It was always clear that by moving the Swiss watch fairs to the end of April there would be a reaction from brands. While many had already pulled out of Baselworld and the newly re-christened Watches & Wonders altogether – Audemars Piguet, Breitling and the whole of Swatch Group, among many more – others followed the announcement by saying they would hold their own events in the early part of this year to account for the delays to what have always been pivotal moments in the annual watch calendar.
The LVMH group, which owns Bulgari and has a specialist watch division made up of TAG Heuer, Hublot and Zenith, announced last autumn that in January it would be hosting LVMH Watch Week in Dubai and inviting customers, retailers and press to the desert for a three-day event held at the Bulgari Resort Dubai. That was last week, and it proved to be hugely successful.
What this says about the future of the major Swiss watch fairs is anyone’s guess, but it doesn’t look great. Bulgari’s chief executive Jean-Christophe Babin said at the event that the fairs were ‘outrageously expensive’ and that it was ‘crazy’ and ‘damaging’ to hold them so late in the year, but neither he nor the chief executives of his sister brands have yet played their hand on next year and beyond. All will be at Baselworld this year, although not necessarily next, and used LVMH Watch Week to launch a some of their new creations.
Many of the pieces launched will be available before Baselworld, so without further ado, here’s Dubai Watch Week’s edit of the 10 most important pieces launched at LVMH Watch Week.
Hublot Big Bang Integral
The Big Bang has transformed Hublot’s fortunes since it was launched in 2005, although somehow it’s never had a proper bracelet. The Integral changes that, adding a superbly designed integrated bracelet into a subtly remodelled Big Bang case. At launch there are three versions; one in each of titanium, black ceramic and Hublot’s proprietary King Gold. At 42mm in diameter, they become the most conservative, even mainstream pieces we’ve seen from the industry’s great disruptor.