Written by: Ruben Buehring and Nickolas Rodriguez Schwarz
In early April, the Watches & Wonders exhibition opened its doors for almost a week. Watch lovers from all over the world met to admire the new models of the 38 leading brands. However timepieces were not the only thing that the eye could admire. The style of the guests also stood out from the ordinary. While at regular fairs a simple polo shirt is considered as updressed, at the W&W one could discover suits and dresses in every imaginable cut and the flashiest colors. Not infrequently, the looks were finely coordinated from the wool socks to the patterned tie. There was no shortage of jewelry either. Author Nicholas Foulkes was the master of this discipline and decorated almost every finger with heavy golden rings. It seems that the watch lovers share another passion: the art of dressing well.
This phenomenon could also be observed at other events just like the most recent Sotheby’s event. One could think like you weren’t allowed to enter the watch auction without wearing Loro Piana Open Walks. Outside of this cosmos, the observation can be validated as well. Everyday we wear watches for various reasons. Certain people wear a mechanical watch out of respect for the craft, others a quartz model because of its reliability, and some simply wear a specially expensive one as a status symbol. No matter why you decide to wear a watch, you can't deny the fact that it has a huge impact on your overall look.
The much-discussed MoonSwatch is not a horological masterpiece, but for little money, wearers can decorate their wrist with a style icon. Watches are therefore clearly not exclusively about which one has the most complications, sometimes it is simply a beloved tool to express one's own style.
The correlation between timepieces and apparel is probably perplexing to very few people. Those who are enthusiastic about sophisticated watches usually also know how to put them in scene. The fascination of both sectors is based on the same values that include quality, craftsmanship, and a more or less timeless aesthetic. In fact, these values are also used by manufacturers from both industries to advertise their products. Brunello Cucinelli, for instance, states that he wants his cashmere sweaters to be passed on to the next generation. Similarly, Patek Philippe's slogan is "You never really own a Patek."
Perpetual Calendar 5040G and a Tank à Vis 2554 'CPCP' - Two totally different watches - no matter if round or rectangular both are subtle in their own way and will be complimented by connoisseurs. (source: https://amsterdamvintagewatches.com/)
In other words, one thing that unites the two industries is the philosophy behind the pieces. High quality clothing and elaborate watches were both designed to last. Even if here and there time and fashion take influence on the design of the products, the classics will always be around. The business model of vintage watch dealers, such as Amsterdam Vintage Watches is basically crisis-proof. An old Cartier Tank or Rolex Submariner will still be in as much demand 50 years from now as it is today. Thus, it is the opposite model of fast fashion. However, fashion can also operate in this way. Careful Sanpetuna readers and clients know that this is just the kind of clothing that Sanpetuna stands for. Coded Luxury is what you might call these garments. They are a distinguished, subtle and understated way of dressing. While this does not mean that you can't go crazy with colors, you should be able to wear them in the next season too. Instead of big logos and brand names, coded luxury items are adorned by stamped buttons and recognizable zippers. Only connoisseurs will identify this particular style. When it comes to the watches that Coded Luxury wearers own, it's usually the same way. They are more likely to reach for a Patek Philippe Calatrava than (with all due respect to Monsieur Biver) a Hublot Big Bang.
Jasper Lijfering interviewing Zoran Miljak, wearing Loro Piana Open Walks and a Patek Philippe 5711/1A-014 with the green dial (source: https://amsterdamvintagewatches.com/)
Coded luxury clothing and sophisticated watches therefore thrive on attention to detail — a value that requires constant attention. Although classics remain, they are always developed further and adapted slightly to the contemporary tastes. Watches get smaller and bigger by time and Loro Piana Roadster sweaters periodically change the color palette. However they are always designs that are meant to withstand our time.