Maybe a myth but it is said that the city with the most Rolls Royce’s and Rolex watches per capita is Hong Kong. Having been to the city thrice I would most certainly vouch for the part about Rolex watches. Take a stroll through the city and it would be almost impossible to not come across a watch boutique with windows splashed with the latest from Cartier, Piaget, IWC, Breitling, and of course Rolex. The absence of sales tax makes Hong Kong the place for luxury shopping for density of watch stores and advertising is just second to none. Among one of the more prominent watch retailers in this tiny island city is Elegant Watches. Having a variety of boutiques and stand alone stores spread across to the city we decided to visit one of their stores in the Harbour city mall. From the host of brands that the store carries here are the seven horological masterpieces that we could not just get enough of –
HYT H1 Hydro (US$ 45,000) – The first model from one of the youngest watch manufacturers on the block the H1 Hydro from HYT (Hydro Mechanical Horologists). Instead of springs this mechanical wonder in a first uses a fluorescent liquid goo to tell the time, yes you read that correct. Two bellows which are operated by the movement push and pull the liquid to display the hours.
MB&F LM101 ($59,000) – MB&F is known to design and manufacture some of the most unique and interesting time pieces in the world. The LM101 is no different, awaited by watch enthusiasts as it was touted to be one of the more affordable and practical creations from the company. The stand out feature is undoubtedly the huge floating on the dial. The asymmetrical look along with looking cool has a practical purpose as it allows the wearer can quickly view the time from under the cuff without revealing the entire dial. A big step for the company as well as this watch is the first to use a movement entirely developed in house.
Vacheron Constantin Metier’d art Tourbillon (Pricing on request only) – To commemorate close to three centuries of watchmaking (260 years to be precise) at last years SIHH show Vacheron Constantin unveiled the Metier’d art Tourbillon a beautiful timepiece that showcases the brands expertise in fine watchmaking and enameling. Needless to say all done by hand, the watch features an intricate artwork of fish with a tourbillon carriage placed in the center. .
Girard Perregaux Constant Escapement ($ 100,000) – ‘Constant Force Escapement’ it may sound as a fancy weapon from the latest Star Wars movie but it is something much more humble but yet equally intriguing and marvellous, something that truly showcases the skills of the bright minds at GP. An escapement is a part of a watch that transfers the power stored in the mainspring to the balance wheel which maintains the time. To put it simply it’s more like a crankshaft in the car which transfers the power from the gearbox to the wheels. The accuracy of the escapement along with the power stored and the energy loss determines how well a watch runs. The beauty of this movement is that unlike any other previous ones no matter the power reserve it supplies a constant flow of energy to the balance wheel. All this is achieved by an intermediary mechanism in the form of a silicon blade that is thinner than a human hair.
Breguet Tradition 7047 Tourbillon ($ 175,000) – A stunner from Breguet the Tradition 7047 is designed in a way to show its inner workings in a rather beautiful way. Clad in titanium the Tourbillon and the balance wheel are housed in a under a large sapphire crystal. The black dial has a turn of the century feel which is contrasted by the modern looking movement. Truly its one of the unique looking watches from Breguet.
Cartier Rotande Flying Tourbillon – ($ 140,000) A round of watches without a Cartier? I don’t think so. The Rotande Flying Tourbillon has all the essentials of a Cartier – the shiny blue crown and a dial with large roman numerals. Upping the style quotient further are the blue sword-styled hands all magnificently enclosed in a 18k white gold case. Sitting at the bottom center is the flying tourbillon complication which points to the seconds with the tourbillon cage. A perfect blend of art and haute horology.
Zenith Academy Christophe Colomb – ($ 275,000) There are complicated watches and then there are complicated watches, this is the latter. Housed in a large bubble what may seem like a tourbillon escapement it is not, it is infact housed on a gyroscopic module which as you move and twist will always remain upright. As cool as it looks, it is extremely complicated and you can be sure of it as Zenith which is one of the pioneers in complex watchmaking took five years to develop it. The escapement assembly is housed in a glass bubble which extends on the back of the watch and though protruding it offers no discomfort in wearing the watch. Zenith has gone ahead and made a special edition which honors the 2012 stratosphere jump of Felix Baumgartner. The dial is a mix of blue earth and the clear starry sky as seen from the edge of the space along with a handmade sculpture of Fenix depicting him standing on the edge of his capsule before taking the plunge to earth, and yes, it also doubles as a power reserve indicator. Did I tell you that the case is platinum coated in black DLC?
A big thanks to – Elegant Watches, Shop OT286, Level 2, Ocean Terminal,
Harbour City, TST, Hong Kong