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LVMH Group’s TAG Heuer, Hublot, Bvlgari, and Zenith the Latest to Leave Baselworld Show

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LVMH Group has become the last big player to join the exodus from Baselworld, taking with it TAG Heuer, Hublot, Bvlgari and Zenith.

It’s been a hard week for Baselworld organizers MCH Group, to say the least.

With the surprise withdrawal of Rolex and some of the largest names in the Swiss watchmaking industry earlier this week from the rescheduled 2021 Baselworld, this new blow from the LVMH Group may be the final nail in the coffin for what was once the world’s largest and longest-running watch and jewelry show.

A bustling Baselworld in years gone by. Credit: Baselworld

Bvlgari had already withdrawn officially from the 2020 event in February citing the COVID-19 as its main concern however the most recent decision made in conjunction with parent company LVMH Group signaled the end for all future plans with Baselworld.

LVMH Group’s official statement regarding their decision sums it up succinctly:

“The Swiss watch Manufactures of the LVMH Group, including the LVMH Watchmaking Division (TAG Heuer, Hublot and Zenith) and the House of Bvlgari, have taken note of the departure of Rolex, Tudor, Patek Philippe, Chanel and Chopard from the Baselworld show scheduled for January 2021. Within this context of clearly weakened representation of the Swiss watch industry and hence inevitably lower participation, it appears clear to the brands composing the Division and to the House of Bvlgari that they must also withdraw in order to preserve their image and their relations with their clients as well with the media. They will therefore not be taking part in the 2021 edition of Baselworld.

The four Maisons are examining various potential event formats corresponding to the need to present their strategic directions and new products to their commercial partners – as well as to the international press – next year. The LVMH Watchmaking Division on the one hand, and Bvlgari on the other, will decide on their plans in the coming weeks, according to their respective objectives.”

Commenting on their departure from Baselworld, Stéphane Bianchi, CEO of Watchmaking Division LVMH, said: “We are sorry to have to leave this over 100-year-old Baselworld event, to which our maisons have been consistently loyal. It is nonetheless clear that we must respond quickly and make other arrangements. We are facing an opportunity to reinvent the format and content of one of the key moments of our watchmaking year, which presented both a major commercial challenge and a lever of influence for our brands. With this in mind, we will do our utmost to be present alongside the other prestigious maisons that will gather in Geneva in April 2021 and thereby meet the requirements of our partners and clients while offering them an unrivalled experience.”

Likewise, the CEO of Bvlgari Group, Jean-Christophe Babin agreed and also expressed enthusiasm towards new opportunities saying, “Grouping the entire Swiss watch industry in a single location, Geneva – the historical capital of watchmaking – and around a single date is a major opportunity to at last revive a sector that all too many divisions and divergent interests have weakened, compared to the rest of the luxury sector in which Bulgari is active and that is making much faster progress. We are looking forward to going to Geneva in April 2021, even though we still need to define the terms of our participation, which we will specify in the coming weeks. We are also delighted not to have to make up for the lack of institutional watch shows, which in 2020 forced us to take tactical initiatives that were necessary in the short term but undesirable in the medium term.”

Bvlgari “Octo Finissimo” and “Serpenti Seduttori” collections revealed at Baselworld 2019. Credit: Bvlgari

While no further information has been given regarding specifics as to whether the brands will be joining the new show being held by Rolex at Geneva Palexpo alongside Watches & Wonders in April 2021 or planning their own event, it is clear that decisions will be made independently by both LVMH Watchmaking Division (TAG Heuer, Hublot and Zenith) and Bvlgari based on their individual interests.

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Audemars Piguet’s Frosted Gold Royal Oak Concept Flying Tourbillon Revealed

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Swiss watchmaker Audemars Piguet has revealed the newest Royal Oak Concept Flying Tourbillon featuring a frosted white and rose gold finish.
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Frosted White Gold Flying Tourbillon Duo
The Audemars Piguet Frosted Gold Royal Oak Concept Flying Tourbillon. Credit: AP

Audemars Piguet’s newest Royal Oak Concept Flying Tourbillion has been revealed and features a clean circular design that draws the eye inward to the diamond-encrusted flying tourbillon cage.

The latest in the “Royal Oak Concept” range, this is a smaller design compared to the majority of the oversized Royal Oak Concept men’s watches and is the first time it has been offered with a frosted case.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Frosted Rose Gold Flying Tourbillon Watch Face
Frosted and satin-brushed case with alligator strap. Credit: AP

While the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept has been around since 2002, it wasn’t until 2018 that a flying tourbillon was introduced to the range. Suspended from underneath, the flying tourbillon doesn’t require an overhead bridge and facilitates a slimmer design.

Available in either 18ct pink gold or white gold, the latest edition revisits the frosted look first introduced in 2016 through the collaboration with Italian jewelry designer Carolina Bucci.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Frosted Rose Gold Flying Tourbillon Watch Dial
Radial brushed circles in sunburst blue and 18ct pink gold edging. Credit: AP

Using a decorative Florentine technique of “frosting,” a diamond-tipped tool is used to hammer thousands of tiny indentations into the metal that creates a sparkling effect as though it were precious stones or “diamond dust.”

To maintain a clean and unfettered view of the mesmerizing dial, no hour markers have been included. Still, the two small semi-skeletonized luminescent hands allow the wearer to quickly tell the time at a glance.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Frosted White Gold Flying Tourbillon Watch Side Details
Audemars Piguet Frosted Gold Royal Oak Concept Flying Tourbillon in white gold. Credit: AP

Taking a look closer inside the 38.5mm frosted and satin-brushed case, the watch face consists of a sunburst blue multi-layered dial with four concentric ovals stepping down towards the diamond encrusted flying tourbillon cage positioned at 6 o’clock.

Compared to previous frosted Royal Oak editions powered by the automatic caliber 3120 and caliber 2713 quartz movements, the new Frosted Royal Oak Concept has a 72-hour power reserve and is powered by Audemars Piguet’s caliber 2964 with a hand-wound flying tourbillon, a design only a few expert watchmakers have the necessary skill to create.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Frosted White Gold Flying Tourbillon Watch Dial
Diamond encrusted Flying Tourbillon with matching concentric circles. Credit: AP

Both editions are available on either a blue “large square-scale” alligator strap or a blue textured rubber strap with a constellation motif.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Frosted White Gold Flying Tourbillon Watch Case Back
Royal Oak Concept caseback. Credit: AP

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Frosted Gold Flying Tourbillon 38.5 mm

Ref: 26630OR.GG.D326CR.01 (pink gold)
Ref: 26630BC.GG.D326CR.01 (white gold)

Diameter: 38.5 mm
Material: 18 pink or white gold with hammered finish
Crystal: Sapphire
Water-resistance: 20 m

Movement: Cal. 2964
Functions: Hours, minutes, and tourbillon regulator
Winding: Hand-wind
Frequency: 21,600 beats per hour (3 Hz)
Power reserve: 72 hours

Strap: Blue alligator with pink gold folding clasp

Availability: Only at boutiques
Price: CHF 145,000 (USD$159,000)

For more information, visit Audemarspiguet.com

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Jacob & Co Reveals One-Off Billionaire ASHOKA Diamond Watch

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Jacob & Co’s Billionaire ASHOKA Watch features over 189 carats of ASHOKA cut diamonds and will be the only one ever made.
Jacob & Co Billionaire Ashoka Diamond Watch
The Jacob & Co Billionaire ASHOKA diamond watch. Credit: Jacob & Co

New York based jeweler and watchmaker Jacob & Co are renowned for show-stopping timepieces and none more so than the new Billionaire ASHOKA.

Created as an updated version of Jacob & Co’s first Billionaire watch first introduced in 2015 at Baselworld and created in collaboration with Flavio Briatore of Billionaire Lifestyle SARL, the Billionaire ASHOKA instead features unique proprietary cut ASHOKA diamonds from William Goldberg.

Named after one of India’s greatest third-century emporer’s, King Ashoka Maurya, an ASHOKA cut diamond is a rectangular shape with rounded corners and 62 precisely-cut facets that make the diamond appear 30% larger than an emerald cut diamond of the same weight.

Enclosing the 18-carat white gold case and skeletonized caliber entirely in the ASHOKA diamonds, the Billionaire ASHOKA watch has a total carat weight of 189 pieces. It is powered by the JCAM09 caliber tourbillon movement created by Jacon & Co’s Swiss-based watchmakers, giving it 72 hours of power reserve.

Due to the precise cut of the ASHOKA diamond, less than 1% off all rough diamonds are even eligible to be considered, making the Billionaire ASHOKA extremely unique. Jacob & Co have explicitly stated they will only be producing one limited edition of this watch.

While no prices have been released yet as a ballpark figure, Floyd Mayweather reportedly purchased the original Billionaire watch for $18 million in 2018.

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The New $520,000 Franck Muller Vanguard Revolution 3 Skeleton

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The new Franck Muller Vanguard Revolution 3 Skeleton features a triple-axis tourbillon movement for the first time in the brand’s popular Vanguard case.
Franck Muller Vanguard Revolution 3 Skeleton Watch
The new Franck Muller Vanguard Revolution 3 Skeleton Watch. Credit: Franck Muller

For fans of Franck Muller’s triple-axis tourbillon movement and the Vanguard watch shape – this is for you. For the first time, the Swiss watchmaker has revealed the Revolution 3 triple-axis tourbillon movement in its popular Vanguard case.

Founded in 1991 by master watchmaker Franck Muller and a watchmaking specialist and entrepreneur Vartan Simarkes, the House of Franck Muller is known for its highly technical complications and innovations, produced in-house at Genthod, Geneva.

One particular innovation is the “Triple Axis Tourbillon” first created in 2004 which was the world’s first tri-axial tourbillon, designed to correct the forces of gravity in all positions (contrary to a classic one which only compensates when the wristwatch is in a vertical position ie, Franck Muller Revolution 1, or the double-axis tourbillon in Revolution 2).

Previously Franck Muller has debuted the triple-axis tourbillon in the iconic Cintrée Curvex case, easily identifiable by its perfectly curved tonneau body and known as the Cintrée Curvex Revolution 3 model.

For the first time, the triple-axis tourbillon “Revolution 3” has now been released in Franck Muller’s more sporty looking Vanguard case, designed to cleverly integrate the strap inside the case to retain the smooth curves of the watch.

Franck Muller Vanguard Revolution 3 Skeleton Watch Front View
Featuring a titanium case with Alcantara® strap. Credit: Franck Muller

Featuring an eye-catching skeleton movement, the Vanguard Revolution 3’s large sapphire dome case allows viewers to see the inner-workings and watch as the triple-axis tourbillon works effortlessly to correct the force of gravity in all positions.

Dominating the lower half of the movement, the triple-axis tourbillon slowly turns through the one-hour, eight-minute, and 60-second cycles of its respective three carriages.

Power flows from the gear train through all three carriages to activate the balance wheel five times each second. As the Revolution 3 has three carriages, the gear train has significant resistance to overcome. To provide an abundance of energy to drive this triple-axis tourbillon, the movement has a massive ten days of power reserve.

There are also two retrograde indications at 4 and 8 o’clock for the progression of the eight-minute carriage and the 60-second carriage.

The Vanguard case itself is made of grade-2 titanium and has been treated with black PVD coating. In contrast, the bright red strap features Alcantara® (a material popular with supercar interiors like those of Lamborghini), which effortlessly takes the shape of the wrist and complements the red detailing on the movement and the Vanguard case.

Price for the Franck Muller Vanguard Revolution 3 Skeleton Watch is CHF 480,000 excluding taxes (approx US$520,000) with first deliveries scheduled from September 2020.

Franck Muller Vanguard Revolution 3 Skeleton Watch Trio

Franck Muller Vanguard Revolution 3 Skeleton Technical Specifications

Watch Reference
  • V 50 REV 3 SQT NR BR (ER)
Case
  • Vanguard case
  • Grade-2 titanium with back PVD treatment
  • Hand Brushed
  • Red inserts on both sides of the case
  • Width: 46 mm x Length: 55.9 mm x Thickness: 13.7 mm
  • Sapphire crystal with two domes on the front and back
  • Water resistant up to 30 meters
Functions
  • Hours, Minutes, Triple Axis Tourbillon, Power reserve at 12 o’clock, Carriages progression indicators at 4 o’clock and 8 o’clock
Instructions
  • Winding shaft with 2 positions: 1.Winding. 2.Time setting
Movement
  • Manual winding movement
  • Power reserve of 10 days
  • 359 components
  • 36 rubies
  • Width: 34.30 mm. Length: 40.30 mm. Thickness: 9.65 mm
  • Balance wheel frequency set at 18,000 alternations per hour
  • Rotation of the first cage in 1 minute
  • Rotation of the second cage in 8 minutes
  • Rotation of the third cage in 1 hour
  • Skeleton Movement
Movement Decoration
  • Microbillage and hand chamfering on the main plate and the tourbillon cage
  • Circular graining on the wheels
  • Red anodization of the tourbillon cage and indicators
Strap & Buckle
  • Hand sewn red Alcantara® strap
  • Grade-2 titanium folding buckle
  • Hand brushed
Price
  • CHF 480,000 excluding taxes

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