Tim: Hi, I’m Tim, welcome to WatchBox and thanks for logging on. Well, it is this week in watches, and it’s coming just before the next week at SIHH. So this is our sign off episode for a little while. I’m here with Josh Thanos of WatchBox.
Josh: Hey guys.
Tim: Welcome all, this is our last show so we’re going to be covering pre-SIHH, the best, the worst, and the most controversial. Let’s start with some wrist shots, Josh, what are you wearing tonight?
Josh: All right, so let’s get see if we can get the wrist shot in here. I’m wearing tonight a watch that’s pretty cool. We saw this released, what, last year. It’s the CK2998 Special Edition. It’s a re-edition of a 1959 Speedmaster.
Tim: Yeah, the CK2998 is the actual first Omega in space. This one’s a tribute without being slavishly literal. You see it’s got the blue ceramic tack, fully lit with numinova. It’s got the old straight lug style case in 39.7 I think. Lollipop second hands, and alphas at center. It’s even got a dropped seconds track, kind of like an old Paul Newman Daytona, which was not part of the original CK2998.
Josh: No, this is a nice upgrade. It’s a 39 millimeter, but it wears more like a 41. In my opinion, it’s because of those straight lugs. Right now it’s on a blue alligator strap on the tang buckle, but it does come with the really nice [deplant? 00:01:47] that I love. But yeah, a great watch.
Tim: All right, and tonight, because we’ve got a surprising amount of military content, I’m wearing the first JLC I ever bought, appropriately enough, while I was still in the military. This one succeeded my Omega Seamaster 300 meter, and it was funny because master chief’s would comment on that watch being way too expensive for a Lieutenant, and so then I bought this watch and never got another comment about the price of my watch because they had no idea what it was.
So, alarm, world time, limited edition, and quick release lugs. Long time viewers of the show know this as the flying watch. I can’t call it the flying dutchman because it’s not orange, but in spirit perhaps. Now, tonight, I want to remind all of our viewers, and I can see you joining us in there, Carlos Rameriez first, Martin hi, lavishly fat Charles [inaudible 00:02:33] we’ll read off our roster again, that although I am gone, buying selling trading watches continues on thewatchbox.com.
Tim: Give him a call, we’ve got his phone number. It’s easy and it’s fun. So, it is the place to sell your watch too, if you’ve got a watch for Christmas, Haunnaka, Festivus, it wasn’t the one you want, trade in for the new and correct flame on the WatchBox.com. Fast, fun, and 24 hours a day.
All right. Let’s play this or that, guys. Josh.
Tim: I already know your answer so let me finish.
Josh: All right, go for it.
Tim: Okay. This or that. PreSIHH edition or SEHH in the favored French. Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore, this one, the new Khaki Green ceramic and beige dial 44 or the Vacheron [inaudible 00:03:24] Overseas Dualtime. Both released Pre-SIHH. Let’s go with the AP first. Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore, they’re calling this Khaki Green. I tend to associate Khaki with the color of that dial but I’m using their nomenclature, so AP, have it your way. Now, 44 millimeters, stainless steel, ceramic bezel in green, really quite good looking and the first AP use of green ceramic. This one has a strap that I have to say looks rather aftermarket, kind of like what [inaudible 00:03:50] has been doing for a few years, but I’ll also say that may be a good thing, as the aftermarket usually fills in product and service gaps that manufacturers fail to recognize.
So AP, maybe getting a little big ahead of the game with this strap. Okay, manufacture caliber 3126, 50 hour power reserve, free sprung, full balance bridge, very tough, it’s driving a vertical clutch chronograph module. Quick set hacking seconds, 100 meter water resistant, diver strap in camouflage. Now, this watch, we don’t know quite what it’s going to cost, but it’s a reference 26400 SO and that reference exists, albeit with different color ways, if you want to use that current phrase, in the catalog. The current 26400 SO costs $33,400 US dollars. Josh, hold your fire. Okay.
Vashron [inaudible 00:04:40] Overseas Dualtime.
This technically referenced 7900. Came out a few months back, 41 millimeters by 12.8 millimeters thick, it’s a little bit smaller, a little bit thinner than the AP but just as big and boisterous. It’s actually rated to a higher water resistance and it’s more antimagnetic. Quick release lugs, includes a leather strap, a rubber strap with the stainless steel bracelet, so you get all three with these quick release lug system that you can operate with your fingertips.
Now, 60 hour power reserve Geneva Hallmark Movement, this is Geneva seal caliber, 5110 DT. Beautifully executed, for once the dual time has an in-house caliber and you can see it. Finally, $29,500 US, so undercuts the AP by a few thousand, but Josh, I don’t think that’s going to sway your heart, tell us why.
Josh: Yeah, well, okay. So, the second gen, I think, is really the one to get when you talk about the Overseas, okay. We’ve talked about this third gen, about their price points, and things like that. But I have to say, the execution … see, the idea, this watch on paper, the dual time, is fantastic. The second gen dual time is fantastic, but the execution just doesn’t cut it for me. I like the fact that you can do the swapping out of the straps, but that cuts a lot of the aftermarket stuff out, which I guess you don’t really do that with the second gen anyways, but I always like getting aftermarket straps. Something I like.
Also, something about the dial just looks off. I think that the arrows are a little bit too large, it’s just the proportions are a little funky, it looks like almost like toyshure, like a surfer’s watch, to me. Obviously, probably better made movement, it probably wears a little bit nicer, it’s a 42 as opposed to a 44 which, personally, I’m gonna wear better. But, if I had a chance to get an army themed AP offshore, we’re going for that, okay? And on the market, if you were to get one of these Khaki’s, for sure this is going to hold much more value without a doubt than the VC. There’s no question.
Green ceramic, super freaking cool, and AP has been releasing all these really cool novelties, I don’t know if this is going to limited or not, have they decided?
Tim: I don’t know just yet, and I have the Pre-SIHH press material and they haven’t clarified it there either. I don’t think so.
Josh: You don’t think it’ll be limited? You think it’s going to be a regular production piece?
Tim: I do, I don’t see any individual numbering or mentioning of individual numbering, so … to be continued.
Josh: Everything seems to be limited at AP these days, right? We’re an authorized dealer, and we don’t get a great allocation, I don’t think anybody does. And they’re constricting, you know, they are trying to sell as many watches at a boutique as possible. It’s a great strategy for the brand, of course, and for value retention. Controlling distribution, as we speak about all the time, is the best way to do that. This watch is super cool, it’s going to be polarizing of course so I’m hoping that’s going to be limited. And I assume it will be, but this or that, AP without a question.
Tim: Yeah. Guys there’s limited, and then effectively limited. And in pure terms of supply and demand, there will be a wait list for that watch. I’m going to say that for me, I like the Vashron, but here’s the aesthetic limitation of that watch, and I think I’ve finally pin pointed it. Unless we’re talking about the chronograph, in which case the loss of the grand date really hurt the aesthetic, I feel like the lugs taper too much. The junction between lug and bracelet looks too asymmetrical. The lugs space out too much and taper indecently to a bracelet that’s a little bit too small for the case width. Almost in the form of the Rolex Deep Sea Seadweller, where the bracelet is a wonderfully made piece, but it just doesn’t appear to be spaced broad enough to deal with the sheer shoulders of the watch to which it’s joined.
Otherwise, I think the Vacheron wins on engineering and value, but there’s no doubt, AP for style, flair, invention, and resale value.
Josh: I want to say it’s funny. If you see how polarizing this watch is, in our comment box, I see a comment that says “That AP is horrible” and just below that, “That AP is sick.” So, that’s kind of what you’re going to see with a watch like that.
Tim: Or maybe, it’s horribly sick.
Tim: So, there, see what I did there?
Josh: You did something great there.
Tim: Okay. Fair enough, moving on. Guys, stay with me online as the camera turns to Geneva. I’m going to be carrying the camera with me. Follow me on Tim underscore Mossow, that’s my Instagram, I’m going to be updating not just once a day as is my norm, but several times per day. See it as I see it, literally, in real time. Don’t wait for the release, don’t wait for the article on [inaudible 00:09:04] to watch, as much as I love them both. The bottom line is that real time is on my Instagram, and right here on WatchBox Studios, where I’m going to be packaging snippets of video and throwing them up all day long.
Also, comment in the chat box below about what you think, what you want to see, what you’re most curious about, and again, this is interactive, even when the camera stops rolling. I will get you SIHH coverage to suit your needs and your demands in real time. Finally, come on guys, subscribe.
Josh: Super jealous, by the way.
Tim: Next time. Josh is going to do [inaudible 00:09:37]. All right.
Josh: How long are you gone for?
Tim: I’m going to be gone for the entire week. I’m seeing the independents, the HYT’s, the MBNF’s, the elegant by [inaudible 00:09:47] and the [inaudible 00:09:50], the independent chorale that used to be the Palace of Bozel, now they’re all at SIHH. That’s Monday. The Richmont companies and AP, that’s going to be Tuesday and Wednesday. And then on Thursday, I’m getting private showings with a bunch of companies, identities to be revealed, and I’m going to take you through the novelties as though we were big wigs getting our own set of looksies. And again, this is all in real time. All right.
Josh: So cool.
Tim: New watches. Josh, possibly the best value to be released so far, pre-SIHH, it’s the Clifton Bonmatic Chronometer. 40 millimeters in stainless steel, this one features the automatic caliber BM12-1975A. What’s special? Well, it’s automatic, it’s a five day power reserve, it’s going to be exclusive to Baume and Mercier, it’s developed within the Richmont group. They’re going to get it solely. It’s like the 8500s and the 9300s at Omega, which are made by ETA but exclusive to Omega. Same thing here.
Also, silicon hair spring, highly anti-magnetic to 1500 gauss. It’s a nicely proportioned, handsome, versatile, dress watch that has a sports style, and for 2500 dollars US, I feel like you’re getting a lot here.
Josh: Yeah, I mean, it looks like a watch from your favorite manufacturer, a little bit.
Tim: It does look a little bit geoproximate, shall we say?
Josh: Yeah, we’ll call it that.
Tim: But I’ll also say this –
Tim: Yeah, no, it beats the JLC on anti-magnetism and power reserve, so this is impressively specified movement. This movement, four or five years ago, would’ve looked at home in a top level panori. So that’s quite a bit of refinement for 2500 bucks.
Josh: Yeah. It’s good value.
Tim: Compared to the options from Solita and ETA for the same price, that’s the great way to go, if you’re looking for a Baume and Mercier, a versatile style. And here’s the good thing about … I will admit. Borrowing generously from perhaps the geophysic, that’s a time tested style, and it has been since 1958.
Josh: Yeah, absolutely. It’s a handsome looking watch, 2500 dollars, not breaking the bank for most of us. So I’d say it’s a good watch. I don’t know about resale value or anything like that, but just absolute value it’s good.
Tim: Let’s say you lost half the value on a 2500 dollar investment. That’s still less than that overseas would depreciate if you bought it at list.
Tim: And in terms of style, if you’re going to steal, steal from the best, right? It’s a good looking watch, a lot of mechanical value, I think 2500 dollars is a very fair price.
Josh: Yeah. Agreed.
Tim: Okay, speaking of fair pricing, this one has a little bit more buzz because it’s a sequel to a watch everyone loved in 2016. It’s the Oris Carl Brashear Chronograph. Yes, if you remember the 2016 limited edition, the 2000 piece series based on the diver sixty five, named after the first African American to qualify as a US navy diver, who then had a leg amputated and qualified again to continue his service, there’s actually a Carl Brachear foundation, and proceeds from this actually go to the foundation.
43 millimeters now in bronze, this is a watch that features a 100 meter diving depth, so it’s a proper sports watch, automatic solited chronograph caliber, 2000 pieces for $4950 US dollars with commemorative boxed set that includes a Carl Brashear challenge coin that’s pretty neat. Josh, what do you think of this watch?
Josh: From a market standpoint, I love the watch. I mean, the Carl Brashear Oris is super hot, I have people calling me asking about it, can’t get the watch. So, the fact that they made a reedition is good. Personally, not a fan of diving chronographs, don’t really like the styling and the watch, I think that it’s scary when you don’t have screw down pushers for a diving watch with the chronograph. So I can just imagine pressing the chronopusher while we’re underwater and just the watch filling up with water, I don’t know if that’s the case or not. I’m sure it’s not, but yeah, it’s a good looking watch, blue dial, bronze watch. I think the Bronze fad is kind of coming to an end and this is the tail end of it.
Tim: I would say, as far as send offs go, it’s true bronze is nowhere near revolutionary anymore, but if the watch is handsome and limited enough, it’ll have a clientele. This is the kind of watch that Oris does best. Under $5000, sports styled, with few enough made that I imagine demand will outstrip supply. And while I’m not necessarily a fan of diving chronographs because I find them to be a little bit of a contradiction, I don’t necessarily think this is a poorly placed example.
The dial is balanced, complication is useful, and let’s face it, as with any luxury watch, the user should at least know his stuff to the point that he’s not going to try to operate a chronograph underwater. I do think the combination of a dive bezel and a chronograph opens up interesting concurrent timing possibilities to a degree that, for instance, a conventional split seconds chronograph does not. It’s easier to time two events measured in minutes rather than seconds, so I think on that basis, a diving chronograph has some merits. I also think the style of this one was smart in that it’s simple. It changes very little of the proportions we loved in 2016. And I think, if anything, you know what, 2000 more, the world has room.
Is bronze ending? Absolutely, but this is a great sendoff.
Josh: I feel like Oris has a feel of like an honest company, you know? They’re making watches that you know that they like. I have talked to you about their service, and just as a brand, it seems like it’s a good company, so I’ll stand behind this watch. And if somebody asks me if they should buy it I’d say if you like the way it looks absolutely purchase it.
Tim: Yeah, and on top of that, we always talk about honesty and manufacturing and proprietary movements versus customer calibers. You go on Oris’s website, first of all, the pricing’s very reasonable, and they give you everything you could ever want to know. Not like the pretty pictures you get on [inaudible 00:15:21] websites, they give you every technical spec you could ever want. Plus, the actual name of the movement from the supplier, they don’t even try to put some proprietary number on top of it and hide behind that.
So they’ll tell you if it’s [inaudible 00:15:33]. Great company, I think it’s a great watch. We’re off to a value laden start for these pre-SIHH watches. We’re about to change the program a little bit here with Resence, a company that’s only been making watches since 2010. One part Belgium, one part Switzerland, all innovative, this is a direction even they haven’t tested in the past. What do you think? Not really a concept, but it’s the type 2 E Crown concept, due for production later this year. This is a watch that is technically the first of the type two family. They’ve had type ones and threes and fives, this is the first type two. So they skipped the name, they came back to it.
With a lenticular case profile, this lenticular profile, a lot like little flying saucer for your wrist. Now, I don’t believe this is one of their oil filled watches, because of the perforations in the dial. Why? Because this watch introduces an electronic timing system to the watch. So, mechanical watch, no oil in this one, there are actually gratings in the dial winding via a rotor and by means of a charging assembly. Those gratings in the dial open up when the charging assembly detects a low charge and it will open up the photovoltaics if you’re not wearing it enough to mechanically wind this system.
So, this is an interesting application of a quartz machine that also has bluetooth compatibility. A little bit like the F.P. Jorne Elegant, even if the watch runs down and stops, that is the mechanical system wears out, it will keep track of the correct time so that when you wind it up and start the mechanical component again, it will reset the watch to the correct time. Therein, I see a little bit of F.P. Jorne in there.
Josh: That’s amazing.
Tim: But now what sets this apart is that unlike the Elegant, it’s a hybrid of electronics and mechanical mechanism. An electronic module between an ETA 2824 and the ressence orbital convex system that controls the planetary display of the dial. So, you can also count on the system to monitor the time and update continuously, so basically the electronics will just keep your mechanical caliber in line. Or, you can set, via the caseback, the oldschool ressence style, or you can use the Ecrown app which works on your phone and allows you to use your phone via the Ecrown app to correct the time and even use it to correct the time per the correct time zone.
So, very innovative. No MSRP available, but I would have to guess that 50000, the upper eschelon of where you’ll pay for an oil filled ressence right now is probably the entry level of possibility for pricing here. Check out the dedicated website at ecrown dot com that ressence has opened up. Josh, is this a good move or a bad move, putting electronics in the watch?
Josh: I mean it’s interesting. From a brand like Ressence it makes sense, they’re kind of like a cutting edge type watch company, they’re doing things that other people aren’t doing. This watch kind of reminds me of their only watch offering as well, you know, with the cuts in the dials and things like that. I don’t know, I think it seems good. The brand, we have had some buzz around the brand. Resale value has been kind of hit or miss on certain models, but I think it makes sense for a brand like this for sure.
Tim: I will say this. On the news side of the house, there’re only a handful of brands that saw double digit growths in 2016 which was like an apocalyptic year for the watch industry. There was Richard Mille, there was Moser, and there was Ressence. We’ll talk a little bit more about Moser later, guys. I know you’ve asked, it’s coming. Believe me, it’s coming.
But this watch right here, I love the concept, I love the innovation, I’m not sure I would pick it personally, because to me it starts to feel like the fusion of mechanical automobiles with electronics and that’s not always been a happy marriage.
In the short term, your car syncs with your phone and offers all manner of sophistications via electronics, integrated circuits, and local area networks. But there are now quite a few cars from the 90s, the beginning of pervasive electronics, where all the old car things, decoking cylinder heads, engine rebuilds, rust out of bodies, that’s not a thing anymore. Those cars are completely intact, but because some discontinued sealed module in the drive train has burned out and cannot be replaced, you’ve got complex cars from the 90s like BMW 7 series, Lamborghini Diablos, and Lincoln Mark 8’s that are now physically intact in every respect but they’re paperweights, because that piece of electronics is no longer serviceable.
20 years down the line, all the mechanical components of this watch will still be serviceable, will this sealed module with its printed integrated circuits still be watchmaker serviceable? I’m not sure.
Josh: Doubt it.
Tim: And this is why FP Journe doesn’t even do silicon inside its watches. He wants the watches to out live him. I’m sure Ressence feels the same way. They’re going to be those who are early adapters who want the tech edge and they’ll buy this watch. I think those who are into traditional horology will probably stick to the type ones, threes, and fives for now. I know there are plenty of 2002 BMW 7 series out there, rolling around with busted I-Drives, and the cost of fixing it is greater than the value of the car. Let that be a cautionary tale, Swiss watch industry.
Okay. All that said, I see comments in the chat box, folks are liking this. I see, from JB Osurf in Adelaide, Australia, Ressence is brilliant. Edward Ledin of Sweden is saying “Yes, Ressence is my favorite.” I can see that there are comments from Shannon echoing notion that Ressence is brilliant, but BS is saying “Cool Ressence, but people probably think it’s a $500 smart watch.” I don’t think they’re going to make the mistake just because there’s no digital display. So that’s the saving grace there, no one’s going to mistake this for an Apple Watch, although it does have roughly the profile is half a crab apple on your wrist.
All right, guys, good stuff. And I do see there is one comment to the effect of “Pity that there is a battery in there.” I’m not sure if it’s a battery or a capacitor, but there’s definitely an energy storage system. Again, to be continued, what this looks like in 10 years. All right, moving on, we’ve got one from a company not often discussed that though around in one form or another since the late 90s, first is Cedric Jonair, later Estavid, it is Dewitt, making its first appearance at SIHH. Dewitt with the academia endless drive, is it endless drive? Well, not really, but it performs an interesting optical illusion thanks to an Archimedes screw that turns twin scrolling displays for the hours and minutes. This is a watch from a company that, we’ll admit, it is in the middle of a sort of restructuring. Pairing down the SKU’s in the catalog, pairing down the number of model lines, simplifying and refocusing on its core shapes, styling cues, and facility and complications.
Now, 42.5 millimeters in rose gold with the signature “Imperial Column” case flanks, Jerome Dewitt of course wants to remind you that he’s related to every European royal family that ever existed in perpetuity, ever and since. So, now, the power reserve is interesting because not only does it have the Archimedes screw driving the twin displays of time, but there’s actually a power reserve at the top of the dial that turns from green to red as the screw turns and discharges the 60 hour power reserve of the in house caliber. And that’s a manufacturer move, DW1653, not all Dewitt watches feature in house calibers. This one does.
Automatic winding with a robust power reserve and a free sprung balance, it’s nicely executed and handsome. The size of the watch is large but not so oversized that many couldn’t wear it. I’m interested in seeing what a white metal version of this in either palladium, platinum, titanium, or steel, or white gold, might look like. Approximately $37,500 US dollars, Josh, is this the jump start the Dewitt brand needs?
Josh: I don’t know. What do you think about the styling?
Tim: I actually like it. My only bone to pick with this watch is that the kind of person who can afford it, I would say, one out of two times is going to be an older gentleman who’s going to need help reading that dial. I do think something should’ve been done maybe every other numeral should’ve been like oversized in red, that’s just my thoughts.
Josh: Makes sense. The thing with Dewitt is that they make … or Dewitt … they make some weird watches, funky watches, how many are they manufacturing a year roughly?
Tim: You know, it’s hard to say. Somewhere between, I would say, 2000 and 5000. They’re not a mass manufacturer. You take the ETA movements out and it’s probably down to like 500 to 1000.
Josh: In my opinion, they should be a 500 to 1000 overall manufacturer. They don’t have a huge market, they make weird funky watches that tend not to hold much value, they have service issues too. But, that aside, the watch itself, it’s cool, don’t think it would be for me. I don’t know anybody who I know who’d look at this watch and say “Hey man, I got to have it.”
Tim: I have to say that it’s a good looking watch to the point where I could see in titanium or tantalum. This being a real hard and strong play for the guy who would consider the likes of Ressence or MBNF.
Tim: I think that low $50000 in a nonprescious metal with what’s being offered here mechanically, it would be very compelling. I will say, the company is working on improving its service network, paring down its collection, refocusing on improving the brand name, paring down its production in the short term. Jerome Dewitt and his wife are intimately involved in running the company, so the name on the dial is still the name running the firm. And there’s a lot of personal pride tied up there. They’re putting a lot of energy into relaunching the brand at SIHH this year, and I think this watch, especially if it’s the first of a line, could be a great way to do it.
I think it’s a strong play. If I could say one thing needs to be changed here, it would be add a white metal or a base metal version, and perhaps take those scrolling discs and have the discs themselves superimposed slightly over the dial. So instead of being recessed into cutouts, the shaft that’s turning them is in the cutouts, and then they flare out a little bit more with larger and highlighted numerals to make the watch a bit easier to read. That would be the only changes I’d make, and otherwise … [crosstalk 00:25:39] Yeah, just ensure that you can service it when the time comes and return it in a reasonable period of time. That’s the holy grail in watchmaking today.
Josh: All those things happened and good watch and good company.
Tim: Okay. So, I can see questions coming in, this is Eric Nielson saying “the nude of it has a bit of a cartoon face.” Yes, I think it’s called like [inaudible 00:26:02], it’s the idea that something has a face or something inanimate has the appearance of a face. I can see it. That on like a first generation Subaru WRX, the man in the moon, or the new academia endless drive. I see it, absolutely. So, moving on, we have a question from Cas who’s asking “what’s on Josh’s wrist?” Josh, Encore wrist shot, you’re getting a request.
Josh: Right here, zoom in there. It’s a Omega Speedmaster, the CK2998. I’m not going to go over all the details again, but it’s an awesome watch. 39 millimeters, right, wears like a 41.
Tim: Just under 40, yeah, actually a 39 and change, but the thing that sets this apart for me is although it pays tribute to the original, specifically in the hands and the case design, the dial, the color, and the use of modern materials, the sapphire and ceramic, gives this thing an identity of its own that not every tribute watch has.
In other words, it doesn’t depend on reflective glory to the point where it will lose interest down the line. Cool watch.
Josh: Big lollipop chronohand too, that’s nice.
Tim: Plus, you get the original moon watch caliber. It’s [inaudible 00:27:07] doing business as the Omega 1861 manual wind. I love that watch.
Josh: Yeah, good watch.
Tim: I actually wrote an article about that watch on the watchbox dot com blog, that you really should read.
Josh: Go now. Well, after.
Tim: Yeah, exactly. Open up a new tab for later. That said, I can see there’s some hard thoughts here. So, Cas was not a fan of the new academia endless drive. And I can see Andy Garton also not a fan saying “the only change he’d make is to redesign it.” You know what, there’s an old saying by Tom Gayle, who is in charge of Chrystler during the golden age of Chrystler design in the early to mid 90s, you know everything from the Dodge Viper to the Plymouth Prowler to the PT Cruiser back when that was still cool. He said “If half the people love it and half the people hate it, you’ve done your work. You’ve done right by your product and your company.”
Now the only question is, we’ve got roughly half the people in our chat box hating it. Do those who don’t love it?
Josh: They probably feel indifferent, honestly.
Josh: Sorta like how I do.
Tim: We’ve got all manner of emotions coming up now, as we transition to industry news, and a brand that will always rile opinions, RJ Romaine Jerome. The brand named after an imaginary man has a new CEO. Now, Marco Tedeschi, a veteran of [inaudible 00:28:29] replaces seven year RJ Romain Jerome CEO Manuel Empk, who remains associated with the company, I believe as part of the board of directors. He was really the guy who gave birth to Romain Jerome as we know it today. Focusing on the base, the DNA concept that Evon Arpa originally established with the company, and parlaying it out into everything from space invaders to watches best known for associations with the Titanic, Pokemon, yes Pokemon, DeLoreans, Hello Kitty, yes that’s gem-set Hello Kitty folks.
Josh: Can’t beat that.
Tim: And the occasional cool high mech piece commissioned from outside movement partners like the moon orbiter series. Okay, an expert in publicity that also happens to run a watch business, that’s RJ Romain Jerome. I’ve often considered them to be the company that wants to be Hublot when it grows up. Now they’ve got an Hublot man in the seat. The driver, can he take them there Josh?
Josh: I think it’s possible. It’s a … I don’t think it’ll ever be Hublot in the sense that athletes and movie stars and what not are going to be wearing these watches, but it has the feel of Hublot where it’s going to be a watch that has a fun feel to it. This is not a Rolex or Mariner, this is not an Offshore or anything like that. This is a funky watch, it’s not going to be your only watch, if it is then I kind of want to meet you, actually. If your only watch is a Romain Jerome I definitely want to meet you actually.
I’m hoping that they utilize more loom. I think we talked about it before. I think they could corner the market, go like [inaudible 00:30:09] times 10 on some really funky designs, and I think that it actually will draw a little bit more interest to their brand.
Tim: Yeah, I think this is a prime candidate for whole blocks of luminescent material. Romain Jerome could do in the oversized sports watch category what MBNF and [inaudible 00:30:29] have only sort of hinted at. They’re one step along a path that Romain Jerome should follow to exhaustion. Do exotic things with materials and colors and loom. They’re never going to be about the movement. I think that’s kind of their path. They’re going to be about themes, provocation, innovation, ergonomics.
I will say, their unique articulated lug system actually works great.
Josh: Oh really well. They’re super comfortable watches. If you ever put one on your wrist, they’re great watches. The Titanic watch, we used to have an employee back in Florida who used to call it the “Bad Ju-Ju Watch.” So, they elicit emotion. When I saw the pokemon, the pikachu watch, I’m like “I need to get that.” It brings me back to my days when I was trading pokemon cards in middle school. So, it’s an emotional company, I think. That’s kind of what they trade on.
Tim: I can say, in our chat box, JBOSurf, you can talk about that, I really can’t. Look, our chat box is where things happen. There are movers and shakers in the live chat. If you’re not tuning in and joining in, you’re missing out on the SIHH news stream. All right. So moving along, from one news item to the next.
So, we may talk about this when we look back on the transition of CEO at Romain Jerome as the moment that Romain Jerome, the [inaudible 00:31:47] and the red headed step child of Swiss high herology grew up. Perhaps we look back at it that way. But incredibly, Romain Jerome, famous for its pokemon watches, did not own the most provocative moment of this week in watches. Are you ready guys, because here it comes. And you knew it was coming.
All right. That honor goes to H Moser and C. Now, normally, this is a lovable [inaudible 00:32:13] based independent, which makes about 1500 watches per year, and mostly builds watches like this. Colorful, but simple, combining complication and fine finishing with a straightforward dial, case, and ergonomic solution, that works for most. So, that’s to say, they’re highly pleasing to most of the crowd. But they decided to polarize the entire crowd and managed to aggravate almost everyone. We’re getting there.
Since 2012, under the capable leadership of Emiel B Holdings who turned this company around like no other firm in the business, they went from losses to double digit growth, really admirable. Moser has been know for edgy humor, especially the last three years running. That included spoofing the Apple Watches with it’s Swiss Alp watch line. And this infamous hat during last years SIHH. I had this on the shelf behind me for most of 2017. People complained about it because they thought it was that other hat. And here’s the thing.
If that weren’t provocative enough, this happened 48 hours ago. And what a two days it has been. Okay. Josh, we’re getting there. We’re getting there folks. Honestly, I didn’t know when I first saw it, whether this was a photoshop by some third party looking to cause a stir, or an actual prototype actually made by Moser. And I still don’t know if it physically exists. But I kind of got that tense gut feeling you get when you see someone next to you smoking at a gas station. Yeah, that feeling. You know that feeling of imminent doom? Yeah.
Actually, blown away might be the wrong film of reference here, because this Swiss icon’s [inaudible 00:33:59] from Moser managed to piss off a group of industry heavyweights whose names and identities we can only guess at. That’s more like it, yeah, that’s the movie reference. And given how many powerhouses did not laugh at the joke, and you can see all of their cardinal cues, here here here here here here here here and here. Okay.
I’m sure the folks in [inaudible 00:34:24] got the message, Godfather style about 24 hours later. Again, and again, and still some more, and yet again. Industry, internet, memes, I love it when things come together at the end of a show, because sometimes in the watch industry as constant and [inaudible 00:34:46] reminds us. Wrist watch watch you, soviet style. How serious can it get? Well, let’s just say, somebody should really warn Romain Jerome.
Guys, stay with me online during SIHH next week. I’m going to be updating multiple times daily on my Instagram, Tim underscore Mosso, as well as right here on WatchBox studios. A non-stop stream of real time content. I’m going to be your eyes, your ears, and in some ways, your automiton, because I’m taking requests from the comments under this video to get my cues for coverage at SIHH. Josh, thanks for joining us.
Josh: Hey, thank you.
Tim: Guys, comment, subscribe, like us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram. I’m Tim, he’s Josh, this is Watchbox, and thanks for logging on.