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Report A day at Geneva Watch Days 2023  –  Up close with the most exciting independent watch brands

Avatar Ferdinand By Ferdinand Write a comment
“Mesdames et Messieurs, nous arrivons à Genève.”

Shortly after the train conductor announces that we’re arriving in Geneva, I see lots of people in the city. When it’s time for Geneva Watch Days again, you can tell because of the fashionable outfits, colorful watches, and overall busy atmosphere.

Scenery in Geneva
Scenery in Geneva

Contrary to the monumental Watches & Wonders exhibition, the Geneva Watch Days are a light-weight event. There’s no central location with all watch stands next to each other. It’s a decentralized event where the brands rent suites in Hotels and present their watches in a cosy setting. The atmosphere is quite special since it feels like you’re visiting someone in their home. The suites often also have the nicest views of Lake Geneva and a balcony. Just before the event the brands often announce some new releases which we watch fans are then eager to get our hands on.

Scenery from Hotel Beau Rivage in Geneva
Scenery from Hotel Beau Rivage in Geneva
Scenery from Hotel Beau Rivage in Geneva

I met with a couple of brands and got to see their watches. Many brands and models you’ll never see in stores, if you’re lucky to have a point of sale near you at all. It certainly was a pleasure to get to photograph and experience independent watchmaking like this.

Meet the brands

Laurent Ferrier

Laurent Ferrier

Laurent Ferrier Sport Auto 40

Reference: LCF040.T1.V1GCO

This is the 2023 novelty from Laurent Ferrier: the Sport Auto 40 with a green dial with purple accents. The green-violet dial color matches the livery of the Porsche 935 Turbo that Laurent Ferrier, François Servanin and François Trisconi drove for the 47th edition of the 24-hours race in Le Mans in 1979 and which led them to a third place overall. If you look closely at the small seconds dial at 6 o’clock you can see a white number 40 printed on in slightly varying shades of white, which match the start number which was printed on the doors of the colorful Porsche that drove at Le Mans. The number 40 is also the amount of watches that you’ll see from this model: 40 individually numbered watches, that have all found a happy owner, since it’s sold out already.

Photo by Laurent Ferrier
Laurent Ferrier Sport Auto 40 (Reference LCF040.T1.V1GCO)
Laurent Ferrier Sport Auto 40 (Reference LCF040.T1.V1GCO)
Laurent Ferrier Sport Auto 40 (Reference LCF040.T1.V1GCO)
Photo by Laurent Ferrier

Laurent Ferrier Classic Tourbillon

Reference: LCF001.02.J1.E09

Caseback of the Laurent Ferrier Classic Tourbillon, Reference LCF001.02.J1.E09. Winner of the 2010 Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève in the category “Men’s Watch”.

Laurent Ferrier Grand Sport Tourbillon Pursuit

Reference: LCF044.T1.RN1

Laurent Ferrier Grand Sport Tourbillon Pursuit
Laurent Ferrier Grand Sport Tourbillon Pursuit

Artime

Artime

Artime ART01

Reference: ART01

Artime ART01

When I met Emmanuel from Artime in Geneva at Hotel Beau Rivage it wasn’t in a suite like all the other brands. It was down in the lobby at the bar. Casually sitting at a coffee table between some guests having lunch he showed me their first ever watch, the Artime ART01. And how cool this watch is. How many times can you get to see the first watch of a new brand?

Artime ART01
Photo by Artime

This isn’t a watch like many products of micro brands out there. Parts of different suppliers cased together, the brands themselves rarely even employ a watchmaker. Artime is different, they manufacture most parts of their watch on their own. But who has the machines, capital and the know-how from the beginning? Before building the ART01, Artime Créations SA was a partner of the Swiss watch industry. They worked as a supplier for some big names, but they always wanted to make their own watch. What if budget constraint didn’t play a role during manufacturing? What if we could really go crazy and develop the watch of their dreams? This is the result.

Artime ART01
Artime ART01

Artime didn’t cut any corners. We’ve got a tourbillon with a double balance spring, a case where there’s no actual case. The white-gold movement is the case, and the case is the movement. A semi transparent fusion made from titanium and diamond-like sapphire. The crown has a pusher that lets you cycle through the neutral position (N), winding (R) and time-setting position (H). Just like a car’s clutch system you can see what “gear” you’re in. This 20 piece edition is something for the watch collector that’s seen it all and who has a “demanding taste“. Really something special, I’m looking forward to what the Artime team comes up with next.

Hotel Beau Rivage Geneva

Krayon

Krayon

Krayon Anywhere Métiers d’Art Azur

Reference: C030-51

Krayon Anywhere Métiers d’Art Azur, Reference: C030-51

This was one of my personal highlights at Geneva Watch Days 2023. Here you see the 15 piece limited edition Krayon Anywhere in 950 platinum with a Métiers d’Art Azur dial. This dial consists of over 600 tiny cells which are hand-painted in different hues of blue which form a dark to light blue gradient overall. It’s not just paint, but enamel. Enamel is essentially powdered glass with color pigments which are burnt and hardened in an oven.

Krayon Anywhere Métiers d’Art Azur, Reference: C030-51
Krayon’s movement C030
Movement C030 with adjustable sunrise and sunset indication on the dial. Photo by Krayon.

Besides that this watch is capable of showing you the time of sunrise and sunset. Sunset and sunrise aren’t the same depending on where you live in the world. This is where the “hyper complication” movement C030 with 432 parts gets to flex some muscles: you can adjust your longitude and latitude position on the backside of the movement, therefore influencing when the sun rises and sets. Cool right? Being a manual wind watch, it’s also only 5mm thick and gets you 72 hours of power reserve fully wound. Besides many more details this is just an incredibly comfortable watch to wear at only 39mm × 9.5mm, which we often neglect besides all the technical features.

Urwerk

Urwerk

Urwerk UR-100V Magic T

Reference: UR-100V Magic T

Urwerk UR-100V Magic T
Urwerk UR-100V Magic T

Even though we seem to stand still, earth is always moving. So in addition to not only showing the time through a wandering hours complication, you can also read on the top left and right slot dials the distance travelled on Earth in 20 minutes as well as the distance travelled by Earth around the sun in 20 minutes. Because why not. If you don’t know how to read the time here: the three hour-arms move clockwise and the most recent hour moves along a 60 minute scale. Once the hour is over the next arm and hour indicator shows the new hour. So in this photo it’s 5:15. The next hour “6” is already arriving in the top right corner. Quite easy to read once you know it.

Deconstructed view of the movement caliber UR 12.01 built into the Urwerk UR-100V Magic T
The impressive Urwerk caliber UR 12.01. Self-winding movement regulated by Urwerk’s “Planetary Turbine Automatic System”. Everything is space with these guys. 39 jewels, Swiss lever escapement ticking at 28,800 vibrations per hour (4 Hz). A reasonble 48 hours of power reserve. Photo by Urwerk.

Urwerk UR-102 Reloaded

Reference: UR-102 Reloaded

Urwerk UR-102 Reloaded
Urwerk UR-102 Reloaded strap
“I stood in Basel in my Nike sport shoes and exhibited the first Urwerk prototypes on hotplates, and everyone thought I was totally off my rocker. The watch already didn’t look like a watch — it could have been a CD player, a scale, or anything else. And then to have the cheek to put them on hotplates… that was totally out of order.” Felix Baumgartner, co-founder of Urwerk, about the first show of Urwerk at Baselworld in 1997. (Source)

The UR-102 Reloaded is what its name says: a re-edition. Shortly after the company’s founding in 1995 the duo Felix Baumgartner and Martin Frei presented their first set of watches at Baselworld in 1997. The UR-101 and UR-102. You don’t see classical hands on these watches, what started to define Urwerk was utilizing the wandering hours complication to tell the time.

The original Urwerk UR-102 from 1997
The original Urwerk UR-102 from 1997. Photo by Christie’s (Source).

The UR-102 Reloaded is a nod to that first watch. The black version which you see here was sold together in a box set with a sandblasted steel version. This one is in PVD-coated titanium. The size has also increased quite a bit from 37.5mm to 41mm. Since the lugs are fairly short this watch will fit any wrist. The crown moved from the 3 o’clock to the 4 o’clock position and is now slightly recessed into the case which aids the watch’s pebble-like design.

Urwerk Space-Time Blade for Only Watch 2023
This sculpture is called the Urwerk Space-Time Blade. Made by craftsman Dalibor Farny, this art object was produced for the Only Watch auction 2023. It’s 1.62 m high and weighs 40 kg. It shows the hours, minutes, seconds and also kilometers travelled on earth, because it’s Urwerk.

H. Moser & Cie.

H. Moser & Cie.

H. Moser & Cie. Streamliner Flyback Chronograph (Boutique Edition)

Reference: 6907-0400

H. Moser & Cie. Streamliner Flyback Chronograph (Boutique Edition), Reference 6907-0400
H. Moser & Cie. Streamliner Flyback Chronograph (Boutique Edition), Reference 6907-0400
H. Moser & Cie. Streamliner Flyback Chronograph (Boutique Edition), Reference 6907-0400
Photo by H. Moser & Cie.

H. Moser & Cie. Heritage Dual Time

Reference: 8809-1200

H. Moser & Cie. Heritage Dual Time, Reference 8809-1200
H. Moser & Cie. Heritage Dual Time, Reference 8809-1200

H. Moser & Cie. Streamliner Perpetual Calendar

Reference: 6812-1200

H. Moser & Cie. Streamliner Perpetual Calendar, Reference 6812-1200
H. Moser & Cie. Streamliner Perpetual Calendar, Reference 6812-1200

H. Moser & Cie. Pioneer Cyclindrical Tourbillon Skeleton

Reference: 3811-1200

H. Moser & Cie. Pioneer Cyclindrical Tourbillon Skeleton, Reference 3811-1200
H. Moser & Cie. Pioneer Cyclindrical Tourbillon Skeleton, Reference 3811-1200
H. Moser & Cie. Pioneer Cyclindrical Tourbillon Skeleton, Reference 3811-1200
H. Moser & Cie. Pioneer Cyclindrical Tourbillon Skeleton, Reference 3811-1200
H. Moser & Cie. Pioneer Cyclindrical Tourbillon Skeleton, Reference 3811-1200
Photo by H. Moser & Cie.

H. Moser & Cie. Streamliner Tourbillon

Reference: 6804-0400

H. Moser & Cie. Streamliner Tourbillon, Reference 6804-0400
H. Moser & Cie. Streamliner Tourbillon, Reference 6804-0400
H. Moser & Cie. Streamliner Tourbillon, Reference 6804-0400
H. Moser & Cie. Streamliner Tourbillon, Reference 6804-0400

Hautlence

Hautlence

Hautlence Sphere Series 1

Reference: BA80-ST00

Hautlence Sphere Series 1
Hautlence Sphere Series 1 (Reference BA80-ST00)

Hautlence Linear Series 2

Reference: AD50-ST01

Hautlence Linear Series 2 (Reference AD50-ST01)
Hautlence Linear Series 2 (Reference AD50-ST01)
Hautlence Linear Series 2 (Reference AD50-ST01)
Movement D50 of the Hautlence Linear Series 2 (Reference AD50-ST01)
Close-up of the blue 60-second tourbillon bridge of Hautlence’s D50 movement. Photo by Hautlence.

Hautlence Vagabonde Series 4

Reference: AD30-ST00

Hautlence Vagabonde Series 4 (Reference AD30-ST00)
Hautlence Vagabonde Series 4 (Reference AD30-ST00)
Hautlence Vagabonde Series 4 (Reference AD30-ST00)

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