As the UK’s go-to destination for the latest, high-end special watches, Harrods can always be counted on for some exceptional pop-up events. Last summer, for example, the London department store transformed its entire Fine Watch Room into a horological mecca celebrating craft and precision. This year it follows suit with Re-editions, where from 30 June to 24 July, the Fine Watch Room will be home to exclusive pieces that pay tribute to the past – with Harrods’ entire Brompton Road windows especially decked out for the occasion.
Ten brands (Cartier, Panerai, Audemars Piguet, Vacheron Constantin, Jaeger-LeCoultre, IWC, Harry Winston, Hublot, Roger Dubuis and Richard Mille – whose £996,500 RM 50-03 McLaren F1 is limited to 75 pieces) are presenting new watches – all exclusive to Harrods for the campaign’s duration – and which take their cue from icons in the brands’ archives. A vintage vibe was unmistakable at SIHH and Baselworld this year, which Harrods has fully embraced.
“We’ve really noticed the trend for celebrating ‘old as new’,” says Beth Hannaway, Harrods divisional merchandise manager of fine jewellery and watches. “Iconic pieces resonate especially well with our clients, which is magnified with these new references that allude to history but have been updated and refined for today’s customer.”
Audemars Piguet, for example, has unsurprisingly paid homage to its original 1972 Royal Oak and created an exceptional yellow gold open-worked Offshore chronograph tourbillon (£257,000) that’s limited to 25 pieces. Panerai has revived its Luminor Marina, which, while first making a splash in the 1990s, in fact dates back to the world war two watches that it made for the Italian navy. The blue-dialled Luminor Marina 1950 3 Days Automatic Titanio (£7,300) has the date at 3 o’clock and small seconds at 9, while the back of the titanium iwc ingenieur dual time is engraved with the Harrods logo. Only 100 pieces are being produced and was selected, says Panerai CEO Angelo Bonati, “as one of our most iconic due to the unique crown protecting device and sandwich dial.”
Women’s watches also make a strong showing. Cartier’s beautiful Panthere Joueuse (£157,000) pairs the iconic cat – playfully rendered in black lacquer, emeralds and 185cts of diamonds – with an entirely new calibre 9918 MC. “The watch showcases how Cartier’s workshops have joined forces to channel its jewellery expertise and flair, and render strikingly lifelike three-dimensional creatures,” says Laurent Feniou, Cartier’s UK managing director.
Jaeger-LeCoultre presents a supremely feminine, pink gold Reverso One Duetto jewellery watch (£54,000) that, with its graphic lozenge motif and criss-cross of diamonds, oozes art deco glamour. Zahra Kassim-Lakha, the brand’s UK director, aptly describes the watch as a “silk bow around your wrist”, and while it “encapsulates all the elegance and surprise of the first 1930s Reverso watches, [it’s also] for a modern, busy, social woman in 2017.”
Some brands are offering more than one model, such as Hublot’s trio of titanium Classic Fusions (a three-hander 45mm version limited to 40 pieces, £7,600; a 45mm chronograph limited to 20 pieces, £10,200; and 38mm diamond bezel model limited to 20 pieces, £10,200). Reminiscent of its original 1980s predecessor, the watches come in a Racing Grey hue with matching sunray satin-finished dials that are unique to Harrods. “It’s classic British with an international influence,” says Benoit Lecigne, Hublot’s brand director, “which truly captures the essence of Harrods’ and Hublot’s history and charm.”
The Aquatimer Chronograph Edition “Sharks” (Ref. IW379506) has an engraving to the situation back, depicting a group of hammerhead sharks swimming. The grey dial was inspired through the colour of several sharks.
Slate-grey is also the colour of the opaline dials on Vacheron Constantin’s three Geneva-hallmarked, Traditionelle pieces for Harrods, selected to suit a range of mechanical tastes: a self-winding date (£23,200), day-date and 40-hour power reserve (£40,100), and the 14-day, 336-hour power reserve tourbillon (POA).
Harrods, 87-135 Brompton Road, London SW1 (020-7730 1234; http://www.harrods.com).