From Our Archive
This story was published before Summer 2021, when we launched our new digital experience.

Big Time

Visiting the booths at the annual watch fairs in Switzerland, you will find your desire slowly chipping away at your trust fund. Here, Audemars Piguet’s $156,100 Millenary with AP escapement and deadbeat seconds, its floating faces suspended inside a pink-gold frame; there, the cleverly titled $563,750 Jackpot by Girard-Perregaux, with a fully functioning slot machine. The annual Baselworld and Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie expos, held each April in Basel and Geneva respectively, are a luxury world’s fair of sorts. Every year Europe’s best watch manufacturers première their most recent innovations and technological achievements. In Basel that included Rolex’s new Oyster Perpetual Yacht-Master II, the company’s largest model to date, as well as the million-dollar Billionaire Tourbillon by Corum, with its diamond dial frame, bezel, and bracelet. The big news in Geneva was Cartier’s latest collector’s piece, the Rotonde à grande complication, which features a grand tourbillon, a perpetual calender, a single push-button chronograph, and a week’s power reserve. In between all the talk of timepieces, technical movements, and minute repeaters, there was also jewelry—gobstopper-size emerald cabochons, baroque pearl starfish, and rose-cut rubies.

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