THIS WEEK IN WATCHES, IWC REPLICA STEPS ONTO THE RED CARPET, BLANCPAIN DIVES INTO THE BLUE, AND A MULTI-COLOURED SWATCH COLLECTION SELLS FOR $6M
IWC’s first monopusher goes to the movies, and then under the hammer
To mark the partnership, the luxury Swiss replica watches brand has created its first ever monopusher chronograph (defined by a single pusher – built into the crown in this case – that starts, stops and resets the chronograph). It’s called the Portofino Monopusher Edition ‘TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL 2015’ Unique Piece, and it has two Bordeaux red subdials on its slate-coloured dial, mimicking movie-land red carpets.
This one-off watch is being sold by Christie’s in an online auction that ends today – all proceeds will go to the non-profit Tribeca Film Institute.
Blancpain’s deep commitment
A recent expedition supported by Swiss luxury replica watches brand Blancpain is to lead to the creation of the world’s largest, continuous marine reserve around the Pitcairn Islands, a Pacific territory owned by the United Kingdom.
Part of National Geographic’s Pristine Seas Expeditions, the recent expedition was also the latest in a growing line of Blancpain-supported marine conservation projects, which the brand refers to as its Ocean Commitment.
The new Breitling replica marine reserve will span an area of more than 322,000 square miles –more than three and a half times the size of the British Isles – around the Pitcairn Islands, which were originally settled by mutineers from the HMS Bounty in 1790 and make up one of the last British overseas territories.
The first Blancpain-backed Pristine Seas expedition to the area took place in March 2012 when National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence, Dr Enric Sala and his team discovered several new species of fish and marine ecosystems. It was these findings that formed the scientific basis for the creation of the reserve.
To commemorate this and its other conservation projects, Blancpain unveiled the Fifty Fathoms Ocean Commitment Bathyscaphe Chronographe Flyback in October last year. It’s a limited edition piece, with a 43mm grey ceramic case and one of Blancpain’s in-house chronograph movements. Its dial and bezel inlay are a deep, marine-like blue. Blancpain will donate €1,000 from each of the 250 pieces sold to its on-going conservation projects.
A Swatch in time
An auction in Hong Kong this week offered rare proof you don’t have to invest in high-end Breitling replica watches brands to build a collection worth millions. On Wednesday, The Dunkel Collection, a ‘superlot’ made entirely of colourful Swatch watches and memorabilia, went under the hammer for a cool $6m.
Previously, it belonged to Paul Dunkel, who built his treasure trove over 25 years, collecting some 5,800 watches, making it one of the world’s largest collections of Swatches held in private hands. It included all manner of prototypes and limited editions, many of them from the Swatch Art line of special editions, watches made in collaboration with iconic 20th century artists, among them Keith Haring, Kiki Picasso and Mimmo Rotella. One of the highlights was the Bond villain boxed set launched in 2008, a line of 20 watches released in a limited series of 222.
Swatch may be a mass brand, but its story is entwined with the rebirth of the Swiss luxury watch industry. It was launched in 1983 by the late Nicholas Hayek, whose vision was of a cheap, fashionable ‘second watch’ – hence ‘Swatch’ – made of plastic and powered by basic but reliable quartz movements. Hayek’s watches captured the zeitgeist and democratized Swiss watchmaking, and by 1988 he’d sold more than 50 million Swatches, making him a fortune he used to buy up and revive flagging traditional Swiss replica watch brands such as Omega, Breitling replica and Longines, now the flagship names of what trades today as Swatch Group. Without Swatch, it’s almost certain those brands would have disappeared into the history books.