Wempe Watch Blog

Wempe Watch Blog
2018-05-16

Over the past few days, a host of important auctions by top houses, such as Christie's, Phillips and Sotheby's, took place in Geneva. The results were nothing short of stellar – proving that buying new watches today could lead to great profits tomorrow.

In fact, with these watch auctions as the ticking point — or pulse of the vintage and resale market — we can bet that there is a very healthy watch collecting world poised for even more excitement as the auction season continues. If the most recent sales are any indication, top lots still in high demand are from brands such as Rolex, Omega, Patek Philippe, Cartier, Vacheron Constantin and Audemars Piguet, among others.

Significant sales included a white gold Rolex Cosmograph Daytona Reference 6265 “Unicorn” selling for $5.9 million at the Phillips Auction entitled “Daytona Ultimatum.” The "Unicorn" is the second-most-expensive Rolex Daytona sold at auction – second to Paul Newman’s own Paul Newman Daytona that fetched $17.5 million last year at Phillips. That watch’s incredible value was due in large part to the fact that it belonged to and was worn by the famed Paul Newman, who made the “Paul Newman Daytona” reference famous.

Another important watch sold this past weekend was an Omega owned by Elvis Presley. The somewhat feminine looking watch with diamond bezel and Tiffany dial sold for $1.8 million – making it the most expensive Omega watch sold at auction. Of course, the watch had belonged to The King and that also is an important provenance.

Additionally, a host of historically interesting pocket watches sold well, as did a number of pilot and aviation watches from various brands, including IWC and Breguet, dating back to the late 20th century. While the big-ticket, flashy-provenance watches get the most press attention, a host of other timepieces went up for auction and sold without so much fanfare.

Also at the upcoming Sotheby's auction next week, some very significant watches by Cartier, Richard Mille and Greubel Forsey, among others, will be making their marks in auction history.

As mentioned, these important results are just another demonstration that buying a watch today can yield increased value down the road. Of course, you need to know which watches to buy. That, or you need to become somewhat famous to ensure your watch (or watches) will have a provenance to promote in the press and at the auctions. In the coming weeks we will present a series of articles about how to find the right new watch that may increase in value over time.

2018-05-09

This upcoming Sunday is Mother's Day, the very special day to celebrate your mom or the mother of your children. We know you are considering a lovely brunch or dinner out somewhere, because, let's face it, everyone wants to pamper mom. However, the crowds and long lines can be horrendous, and the meal won't last forever. That's why we suggest giving mom something much more personal and long lasting: time — in the form of a watch. Flowers die, candy gets eaten, but a watch will last for years or even generations.

According to a survey conducted for the National Retail Federation, Mother's Day spending is expected total more than $23 billion. Jewelry and watches are a top category for those looking for a nice gift, and we have watches in all price ranges to fit any budget. Mom won't care how much you spend. She will care that you took time to look for something special instead of running by the local grocery store at the last minute for flowers or candy.

Selecting a watch shows her that you took the time to think about her — about what colors she likes, or what hobbies or interests she has. Is she a runner or jogger? Maybe a chronograph will help her time those runs. Is she a swimmer? Try a great water-resistant watch that can weather the elements. Is she all about fashion and style? A nice colored strap watch or even a link bracelet watch could be right. Maybe you have a bigger budget and know that mom or the mother of your children loves diamonds.

In the end, you will be giving her something that will last a lifetime and that will remind her of you every time she looks at her wrist. We invite you to visit over the next few days. Our knowledgeable staff will help you find the perfect Mother's Day watch.

2018-05-02

With Meadowlark Yellow and Ultra Violet leading the color trends for 2018, according to the Pantone Color Institute, we have seen an interesting resurgence of yellow and blue/purple this year on the runways and on the wrists.

Each season, we strive to introduce the emerging colors so watch lovers — especially those who have watches with interchangeable strap systems — can be on the mark when they spice up their timepieces and clothing.

With summer not too far off, though, we are struggling because the season's colors are — frankly — all across the board. Black remains part of the palette, used mostly as an accent color, and white is almost a staple (no surprises there). As for the hues of the season, they range from taupes, tans and dusty olives, to the bolder and more vibrant Blueberry, Poppy Red and Jolly Green. Festive shades of purple, yellow and blue also play an important role, as do the muted pale versions of the bolder siblings, with Pastel Yellow, Baby Blue and Florida Keys teal making a strong appearance.

When it comes to how this translates into your wardrobe, our best advice is to add a little color — any color — to spice up your days and nights. If you own a white strapped watch, put it on. Similarly, if you are one of those who own today's great blue, green or brown dial colors — don't be afraid to wear it. Don't think you have to wear a blue suit with a blue dial watch. Miix it up a bit and try that blue watch with a brown suit — or vice versa. This summer is going to be all about sporting contrasting colors.

Credits: Images courtesy of Pantone.

2018-04-04

It is the biggest luxury jewelry and watch show of the year: Baselworld. The show recently closed its doors after a six-day event that proved highly successful. Retailers, consumer and journalists from around the world converged on Baselworld to see the newest, latest and greatest timepieces make their debuts. In most cases, these watches were years in the design, development and research stages. While they are hot off the presses, so to speak, the newest watches won't make their way to stores for at least another month or so, but that doesn't stop us from doing some trend spotting. Here are three key takeaways from Baselworld 2018.

Vintage, Vintage, Vintage

We can't say it enough. The biggest trend this year revolves around recalling our past. Many watch brands dug into their archives and developed watches based on an earlier, mid-20th-century watch that held some special meaning or appeal. While some brands re-interpreted designs of yesteryear by updating materials, colors, or dials, others unveiled almost literal reproductions of an early iconic watch. Some brands are even celebrating key anniversaries (50th, 60th, 75th) and releasing models in celebration.

Key vintage trends revolve around dial colors, with parchment, silver and lacquered white dials for many classic timepieces. However, also rearing their retro heads are blue and black dials — especially when combined with taupe numerals — as well as salmon or pink-hued dials. Another vintage trend has to do with numerals, markers and hands, with many brands adding Super-LumiNova and returning to classic fonts and hand styles. Lastly, elongated lugs are reappearing on the market — demonstrating a retro look and an ergonomic fit.

GMT Timing

While some key luxury brands continue to unveil high complications and complex novelties, many of the big-name brands favored more useful complexities this year. Such functions include dive watches, calendar watches and even chronographs. However, the most important function, it seems, is the GMT watch. Simply put, a GMT watch features  a 24-hour format hand that indicates a second time zone in very easy terms.  This year's favorite GMT watches are in chocolate brown, forest green, slate gray and ivory dial colors, in addition to the beloved blue.

Sports Watches 

As always, sport watches are an important category this year from both an aesthetic and function perspective. Classic sport watches and rugged sport watches dominate the scene, always with an eye toward design. On the classic sport side, many brands are inspired by the automobile racing world, with elements of the watch reminiscent of steering wheels, engines and grills. Even straps recall the sport, thanks to perforated holes that resemble leather driving gloves.

On the rugged and durable sport watch side, the sky  — or the sea — is the limit. Most popular this year are the dive watches, with many brands unveiling timepieces ready to weather the saltwater and harsh temperatures and depths inherent in diving. Some pilot watches emerge, as well, but these are taking a slight backseat to the more active sports, such as diving and mountain climbing. Key features in the newest sport watches include the use of a wide variety of materials for the case, ranging from high-tech ceramic and carbon fiber to the much-coveted alternative metals, such as bronze and even tantalum.

As mentioned, each of these trends is important in today's active lifestyles, where form and function come together to deliver a timepiece that does much more than just tell the time. We will have the newest watches of 2018 arriving in stores beginning next month, and invite you to stop in any time to see them.

2018-03-22

The Baselworld Fair opened today, and already we are seeing key trends emerge, including an emphasize on interchangeable watch straps, the introduction of new materials and a general downsizing of case sizes for men and women.

Interchangeability and versatility. As witnessed already at SIHH, watch brands are recognizing that consumers today like choice. As such, we expect to see a lot more brands offering interchangeable watch straps — with new methods for easy-click changeability and with grand diversity of leathers, metal bracelets, finishes and colors.

Continued use of new materials. While gold, steel and titanium remain the staple of watchmaking, we continue to see an evolution of new materials. Our favorite is the use of bronze because it develops its own patina over time, making the watchcase unique to its owners. On the flip side is the innovative use of sapphire, with more sapphire box cases being unveiled at the high-end of the spectrum, allowing for ultimate visibility of the movement, and with some brands unveiling new colors of sapphire. Additionally, certain cutting-edge brands are unveiling new alloys and new colors of alloys that bring an edginess to the timepiece.

Smaller case sizes. While the much-loved 44mm size for men and 36mm size for women will never go away, this year we are seeing a reduction in case sizes. For women, these reductions mean a emergence of "mini" cases (24mm) from couture brands, as well as from fashion-forward brands, and of 32mm and 34mm sizes that sit nicely on a thinner wrist. For men, 38mm sizes in a classic watch are beginning to populate the offerings. For comparison's sake, a US quarter measures about 24mm.

2018-03-14

The first few months of every year are filled with so many events in the watch world, starting in January with the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) exhibition in Geneva and then running into the biggest watch show of the year, Baselworld, in Basel, Switzerland. This year, the Baselworld Fair official opens on Thursday, March 22, with pre-show events taking place on the 21st. The show runs through March 27.

This show is important for many reasons. To begin with, this is where the majority of watch brands — from Patek Philippe to Rolex — unveil their newest timepieces, watches destined to set the wrist trends for the coming year. During Baselworld, thousands of new timepieces are shown, many of which will start to make their way to stores later this summer and fall. This is where the trends are set, this is where the new materials in watchmaking are unveiled and this is where brands, retailers and even customers congregate to get the newest info on time and timekeeping.

About 800 brands will exhibit at the show. This list includes big name brands, niche brands, dozens of top independent watch brands and even some top jewelry brands. Additionally, around the city of Basel, another 30 or so brands are showcasing their new timepieces for those adventurous enough to step outside the show's cavernous halls.

We anticipate that this year's Baselworld exhibition will bring us some great new trends and directions for the coming year, and will keep you posted with more news and information very soon.

2018-03-07

This upcoming weekend we are all going lose a bit of sleep. That’s because at 2 o'clock in the morning on Sunday, March 11, we set our clocks ahead by one hour for the start of Daylight Saving Time. The Spring-Ahead concept has roots dating back to the 18th century.

In 1784, Benjamin Franklin wrote an essay called “An Economical Project for Diminishing the Cost of Light.” He suggested that people should get out of bed earlier in the morning in spring and summer months to use the light instead of candles. No one knows for sure how many people advocated for Franklin's idea, but we do know that no formal action was put in place to bring the concept to reality for the next 130 years.

Many European countries implemented a Daylight Saving program as early as 1916 when Germany first started, but the USA lagged behind for decades. In fact, here in America, starting just after World War II, the government suggested Daylight Saving Time, but left the implementation of it to the individual states. Each could decide if they wanted to impose it and on which dates.

This caused such confusion about what time it was in different states that in 1966 Congress established the Uniform Time Act – setting the protocol for exact dates and times to start and stop Daylight Saving Time. As part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, the length of Daylight Saving Time in America was extended by four weeks, starting in 2007. Still, some U.S. states/territories don’t participate, and argue the usefulness of it.

Credits: Top image by BigStockPhoto.com; Old timepieces by The Watch Blog.

2018-02-28

Each season, Pantone unveils the newest colors that will grace fashions, styles, home decor and accessories. Generally, the Pantone Color Institute is pretty specific. This year, though, with the spring 2018 colors "variety" is the buzz word.

As issued in the Pantone Fashion Color Trend Report, the colors for spring 2018 consist of four essential classic neutral tones (this is the first time that Pantone has issued a classic color report) and 12 standout hues that run the gamut from pastels to bright acid tones of the 1970s, as well as darker jewel tones.

Meadowlark Yellow tops the charts as the most important color for spring. However, it takes a certain person to wear this bold hue, even if it does embrace optimism. Other key hues come in the red family in the form of Cherry Tomato (obviously red-orange) and Chili Oil (reddish brown), and in the pink family, with tones such as Pink Lavendar and Blooming Dahlia. Additionally pale blues and cool greens come into play.

For the classic side, because, let's face it, one needs to pair these tones with some neutrals, Pantone says the key colors are Warm Sand, Sailor Blue (navy), Harbor Mist (silver gray) and Coconut Milk (creamy white). The names make it sound  like we're in for a beach-and-water adventure this spring.

In all, the colors of the season seem to be more about individuality and personal statement-making. So, what's the best way to use the shades to your advantage this spring? Easy: colorful watches, watch straps and jewelry.  We have the answer; stop in any time to see.

Credits: All images courtesy of Pantone.

2018-01-31

International watch brands seem to have their attention focused squarely on the American market. This year, for the first time ever, the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie (FHH) is bringing its "Watches & Wonders" exhibition to the USA. Previously held in Asia, the Watches & Wonders show will be held in conjunction with the Miami Design District and is open to the public.

More than 21 brands will be exhibiting at the Miami Design Center over the President's Day weekend (February 16-19), and visitors will be marveling at some of the recently unveiled timepieces seen at the Geneva Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) earlier this month. Mind you, the watches previewed at SIHH are not yet available in the US market, and when they are, they will be featured in our showcases. For now, visitors to Watches & Wonders may be able to see and touch some of them.

In addition to showcasing the newest trends, the Watches & Wonders show is also promoting a host of exciting programs, events and speakers, who will offer interesting takes on watches, jewelry and design, in general. Expect to see pop-up structures, too, from independent brands, such as Armin Strom, Romain Jerome, Roman Gauthier, Kari Voutilainen, F.P. Journe and Ralph Lauren.

Organized in partnership with Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie and the Miami Design District, this four-day event will run concurrently with the 30th annual Miami Yacht Show and the Miami Design District Concours exotic car show.

2018-01-17

As we mentioned last week, the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) is taking place in Geneva this week — with more than 30 brands showing at this spectacular by-invitation-only exhibition. The show opened officially on Monday, and is in full swing, but here we bring you an insider's look at three key trends stealing the limelight thus far, and that we can expect to see coming into the market later this summer.

Chronographs and chic, sporty watches. There is a renewed interest in split-second timing this year, and many brands are unveiling sporty, chic chronographs that can measure distances or speeds related to one or multiple events. Generally, chronographs have two pushers to operate their time-tracking functions, but we are seeing some wonderful new Monopusher (single pusher) chronographs coming to fruition that are sure to offer a sleeker appeal in a nice contrast to the bulkier, bolder sport watch.

Vintage inspirations and anniversary collections. You just can't get away from the retro styling and vintage inspirations we are seeing at this exhibition — nor would you want to. In fact, the vintage accents run the gamut from 20th century hands and stylized numerals, to silver and parchment dial colors that recall the early 1900s. Some brands are even implementing historic logos on their dials as a nod to their rich past. This year also seems to be an important one for many watch brands, some celebrating 10 years, and other celebrating centuries. Additionally, some brands are paying homage to particular lines or collections that have anniversaries in 2018.

Women's watches. We have been talking about the women's watch market as a growing segment for at least a decade now. Every year, we witness more brands unveiling timepieces geared for women — and often including automatic and mechanical movements, as well as coveted complications. Moonphase and calendar watches remain a favorite for women, but this year we are witnessing a few more complexities, including tourbillons and repeaters. Make no mistake, though, there are still a grand number of women's decorative watches — sporting three-hands and diamonds or other designs — making their way to the forefront.  And, for women, color will be key this year.

We will bring you more in-depth news and product reports from the brands after the show concludes.