© CHRISTIE'S IMAGES LTD. 2014
Christie’s international auction house has officially launched an online retail boutique of rare, vintage and luxury timepieces. Designed to complement the company’s record-breaking global auction sales and bespoke private service, Christie’s Watch Shop makes exceptional designs available for immediate purchase—all year round and for the first time ever.
“We have so many daily requests for specific watches that it became difficult to keep up with demand,” says Reginald Brack, Christie’s international head of watch retail. “So we launched [the watch shop] to cultivate a great supply of the world’s best watches exclusively for the online space.”
After launching earlier in May, the new venture sold 30 percent of its inventory within its first week, featuring styles from Rolex, Patek Philippe, Omega and Tudor. (Prices ranged from $3,500 to $58,000.) Ten blue-chip brands are currently showcased; the offerings will continue to expand.
In addition to e-commerce, the site provides a host of resources for collectors, including sections like “The Vault” (news, interviews and analysis from Christie’s specialists), “Deconstructed” (in-depth studies of choice selections from the collection) and “Videos: Dialed In” (specialist-guided tours that investigate one watch at a time).
“The advantage,” says John Auerbach, intentional managing director of e-commerce, “is that we offer clients three successful platforms for which they can consign and buy at Christie’s: auction, private sales and, now, retail.” christies.com/watchshop.
Courtesy of Hermes
The Hermès Arceau Lift watch—the brand’s first flying-tourbillon model—has a historical backstory that matches its technical elegance. Drawing inspiration from the iconic Hermès boutique at 24 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré in Paris, the watch, part of a limited-edition batch of 176, speaks to familial pride and individuality: Just four of the timepieces will be available in the United States, and the second piece in the collection is about to make its way across the country.
The prestigious No. 2 (No. 1 was recently retired), along with other Hermès timepieces, kicks off a tour of Hermès boutiques this month, beginning October 30 at South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, California (through November 3; 3333 Bristol St., #1424; 714-437-1725). Subsequent stops include Las Vegas (November 6–10; Wynn Las Vegas, 3600 Las Vegas Blvd. S.; 702-866-2629), San Francisco (November 13–17; 125 Grant Ave.; 415-391-7200) and Greenwich, Connecticut (November 20–24; 289 Greenwich Ave.; 203-622-3007).
A double “H”—found on top of the tourbillon carriage and the barrel bridge—mirrors that of the motif found in the Paris store. (The letters are a nod to the blending of the Hermès and Hollande families in 1900, facilitated by the marriage of Emile Hermès, grandson of the founder, and Julie Hollande.) Set in a rose-gold case with an alligator strap, the Lift’s complication can be seen from both the front and the back via a small window. All those glancing at your wrist will see is timeless style. For purchasing inquiries call 1-800-441-448; hermes.com.
Courtesy of Chopard
When Chopard debuted its Happy Sport ladies watch 20 years ago, the new arrival was a bold shift from the typical jewelry watch of the era. It paired diamonds with steel, had a modern, sporty look and (most important) included loose, floating diamonds on the dial—a signature now iconic to its brand.
To mark the anniversary, Chopard has debuted the My Happy Sport app, which allows fans to create their own custom Happy Sport watches from their iPads or iPhones. Customers can browse inspirations or start from scratch, choosing from rose gold or stainless steel, mother-of-pearl or white dials, crocodile, steel or rubber bracelet straps, diamond settings and a variety of diamond objects (stars, flowers, letters) that float on the dial.
Our favorite (pictured above) is a plain rose-gold case with a matching rose-gold bracelet strap and a sprinkling of three star-shaped floating diamonds and four round bezel-set pink sapphires. And the best part of the process? Once a design is submitted, it takes just three weeks for Chopard’s in-house watchmakers to craft the timepiece. Watches start at $8,000; app is available on the iPad or the iPhone; chopard.com.
Photo courtesy of Michael Kors/ Dylan Griffin for BA Reps
Michael Kors wants to watch world hunger disappear—with a little help from new editions of its best-selling Runway timepiece, designed in collaboration with actress and philanthropist Halle Berry. The brand is releasing four unisex 100-Series designs ($295 each)—its first product created exclusively for an international philanthropic effort—and updating the bold, iconic lines of the classic Runway watch with a stainless-steel case and a gold- or silver-tone band. The dial, etched with a map of the world, is available in turquoise or navy.
For each purchase, the Watch Hunger Stop campaign will donate 100 meals to undernourished children across the globe through the United Nations World Food Programme. As a reminder of the wearer’s gift, the back of each watch is engraved with “1 WATCH = 100 MEALS,” alongside Kors’s signature.
The ultimate goal? One million meals distributed to countries like Bolivia, Uganda and Bangladesh—and thousands of ambassadors for the cause wearing their support on their wrists and watching the campaign’s march to the finish line (there have already been nearly 250,000 meals delivered) via a tracker on the project’s website. destinationkors.com.
Courtesy IWC Schaffhausen
Opened April 25, the Swiss watchmaker IWC Schaffhausen’s first U.S. flagship, on Madison Avenue, is the company’s largest outpost worldwide (3,000 square feet) and features themed rooms for each of its six watch “families”: Aquatimer, Portofino, Ingenieur, Da Vinci, Portuguese and Pilot’s Watches. Each room reflects the spirit of its appointed collection. The Aquatimer room recalls the ambiance of a deep-sea dive, with scuba equipment and floor-to-ceiling underwater photography; the Pilot’s Watches display includes a flight simulator. Also worth checking out is the IWC Collection, a specially curated selection of accessories and adventure gear encompassing items like a professional diving kit (to match the Aquatimer Automatic 2000) and a remote-control airplane. With the exception of the Hong Kong store, this high-octane collection is only available at the Madison Avenue flagship. At 535 Madison Ave.; iwc.com.
For the past three days, New York’s expansive Park Avenue Armory has been devoted to an exhibit celebrating the 40th anniversary of legendary Swiss watchmaker Audemars Piguet’s Royal Oak—which was the first sports watch honored by Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie when it debuted, in 1972. The exhibit features the work of three contemporary artists, Sebastien Leon Agneessens, Quayola and Dan Holdsworth, who drew on the Royal Oak’s history and origins to create installations with sound, sculpture, photography and light. These pieces serve as the backdrop for displays of 100 Royal Oak watches, which show the evolution from the original design to the latest pieces. Most fascinating for horologists and laymen alike is the opportunity to see a brocading dial machine (one of only 11 the company uses) close-up as it creates a dial, and to chat with Audemar Piguet’s master watchmakers, who are on hand to demonstrate their craft—under microscopic lenses, of course.
The exhibit’s final day in New York is this Saturday, March 23, after which it will begin a yearlong tour, with visits to Paris, Beijing, Singapore and Dubai. The first stop is Milan’s Triennale Design Museum, from April 17–22.
Park Avenue Armory, 643 Park Ave.; 212-744-8180; audemarspiguet.com
© Courtesy Ralph Lauren
We first spotted this Ralph Lauren watch at the annual Salon International de la Horlogerie watch fair in Geneva. We've been fans of Ralph Lauren's überelegant Slim Classique model since the designer debuted it two years ago, but add the diamonds and a purple satin strap and our admiration turns to utter devotion. While we're dreaming about this watch, we're trading in the brown crocodile straps on our own timepieces for ones in the royal-purple hue. Ralph Lauren 42MM white-gold Slim Classique with one row of baguette diamonds and purple satin strap, $41,700; ralphlaurenwatches.com.