Wristwatch Annual 2011: The Catalog of Producers, Prices, Models, and Specifications

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9780789210784: Wristwatch Annual 2011: The Catalog of Producers, Prices, Models, and Specifications
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The definitive book for the collector of mechanical wristwatches, with complete information—including prices—on over 1,400 models made by more than 120 international brands.

Each year brings hundreds of new wristwatch designs, with aesthetic and mechanical changes and improvements, limited edition watches, and new producers, keeping this field exciting for collectors. This thirteenth edition of what has become a watch industry classic features over 1,400 of the world’s most luxurious wristwatches and provides color photographs and complete specifications for each watch. With Wristwatch Annual 2010, collectors have a wealth of information close at hand: the book is arranged alphabetically by producer, and within each producer’s section are specifications and materials for each watch, including price, movement, special features, complications, case, dial, band, and available variations of a particular model. A glossary and pronunciation guide help acclimate the reader to the world of fine timepieces, and, for prospective buyers, the addresses of all featured producers are listed together.

The elegant photography and layout will encourage people to peruse the year’s offerings for aesthetic appeal as well. The range of styles, from classic to modern, reflects the inclusive nature of this book, which watch collectors the world over will find both a handy reference and required reading.

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About the Author:

Peter Braun is editor-in-chief of Germany’s renowned wristwatch magazine, ArmbandUhren.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Excerpt from Wristwatch Annual 2011:

Dear Reader,

If recession had a name, that name would be Gradgrind, the somewhat dour headmaster from Dickens’s Hard Times, whose insistence on the facts and nothing more puts a damper on anything deemed frivolous, or what other, more imaginative minds would call creative. In the world of watches and watchmaking, where scintillating hype and incontrovertible mechanical realities live cheek-by-jowl, the sudden drop in cash flow has had a sobering effect at least in some segments of the industry. In the post-Lehman Bros. era, a spirit of reason or neue Sachlichkeit has begun to take hold.

The industry is flexible and imaginative, though, and it has even made a virtue of it to some extent, as the exciting selection in this Wristwatch Annual demonstrates. The word bling tends to raise a red flag nowadays, stainless steel has earned itself a few hash marks, and diameters have been showing signs of shrinking. Some brands have remained their classic selves. Still, the market does offer its share of exuberant, in-your-face objects with amazing designs, dials that require manuals to learn to read, or cases made from materials ranging from home-made alloys to fossilized dinosaur dung. Nevertheless, the bursting confidence of a few years ago has not returned and may not for some time yet. The industry is cautious: the recession may be officially over but economists are hedging their bets with warnings of a W,” which these days stands for a double-dip recession.

And lest denial take over completely: The annus horribilis 2009 was just about to close when Nicolas G. Hayek announced that ETA was intending to restrict the sale of its movements to deserving or long-term customers. It was not the first time he uttered a similar threat, but it sounded serious given that Hayek even filed for permission with Switzerland’s Commission for Competition, which is deliberating at the time of printing and is expected to reach a decision in early 2011. A green light could shake up the watchmaking world, forcing many companies to rethink their designs. Many brands speak of wanting independence, but now they may have to do something about it. Some, like he Hublot and Armin Strom planned their move a while ago and they're already equipping their latest timepieces with a new generation of movements. Designers relying on tried-and-true ETAs do have alternatives, but talk on the street is about a reindustrialization” of the watch industry.

Changing of the Guard
So the turmoil is not quite over, perhaps. But one of the big players has left the stage: the aforementioned Nicolas G. Hayek, chairman of the board of Swatch group, head of Breguet, and a bit of an enfant terrible, died on June 28, 2010, at the age of 82. It was a sad event, for Hayek was one of the most popular entrepreneurs and personalities in Switzerland. He was both amusing and serious, and he had reached a position that allowed him to be totally frank and hence eminently quotable for journalists. His critical role in saving the Swiss watch industry in the 1980s means that the world is filled with beautiful mechanical timepieces in all price categories today. But more than that, he restored and created tens of thousands of good jobs. His philosophy of entrepreneurship was rare and clearly effective: He believed in motivating people, not frightening them.

There has been changed, too, at Wristwatch Annual. The book has become leaner, and the layout redesigned to accommodate more watches per spread. The end of the introductory texts are shorter, and you will find some basic information on the respective brands on the same page.

The book is by no means exhaustive, the market for good mechanical wristwatches being truly immense. But we do offer a broad survey of most major brands, while continuing to make space and opportunity for the independents. This focus is crucial, because many of the independents are pushing the technological boundaries of watchmaking or simply doing top-drawer work for the sake of beauty and tradition. One thinks of such creations as the King Cobra from Urwerk or the less daring perhaps but equally genuine redesigns of Mk II. Then there are other brilliant Horological Machines of Max Büsser & Friends (No. 4 looks like it will take off from your wrist) or the outstanding creations of watchmakers like Jochen Benzinger, Itay Noy, or the phenomenal tourbillonista Thomas Prescher. For that reason, we are printing a revised version of last year's spotlight on the independents on page 28. And as a publication geared toward the North American Market, it is only natural that we should print a survey of some of the American brands, in particular those that were not included in the book itself. Jordan A. Rothacker surveys those watchmakers and discovers a wealth of creative design in his article on page 14. What happens if you cannot purchase a fine watch at a retailer near you? Web expert Rob Spayne is back again this year with a look at the phenomenon of Internet watch sales, the gray markets, and how some brands have grabbed the bull by the horns and page 26. We are also pleased to have watchmaker Bill Yao of Mk II offering some insiders insights into what makes a brand truly relevant on page 24. As for the glossary to refresh your memory about all those horological terms, it is back, but has moved to the end of the book.

Distributors or North American representatives and subsidiaries are once again found in the final pages of the book for your convenience. In the absence of representation you will find either the address of the headquarters or of a retailer specializing in that particular brand in the United States. We have also kept the list of repair centers. The independent watchmakers mentioned in the article have also been given brief listings.

A word about prices: the exchange rate between the dollar and the Swiss franc, and the euro are fluctuating quite drastically at all times. Thus all prices listed in the book are for reference only; they will most likely change during the coming year. The best way to get the real price is by talking to your local retailer. Finally, a few words of heartfelt thanks. Putting together such a book as a team project, involving publishers, editors, graphic artists, proofreaders, and many staff members at the various brands themselves who are bombarded with emails and phone calls requesting prices and information checks, usually at very short notice. Many thanks to all of you, and especially to Elizabeth Doerr, who nurtured and edited this book for many, many years and left it in our hands to have more time to explore and write about the fascinating world of watches.

Enjoy the book, and feel free to drop us a line with any comments or suggestions.

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