2016 has been one of the more interesting years in watches, and one not without contradictions.
As we report in the opening story of the AFR Magazine's , while world watch sales have continued to flatten – for some 18 months in a row now – Australia has been performing pretty well.
The watches themselves are more than holding their own: the first part of the year saw impressive releases from both the Swiss high-enders and Japan's Seiko; and while the flow of new models slowed in the second half, what a range they cover, as you'll see in these pages. From fantastic to fun, radical to retro, the choice has never been broader.
Of equal interest are the people behind these creations and the enthusiasts who appreciate their efforts. In an exclusive face to face with Hermès family member and artistic director Pierre-Alexis Dumas reveals a philosopher with a unique take on the industry, as befitting someone whose remit straddles the worlds of both luxury and horology.
Commenting on Hermès's place in the mix, he noted: "You have the whole of humanity in the world of watches. You will find a lot of vulgarity, you will find a lot of cheap commerce, and you will find some exceptional pieces. You will find industrial perfection. Everything is there."
In a lighter vein we take you inside our recent visit to Bentley in the UK and to Breitling's home in Switzerland, a boy's own adventure, and lift the veil on Sydney's secret society of watch-lovers.
Bani McSpedden is the watch editor of the Australian Financial Review and of watch-next.com.
This article first appeared in the AFR Magazine's Summer Watch supplement.
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