April 1, 2023
The eighth World Brand Piazza

Swiss watch exports made further gains in July 2017, growing 3.6% to CHF1.7 billion as compared to the same month in 2016. This was the third consecutive month of growth for Swiss watch exports, according to the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry.

Swiss watch exports had been on a long and steep decline for some 21 months before achieving a recovery in March 2017 with the 7.5% growth to CHF1.59 billion as compared to the same month in 2016. Watch shipments to Hong Kong in March 2017 recorded a positive growth of 18% after 25 months of consecutive declines.

Swiss watch shipments to Hong Kong were still down by a quarter or 25.4% from January to July 2017 as compared to the same period in 2015. However, between January 2017 to July 2017 vis-à-vis the same period in 2016, Swiss watch exports to Hong Kong rose 2.9% to CHF1.4 billion. For the month of July 2017 alone, watch shipments to Hong Kong rose 16.8% to CHF204.8 million as compared to the same period in 2016. Analysts have cautioned that such data may not be entirely accurate due to seasonal effects and that inventory that has been “bought back” are not taken into account.

Nonetheless, such a positive economic backdrop for Swiss watch exports may bode well for the eighth World Brand Piazza hosted by Prince Jewellery & Watch Company at the Hong Kong Watch & Clock Fair 2017.

The eighth World Brand Piazza

World Brand Piazza entrance © Timmy Tan

Held from 5th to 9th September 2017, the World Brand Piazza has been organised by Prince Jewellery & Watch Company since 2010. It showcases important timepieces from major international brands. For the 2017 edition, the eighth show for Prince Jewellery & Watch Company, thirteen watch brands are participating: Blancpain, Breguet, Chopard, Corum, DeWitt, Franck Muller, Glashutte Original, Jacob & Co., Jaquet Droz, Juvenia, Montblanc, Piaget and Zenith. With Swiss watch exports back into positive territory, thirteen may not be such an unlucky number after all.

The key highlights for the World Brand Piazza are unique timepieces, namely the Billionaire Tourbillon Watch that is being retailed at HKD160 million (around USD20.4 million) and the Astronomia Solar Tourbillon priced at HKD2.8 million (around USD357,800), both of which are from Jacob & Co.

Jacob & Co.’s Billionaire Tourbillon Watch features 239 emerald-cut diamonds, including one single three-carat stone, with the total weight amounting to a whopping 260 carats. The Astronomia Solar Tourbillon Watch has a 3D model simulating the Moon’s revolution around planet Earth.

The eighth World Brand Piazza

Billionaire Tourbillon Watch by Jacob & Co. © Timmy Tan

Founded in 1984 by Dr Jimmy Tang, Prince Jewellery & Watch Company’s first retail shop was located at Hankow Centre, Tsim Sha Tsui in Hong Kong. In 2016, in the midst of all the doom and gloom facing the watch industry, especially in Hong Kong, Prince Jewellery & Watch Company had in July 2016 officially opened two new branches in the shopping hub of Yuen Long. The shops are located in Yuen Long Plaza and Yuen Long Castle Peak Road in the New Territories. Prince Jewellery & Watch Company currently has 16 branches across Hong Kong, Mainland China and Macau.

The eighth World Brand Piazza

Dr. Emily Tang and Dr. Jimmy Tang © Timmy Tan

It’s really about time Corum returned the most popular Bubble watch – a timepiece collection that originally came out in the year 2000 and served a significant contemporary function in the new history. Finally, the Corum Bubble watch collection was discontinued, probably since Corum began to go a little nuts with some silly limited edition models – which, looking back today, are pretty darn cool. For Baselworld 2015, the Corum Bubble is back, and I finally have reason to pay attention to this newest again.I remember a few years back meeting with Corum at Baselworld and inquiring about the Bubble and whether we could see one again. Someone sneered in my remarking that “we don’t think that’s ideal for the brand anymore. We’ve moved beyond that.” “Okay…” is all I could respond with, and we moved on to seeing more new variations of the Admirals Cup and Golden Bridge collection. I have always enjoyed Corum, but within the last few years, the fun side of this brand seemed to be decreasing and being substituted with a lot of ill-conceived high-end watches which did nothing to serve the image of their brand. I feel that the last time I wrote about Corum was back in January of 2014 when I had a less than optimistic view of the Corum Chronograph Tourbillon 47 Seafender. Later, the brand chose to adhere double tourbillons into an Admiral’s Cup view, and with their new ownership by China Haidian Holdings, I more or less assumed that the brand’s appeal for watch enthusiasts was (at least briefly) over. So you can imagine my delighted surprise to hear that the Corum Bubble is back.Not only back, but back with decent prices. In fact, besides some minor alterations and a case size that has been increased to 47mm wide from 45mm wide, the 2015 Corum Bubble is very similar to how it was when Corum decided to stop it. Also, even though the case is bigger (and seems really big) the Corum Bubble wears smaller than it is with snub lugs along with a case that wraps round your wrist well. That said, I am quite sure you can imagine that using a title such as the “Bubble,” this watch is thick. The sapphire crystal alone is 8mm thick and also the total Corum Bubble watch is 18.8mm thick – but in a cool manner.