EDITORIAL: What do celebrities know about watches?

Mr Dujardin and his JLC

Recently the news that Best Actor Oscar winner Jean Dujardin was wearing a JLC Memovox Tribute to Deep Sea at the Oscars. I do like the Memovox Tribute to Deep Sea, and I am sure Mr Dujardin is a terrific actor, but a press release trumpeting a celebrity’s watch always brings to mind the question: why should it make anyone buy that particular watch?

I suppose it is fair to say that most famous folk have more resources than us ordinary people, which means they have a far greater selection of watches to choose from. So perhaps their choice of watch is significant. But then again if they know nothing about timepieces the choice might have been random, or picked by someone else, a gift perhaps.

Maybe it’s an issue of awareness. The celebrity owner might bring recognition to a previously unheard of brand. There was a time when Panerai was unknown and Stallone, Schwarzenegger and friends made it famous. But in today’s market that is nearly impossible, since all famous personalities tend to sport equally famous watches, at least amongst the middle to upper income demographic that watch companies lust after. Which celebrity has been spotted with a Speake-Marin or Seiko Eichi

But the truth is probably something hard to describe. Case in point: I bought my Breitling Aerospace after seeing it on John Travolta’s wrist in Broken Arrow. His character used the watch to countdown to the detonation of a nuclear bomb no less. Of course the Rolex Submariner no-date in James Bond is legendary, maybe that is why I have two of them. I have no idea why I succumbed. 

In my defence that all happened years ago, and I am happy to declare for several years now I have been clean of product placement-induced purchases.


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A TOPGUN dogfight – who makes the real TOPGUN watch?

Breitling Chronomat 44 TOPGUN

IWC has made much of its association with TOPGUN, the United States Navy Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor program. In fact, IWC has built an entire range of bestselling watches around it.

So it is not surprising Breitling launched its latest watch, the Chronomat 44 TOPGUN, with a rather sniffy press release titled “The real TOPGUN watch carries the Breitling signature”. This is a 500 piece limited edition 44 mm Chronomat with Breitling’s in-house B01 chronograph calibre.

According to the press release, “In a meeting held at the [Navy Air Station] Fallon, Nevada base, TOPGUN members unanimously decided to signal their exclusive cooperation with Breitling through the creation of a limited edition bearing their insignia.”

And Breitling will also donate proceeds from the sale of this edition to a charity selected by TOPGUN members. Remember that IWC trumpets loudly its CSR efforts.

So who makes the real TOPGUN watch? I have no clue and I don’t really care. While I find the Breitling B01 movement interesting, the peculiar ostentatious style of most Breitling watches is not really to my taste.

That being said I do respect Breitling for being the only large scale, mass market independent watchmaker, aside from Rolex which doesn’t really count since it’s Rolex. Breitling’s competitors like TAG Heuer, Omega et al are all part of big groups. So kudos to Breitling for prospering on its own.


The Breitling B01 chronograph calibre

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Teaser for Speake-Marin’s upcoming Serpent Calendar

At Baselworld 2012 next week Peter Speake-Marin will unveil his new Serpent Calendar. A similar model was available in the Piccadilly line but was discontinued.

That was a shame as the serpentine hand was distinctive, especially when paired with the Piccadilly case. Based on the photo the case looks like that used for the Thalassa SM2

This is welcome news and I look forward to seeing more. Hopefully this will be affordable like the Spirit Pioneer.


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