Luxury watch round-up: TAG Heuer supports Muhammad Ali clinic
Roula Khalaf, Editor of the FT, selects her favourite stories in this weekly newsletter.
TAG Heuer has raised $88,000 for the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center in Phoenix, Arizona, by auctioning a unique tribute watch at Gleason’s Gym in New York where celebrated fighters including Jake LaMotta, Mike Tyson and Ali himself all trained. (Ali suffered from Parkinson’s disease later in his life.) TAG Heuer chief executive Jean-Claude Biver made the winning bid for the gold-cased watch, inscribed with Ali’s signature and engraved with his portrait on the back. It was sold with a 27kg security case containing a pair of boxing gloves bearing the late fighter’s signature. The auction, attended by Ali’s widow Lonnie and boxers such as Evander Holyfield and Earnie Shavers, was the first official Muhammad Ali tribute event to be held since the star’s death in June. A steel version of the “Ring Master” watch — which has a scale to keep track of up to 15 rounds in the ring — is on general sale at £2,250.
The heat is on
Australian designer Marc Newson has created a new version of Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Atmos table clock, which was invented in 1928 by Jean-Léon Reutter and is powered by small alterations in air temperature. Newson’s £23,000 Atmos 568 — the third such clock he has designed in his eight-year collaboration with Jaeger-LeCoultre — has a transparent case made from Baccarat crystal and vibrant blue detailing on the dial. The Atmos operates through a system of bellows driven by the expansion and contraction of a temperature-sensitive gas in a sealed capsule. A one-degree temperature change provides sufficient energy to run the clock for two days.
Gotta catch ’em all!
Never slow to capitalise on the chance to create a novelty timepiece, Romain Jerome has launched a limited edition to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Pokémon trading card game. Made in collaboration with the Pokémon Company International, the 46mm diameter model has an image of the popular character Pikachu applied to the dial and a strap made from matching yellow rubber. Limited to 20 examples worldwide, the watch retails for the decidedly non-pocket-money price of £20,000. Pokémon returned to the limelight this summer with the launch of the Pokémon Go augmented reality smartphone app, which quickly became a global phenomenon, with more than 100m downloads. Romain Jerome has previously made watches incorporating everything from the ash of Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull volcano to metal from the hull of the Titanic.
Swiss brand Zenith has joined forces with Land Rover in a projected long-term partnership to develop a series of luxury watches that complement the SUV-maker’s cars. The first fruit of the collaboration, the Zenith El Primero Range Rover chronograph, has a 42mm case made from ceramic-coated aluminium and echoes the minimalism of the latest Range Rover dashboards through a simple, brushed grey dial. The watch carries the Range Rover logo front and back and is supplied on a perforated strap designed to emulate the car’s upholstery, while the box it is delivered in is made from lacquered wood similar to that used for the door cappings. The £6,400 special edition will be limited to 1,000 examples.
Avant-garde watchmaker MB&F and pen-maker Caran d’Ache have used micro-engineering techniques to develop “executive” pens in the form of a miniature space rocket, complete with stabiliser legs that spring out to display it upright on the owner’s desk. The Astrograph, which comes as a fountain or “roller” pen, comprises 99 separate components and is fitted with a miniature ladder and a capsule “entry door” that doubles as a release switch for the tripod legs. Each pen is delivered in a circular box designed to resemble a launch pad and is supplied with a miniature magnetic astronaut which can be attached to the body of the pen at any point. The Astrograph is SFr19,900.
Patek Philippe has announced that it will stage its largest ever exhibition of contemporary and historic watches in New York from July 13-23 next year. “The Art of Watches Grand Exhibition” will take place at the cavernous Cipriani 42nd Street restaurant in a purpose-built, two-storey structure comprising 10 rooms and covering more than 13,000 sq ft. In addition to areas showcasing current and historic collections, the free show will feature demonstrations by watchmakers and other horological artisans, a Patek Philippe café and an interactive room offering a virtual tour of the brand’s Geneva manufacture. A similar, but smaller, exhibition staged in London in 2015 attracted more than 40,000 visitors.