Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Time to look at luxury






















Basically this is a picture book of timepieces, a celebration of eighteen of the world's top watchmakers and probably the only time I'll ever see these watches close-up. Each chapter starts with a brief illustrated history of the company (in English, German and French) and though interesting they are really written from a company PR perspective. This is followed by pages of supurb photos, many of them huge close-ups of the watch face and these work particularly well with the skeleton models where it's possible to appreciate the design craftsmanship by looking through the watch.

I thought the large size of so many of these photos reveals some interesting points. The chronometer watches obviously use capital cities around the globe but because there isn't one between the Azores and Rio the incredibly small island of South Georgia is frequently used or the Fernando de Noronha, Jaeger-LeCoultre just use H2O on their Reverso Squadra World Chrono. Two of their other chrono watches have Donnington and Gaydon instead of London (GMT). I noticed that most companies don't seem to be able to get to grips with using clean, elegant type for the numbers, those on the Patek Philippe Calatrava Pilot look quite hideous. Easily the best looking solution is to use a thin line as so many do throughout the pages.

A really nice thing about this book is the production, excellent matt art paper for 175 screen printing and the first-class photos from each companies marketing division. There must be some fairly strict guidelines from the companies about how to photograph their products in a studio because throughout the book they all have a uniform feel with controlled lighting and it looks like many of them have been shot minus the glass to avoid annoying reflections.

As I said this is a visual celebration of the watchmakers art and there is a second volume that looks at twenty-two brands with a broader coverage than this first book's look at top end of the luxury market.

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