Some of 2019’s biggest watch releases are coming to New York. Just after Watches & Wonders in Miami, many of the new novelties will be traveling to the Big Apple to be a part of Cellini’s first-annual watch fair taking place at the independent jeweler and watch retailer’s 430 Park Avenue boutique next week. The five-day-long event will bring out some of the top new watches debuted this year, including ones from independents like Laurent Ferrier and MB&F that have not yet been shown stateside. “I just thought it was a good way to get some excitement going amongst the watch collecting community,” Cellini president Leon Adams told the Robb Report. “I had been thinking about doing this for a couple of years, but we didn’t have the space until we moved from our old location at the Waldorf Astoria to our new location at 430 Park Avenue.”
The fair, which will give collectors a rare chance to try on covetable new timepieces that otherwise often get purchase sight unseen, will begin next Tuesday, February 26th through Saturday, March 2nd and will showcase 120 watches from 21 brands over the course of the five days. In-store displays will change regularly to highlight new product and customers can expect to see some very rare pieces alongside some highly collectible vintage pieces.
The fair will kick-off with A. Lange & Söhne’s newest releases being shown in the boutique on Tuesday. Women’s timepieces will be highlighted on Wednesday with new introductions from Cartier, Parmigiani’s new rainbow watch, Jaeger-LeCoultre’s latest Rendezvous timepieces, and Romain Gauthier’s much talked about new women’s timepiece. Plus, a special new never-before-seen introductions from MB&F ahead of Baselworld. Thursday will be a big day for Ulysse Nardin, who released a slew of new watches this year. Cellini is known for being the exclusive retailer to some of Swiss watchmaking’s most lauded independent brands so Friday will be dedicated to pieces that have yet to touchdown stateside, like new watches from Greubel Forsey and Urwerk. Felix Baumgartner, Urwerk’s founder, will also be making a special appearance in-store that day. “There’s an up and coming surge of collectors and individuals who are very enthralled and enthusiastic about the likes of MB&F, Laurent Ferrier, Greubel Forsey, Urwerk, Urban Jurgensen, or De Bethune,” says Adams. “And these guys, because they’re small ateliers, don’t really get the exposure that they should.” The fair will come to a close on Saturday with a day devoted to Zenith’s new tribute to its famous El Primero movement, a special box set that celebrates its 50th anniversary, which has been the talk of the town amongst top collectors.
“You know, what’s happened today is, I go to Geneva and I’m shown product that is new to the market, but my clients are actually seeing those things before my appointments on social media, Facebook, and e-mail blasts from these companies,” says Adams. “Before I walk into my appointments and I’m getting e-mails from some of my customers that say, ‘I’d like to order one, but really I want to try it on. I’d like to see it in person and see how thick it is on my wrist.’ That’s what prompted me to do a fair, so that people could come in and get a first-hand look at the new watches and try them on. If they want to pre-order, they can pre-order.”
Adams says the most requested timepieces so far this year are Laurent Ferrier’s Blue Dial Annual, Zenith’s 50th anniversary set of the El Primero, and A. Lange & Söhne’s Zeitwerk Date and Lange 1 Anniversary watch.
“It’s year one, so we’ll see what works and what doesn’t work,” says Adams. “Next year I’d like to have a different independent watch maker do a lecture. We’re going to develop it more and more over time.”