As I write this I'm reminded of the lyrics of Bob Dylan's 1964 anthem, The Times They are A-Changin'.
That might have been half a century ago, but if you're in the watch business how appropriate those lines sound now.
If your time to you is worth savin'
then you better start swimmin'
or you'll sink like a stone.
For the times they are a-changin'
Visiting Australia earlier this year, outspoken LVMH watch president Jean-Claude Biver put it this way: "We're in the middle of a revolution and we don't know it."
Well, a few months further down the track the realisation is sinking in, underlined by an ongoing decline in demand for mechanical timepieces in major markets such as Hong Kong, and a reversal of interest in China, a country that was only recently regarded as the growth engine of the future.
Then there's the progress of the smart watch, a device largely spurned by the traditional brands, yet which, energised by the Apple Watch, now outsells Switzerland's entire output. If Apple can turbo-charge things in just one year, what next?
A lifting of standards, that's what, which is good news for enthusiasts and which means we can bring you another Watch special stuffed with temptations that would flatter any forearm, nary a battery nor charger in sight.
Best of both worlds
It means you can have the best of both worlds – at the same time if you like, a working computer on one wrist, a work of art on the other. A forest of features or a magical machine. As to lifting the allure of the latter, the brands have found plenty to work with this year, from dramatically improving the internals to refashioning the externals, with some going so far as to reinvent the way we look at time. So yes, a revolution, but as far as product goes, an exciting one.
Click through the gallery above to see 40 of the year's hottest new luxury watch releases.
This article first appeared in the Australian Financial Review Magazine's August Watch special.
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