Some watch awards

February 2001

Some watch awards during 2000

The “Cats” Award: for the longest running story: It's a tie. One story is steel's remarkable unflagging run as the case material of choice, even for luxury watch producers. The other is America's streak of eight consecutive years of growth in Swiss watch imports, the longest of any market in the world.

The Derek Jeter MVT (Most Valuable Timepiece) goes to Patek Philippe's Star Caliber 2000.

The WWF “Let's get ready to rumble” Award for Best Technological Brawl goes to Patek Philippe, IWC Schaffhausen, Chopard and Bulgari. The four huffed and puffed last spring in an unlikely but fascinating battle for the title of World's Longest Power Reserve Watch. Patek's “10 Days” took the crown but the others put up a good fight with truly noteworthy watches.

The Alvin Toffler Future Shock Award goes to Seiko for its new R-Wave desk and table clock, which gives us a glimpse of what timing will be like later in the milennium. The clock offers atomic accuracy for 50$. It is plugged in, via radio waves, to the cesum atomic clock in Fort Collins, Colorado. Consequently, it loses one second every million years.

The Rube Goldberg Award for Funkiest New Watch Contraption goes to Casio for its WQV-1Wrist Camera and WMP-1V Wrist Audio Player watches. The wrist camera takes, displays, and stores up to 100 black and white photos. The audio player watch stores up to 33 minutes of CD quality high fidelity music that the wearer can listen to. Cool.

The Lance Armstrong Comeback of the Year Award goes to Severin Wunderman and Corum Watch Co. Wunderman, the man who turned Gucci into a watch brand, left the watch industry in 1997, then returned in January to buy financially strapped Corum. The two are perfect for each other. Wunderman has the capital and design and marketing clout Corum needs and Corum has what Wunderman wants - a brand to call his own.

The Drunken Sailor Award for Gross Overpayment for a Watch Company goes to Richmont chairman Johann Rupert. Rupert's acquisition of JLC, IWC and Lange & SÖhne made big news but at a huge price. The purchase price was 8,8 times sales, an inordinate sum. By comparison, the Swatch Group paid 2,5 times sales for Breguet while LVMH paid 2,9 times sales for TAG Heuer, 2,5 for Ebel and Chaumet, and 1,3 for Zenith.

The Saatchi & Saatchi Award for Shrewdest Product Placement goes to Timex, which coasted through the presidential election campaign secure in the knowledge that it was guaranteed a third consecutive term as the presidential watch of choice since both Al Gore and George Bush wear Timex.

From American Time, Jan/Feb 2001 issue