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Now Reading: The most important new watches from LVMH Watch Week

The most important new watches from LVMH Watch Week

The debut event, held in Dubai, offered a tantalising glimpse into the future of watch events and introduced some spectacular new watches


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By Dubai Watch Week

19 Jan, 2020

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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.

Hublot Sang Bleu II

Hublot's first partnership with the artist Maxime Plescia-Büchi, the Swiss tattoo artist behind the creative agency Sang Bleu, was a hit – Hublot has said it could have sold the watches the two made together several times over. No surprise to see a second collaboration, therefore. The new is as arresting as the first, echoing tropes found in avant-garde architecture and sculpture. It uses vivid hexagonal forms in the case and bezel, and two criss-cross, kite-shaped hands to show the time. The 45mm watch of course returns to a blue palette, with either a titanium or King Gold case.

Hublot Classic Fusion Gold Crystal

Unless you’re a metallurgist, you may not know that the rarest form of gold on Earth is gold crystal. Hublot has managed to reproduce this fascinating material and apply it to the dials of a pair of models named Classic Fusion Gold Crystal. Both the 45mm and 38mm versions are made in satin-finished and polished black ceramic and have dials depicting natural forms made of gold crystal clusters, no two of which are the same. The result is entirely captivating, a pure fusion of art and science.

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Zenith Defy Midnight

Zenith’s Defy has quickly become the company’s lead-out design and host for its latest material and mechanical innovations. But until now there’s not been a ladies’ version of it. Enter the Defy Midnight, a trio of 36mm pieces designed with women in mind. The grey, black or mother-of-pearl dialled steel watches all have a starry sky dial motif, and every new reference comes set with diamonds. Taking a recent trend to new levels, Zenith will supply the new watches on steel bracelets and with three straps. Each of these mixes rubber with leather or satin, and is easily switched using Zenith’s impressive new strap changing system.

Zenith Defy 21 Land Rover Edition

The fourth piece in Zenith’s partnership with automotive marque Land Rover has been designed in close partnership with the car maker’s Chief Creative Officer Gerry McGovern, and inspired by the new Defender, due for delivery this spring. The grey colour palette is led by a micro-blasted titanium case and offset by zesty orange detailing. And inside it is one of mechanical watchmaking’s most spellbinding movements, the 1/100th of a second El Primero 21 chronograph. Only 250 will be made.

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Zenith Elite Classic

The emergence of the Defy has come at the expense of Zenith’s more classical designs, something the company is looking to rectify with the revamping of its demure Elite collection. Available in a range of material and colour combinations (as well as with a moon phase), the new models are codified by a guilloché dial, perhaps in a nod to last year’s Jaeger-LeCoultre Master collection, which was a huge critical success. While it’ll be significantly less expensive than those métiers d’art pieces, it’ll still come with a jump in price over previous Elite models.

Bulgari Serpenti Seduttori Tourbillon

Bulgari’s hot streak continues with the launch of the world’s smallest ladies’ tourbillon watch, the Serpenti Seduttori Tourbillon, which houses a new movement designed especially for the iconic serpent-headed watch. It’s available in either rose or white gold, with a choice of diamond settings, including a bewildering full-diamond pavé bracelet option.

Bulgari Octo Finissimo Automatic Satin-Polished Steel

The Finissimo line has gone from nowhere to legendary status in a few short years, claiming a series of records for thinness along the way. The Octo Finissimo Automatic is the three-hander in the line, a slither of a thing with more than 70 hand-polished facets and and a hand-wound movement. This new 40mm satin-polished steel version is only 5.25mm thick and comes on a magnificent bracelet that deserves design and engineering prizes all of its own.

Bulgari Divas’ Dream Minute Repeater Malachite

No-one expected Bulgari to excel in ultra-thinness, a sort of unspoken high-complication, but its success in the field means it’s no surprise that it’s now the creator of the world’s thinnest ladies’ minute repeater, the fan-motif-inspired Divas’ Dream Minute Repeater Malachite. The hand-wound movement, which gives the watch its on-demand chiming function, is an impossible 3.12mm thick, also a minute-repeater world record. The watch has a vivid green malachite dial, and will run to just 10 pieces.

TAG Heuer Carrera 160 Years Silver Limited Edition

TAG Heuer may be holding fire on its new collection for now (it’s confirmed there’ll be a new Connected in March and a new Carrera for the brand’s 160th anniversary at Baselworld), but on the third day of LVMH Watch Week it hauled the covers off this stunning limited edition piece. Inspired by Heuer's (the TAG prefix was added in 1985) first silver-dialled, three-counter Carrera chronograph of 1964, the new watch is powered by TAG Heuer’s own Heuer 02 movement, a unit with several quality signifiers, including a vertical clutch and a column wheel (which improve the chronograph’s accuracy and reliability), and an 80-hour power reserve. One to wait for, though – it won’t be available until June.

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