In March I interviewed Francesco Trapani, CEO of luxury brand Bulgari. Trapani and his company have been in the news lately after Bulgari, one of the world’s largest jewellery brand, was sold to luxury giant Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton (LVMH) for a whopping $6 billion (around Rs 27,000 crore). Trapani spoke about a variety of topics, including the sale to LVMH and sentiments about the transaction both inside and outside the company, before moving on to Bulgari’s outstanding watch collection for 2011.
It was something of a relief to see that corporate upheavals hadn’t come in the way of Bulgari’s usual business of making beautiful, expensive things. This year again the company had a new interpretation of its signature Serpenti watch for women. The Serpenti is, frankly speaking, more of a jewellery piece than a timepiece. Each piece is designed like a snake with a small watch forming the head, and a spring-loaded coiled bracelet forming the body of the serpent.
Timeless: The Serpenti can be worn as a piece of jewellery.
For 2011, Bulgari has a Serpenti with a bracelet that is seven coils long. Wear the coils tightly and you have an eye-catching piece of jewellery. Space them out and you have a dramatic fashion statement.
But the real showstoppers were the two watches that Trapani picked out as his favourites during the interview: the Octo Quadri-Retro Chronograph and the Chronosprint Endurer All Blacks Special Edition.
The Quadri-Retro is a new update of last year’s award-winning Bi-Retro design. This time the watch has four retrograde movements instead of just two. In other words, the face has four dials with needles that move, not in round circles, but back and forth in arcs.
The All Blacks watch, on the other hand, is remarkably understated. Launched in collaboration with New Zealand’s famed rugby team, the key element of the watch is the tattoo pattern on the dial. Made of high-lustre anthracite material, the motif was designed by a member of New Zealand’s indigenous Maori people. And I was told that it signifies life, growth and rebirth.
While discussing both watches with Trapani we began wondering what kind of people would wear them. Eventually we came to the conclusion that the Quadri-Retro would be worn by the guy who owned a company. It would go with his high-flying lifestyle, private jets and stretch limos. Bold, brash but still classy. Like the watch.
The All Blacks would probably be worn by the guy who ran it for him. The chap who turns up every morning in a suit with his BlackBerry buzzing away. Serious, muted but not lacking flair. Like the watch.
That, I think, is an interesting way to look at watches. In fact, I would even go one step further. Why not try matching your timepiece with what you do in life? This might seem hard to do for anyone who isn’t a deep-sea diver or a race-car driver.
But with a little experimentation, there is tremendous potential to match wrist to the rest, as it were.
Suppose you do something involving heavy engineering or manufacturing. Then I’d recommend a Rolex Milgauss. First introduced in 1956, and targeted at scientists and researchers, the Milgauss is built with a certified shield against magnetic interference. The watch is unmistakeably a Rolex but has an interesting lightning bolt-shaped seconds hand and clean, sober design. You could spend weeks geeking out over the specifications.
For professionals always on the move, notching up frequent flyer miles, nothing less than a GMT, World Time or Dual Time watch will do. These timepieces either allow you to keep track of time in two different places, or help you jump from one time zone to another with a few clicks. This year Breitling has a Chronomat GMT watch with a new Calibre 04 in-house movement and a choice of six dials.
For a more classical look, choose from one of several top-end world time watches that have been launched in 2011 by brands including Breguet, Patek Philippe and Vacheron Constantin.
If crunching code or designing algorithms is what pays your bills, then you need a watch that has commensurately hi-tech ambitions. Perhaps you will like the new Tissot Racing-Touch. This extends Tissot’s popular touch-enabled technology to 11 functions, including compass, chronograph and dual time zones. And there is a “feminine” all-white version of the watch too.
But if all you seek is no-nonsense timekeeping, then look no further than an Alliance or an Airboss from Victorinox. Not only are the watches good value for money, they will also last through the most rigorous abuse on the field or in the office.
Have a complicated job profile that fits none of these buckets? Drop an email if you need help finding your timepiece. Remember: Your watch is out there.
Write to Sidin at email@example.com