My six favourite watches from the Couture watch and jewellery show in Las VegasZach Blass
I know I have been a part of the Time+Tide team for over a year now, but this past week in Las Vegas it really hit me that I am a full-fledged member of this industry. Joining Time+Tide during the pandemic, I have spent the majority of my days confined to my home office writing up a storm with the odd Zoom meeting sprinkled in between. But I finally got to attend my first watch fair, Couture, and after one day back from Vegas I am now already back in the airport heading off to Switzerland for Geneva Watch Days. It was an incredible week at Couture, and it was great to meet many of my industry colleagues in person. Of course a major bonus was being able to get hands-on with various brand novelties, some of which had already or recently been introduced, some of which were unveiled at the show, and even a selection still to come (I can’t wait to share them with you as soon as the embargoes lift). But of the timepieces I can share with you today, here are six of my favorite watches I was able to go hands-on with at Couture.
Norqain ADVENTURE Neverest Glacier Dial
While there were many great pieces to check out, the Norqain novelty that really stood out to me was the ADVENTURE Neverest. Its glacier dial, framed by a grey ceramic bezel, is inspired by the jagged crevasses of Khumbu Icefall – the most dangerous stage of the climb to Everest’s summit. The texture is really dynamic, and as you move the watch under light the definition of the crevasses changes. In terms of its dimensions, the 200 metre water-resistant stainless steel case is 40mm in diameter, 12.55mm thick, and a wrist-welcoming 48.3mm lug-to-lug. Beneath the exhibition caseback you’ll find the COSC-certified manufacture calibre NN20/1, with 70 hours of power reserve. Fun fact: the NN20/1 shares the same architecture as the calibre found in the Tudor BB58. Price: starting at $3,240 USD.
Frederique Constant Slimline Monolithic
Usually when you talk about hi-beat calibres you are looking at 5hz or 36,000 vph. Standard sports calibers run a bit slower at 4hz or 28,800 vph. Frederique Constant took hi-beat to a whole new level this year with a revolutionary new escapement: their Silicon Monolothic Oscillator. It beats at an astounding 40hz or 288,000 vph, eight times faster than the usual hi-beat. It presents an interesting twist inside the three rather dressy and elegant 40mm Slimline Monolithic watches. My personal pick is the rich blue dial variant with a Clous de Paris guilloche, but whether you prefer the blue dial or equally textured white dial you better act fast because each are limited to 810 pieces in honor of the FC-810 manufacture calibre within. Price: $5,225 USD in stainless steel, limited edition of 810 pieces.
If forward-thinking aesthetics and technology are your bag, you will likely be as impressed as I was with the Accutron DNA. Its rather large 50 metre water-resistant case that’s 45.1mm in diameter and 15.6mm thick, is surprisingly wrist-manageable as its arched case does a good job of hugging the wrist. The openworked dial lets you immerse yourself in the proprietary electrostatic movement and its engineered motor and turbine system which drives two motors – one of which being the step motor that powers the fluid glide of the second hand. Price: $3,300 USD
Bell & Ross BR 03-92 Bronze Diver Bronze Red
I have had the pleasure of owning a Bell & Ross BR03 before in my collection, the “Phantom” with its original black PVD steel instrument case and equally stealth blacked out dial. While that watch could easily fly under the radar, their latest bronze diver immediately catches the eye with its gold-adjacent toned case and burgundy red dial and anodised aluminum bezel. It is a striking pairing we have seen before from Rado and the Oris x Fratello Big Crown Limited Edition, but this Bell & Ross stands out with its distinct squared cockpit instrument shape. Standing at 42mm in diameter and with a 300 metre depth rating, this professional dive watch will add a lot of character to your adventures above and below the sea. Price: $4,600 USD, limited edition of 999 pieces.
Oris Aquis 41.5mm Calibre 400
Ever since the Rolex Submariner “Hulk” was discontinued, and sky-rocketed in secondhand value, buyers have been searching for the perfect alternative. The Oris Aquis 41.5mm Calibre 400 features a green sunburst dial with fume flair, green ceramic bezel, and the latest generation Oris calibre 400 with five days of power reserve – over two times longer than the Rolex 3130 inside of the Submariner Hulk. The newer 41.5mm size is also more wrist-manageable than the larger 43mm, and positions it closer to the 40mm dimension of the Hulk and 41mm of the latest generation Submariners. Having now held it in person, and factoring in the new in-house movement, its five-day power reserve, regulation to +5/-3 seconds, and 10-year warranty backing, you would be hard-pressed to find a better green dialled diver at this price point. Price: $3,500 USD
Grand Seiko SLGA007 140th Anniversary Limited Edition
The SLGA007 is now the latest stainless-steel entry into the new Series 9 design class, which strives to push the technical limits of the timepieces to the next level. Its case, 40mm in diameter, 11.8mm thick, and 47.6mm lug-to-lug, utilizes the most mixed number of hairline brushed and Zaratsu distortion free mirror-polished surfaces – creating intricate play between light and shadow. The textured dial embodies the surface of Lake Suwa Minamo, the gentle sway of the water the surface conveyed by the ripples on the dial. Matching the fluidity of the imagery is the five-day Spring Drive calibre 9RA2, delivering superb accuracy within half a second per day. The central seconds hand is gold-toned, which in tandem with the rippled blue dial signals the sunlight shimmering on the surface of the water. In person, it is incredibly dynamic ranging from a dark hue to a brighter blue, and as the light catches the ridged texture it really does create a sense of light reflecting off the surface off the surface of the water. Price: $8,700 USD