Last week was a doozy. I spent virtually all of my time eating, drinking, and ogling my way through New York’s watch and jewelry scene, as I juggled breakfast meetings, lunch appointments, jewelry viewings, cocktail parties, and coffee dates. Here’s a look at the highlights.
The Nutty-Looking HM6 Space Pirate From MB&F
If you know anything about the watch brand MB&F, the brainchild of Maximilian Büsser (& Friends), you know that it makes some of today’s most radical timepieces. I thought I knew avant-garde styling until Tuesday morning, when I had coffee with the brand’s affable communications director, Charris Yadigaroglou, and he showed me the new Horological Machine No. 6, aptly nicknamed Space Pirate. Distinguished by a crazy curved case boasting 10—yes, 10!—domed sapphire crystals that display the hours and minutes and reveal a 60-second flying tourbillon (among other things), the model is available in 50 titanium pieces that retail for $230,000.
The coolest feature in a watch brimming with cool features is the retractable tourbillon shield that allows the Space Pirate to shift into “hyperspace mode.” Beam me up, Scotty!
Ringly at the Retail Concept Store of the Year
On Tuesday afternoon, I paid a visit to Story, a breakthrough retailer in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood that defines itself as a cross between a magazine and a gallery. It is retailing at its most innovative. Every four to six weeks, the owners change out all the merchandise and interior decor to tell a new thematic “story.” (Past stories have included “Love,” “Good,” and “Style.Tech.”)
We’re covering Story in JCK’s upcoming Dec.–Jan. issue, in a forecast about the topics and products that will matter most to jewelers in 2015, so I don’t want to give too much away. But suffice it to say that the space, not to mention the things sold within it, are mighty memorable.
One of the products that most attracted me was Ringly, the Bluetooth-enabled ring that made waves earlier this year when it became one of the more recognizable brands to enter the smart-jewelry arena. I tried on the emerald version and was enchanted by the look of a flashing LED light and the feel of a customizable vibration pattern designed to alert me to incoming texts and emails. Even though I don’t think the gold-plated emerald bauble will stand the test of time, here’s the truth: For $260 (the other versions—in onyx, pink sapphire, and moonstone—retail for $195), it doesn’t have to.
Mish New York’s Nigella Collection
On Wednesday morning, I paid a long-overdue visit to the Mish New York boutique on Bond Street to see my friend Mish Tworkowski, a talented designer with great taste, an easy smile, and scads of high-society clients. I’ve long been impressed by Tworkowski’s exceptional eye for stones and top-quality craftsmanship; his three-years-in-the-making Nigella collection (named after the flower, not a certain celebrity chef!) did not disappoint.
Rife with exotic versions of familiar gemstones, such as red tiger’s eye or a sublime slice of crazy lace agate, the collection is Mish at his very best: one-of-a-kind 18k gold designs that look just as good from the back as they do from the front. That helps explain how so many pieces from the collection—which numbers about 100 in total—sold at an intimate cocktail party and dinner Tworkowski held the week before last. I was sad to miss it, but Wednesday morning’s personal walk-through helped make up for it.
Glashütte Original’s Ode to the Chronograph
On Wednesday evening, Glashütte Original, one of the finest brands representing the German watchmaking tradition, staged an event celebrating the art of the chronograph at the New Museum downtown. Vice president of sales Dieter Pachner flew in for the evening, which honored the introduction of Calibre 37, a new chronograph movement.
The interactive exhibition—complete with a mini racetrack where partygoers could play around with the chronograph’s start-stop function using miniaturized race cars—put the spotlight on two new models equipped with the new automatic movement: the elegant Senator Chronograph Panorama Date and the sporty Seventies Chronograph Panorama Date.
Courtesy Glashütte Original
“The chronograph is one of the most understated mechanisms,” Pachner said. “It’s one of the complications you can use daily. We believe in functionality, everyday materials like steel, and products you can wear 24/7.”
With its cushion-shaped case and galvanic blue dial, the sporty version of the Seventies chrono is one of my personal favorites. And if I had $14,900 lying around and was feeling generous, I’d buy it for a special guy this Christmas. Alas!
And a Baby Shower for Two Very Special Dads-to-Be
Friday concluded with the best party of all: a baby shower for my dear friends Mark Smelzer and Eric Fisher, who are expecting a baby boy, due on Dec. 1. (Most of you know that, as publisher of JCK, Mark is also my colleague and work husband!) We gathered everyone in the New York office together to surprise Mark with cakes, cheese and fruit platters, and lots of presents for little Nolen. Luckiest. Baby. Ever.