There is never a shortage of theories as to why watch designers make the choices they do in bringing us the most recent crop of timepieces. Asian tastes, say the harder heads among us, are responsible for the moderation in the size of our wristwatches. Likewise tighter budgets, or the overproliferation of tourbillons, are blamed for the latest, more tightly focused complications. We prefer to see these developments in a slightly rosier light. Watch companies, which have been famously loathe to see beyond the confines of the industry, are finally paying sufficient attention to the people who are buying the watches. At last they are learning that the most desirable pieces are not those with just brand prestige or mechanical pyrotechnics (although we like those as well), but watches with an extra layer of meaning.
We spend a considerable amount of time in this issue parsing through this very new breed of timepiece—what we call the postmodern watch. These pieces are built to exude meaning, with extra imagination applied to their precision, a new sense of purpose designed into their functions, and elegance built into their architecture. Great watchmakers, of course, have long produced pieces with a mixture of these qualities. But over the past two seasons, a style—which was clearly not visible in 2009—has begun to emerge, especially from the smaller houses. As any weatherman will tell you, drawing forecasts from current movement is a tricky business. In the case of watches, it is absolutely fascinating, and we think you will enjoy indulging us.
As was the case last year, most of these topics and many others are available on a brand new version of the Robb Report Watch Collector iPad app, which is a free download at the iTunes store. With the benefit of extensive video, we approach these subjects with a completely new perspective, which, we hope, you will find both enlightening and compelling. We think it is the next best thing to being there yourself.