emphasis is paid to real, true, high jewelry watches. This is where I come in. As a former metalsmith’s apprentice, stone-setter and engraver, I am not embarrassed to say that I was blown away by the Limelight Gala high jewelry timepiece, which contains over 250 natural white diamonds set over a 170-hour period. This is a piece that is beyond “extra” and deserves a mention, merely because of how unlike it is to anything else at the fair.
But the real show-stealer at Piaget has to be the Altiplano Ultimate Concept Unique Piece, a testament to the maison’s achievements in ultra-thin watchmaking.
I could not bring myself to do a highlight list without including the beautiful and useful Arceau Le Temps Voyageur world-timer watch by Hermès. This is a brand that — while known for their bags, shoes, scarves and clothing — have come into their own with regard to timepieces, and this watch is no different, largely because of its stylishness, size and capabilities as a world-timer.
As you likely witnessed in the last couple of days, a number of the Revolution editors, including yours truly, gathered in the central part of the Oris booth here at Watches and Wonders (known as the “piazza”) to discuss new releases, favorite pieces and, well, anything else that came to mind. For many in attendance, as well as for me, the new Oris ProPilot X Calibre 400 was the talk of this town.
With a case made in titanium, three dial color options from which to choose and the relatively new in-house caliber 400 movement, I still have to pinch myself some days that I actually know what’s affordable as well as the future of vintage.