By Caragh McKay
With so many models on show, myriad technological advances to take on board and the varying tastes of audiences or clients to consider (from the first-watch buyer to the passionate collector), whittling down this year’s big watch offerings to a tidy 100 was never going to be an easy task.
But then, as editor of the Daily Telegraph’s bi-annual watch supplement Telegraph Time, finding the veritable needles in the horological haystack that BaselWorld and SIHH amount to, is a key part of my job. Just as retailers have a dizzying spectrum of client tastes to think about when selecting the watches they are going to buy each year, so it is for a watch editor when deciding what readers – the newspaper world’s equivalent to the consumer – might like to see, read and learn about.
And so it was when I was asked to edit WatchPro Watches of the Year, the inaugural watch review launched by the team behind Professional Jeweller. Rather than just reel off page upon page of new models – which you can get from any catalogue guide to the shows – I considered it important to put myself in the position of buyers, consumers and aficionados alike when compiling this list, which I created with the esteemed watch writer and horology expert Ken Kessler.
The overall idea was to engage, inform and excite, while offering a straightforward insight to industry trends, designs and technological advancement that you feel you – or your clients – might wish to know about. Also, as you and I know, people buy or want the same watch for different reasons and many pieces have crossover appeal. That is why you will find that some brands appear more than once in several categories here.
Ultimately, though, watches are a lifestyle choice and so, with this list, I wanted to cut to the chase of why people buy them in the first place. Hence, there are 10 distinct sections in this supplement, from Sporting Greats, showcasing the best sports models, to Cool Classics, a hand-picked selection of high-end re-issues that will bring collectors to your door faster than you can say Breitling SuperOcean. Then there are the Trendsetters and Hot for the High Street sections, which focus on the fashion styles that are sought-after for their good looks rather than what lies beneath, and that introduce the younger end of the market to what it means to own and cherish a watch. There are many more dedicated areas to peruse that are, like the best watch fairs, designed to give you as much enjoyment whilst reading as they are to keep you up to date professionally.
So, again, the WatchPro Watches of the Year 2011 is not simply a monotonous list of what’s new that you have to find your own way through as though you are traipsing through the fairs all over again (God forbid!) but a straight-to-the-point guide – so that you, me, your customers, my readers, are reminded of why we want to read about watches in the first place: because we like them.