If I say that these consecutive numbers, which seems to be counting, are actually names of current models of important watch brands, I can predict the puzzled expression that will be on the faces of those who do not follow the watchmaking industry very closely.
As you might guess, we are talking about 60 years ago. When we add 19 to the beginning of these numbers, the models we carry in our wrists take us to the old times. When I say old times, I am not talking about your memories, of course.
I love watches with stories. I would certainly like to have this in the models I collect, but is it enough to fulfill my demand that the model is related to 60 years ago?
The first example I remember is Audemars Piguet's Royal Oak Jumbo, which was designed by great master Gerald Genta in 1972 and brought a breath of fresh air to the industry. It is not so easy to find the Ref. 15202 version that showed up at the boutiques looking exactly like the first issue after 40 years. The model, which has a story that is really impressive, I think represents the peak point among Heritage watches.
I do not know if it’s about the success achieved with those models or the inefficiency of the watchmaking industry in terms of innovation, but the "Heritage" trend is a fact. The most memorable examples of this trend in recent years are also the headline of my article at the same time.
56 .. 57 .. 58 ..
Now let's take a closer look at those numbers:
The Fiftysix Collection, which was introduced at the SIHH this year and presented to the likes of the watch enthusiast as a brand new model family, includes three different versions. The new models, the three-hand automatic entry model as well as the Day Date and Complete Calendar versions, represent the first classic collection from the brand introduced in both stainless steel and precious metals.
The models with sector dials and baton and large Arabic numeral indices also come with winding crowns that are slightly recessed to the case which boosts the 1950s retro feel of the collection. These details correspond one-to-one with the design that the brand adopted in the 1950s and associate with the Ref. 6073 model that came to the forefront with its contemporary features back in the day. Especially noteworthy with brand-specific nice price tags, the models also prove that the Heritage trend is not limited to entry or mid-range brands.
While it is not one of the first names to come to mind when it comes to Heritage timepieces, Omega is no stranger to it. And if we add the Speedmaster Moon Watch model in our list, it is possible to say that it is one of the leading brands. However, as mentioned in the title, our subject is the new models that tribute to 1950s.
The Speedmaster '57 Collection, added to the brand's product line in 2013, is inspired by the Speedmaster Reference 2915, designed by Omega in 1957, as the name implies. The model, which meets the essential requirements of Heritage timepieces like the retro design, (relatively) compact size and modern movement, is highly acclaimed by the watch enthusiasts right after its introduction. In fact, this is not surprising as many Omega fans wanted to see the new Caliber 9300 movement in a case that is smaller than 44mm. Omega going for a case that is inspired by a model from 1957 was a total bonus.
The last figure in our title comes from Tudor, the name behind the most epic comeback story within the world of watchmaking industry in recent years. The brand, which noticed that the Heritage trend was a powerful marketing argument earlier than others, added a new version to its famous Heritage Black Bay model family this year.
Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight was a new model that has been inspired by the brand’s Submariner Ref. 7924 model from 1958. The model, which looks mostly the same with the rest of the Heritage Black Bay collection, actually offers refined details in accordance with the Heritage concept. With its 39mm case diameter, Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight is the most accurate modern issue of the Ref. 7924 model. The no-date dial, which shoots the symmetry addicts like me in the heart, is simply a reason for preference. Let me add that the model is offered with a leather and a textile strap along with a retro rivet style metal bracelet.
At the end of the day, I cannot find a negative word to say about any of those models. All are special timepieces from respected brands and I am sure sales figures will also be pretty much successful.
However, I will not spare my words for the watchmaking industry regardless of brand or model. I think I would not be exaggerating if I say I am totally fed up with that Heritage thing. The wristwatches that we talk about here are luxury products. And I think it would be better for those products, which we use more like an accessory, a status symbol instead of time telling devices, to be designed in a more future-oriented manner.
When we look at the most talked about brands in the industry in the recent period, we see names that do not use the Heritage trend as a marketing argument. When the innovative and contemporary styles of brands like Richard Mille, F.P. Journe and MB&F's are supported with the right marketing strategies, they do not need the Heritage trend to reach the top level in the world of watches. Considering their relatively young past, it would not be a good idea for them to rely on their Heritage either.