One of Hong Kong's top watch collectors gives us his favourite timepieces of 2019
Since returning to Hong Kong, from Los Angeles, California, in the late 1990s, Carson Chan has carved out a reputation as one of Hong Kong's biggest and more influential watch collectors. He talks to us about his favourite timepieces from this year's Baselworld, and shares his insider's insight into what you should collect over the coming months.
What's happening in watchmaking?
One of the most frequent topics spoken about at the moment is what’s going to happen in 2020. Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie Genève (SIHH) has made a joint announcement with Baselworld that 2020 will become a back-to-back event. Starting with SIHH in April, and then Baselworld in May.
Which brand should we keep an eye on?
Breitling is turning heads with its Navitimer Ref. 806 1959 Re-Edition. The first model, developed in 1952, was worn by pilots and its design is instantly recognisable. This watch (I was told) sold out on the first day of Baselworld. Other Breitling collaborations, like the one with Bentley that welcomed the Bentley GT "Dark Sapphire" Edition, are also gaining traction. I see this as an excellent indication for Breitling.
What has been the biggest watchmaking breakthrough?
TAG Heuer’s carbon-composite hairspring. This was announced back in January and was first seen on the brand-new Carrera Calibre Heuer 02T Tourbillon Nanograph. At Baselworld 2019, the technology was applied to the new Autavia collection, specifically the Autavia Isograph. Benefits of the hairspring include a lower weight and density, making the watch easier to wear, as well as non-magnetic and optimal thermal behaviour.
Which is this year's most extraordinary watch?
H. Moser & Cie.’s Endeavour Concept Minute Repeater Tourbillon. The brand has managed to produce (once again) a product that celebrates its heritage but with a modern twist.
Which is this year's best looking watch?
I find the Tudor Black Bay P01 Swiss Dive very interesting. It's genius to relaunch a military prototype and I'm sure it'll be a sell-out.
Which is your favourite men’s watch for 2019?
The Bulgari Octo Finissimo GMT Chronograph. I was a fan of the regular model but this chronograph is really nice. With the added GMT function, it’s both beautiful and useful. There are nice looking watches, and there are useful watches, but not too many combine these two qualities. I hope they will make this watch in carbon, I’ll certainly be buying one if it comes in a carbon case!
Which is your favourite women’s watch for 2019?
The Chopard LUC XP Esprit de Fleurier Peony. Why? Just take a look at it–the craftsmanship, the colour, the shape. Everything is just so refined and elegant. Even I want to wear it!
Which brand surprised you the most?
Breitling. If you told me 12 months ago that I’d be begging for a piece from Breitling, I wouldn’t believe it. But I have, and am!
Which new brands have you discovered?
Karsten Fräßdorf. The brand is super technical, and it’s refreshing to see there are still passionate watchmakers pouring their heart and soul into products. Also Hajime Asaoka. This is the first year that I’ve seen their watches in the flesh, and I was completely blown away. Again, the level of work and craftsmanship that goes into these pieces is truly astonishing.