watches and style to the max
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COUTUREtime

Documenting my visit to COUTUREtime in Las Vegas. With close to 15 meetings, I cover various new releases and releases for the year that I finally got a chance to have some hands on time with.


Tudor Black Bay novelties first look
May
31
3:30 PM15:30

Tudor Black Bay novelties first look

The Tudor brand of watches is interesting. Not only because they are the watches from the “little sister” brand to the mighty Rolex, but because they have a design language onto themselves that many like and many don’t. While I don’t own a Tudor watch and not many of their models sing to my sensibilities and aesthetic, I always like to see what novelties they produce every year.

At the COUTUREtime show in Las Vegas, I had this exact opportunity. It’s not clear I left with a lust for any of their new watches, but what Tudor showed me was streamlined, strong, well priced, and overall desirable. Let’s take a closer look.

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Casio G-Shock novelties first look @ COUTUREtime 2019 in Las Vegas
May
31
9:00 AM09:00

Casio G-Shock novelties first look @ COUTUREtime 2019 in Las Vegas

One of my best viewed article on the site has been the in-depth review of my Casio G-Shock 35th anniversary metal watches. When Casio released the 35th anniversary G-Shock watches last year at Baselworld, I was excited to get a chance to finally see and try them on. After seeing them at COUTUREtime 2018, I was immediately enamored and had to have at least one.

Well, for 2019, taking advantage of the huge success of this revived classic model, Casio released yet another version of the metal G-Shock watch, the GMWB5000, along with a few other new models. Will these new releases catch my attention as the first models did? Will I be adding more to my small G-Shock collection? Read on for a brief summary and some initial thoughts seeing the Casio 2019 novelties in the metal and plastic.

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Zenith Defy Lab first look
Jun
3
3:00 PM15:00

Zenith Defy Lab first look

One of the highlights for me at COUTUREtime 2018 in Las Vegas was seeing and handling for the first time the Zenith Defy Lab. This is the winner for Innovation Watch Prize at the 2017 Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG) and for which the consensus seems to be welcoming the dawn of a new era in watchmaking. While many posts have been written about this watch since 2017, I want to instead give you my impressions after much anticipation and, like you perhaps, having read much about it. Is the hype justified?

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Corum novelties first look
Jun
3
2:00 PM14:00

Corum novelties first look

In the vast landscape of the Swiss watchmaking industry, it's easy to forget and lose track of some interesting brands. These are not quite large enough that their constant advertising make them a daily in your face experience. And they are not small enough to catch the collector buzz on Instagram, and other social media venues, which would result in free organic attention.

Montres Corum which started in 1955 in the famed La Chaux-de-Fond in Switzerland is one such brand. During COUTUREtime 2018 in Las Vegas I got an opportunity to visit and see the novelties of Corum, now own by Hong Kong-based Citychamp Watch & Jewelry Group Limited. I want to briefly discuss and show original photography of three of the main lines novelties.

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Dior novelties first look
Jun
2
5:00 PM17:00

Dior novelties first look

The French haute couture brand Dior is not know for watchmaking; as one of the few top fashion brands in the world, it presented its timepieces at COUTUREtime, And I got an opportunity to see and photographed some of their jewels. While I went in not knowing what to expect, I left totally in awe with the colors, texture, and beauty of some of the pieces. Let’s take a close look at that collection and my realization that if you are in the market for an uncommon high-end watch for perhaps a lady friend who is already a Dior fashionista, you too will fall in love with these “exceptional” pieces.

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Grand Seiko novelties first look
Jun
2
3:00 PM15:00

Grand Seiko novelties first look

Grand Seiko (GS) seems to have become one of these brands that carries a certain cachet and gets you watch nerd's approval by simply knowing about them. I think part of its appeal is that for non-connoisseurs, the name Seiko is immediately associated with cheap quartz watches and Grand Seiko watches are nothing but cheap and common. Anyhow, regardless of your baggage and opinion of Seiko or Grand Seiko, I believe once you handle a GS, you will change your mind for the better.

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CASIO G-Shock novelties first look
Jun
2
12:00 PM12:00

CASIO G-Shock novelties first look

At some point in their lives, I believe every watch aficionado owned a CASIO G-Shock. For me it was the iconic calculator watch. While I could not wear it in high-school, I lusted over this watch until I owned one. Not sure what became of it but it was not my last G-Shock as I am sure many can attest to. Well for the 35th anniversary of the original shock-resistant watch, the brand from Tokyo released a set of worthy anniversary that will make all watch connoisseur lust for adding another G-Shock to their collection. Let's take closer look at three models. Some were released at Baselworld earlier this year un March but a new addition also debuted in Las Vegas for COUTUREtime.

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Tudor Black Bay GMT first look
Jun
2
11:30 AM11:30

Tudor Black Bay GMT first look

In less than five years since being re-introduced in the US market, Tudor has slowly produced a series of new sports watches that are as appealing as the now rare and waitlisted steel sports watches from older brother Rolex. 

It’s not clear that the two brands are working in tandem, however, the release of the Black Bay GMT at the same time Rolex introduced the GMT “Pepsi” feels like this is no coincidence. One could be forgiven to assume that the overall group is attacking all segments of the market with appealing products.

But before passing any opinion, let’s take a close look at two new releases from Tudor I finally got a chance to see and try on during COUTUREtime. These are the same models they introduced at Baselworld earlier in the year. 

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Bell & Ross BR 01 laughing skull
Jun
2
10:30 AM10:30

Bell & Ross BR 01 laughing skull

Regardless of whether you are a fan of the idea of using skull and bones as accessories to your person, the striking look of the silvery skull of the Laughing Skull on the Clou de Paris dial will, I believe, elicit an immediate smile. The implementation is brilliantly executed as the skull covers the manual wound (exclusive to Bell & Ross) BR-CAL.206 movement who's bridges and gears are shaped into a skull.

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Montblanc 1858 collection
Jun
1
4:30 PM16:30

Montblanc 1858 collection

At COUTUREtime in Las Vegas, I finally got a chance to see the 2018 collection from Montblanc. While the overall collection is varied and updated from previous years, what stood out to me was the 1858 sub collection, named for the 160 years anniversary of the Minerva manufacture that the pen, accessories, and watch brand acquired 12 years ago.

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TAG Heuer Monaco Bamford limited edition
Jun
1
3:00 PM15:00

TAG Heuer Monaco Bamford limited edition

At COUTUREtime I got a chance to have a meeting with TAG Heuer. Since I had not had the time to meet with the brand during Baselworld, I was happy to be able to see their entire collection in Las Vegas. The model that stood out to me immediately was the Monaco Bamford limited edition of 500. As the owner of a modern Carrera model, the Monaco has always been the one I’d consider as a second watch from the brand.

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Frederique Constant novelties first look
May
31
6:00 PM18:00

Frederique Constant novelties first look

In one of my last meetings at COUTUREtime right before summer, I visited Frederique Constant (FC) to see some of their novelties. FC is not a brand that I would consider myself an expert in, it simply has not been on my collecting radar in recent years. I remember noticing them when I first got into watch collecting ten years ago, as some of their watches piqued my interest mainly as cheaper versions of classics watches, e.g., Patek Philippe and Breguet. But I never seriously considered their watch for my collection.

Today what is most attractive with FC are their entry level price points, that all can agree with; also, others might also appreciate the wide variety of offerings they have in their collections. This is especially true for their manufacture slimline perpetual calendar and the recently announced tourbillon perpetual calendar. However, in Las Vegas, I only got a small taste of their basic collection. Let’s see what stood out.

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Alpina novelties first look
May
31
6:00 PM18:00

Alpina novelties first look

Alpina has it’s roots in sports watches. On their site they claim to have invented the genre. Not sure how to verify this lofty claim but they do have a history of working with real sportsmen to create timepieces that fit their activities. According to their site, since 1903 they started working with leading group of alpinists (mountaineers and outdoorsmen) to define specs for sports watches. And in 1938 they released the Alpina 4 sports watch, which they claim defined the genre. The 4 stands for: anti-magnetic, anti-shock, water resistant, and stainless steel.

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Ateliers deMonaco novelties first look
May
31
6:00 PM18:00

Ateliers deMonaco novelties first look

It’s no secret that I believe that independent brands are soul of the watchmaking industry. It is where most of the interesting avant-garde design is happening not only in movement technology but also in overall timepiece design. A quick round at the AHCI (Académie Horlogère des Créateurs Indépendants) or the independent hall at Baselworld confirms this statement quickly. But the question is can a big brand also expose such interesting, off the beaten path, designs and movements? Can big brands also have soul? Well, I may have found one in the name of Ateliers deMonaco.

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Longines’s Value Mechanical and Quartz Watches
May
31
5:00 PM17:00

Longines’s Value Mechanical and Quartz Watches

Longines is one of the few Swiss luxury brands today most associated with value. While having a long storied history, the focus of Longines is producing watches with exceptional value, somewhat conservative designs, while having interesting features. At COUTUREtime in Las Vegas, Longines showed me two watches, one mechanical and one quartz, that I think exemplify this philosophy: the Master annual calendar and the Conquest VHP.

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Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda 1950 stainless steel collection
May
31
4:00 PM16:00

Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda 1950 stainless steel collection

Parmigiani Fleurier is one of the rare modern Swiss watchmaking brands that is independent, a true manufacture, and maintains its own design language for its watches. 

Started by Michel Parmigiani in 1996 after 20 years experience restoring old clocks and watches, currently Parmigiani creates less than 5,000 watches per year. Even with such a small output, it is innovating on all fronts and keeping a common look and feel to its watches.

While some of its models elicit polarizing opinions, one model seems to be wildly loved by all. It is my favorite model and one of my all time favorite dress watch: the Parmigiani Tonda 1950. 

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