Laurent Ferrier Introduces the Classic Origin Opaline

Elegant, affordable, and very much simplified.

Laurent Ferrier is 10 years old, and to make the occasion the brand is launching the Classic Origin Opaline, a time-only, hand-wound watch with a slim, titanium case.

In many ways, the new watch is a minimalist take on the standard Laurent Ferrier time-only watch – the style is beautiful, restrained, and typical of the brand, with a new(ish) and significantly simpler movement inside, allowing for a fairly affordable price.

Initial thoughts

The Classic Origin Opaline has the much-loved Laurent Ferrier look – fluid lines and elegant forms on the case and dial. And in the usual manner of the brand, the dial is unadorned but executed with fine materials – the hands and hour indices are solid white gold.

The movement, however, falls a bit short. Laurent Ferrier’s earliest movements – the LF229.01 of the Galet Micro-Rotor and the LF619.01 of the Galet Tourbillon – were best-in-class calibres that excelled in construction, finishing, and details, which unfortunately set a very high bar.

But since the company entered a prolonged period of management turmoil, its movements have lost the magic. The quality is still good, but they are no longer outstanding.

The LF116.01 in the new Classic Origin Opaline is essentially a variant of the movement in the annual calendar and also found in the Bridge One with a reshaped base plate and bridges. It has large bridges with simple silhouettes, as well as solid, clean finishing.

Granted, a handful of the traditional Laurent Ferrier flourishes are still found in the movement, like the elongated, black-polished winding click, but overall it is a plain but solid movement.

That said, the Classic Origin Opaline is probably the most affordable Laurent Ferrier wristwatch in the catalogue – the retail is a bit under US$30,000 – making it a sound proposition in terms of price to quality. For someone who wants the familiar Laurent Ferrier look and a little bit of the technical achievement, for the lowest possible retail, this is the watch.

The LF116.01 of the Classic Origin Opaline

Still Galet

The Classic Origin Opaline has a titanium case that’s 40 mm high and 10.7 mm thick, so it is the same diameter but slightly slimmer than the automatic Galet Micro-Rotor. It will surely sit beautifully on the wrist, light and thin at the same time.

A bit more modern than usual for the brand, the dial has a “crosshair” along with a 24-hour scale in red on the periphery of the dial, creating a slightly retro-sporty look.

And the movement is visible through the display back. The bridges have fine, frosted finish and dark grey rhodium plating, along with polished bevels and countersinks. In almost any other watch this would be very, very good, but Laurent Ferrier’s set its standards very, very high.

Key facts and price

Laurent Ferrier Classic Origin Opaline
Ref. LCF036.TI.G1G

Case diameter: 40 mm
Height: 10.7 mm
Material: Titanium
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance:
 30 m

Movement: LF 116.01
Features: Hours, minutes, and seconds
Frequency: 21,600 beats per hour (3 Hz)
Winding: Hand-wound
Power reserve: 80 hours

Strap: Calfskin with titanium pin buckle

Availability: From authorised retailers and Laurent Ferrier
Price: 28,500 Swiss francs before taxes

For more, visit


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Breguet Introduces the Tradition Dame 7038

Rich colours and boutique only.

Based on the souscription calibre created by Abraham-Louis Breguet in 1796, the Tradition is characterised by an open, symmetrical movement layout and an off-centered time display. The distinctive look has made it one of Breguet’s modern-day hits, though most variants of the Tradition have been watches for men.

The latest Tradition Dame 7038 adds to the compact line-up of Tradition watches for ladies. Exclusive to boutiques, the Tradition Dame 7038 combines a dark, iridescent Tahitian mother-of-pearl dial with a deep-brown movement treatment. And unusually for Breguet, the watch is delivered with a matching clutch bag.

Initial thoughts

The off-centered, Tahitian mother-of-pearl dial was the first thing that caught my attention when this arrived in my inbox. With enigmatic colours that shimmer and vary between violet and green, Tahitian mother-of-pearl never fails to be captivating.

Obtained from black-lipped oysters around Tahiti and French Polynesia, they are much rarer compared to white mother-of-pearls as was featured in the first Tradition Dame 7038, making this more appealing, not just for its colour but also the material.

The brown undertones of the Tahitian mother-of-pearl dial are complemented by the brown treatment of the frosted finish on the movement and the rose gold case. In typical Breguet style, the mother-of-pear dial is finished in clous de paris engine-turning, a decorative touch that is tradition and always welcome as it adds visual interest to the sub-dial – which is a bit too small and hard to read, especially in a dark colour.

The case is classic Breguet style, but is largish for a ladies’ watch. Measuring 37 mm in diameter and 11.85 mm high, coupled with narrow lugs, the watch is better than the average ladies’ watch, which gives it a more modern feel. Moreover, the open-dial design of the Tradition translates well into a bigger case, which allows the movement to be more visible and the time more legible.

Inside is the automatic cal. 505SR that has a power reserve of 50 hours. Mechanically the watch is identical to the men’s Tradition, but here the movement has been dressed up in a slightly more feminine manner. The barrel, for instance, is decorated with a rosette guilloche that gives the face a little more flair than the comparatively plain version in the men’s Tradition.

The rosette guilloché repeats itself on the rotor


And the watch is delivered on bright orange strap that’s a little too reminiscent of a luxury leather-goods brand, and also feels aesthetically disconnect from the classical leanings of the watch.

To match the strap, the Tradition Dame 7038 is packaged with a hand-stitched clutch bag in orange leather modelled on a watchcase. And the clasp of the bag is decorated with the rosette motif that’s also found on the barrel and rotor of the watch.

The watch against its matching clutch bag

Key Facts and Price

Breguet Tradition Dame 7038
Ref. 7038BR/CT/3V6 D00D

Diameter: 37 mm
Thickness: 11.85 mm
Material: Rose gold
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: 30 m

Movement: Cal. 505SR
Functions: Hours, minutes and seconds
Winding: Automatic
Frequency: 21,600 beats per hour (3 Hz)
Power reserve: 50 hours

Strap: Calfskin leather

Availability: Only at Breguet boutiques
Price: 38,800 Swiss francs; or 57,100 Singapore dollars

For more information, visit


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Pandemic Truths – Brian Duffy, CEO Watches of Switzerland Group

Agility and a multi-channel approach.

Having just gone public in May 2019, the Watches of Switzerland Group has a major presence in its home market of the United Kingdom, as well as the United States. Its revenue for the 2020 financial year was £819.3 million, or about US$1.02 billion, making it one of the world’s largest watch retailers.

The man who led the group to its flotation on the London stock market is Brian Duffy. He was appointed chief executive in 2014, after Watches of Switzerland was acquired by American private equity outfit Apollo Global Management.

Mr Duffy’s tenure has seen the group post strong growth and record sales. Just before lockdowns took effect in its primary markets in mid-March, sales were up 36.4% in the United States, while group revenue rose 15.8%. And it was expanding apace, having just acquired four stores from Fraser Hart, while renovating several of its existing stores. Then the pandemic hit.

So what happens now? Mr Duffy shares his views on the current situation, and why he is optimistic about e-commerce as well as luxury watches.

How did the pandemic affect your business overall?

Obviously it was quite a shock. Our first concern was to ensure our staffs’ health and to maintain the whole workforce. We managed to keep all our people and worked on keeping spirits high everywhere.

Our numbers were very good coming into the year – up 16% at the end of the fiscal year in April 2020 – but closing all stores across the UK and US slowed down this trend momentarily.

Our teams are agile and we have been developing our digital presence and e-commerce for a while already, so we managed to continue trading through this channel effectively. We strongly developed contacts with our customers everywhere and worked on pre-sales.

We doubled our e-commerce in the UK during the shutdown. By the end of April, our revenues were still up by 6% for the year. So you see it impacted us but we are still in a good position.

How are the re-openings looking?

Some reopenings took place in the US three weeks ago, but quickly had to close again due to the social unrest. We see online trading is very strong both in the US and UK where we are gaining market share over the period. Our growth is in double digit in that channel.

For brick-and-mortar, the situation is evolving step by step. The UK has just re-opened on Monday, June 15 in England, but not in airports – that’ll be mid-July, probably – nor in Scotland. Our two flagships in New York will reopen soon, June 22 for Soho and early July for Hudson Yards.

We believe that we will experience less traffic but higher conversion, thanks to our digital presence. We are confident that we will fully recover from this.

We are privileged to have very strong brand partnerships with very strong brands. Demand is still very strong as we can see. A lot of what we sell is very much constrained by supply not demand.

Watches of Switzerland along Knightsbridge in London. Photo – Watches of Switzerland

How have you been working on developing your e-commerce?

Watches of Switzerland has been investing in e-commerce and social media presence for a few years already. During lockdown the WOS Group achieved 280 million total ad impressions and drove three million visitors to our websites. This is quite a feat and shows how well adapted we are to the new normal.

We are very present and active on Facebook, Instagram and even YouTube. Moreover, our partner brands have enabled us to sell online and that has helped keep the momentum as well.

The UK and large cities in the US are major destinations for tourists. Did you rely more on tourists or local business before the shutdown? How is that going to play out in the future?

Our airport business is clearly going to be impacted since airport traffic is going to remain slow for a big part of the year. But tourist business only represents 17% of our total revenue. We are very much a domestic-focused business.

Our strength is our presence in a lot of cities, so people can browse online and know that they can go to a nearby store easily. Our high sales numbers in January, February and March — when tourism was already down — are due to our strong domestic presence and the sustained demand for strong brands that we carry. 

Have brands taken any steps to help you as a retailer?

Thanks to our great relations with our partner brands, we have been able to start selling some of them through our e-commerce. Brands have embraced e-commerce and that has definitely been very helpful.

The Watches & Wonders platform has been also key to advertise all novelties digitally. It seems everyone has switched very quickly to digital, and it has worked well.  Our top three brands for online business are Omega, Breitling, and TAG Heuer, and our fastest growing is Cartier. 

Taking off online

What trends do you see developing for watch retail?

The trends that Watches of Switzerland has been working on are being confirmed: a balance between physical and digital presence.

The stores of tomorrow are wide and open; new physical concept stores will be spacious, luminous, modern. This new format we are implementing, like in Soho or Hudson Yards, seem to be effective – we have seen a 50% increase in traffic.

Clearly digital is becoming central for retail as well. A multi-channel approach is inevitable. We build awareness online through advertising, and people know that they can still go to one of our store nearby to search for help, services, or just to try the watches on.

The recently opened Hudson Yards store in New York City. Photo – Watches of Switzerland

The Soho store on New York City’s Greene Street. Photo – Watches of Switzerland

What do you see the retailer’s role evolving with the direct-to-consumer approach by many brands?

Watches of Switzerland has been experiencing 9% growth each year for the past six years, so we are developing well. We have key skills to develop brands: marketing implementation, consumer knowledge, even product development.

Our brand partnerships are strong and evolving. In particular, we are working on mono-brands boutique concepts. With our skills, experience and networks, we can help brands build their mono-brand boutiques in partnership with Watches of Switzerland. We understand the “flagship” approach in big cities, but for smaller cities it is more complicated for brands to go it alone. 

We have to be agile. We have to offer more remote interaction opportunities for consumers. Our sales staff are now equipped with tablets and Zoom subscriptions so they can interact with customers very easily. Offering a wide choice to our customers is also key.

And we see that independent watchmaking is also a great source of inspiration and innovation for the industry. The US market has been a very interesting source of data to embrace the value of that market segment. We see the interest in brands like H. Moser & Cie, MB&F, or Armin Strom increase steadily.

We are very optimistic about the future. We see demand for great watchmaking is very strong.


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