By now, pretty much everyone who follows horological news has heard about and likely seen images of the Harry Winston Opus 14. Much of the hard data – the 1066 component parts, four separate stacked dials including three interchangeable ones, the formidable 54.7 mm diameter – is already well known. But how does this immensely complicated watch “stack up” after a bit of reflection?
I am the resident “collector” for Quill & Pad. My enduring love affair with good watchmaking began in my formative years and has accompanied me throughout my adult life. In the fortunate position to be able to acquire luxury timepieces as an adult, I am choosy in terms of quality and meaning and do not follow the mainstream art of collecting as it is primarily understood today.
I have been an active contributor to online horological fora for about a decade as I have also become very interested in learning the art of macro photography and even take lessons with wizard photographer Ming Thein. I joined Quill & Pad as the concept of talking about what interests the contributors (and therefore the readers) rather than the act of being an amplifier for industry press releases appeals to me greatly.
Entries by GaryG
The Harry Winston Opus 14 was introduced at a celebrity-studded event in Baden-Baden, Germany. The real star of the event for watch enthusiasts in attendance, of course, was the watch itself: the new Opus 14 with a second hidden time zone designed by Franck Orny and Johnny Girardin, the same movement geniuses behind the Montblanc Metamorphosis. Watch Marc Hayek demonstrate the Opus 14’s big trick: revealing and hiding the second time zone and displaying a “Route 66” style American star.
For this special article, I have the pleasure of covering the wonderful Grönefeld One Hertz! For a watch fanatic, and especially for lovers of independent watch brands, it’s a dream come true to meet the makers of the watches that we admire. With the Grönefeld brothers, it’s that pleasure multiplied by two.
I had the privilege of being invited to the recent pre-opening gala for the San Francisco exhibition of the works of Abraham-Louis Breguet.
Since the foundation of my collecting passion has a lot to do with gaining access to the behind the scenes world of watches, I made a point of shuffling my “day job” schedule to attend. And now you can come along.
In my view, every successful independent watchmaker has elements of a “house style” that may attract some buyers and put off others, but nonetheless sets him or her apart. And, at the highest level, this style goes beyond “branding” to become an expression of the personality and artistic vision of the creator. In the picturesque Swiss town of Thun, Beat Haldimann and his small team distinguish themselves by focusing on technical virtuosity of the highest order, as typified by the Haldimann H1 Flying Central Tourbillon.
When someone says “I’m no prude,” it is pretty easy to imagine what typically comes next: a prudish commentary on some aspect of modern society or youth culture. I like sex. There we go! To the point and leaves no doubt as to intent, I’d say. That said, I typically try to keep my interests in sex and watches somewhat distinct. But does the industry at large?
Once in a while on the collector forums, a question is posed: is there anyone in the collector community who has never, ever owned a Rolex? As a general rule, respondents to these queries tend to express disbelief that such a creature could possibly exist given the quality and ubiquity of the brand’s watches. Well, folks, I’m here to tell you that such people do exist, and that I’m one of them. How could it be?
Sometimes persistence pays off. After a few well-placed questions, the shopkeeper brought out a relatively innocent looking skeletonized pocket watch. With a wry smile, he suggested that the buyer take a look at the tiny lug, leaving my friend flabbergasted. “G.N. Papi No.1” is a clear reference to Giulio Papi. The legendary watch industry figure who leads Audemars Piguet Renaud & Papi and now my friend has stumbled across what could be his very first timepiece from 1984.
For Quill & Pad’s themed “Ladies’ Week” in my role as resident collector, my thoughts turned immediately to that other collector in my life: my charming wife. MrsG is perhaps most enthusiastic about her collection of Southwestern Native American arts and jewelry, but let’s get started with a look at her interesting watches, which include excellent examples from Jaeger-LeCoultre, Blancpain, Alain Silberstein, Audemars Piguet, and more.
Ah, Paris! City of Lights, Paname, Babylon on the Seine – no matter how one refers to it, there is nothing remotely like it. For the watch collector, it’s a great place to visit as well with boutiques aplenty, some owned and operated by the major brands; high-end mega-stores like Bucherer; and smaller independent retailers like Chronopassion and Dubail. Recently, I took a quick weekend trip to Paris and while there I took the opportunity to pack in as much fun as possible. Come along with me and join in!