The GPHG Academy will soon be making its submissions for the 2020 Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève. As Ian Skellern began putting rough lists of watches together, he realized that he was likely only aware of a fraction of watches that are both eligible and noteworthy. And as his favorite niche sectors are likely to be different than yours, many of you will know about watches that he, and perhaps other Academy members, don’t. So please let us know your favorite new watches in the categories here and we’ll take them into consideration.
About Ian Skellern
I am the co-founder and technical editor of Quill & Pad. I am also a Swiss-based independent journalist specializing in high-end watches and founder of 'underthedial', a digital communication agency focusing on independent brands. I am also the author of 'Hands of Time,' a book celebrating the 25th anniversary of the AHCI (Académie Horlogère des Créateurs Indépendants).
Entries by Ian Skellern
This year, 2020, marks the tenth anniversary of the death of one of the greats of the modern watch industry, Peter Baumberger. Dr. Helmut Crott, his longtime friend and founder of the Dr. Crott auction house in Germany, recently sent me a tribute he had written for the occasion. But first I’d like to first take the opportunity to share an anecdote of my own regarding “Peter, the utter bastard,” as I will always (fondly) think of him.
De Bethune celebrates the tenth anniversary of its groundbreaking DB28 in 2020 and, as Ian Skellern’s relationship with the model goes back the full decade, it seems an appropriate time for him to share the story of how he came to launch the DB28, own a DB28, and what he thinks of the DB28 after wearing one regularly for seven years.
To aid the fight against COVID-19, Urwerk will auction “Fight C19,” the first production piece of the UR-100 Gold Edition with a special engraving, “FIGHT C19,” instead of the regular limited edition plate displaying the limited edition number up to 25.
Many watches hold a special significance for their owners: some may be a powerful emotional reminder of an esteemed person, place or event, while others the long-searched-for keystone in a valued collection. There are watches that generate a smile just by thinking about them and a few have even changed lives. Ian Skellern shares the story of a watch that changed his life.
In Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity, the great man introduced the concept of “spacetime: henceforth, space by itself, and time by itself, are doomed to fade away into mere shadows, and only a kind of union of the two will preserve an independent reality.” Which segues nicely into the discovery of a clock by Gustave Sandoz that doesn’t tell the time: it tells distance.
The point of the large watch fairs is (or was) the sheer scale of their visitor numbers. In no other venue can brands meet with so many clients, collectors and press, and vice versa. If a large fair is limited in visitor capacity by health restrictions, can it still dominate the launch cycles of big brands? Ian Skellern examines likely winners and losers of the brave new world of exhibitions in 2021.
In the old, pre-COVID-19 watch world, the far-too-prevalent low standard of press material supplied by brands to journalists was amply counterbalanced by the sheer number of journalists and collectors around the world supplying lots of hands-on, third-party information, opinion, and photography. Now that’s gone, so it’s time for brand marketing and communication teams to lift their games. Ian Skellern shares three easy ways how.
“Dear Mr. Babin, I’m speaking as a fan, but you are sure making it difficult. It gives me no pleasure to take shots at you like this, but if you keep standing up and saying these things, I’ll keep rebutting you,” Ian Skellern begins his second open letter on this subject . . .
Have you seen the prices of high-end (and not so high-end) wristwatches? Crazy! None of us can afford the watches that we want, and the world economy is tanking. So in the middle of the coronavirus crisis why are we still publishing pointless stories about watches and why are you still reading them? Ian Skellern shares his theory here.