Watch Curator '18


Watch Curator ’18

147 WATCHES UNDER SCRUTINITY

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October 2018


Watch Curator '18

Just this once, the special Europa Star October edition of Watch Curator 2018 devoted the majority of its pages to... watches! They are, after all, front and centre of the watch industry’s concerns.

W

e have made what is unavoidably a subjective selection from the parade of products launched this year, but we believe it to be representative of watch output as a whole. It’s not about presenting the watches that appeal the most to us personally, or about handing out symbolic prizes. In Watch Curator 2018, we attempt to map out the landscape of current watch production, so that our readers can draw their own conclusions about the future of traditional watchmaking.

In Watch Curator 2018, we attempt to map out the landscape of current watch production, so that our readers can draw their own conclusions about the future of traditional watchmaking.

Clearly, there are some phenomena that are impossible to ignore. As you might have guessed, the vintage wave continues to sweep everything before it (the Last Word to Start, at the end of the magazine, has more to say on this). Not a single watch category is spared. This formal return to the golden age of the tool watch is, in a way, a form of reassurance in the face of an increasingly inscrutable future. The watch industry, afraid of impending obsolescence, is turning to the past for resources.

The watch industry, afraid of impending obsolescence, is turning to the past for resources.

Also worthy of note is the fact that the upmarket trend shows no signs of slowing down. Watchmaking once again mirrors social trends, and we know that the middle class is shrinking, and society is fracturing into ultrarich and poor. Prices precisely reflect this gap: they are either astronomical or affordable. In between, there is a clear void.

Prices precisely reflect this gap: they are either astronomical or affordable. In between, there is a clear void.

The evidence is clear from the incredible profusion of tourbillons, a niche complication that used to be the preserve of a handful of master watchmakers. But this phenomenon should not be seen merely as a trivialisation – rather, it is a technical and aesthetic laboratory.

In these somewhat troubled times, watchmaking is trying to find its way while being pulled from one extreme to the other: return to purity and elegance, or exuberant exhibition of its technical entrails? Smaller sizes and volumes, or unapologetic sturdiness? Decorative embellishment and baroque detailing, or functionality and legibility? Everything and its opposite is possible. And, in the end, this all serves to prove that the industry is alive and kicking, if a little disorientated.

Here’s another point: we have chosen not to present the traditional “women’s watch” category. There are two reasons for this: first, because we feel that including this category is a form of ghettoisation; and second, because the range of women’s watches available remains, with few exceptions, disappointingly poor with offerings often restricted to flowers, butterflies and mother-of-pearl.

Europa Star Watch Curator ’18 is a selection of 147 watches classified under 13 specific trends:
Tourbillons - Globes - Sun, Moon & Stars - Purity - Open-worked - Skulls - Sport - Tough - New displays - Barocco - Vintage & Neo-vintage - Connected - Calibres.

TO BE DISCOVERED HERE...

In a future issue read more about one particularly striking phenomenon: the spectacular explosion of start-ups and new brands, many of them launched through social media. But it has to be said that many of them, rather than being stylistically disruptive, are generally conservative, and often merely reflect mainstream trends.