FRIDAY WIND DOWN: LVMH Watch Week, Oris unVAILings, Royal Oak revolution and Grand Seiko strikes aga
This week was action-packed, with tons of new novelties for watch fans to explore. LVMH Watch Week debuted new collections across all four brands: Bulgari, Hublot, TAG Heuer, and Zenith. You can check out our novelty overviews by clicking on those aforementioned brand names, or search “LVMH Watch Week” to discover what we have covered more in-depth so far, with more coverage on the way.
Audemars Piguet also came to play this week, starting off 2022 with a revamped Royal Oak Collection in honour of the 50th anniversary of the model with at least 42 new models entering the catalogue. Given their winning formula, AP did not overhaul the external profiles of the new pieces – the Jumbo carrying the same dimensions and form from the previous generation. But new calibres entered the fold, most notably the new in-house 7121 that finally put an end to the legendary calibre 2121 used for the last 50 years inside the Jumbo. Many of the other debuting Royal Oak watches, however, have received minor tweaks with major impact – new thinner cases and bracelets, plus dial refinements such as new applied logos, colour tones and minute track printing. It is an exciting time for AP fans, and buyers will be glad to know that Audemars Piguet has stated that there will supposedly be allocations set aside for “newcomers” to ensure more people can enjoy their timepieces.
While I was going hands-on with a selection of AP’s new releases, Time+Tide team members Ricardo and Jeremy had a blast in Vail, Colorado with Oris during their 2022 Annual Preview. These days, anytime we can come together as an industry in-person is precious. While there was a lot for them to explore watch wise, it was also about connecting with the people behind the brand and our other industry peers – in some cases meeting one another for the first time “in the metal”.
Ricardo and Jeremy had the chance to experience Oris’ yearly traditions; going out into the village for meals and kicking back at a few of the local bars. When I went to Aspen with Hublot last month, I had the bravery to try skiing for the first time. But when presented with the opportunity to ski, snowshoe, or use the spa, Jeremy and Ricardo went a different route – opting for some pampering time in the spa. C’mon guys, really?
While there was a lot of fun to be had, of course they got down to business as well. During the festivities the duo were able to engage hands-on with Oris’ debuting novelties, and get more intimate with the value-driven Swiss manufacture.
For those seeking precious tones at a more approachable price point, Oris has got you covered with four new Big Crown automatic watches cased in bronze and outfitted on a bronze bracelet as well. With green, brown, Bordeaux and a new blue variant to choose from, there is flavour for every taste palate and with its Sellita-based Oris 754 movement, these watches are available for the accessible price of $2,600 USD.
Another notable novelty that Oris unveiled in Vail broke new ground for the independent manufacture. For the first time, Oris has introduced a watch with a striking and intricately crafted cloisonné enamel dial – chosen to capture the story of Sun Wukong, the legendary Monkey King. This 41.5mm Oris Aqis Sun Wukong Artist Edition will be a limited edition of 72 pieces, and is the brand’s first foray into a much higher price tier – $27,500 USD to be exact. Stay tuned for more detailed coverage on these new collections coming soon.
Last but not least, Grand Seiko continued their streak of novelty drops this month with another two limited-edition watches of 550 pieces each – which in my personal opinion rank are their most intriguing pieces of 2022 so far. In honour of the 55th anniversary of the 44GS case, Grand Seiko has introduced two 44GS-cased watches in their highly corrosion-resistant “ever-brilliant stainless steel”. The limited-edition timepieces each contain their latest next-gen calibers, one boasting the 5 Day Spring Drive caliber 9RA2 and the other powered by the revolutionary 9SA5 hi-beat 80 hour caliber.
Both also have been paired with “growth rings” or “tree rings” dials, which originally debuted on the platinum-cased SLGH007 in a black tone. The Spring Drive SLGA013 leverages a dark grey textured dial, while the 9SA5-powered SLGH009 has a blue textured dial. I have been itching to add a 44GS Grand Seiko and 9SA5-powered watch to my collection, and the SLGH009 presents the opportunity to kill two birds with one stone. And, of course, the 9RA2 caliber strengthens the already immaculate performance of previous generation Spring Drive calibers, and removes the power-reserve indicator from the dial allowing the growth rings texture to remain largely uninterrupted. So both pieces, from my perspective, are very strong drops from the Japanese manufacture. Grand Seiko has been doing a lot this month, but, with releases like this, I say keep ’em coming.
Hope you all have a great weekend!
I always say that the beauty of #watchfam is how two people who have never met before will immediately become fast friends through their shared passion of horology. Every now and again as I walk the streets of New York City wearing my Grand Seiko cap, I catch a passer-by staring at the hat with a look of fond recognition. And it’s a safe bet that, were I to stop and strike up a conversation, we’d be trading watch Instagram handles by the end of it. On the other hand, should you use your watch-speak dialect on the uninitiated, you are only likely to elicit a confused stare. That’s how it is. In our bubble, we sometimes forget that not everyone understands the complexity of a Dufour simplicity, how cool Spring Drive is, or what the phrase “lug-to-lug” means. But it is these very quirks that bind all of us watch nerds together.
I normally do not encourage removing the bracelet from a Rolex watch. But this is a vibe. If you are looking to really lean into the Tiffany-mania, Horus Straps has created their own aftermarket rubber option to dial up the tonal flex. From the shot, it appears Horus Straps have done a great job of perfectly matching the tone of the Rolex OP Turquoise dial. So, if you are lucky enough to own this highly in-demand model, want to preserve the bracelet now the watch commands such a high secondary premium, or simply want to liven up the look, it is nice to know this option is available to you.
Our favourite Time+Tide coverage of the week:
HANDS-ON: The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak “Jumbo” Extra-Thin ref. 16202 with new in-house calibre 7121
In case you missed it, we went hands-on with the new 50th Anniversary Royal Oak “Jumbo” Extra-Thin and its new calibre 7121 – in both stainless steel and yellow gold. You can check out our full thoughts on the watch-internet breaking release right here.
The Autavia is one of TAG Heuer’s most storied collection. Yes, it sometimes gets lost with all the noise made by the Monaco and Carrera. But with this latest release in celebration of the Autavia 60th anniversary, it’s going to be hard to lose sight of this line any longer. TAG Heuer has blessed us with a set of yin and yang Flyback Chronographs accompanied by a black and blue classic GMT. Head here for our video review of this dynamic trio of watches.
HANDS-ON: The Hublot Big Bang Integral Time Only brings 40mm to titanium, ceramic and 18K yellow gold
The new Hublot Big Bang Integral Time Only collection presents a pared back take on the Big Bang Integral, its tamer 40mm diameter more approachable for wrists of all size to enjoy. Head here for our full hands-on review.