In this special feature, we wrap up 2015, look forward to 2016, and think about which watch brands might make Santa Claus’ “naughty” and “nice” lists.
It’s that time of year again, when you realize that you forgot to buy a Christmas present for that special someone in your life! For those with better time management skills, its the time to reflect on the year that was, look forward to the year to come, and guess what presents Santa might bring.
Speaking of Santa Claus, have you ever wondered what kind of watch Santa would wear? Perhaps something classic, like Baume & Mercier’s Clifton 1830 Pocket Watch. Or maybe a GPS- enabled Casio G-Shock MTG, allowing him to keep accurate time anywhere and anytime in the globe? Interestingly, watch brands haven’t really jumped on the marketing opportunity of using Santa to move more products, much like Coca Cola has.
Left to speculating, we can always talk about what 2015 watch releases might make Santa’s “naughty” and “nice” lists. Santa Claus is believed to make a list of children that have either been naughty or nice during the year, and then gives the appropriate presents on Christmas eve. Here are some of the few watches and brands that made our headlines in 2015, and make up Europa Star’s condensed “naughty” and “nice” lists for 2015:
The “Naughty” List
HYT The Skull – This latest addition to the HYT collection of bold timepieces speaks for itself. It is provocative, it is unique, and of course, it has that naughty look about it. Daring the wearer to look directly into its eyes, this timepiece has a life of its own. To give the Skull its soul, HYT has again relied on its signature fluid mechanics to power the imposing wristwatch.
Richard Mille RM 69 Erotic Tourbillon – We can’t talk about naughty timepieces without this 2015 release by Richard Mille, which pays tribute to centuries of erotic watchmaking history. The limited edition wristwatch reveals the wearer’s most secret intentions, displaying a combination of erotic phrases thanks to an innovative movement.
Merkava - The New York-based brand makes our “naughty” list for raising some eyebrows because it draws inspiration from strategic Israeli military vehicles. The new brand produces Swiss made watches that are full of testosterone; after all Merkava also happens to be the main battle tank of the Israeli army. But sometimes, a bit of controversy is exactly what a new brand needs to explode on the scene.
The “Nice” List
Schaumburg MooN Watch Galaxy – Among the big winners of this year was independent watchmaker Schaumburg. Its lunar-phase model boasts a highly accurate and almost lifelike depiction of the lunar cycle, capturing the 2015 Watch of the Year Award presented by the Salon Exceptional Watches (SEW). With its stunning 13.5mm display of the moon, it is arguably the world’s biggest and most accurate automatic lunar phase chronometer.
The Melchior – Producing ideal Christmas gifts that appeal to the eternal children among us, MB&F and L’Epée 1839 joined forces once again in 2015. This time around, they created a new robot-cum-table clock that captured perfectly the two brands’ imagination, creativity and design acumen.
Grand Seiko Spring Drive Chronograph – 2015 was a big year for Seiko, marking the brand’s 55th anniversary. This special edition timepiece was released to celebrate the occasion, epitomizing the four essentials of Japanese luxury watchmaking: precision, durability, legibility and beauty.
Fendi- The Italian brand’s 2015 creations were a showcase of unmistakeable Roman elegance. Headed by Domenico Oliveri - a trained nuclear engineer, no less – the fashion house founded by the five Fendi sisters had “eccentric luxury” written all over it once again this year.
Quinting– The brand put on a show of magic in 2015. As if a wizard made the movements of its elegant watches disappear, their dials are completely see-through. Yet the brand insists that there actually is a highly complex movement inside there somewhere. We’ll just take their word for it!
Wrapping it all up
2015 was an exciting year for the watch industry, and not always for positive reasons. Along with the typical, plentiful releases of traditional mechanical watches by the usual suspects, we also have the honour of saying one day it “I remember 2015, it was when the smartwatch revolution happened!” How much of a revolution it really was is still up for debate…
We also saw the resurrection of old brands - think Czapek & Cie - and the birth of new ones - Klokers and Accurat come to mind, among the dozens of other brands that started on Kickstarter alone. The latter are particularly encouraging signs given that 2015 was a difficult year economically speaking, with a strong Swiss franc and dampened demand on the Asian market.
With a bow around 2015, what might we expect form 2016? While nothing is certain, one thing I would bet on for next year is the “Made in Germany” label. Nomos was all smiles in 2015, for example, posting huge growth of 30% for the year. Riding its proprietary escapement and a new automatic calibre, the Glashütte watchmaking company is one to watch out for in the years to come.
Junghans also revamped its collection this year, notably its highly regarded Meister line, allowing the “the watch with the star” and its 150+ years of history to keep up with contemporary trends. And of course there is also A. Lange & Söhne, the perennial German representative at the high end of the market. This year, the German watchmaker relied on its legacy in the release of three new generation models of its iconic Saxonia watch line.
So while 2016 might be Year of the Monkey in the Chinese calendar, it might just be the Year of the German in the Swiss calendar. Until then, it’s up to Santa Claus to deliver.
Merry Christmas and a very happy 2016 from the Europa Star family!
We’ll be back on the 4th of January 2016 with plenty of fresh news.