SINGAPORE - This is a regular series featuring the latest news in watches and all things horological.
A Very Tudor Christmas
Tudor is spreading plenty of festive cheer by being the official timekeeper of this year's Orchard Road Christmas light-up, Christmas On A Great Street 2021.
Working with watch retailer The Hour Glass, the luxury watchmaker will be installing 20 speakers and nearly 30 single- and double-sided glass panels along Singapore's premier shopping belt.
Starting from Ion Orchard, the panels show home-grown rapper Yung Raja - a Friend of Tudor - sending festive tidings to shoppers. They then lead shoppers to Mandarin Orchard hotel, where they will be greeted with a 100m by 19m projection featuring a giant Tudor Black Bay - one of the brand's most iconic models - and a three-minute animation inspired by the spirit of Christmas.
The projection's festive elements will transition into a countdown sequence on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve.
President Halimah Yacob will officiate the Christmas light-up ceremony at 7pm on Saturday (Nov 13) at Shaw House.
Tudor's Christmas Projection Show will take place on the outer facade of Mandarin Orchard every night between 8 and 10.30pm until Jan 2 next year. The Tudor Christmas Countdown and Tudor New Year Countdown will be held between 8pm and 12.36am on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve.
A Horological Journey with Franck Muller
To celebrate its 30th anniversary next year, Franck Muller - named after its watchmaker founder - is staging an exhibition in Singapore which offers a close look at the maison's most distinctive designs.
Held at its boutique in Wisma Atria, A Horological Journey, which started on Thursday (Nov 11), features new releases such as the Vanguard Rose Skeleton and the Grand Central Tourbillon, as well as 15 historic World Premieres (timepieces with special and exclusive watchmaking features) and archival pieces including the Aeternitas 1 & 2, the original Crazy Hours and the Evolution 3-1 multi-axis tourbillon.
There is a special installation which offers a peek into the complexities of creating a Franck Muller watch. Also on display is the original desk in Watchland - the company's headquarters in Genthod, a village outside Geneva - where founder Muller conceived iconic pieces such as the Master Banker, which boasts a patented multi-time-zone indicator allowing three time zones to be set.
Hourly guided tours will be available from Wednesdays to Sundays till March 20 next year. For tour times, bookings and other information, go to their website.
Zenith's Defy Extreme Desert
Zenith has released the first special edition in a developing series of Defy Extreme models inspired by extreme environments.
To mark the release of the Defy Extreme Desert, the watchmaker is collaborating with nature photographer Kourosh Keynejad, who will be unveiling a series of breathtaking images of four American deserts - the Great Basin, the Mojave, the Sonoran and the Chihuahuan - in a travelling exhibition, beginning with the Foire Internationale d'Art Contemporain (FIAC) art fair in Paris, before making its way to Dubai and Tokyo.
For the first time, Zenith is using a gemstone called falcon's eye in the design, a blue-grey opaque macro-crystalline quartz gemstone named after the bird of prey revered by desert nomads. When polished, the stone has a fluidity which evokes a mirage in the desert heat.
As each stone has different markings and textures, each of the 50 pieces of the Defy Extreme Desert is unique.
The watch has an open dial which showcases the exotic intricacy of the El Primero 21 movement with accuracy measured to one-hundredth of a second. To reinforce the desert theme, the power reserve indicator comes in a warm shade of brown with matching beige markers, hands and applied chronograph markers.
There is a choice of two straps - black Velcro or beige rubber.
Omega's Winter Games Watch
The Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 starts only on Feb 4 next year, but Omega is already heralding the event with the release of a special timepiece - the Seamaster Aqua Terra Beijing 2022.
The Swiss watchmaker has taken one of its most recognisable models and given it an "icy" makeover.
Crafted in stainless steel, the 41mm-wide watch boasts a beautiful white ceramic dial with a frost finish pattern - a tribute to alpine skiing, speed skating, ice hockey and other Winter Olympics sports.
Pops of blue for the hands and markers, and red for the Seamaster name and the numerals at the quarter-hour points, enliven the clean and classy aesthetics of the timepiece.
The heart of the Seamaster Aqua Terra Beijing 2022 is the Omega Co-Axial Master Chronometer Calibre 8900. The watch's caseback has a stamped Beijing 2022 emblem as well as the Aqua Terra's familiar waved edging.
Delivered in an Olympic Games presentation box, the watch also comes with a five-year guarantee.
Only Watch Auction 2021
The Only Watch Auction 2021, which took place last Saturday (Nov 6) in Geneva, raised US$32 million (S$43.4 million) for the Monegasque Association against Muscular Dystrophy.
This year, 53 unique pieces were donated to the biennial auction, which attracted a record 850 people. The donors included Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet, F.P. Journe and Richard Mille.
The star of the evening was a Patek Philippe complicated desk clock inspired by one made in 1923 for America's most famous watch collector, James Ward Packard, and which now sits in the Patek Philippe Museum.
Featuring perpetual calendar, week number indication and 31-day power reserve, it triggered a 15-minute bidding war that started at US$3 million and finally saw it sold for more than US$10 million.
The piece boasts a sterling-silver case enhanced by American walnut veneers and vermeil decorative elements, and a yellow-gilt opaline dial with black transfer-printed indications.
Film-maker Francis Ford Coppola had a role to play in the creation of the watch that fetched the second highest price - US$4.9 million - that night. The FFC Blue is a collaboration between F.P. Journe and the director of the Godfather (1972 to 1990) movies.
Over dinner one night in 2012, he apparently asked watchmaker Francois-Paul Journe if it would be possible to tell time with a hand on a watch dial. The result is a timepiece with a dial dominated by a blue automaton hand that tells time by holding up fingers.
Five watches fetched more than US$1 million that night, including an Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Jumbo Extra Thin and a Richard Mille RM 67-2.
Mr Luc Pettavino, former manager of the Monaco Yacht Show, founded Only Watch nine years ago because his son, Paul, was diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy in 2000.
To date, the auction has raised more than US$110 million for muscular dystrophy research.