Contributors: Ticking into the Future

<< Back to Robb Report, October 2007
  • The Editors

The future has become au courant

in watch designs, says senior editor Laurie Kahle, who writes about HD3 Complication’s Vulcania and F.P. Journe’s Centigraphe Souverain

, two of the more than two dozen products and places featured in this

issue’s Private Preview 2008 special section. "We’re

seeing a lot of these over-the-top designs that are very dramatic, almost

theatrical," Kahle says. "The new generation of watchmakers is inventing

machines that defy convention and incorporate a lot of fantasy, almost like

Breguet did with his wild ideas in the 18th century."

F.P. Journe’s watch inspires awe for its appearance but even

more so for its capabilities. "Picture the flying seconds hand jumping around

the subdial once every second," Kahle says, pointing to a photo of the

Centigraphe Souverain, which can measure ¹/100th of a second. Although the watch

incorporates the latest technology, its styling is understated, which is

consistent with Journe’s designs. "He’s a purist," she says. "He’s constantly

getting patents and doing these amazing things, but it’s not about screaming,

‘Look how crazy this is!’ He doesn’t have to scream; people will lean in to hear

his whisper."

Kahle notes that the appeal of audacious watches such as the

Vulcania is not limited to younger collectors. "Watch collecting is a little

like collecting art," she says. "You may start with the old masters, but

eventually you crave something fresh and more challenging, so you start

experimenting with contemporary artists."

Anyone with an interest in

watches can enjoy the Breguet museum in Paris, according to contributing editor

Jill Newman. She recently toured the facility, as well as the watchmaker’s new

flagship store in Paris, and writes about the company’s new Tradition Fusee Tourbillon for Private Preview 2008. "The museum makes it so

easy to learn about the past and really appreciate that these complicated

watches were made so long ago," Newman says. "Even if you’re not a watch

aficionado, you can still enjoy the art of watchmaking and the history of

Breguet."

Senior correspondent

Jack Smith was familiar with the potential pitfalls of car rallies prior to

participating in the Hong Kong–to–Beijing classic car ride he covers in "Beijing or Bust". Several years ago, also while on assignment for

Robb Report, Smith and actor James Brolin—for reasons we cannot

remember—attempted to drive a pair of Porsches across the Mojave Desert, from

Southern California into Nevada. "An hour out, I was driving along a lava field

with the Porsche representative, and we blew a tire," Smith recalls. "I said to

the Porsche guy, ‘Well, I’m sure you have plenty of spare tires, given the

terrain we’re going over.’ And he said, ‘No, actually, we have one extra spare.’

So that didn’t bode particularly well."

Likewise, the China rally got off to an inauspicious start, but

Smith and his fellow drivers persevered and eventually completed their

2,500-mile trek to the Great Wall. "Once everybody settled down, basically, it

was quite simple," Smith says. "We’d come this far, now let’s just do whatever

it takes to get to our goal, which in a way is the essence of rallying,

especially vintage rallying."

 

Simplicity abounds at the Oldonyo Laro estate

in Kenya, says senior editor Sheila

Gibson Stoodley, who recounts her visit in

"The Pride of Kenya". Laro primarily uses candlelight (the estate

burns through 500 candles a week) instead of electric lights. The rustic

lighting is an ironic feature, Gibson Stoodley notes, given that the patriarch

of the family who owns Laro also owns an oil terminal in the country of Georgia.

"He thinks candlelight is romantic. And it can be quite beautiful eating dinner

by candlelight," she agrees. "But reading by candlelight—not so much."

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