LVMH Watch Week 2021 was held during the week of 25 January 2021, a little over three weeks ago. Now that the excitement and craze (this editor was flooded with digital presentations and various interview sessions) has subsided a little, the time has come to do a quick roundup of the most important novelties from the LVMH watch manufactures: Bvlgari, Hublot, Zenith and TAG Heuer. With that, please show your biggest love to the latest crop of shiny wrist candies!
Perhaps one of the biggest news to surface from LVMH Watch Week 2021 is the partnership between TAG Heuer and German automobile manufacturers Porsche. Watch and car manufacturers tend to have strong synergy between each other and this is one partnership that many have been years in the making. Unsurprisingly, both behemoths have the icons called the Carrera under their portfolio and naming the piece TAG Heuer Carrera Porsche Chronograph seems pretty apt.
The TAG Heuer Carrera Porsche Chronograph features the distinct styling of the Carrera Sport Chronograph with touches of Porche’s DNA. Porsche is etched to the bezel while Porche’s colours of red, black and grey are used liberally. The dial’s asphalt effect expresses the passion for the race tracks both brands share, while Arabic numerals are reminiscent of those on the sports car dashboards. TAG Heuer’s Calibre Heuer 02 Automatic powers this timepiece that was well worth the wait!
Minted kings of ultra-thin watchmaking Bvlgari are at it once again with several key releases that cement their undisputed status. At the most vanilla end of the spectrum is the Octo Finissimo S that manages to be uber-stylish under the forward-thinking Bvlgari Maison. The Octo Finissimo S features a monochrome execution of a steel sports watch, a silvered dial that matches the case and integrated bracelet colour. Measuring at 6.4mm thick (the iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max are 7.4mm thick), the latest incarnation of the Octo Finissimo represents a new breed of steel sports watches and is ready to rival the likes of the Jumbo 15202 and recently discontinued 5711 not only in terms of style but also availability. (Winks!)
Those looking for a sportier and more functional variant can cast their eyes to the Octo Finissimo S Chronograph GMT. Both complications are useful in everyday context — measure cooking times or how long you can hold your breath for (not sure why this was immediately alluded to) or track your NBA teams play schedule across the Pacific Ocean with the GMT hand.
Next up is the elusive unicorn that this timepiece will turn out to be, the 15-piece limited edition Octo Roma Carillon Tourbillon. At first glance and reading through the press release, the Octo Roma Carillon Tourbillon is both a horological and engineering marvel. Without being too complex, the watch has an on-demand chiming function (activated by the left white gold button) that plays out the current time in a series of Westminster Chime octaves. As if such a movement is not complex enough, the mechanism is inverted by Bvlgari! The titanium case features strategic cutouts and hollowings to allow the best resonance and propagation of the pleasant chimes.
With the ethos “Art of Fusion” running through their veins, Hublot is in the business of engineering cutting edge materials and their pièce de résistance for LVMH Watch Week 2021 is the Big Bang Tourbillon Automatic Orange Sapphire. Hublot has been synthesising sapphire cases for a number of years but the orange tint is the first for them and the world. The see-through case provides a 360 degree through view of the mechanism that appears to be levitating. Hublot’s new calibre MHUB6035 features a redesigned layout and mounts the components on clear sapphire bridges to convey a floating effect. The rotor is positioned on the front top half of the dial above the tourbillon to provide maximum transparency.
The next piece could easily be the Big Bang Integral Ceramic or Big Bang MP-11 Magic Gold but we opted for the pared-down Classic Fusion Orlinski 40mm. Apart from materials Hublot’s “Art of Fusion” dictates in its collaborations, this one is with French sculptor and visual neo-pop artist Richard Orlinski. Presented in specific shades of black and blue that Orlinski works with, the entire Classic Fusion apart from the movement, the crown, and the strap is made from ceramic. Facets found on the dial and case are inspired by Orlinski’s works.
One of the strongest relationships between watch manufactures and calibres is Zenith and its El Primero. Both tend to exist in the same breath and Zenith continues to build on its biggest strength with two examples of the El Primero in distinctive forms. It is worth mentioning at the start that lots of historical references are used for both timepieces but with different end results.
First is the entirely new Chronomaster Sport, a steel sports chronograph with ceramic bezel and vintage style pump pushers. Though it looks thoroughly modern, it is a mashup of up to six different Zenith watches of the past including the A386, De Luca, A277, Rainbow and El Primero Stratos Flyback Striking 10th Limited Edition. From the case to dial elements and intricate details such as bracelet polishing are influenced by these six historical watches. Of course the El Primero chronograph calibre 3600 is housed inside, the latest of its kind in fact with several major updates to the legendary movement.
Next is the Chronomaster Revival A385 which goes beyond being a vintage-inspired creation. It is a reproduction of the original piece, down to the smallest of details. The original A385 — alongside the A384 and A386 — was part of the original trio of watches that housed the very first El Primero movements in 1969. This year, Zenith revives an important piece of its history with a timepiece identical to the ones from 1969, save for the sapphire crystal and display case back. Even the modernised ladder bracelet is a homage to the original ones made by legendary maker Gay Frères.
Do catch up on our February ’21 issue of Men’s Folio Singapore as well!