November was a busy month for Zenith. After scooping the Sports Watch prize at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève with its El Primero Lightweight model, the brand presented the Academy Georges Favre-Jacot piece in commemoration of the brand’s 150th anniversary next year. While the Zenith-sponsored Spindrift Racing yacht skippered by Yann Guichard on the Route du Rhum solo transatlantic race only managed second place, the team’s founder, Dona Bertarelli, picked up an award for “Female Sailor” of the year at the 2014 Swiss Sailing Awards.
Owners of Slyde’s unique high-resolution digital watch had a new engine to add to their watches from last month, when the brand launched its new Optika. Inspired by the 1902 Georges Méliès film “A Trip to the Moon”, it places the hour, minute, day, month and moon phase indications into individual windows that create a distinctive digital jumping display. The pièce de résistance is the stylised moon that dominates the moon phase screen, staring back at you through its telescope.
Auction house Phillips caused a stir in the world of watch auctions by announcing the creation of a watch department that will be headed up by none other than Aurel Bacs, a renowned watch expert and regular contributor to WorldTempus. The announcement coincided with the kick-off for Only Watch 2015, which will move its charity auction of one-of-a-kind watches to Geneva next year, with Bacs and Phillips organising the sale.
The annual motor racing calendar came to and end with a spectacular finale to the Blancpain SuperTrofeo and a gripping conclusion to the Formula 1 season, with Lewis Hamilton taking his second world championship at the last race of the season, much to the delight of sponsors IWC. For other teams the outlook was less rosy: Marussia folded in early November, missing the last three races of the season, which meant a loss of exposure for watch sponsor Armin Strom in the important markets of the USA, Brazil and the United Arab Emirates.
But as Hublot showed, there are still some lucrative sponsorship markets there for the taking. After becoming one of the first brands to invest heavily in football sponsorship, Hublot had a brief flirtation with Formula 1 and now turns its attention to cricket. Given Jean-Claude Biver’s record of success, could the former British colonies be the markets of the future for the watch industry?