The most expensive G-SHOCK ever sold + Breitling acquires Universal Genève The most expensive G-SHOCK ever sold + Breitling acquires Universal Genève

The most expensive G-SHOCK ever sold + Breitling acquires Universal Genève

Zach Blass

As our Deputy Editor Borna said in his write-up of the breaking news, arguably the biggest horological development of the year happened this week: Breitling’s acquisition of Universal Genève. We were actually talking about the proposition of reviving Universal Genève at our Time+Tide Christmas party a week or two ago, so it’s kind of spooky that Breitling’s gone ahead and done it. Needless to say, we’re rapt (especially Borna, who’s a big fan of Universal Genève).

Universal Genève Compax R885103 02 Nina Rindt jpg
The cult-favourite 36mm Universal Genève Compax ref. 885103/02 ‘Nina Rindt’. Image courtesy of Oliver & Clarke.

Universal Genève, while by no means a household name like Rolex, is a collector-coveted manufacturer with a rich heritage – in particular their Genta-designed Polerouter and various configurations of their compax chronographs. While previous attempts to restore the brand to its former glory have fallen flat, Partners Group and Breitling certainly have the résumé for the task. It has been said, however, that the brands will operate independently. Good for those who do not want to see Universal Genéve dials affixed to Breitling-built watches… But bad if a Kern-like guiding touch is not given to relaunching Universal Genève.

 

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Under Kern’s management, Breitling has really overhauled their various collections with a strong emphasis on leveraging vintage-inspired cues to develop modern revivals. With a brand as precious to watch geeks as Universal Genève, this mindset is arguably what is needed to finally get UG back into the picture. Of course, it will likely be years before we see the next era of UG novelties. But, whenever the first teaser drops everyone in the watch world will be paying attention.

A G-SHOCKing auction result

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Another big headline this week was that a precious new G-SHOCK auctioned at Phillips has become by far the most expensive G-SHOCK watch of all time. The yellow gold piece unique has a very interesting origin story in that its design was the result of a collaborative effort between human developers/designers and artificial intelligence. Dubbed ‘Dream Project #2 ref. G-D001’, the solid 18k gold watch was born out of generative design which G-SHOCK describes as “a computer-aided design technique that uses AI to optimize the design process for the watch’s exterior design.”

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Phillips explains: “The new G-SHOCK ‘Dream Project #2’ G-D001 is a one-of-a-kind G-SHOCK crafted from 18k yellow gold with an exterior case designed with the assistance of generative artificial intelligence (AI). Forty years of G-SHOCK data was provided to a custom AI system that generated a three-dimensional model optimized for factors including structural strength, material characteristics, and processing methods. Through a back-and-forth process with human G-SHOCK designers, the result is the original, organic structure seen here. The components – all crafted from 18k yellow gold with zero resin buffering – were then hand-polished to achieve a gorgeous lustre.”

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The G-D001 was provided by G-SHOCK as a charitable lot in which all of the proceeds would go to The Nature Conservancy – the very same foundation that benefited from Phillips’ sale of the last of 170 Patek Philippe 5711/1A-018 Tiffany & Co. Limited Edition watches. The estimate was set at US$70,000 – $140,000, but the final sale result turned out to be much greater with a hammer price of US$400,050 – outsting the previous 35 Dream Project #1 watches which retailed for US$70K. A wonderful achievement for G-SHOCK, and a strong recognition of their hard work and craftsmanship. It is moments like this, however, where I am saddened Only Watch finds itself in a bit of a pickle. When done properly, horological charity lots clearly can drum up large sums of money that can be put to great use…

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Zach

Watch meme of the week: for exhibition… mostly 😂

When watch meme culture crosses over into an actual useable product: seconde/seconde/’s twist on Charles Simon’s Theo Watch Roll will elicit a grinning smile from anyone who knows Rolex’s ‘FOR EXHIBITION ONLY’ placards all too well. At US$450, it is a pretty pricey gag gift – whether for yourself or a dear horologically inclined individual in your life.

Wrist shot of the week: an arm of Universal Genève

 

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While the pose has my horological anxiety through the roof – what if the watches rub each other? or fall off of the wrist? – this is certainly a way to celebrate the news of Brielting’s acquisition of Universal Genève and the impending revival of the historic brand with flair and pizzaz.

Time+Tide Shop pick of the week: Zodiac Super Sea Wolf Compression Ceramic

7 10 Ceramics Orange PDP D C

Just in time for the Aussie summer, our friends at Zodiac have released a trio of ceramic-cased Super Sea Wolf Compressions in deliciously bright summery colours: mint green, bubblegum blue and neon orange (as seen above). They’ve got an almost candy-like appearance to them – but they’re also delightfully light on the wrist. These 41mm Super Sea Wolf Compressions feature sunray dials and white ceramic cases; STP 1-11 Swiss-made automatic movements with a 44 hr power reserve and COSC certification; Super-LumiNova-covered hands and markers; Tropic-style rubber straps and are water resistant to 200 meters.

Order now from the Time+Tide Shop or the Melbourne Discovery StudioPrice: A$2,999

Our favourite Time+Tide coverage of the week

Breitling just bought Universal Genève. Now what?

Breitling Universal Geneve 05 Universal Geneve the new factory inaugurated in 1956 Carouge municipality in the Canton of Geneva

Breitling announced what could become the most significant piece of watch news of the year: their purchase of Universal Genève for a rumoured US$70 million from Hong Kong-based Stelux Holdings who had acquired the brand in 1989. Stelux Holdings failed to bring back the brand, but Breitling has a strong track record with heritage revivals. That being said, Borna outlines the full story of the acquisition and the three things he believes must be done for this to be a successful endeavor.

HANDS-ON: Omega’s Seamaster 300M Paris is clad in medal gold

There has been no shortage of Omega special Olympic editions in the past, but for Paris 2024 it seems they’ve taken inspiration from the world’s fashion capital. As a result, the Omega Seamaster Diver 300M Paris 2024 is perhaps the most chic Seamaster ever made.

RECOMMENDED READING: Top Swiss watch CEOs tell Fortune they’ve been too “arrogant” as the pandemic watch boom peters out

fortune rr pandemic boom feature mobile

“We are a little bit arrogant. We feel that we are the king of the customer – and it’s the customer who is the king. You should never reverse this.’’ Swiss watch CEOs recently expressed to Fortune magazine, as the post-pandemic watch market begins to cool down, that they have perhaps been too arrogant in their recent business decisions. Jamie has the full recap for you right here.