Bani McSpedden’s week in watchland

I write from the depths of watchland, namely Neuchatel in Switzerland where I’ve journeyed for the annual get together of the Cartier Fine Watchmaking Club, an invitation-only event that includes a look at what the brand has in store for us next year, including launches planned for Geneva’s SIHH watch fair in January.

It’s all embargoed for the moment, but later next week we’ll have some exclusive previews for you right here on watch-next.


Getting from Geneva airport to Cartier’s Swiss HQ is an hour by car and leaves you in no doubt you’re in the homeland of horology.

The trip takes you past numerous watch entities from Breitling to Tag, while Patek Philippe, Greubel Forsey and Jaquet Droz are Cartier’s next-door neighbours.

It’s been a busy few weeks for watch journalists – yes, a distinct and growing breed – with events for Blancpain in the south of France, Patek’s anniversary celebrations in Geneva followed by the watchmaking Grand Prix gala event, and now Cartier’s shindig.

All this on top of the recent Watches & Wonders in Hong Kong and barely two months before SIHH. No rest in sight for the wicked, but plenty to feast your eyes on, so watch this space.

Cartier Santos on NATO

Travelling for a watchaholic always means the dilemma of deciding not only what clothes to pack, but what watches.

The Cartier trip made one of theirs an obvious choice, namely my Santos with the black ceramic case. It’s the smaller version intended for female wrists, but I’ve beefed it up by mounting it on a NATO strap, and it now gets comments all round.

My preferred dual-time watch is a Grand Seiko GMT model, the deadly-accurate Spring Drive version, and it nearly always accompanies me, but not this trip – instead I chose a Jorg Schauer chronograph with a handful of NATO straps in various colours so I could co-ordinate with whatever I was wearing. Yes, watch get-togethers are like that – attendees notice your watch first, then the rest of the ensemble.

Jorg Schauer

Finally I found I couldn’t remove the Panerai 372 I’d been wearing – a watch I’ve reviewed here on watch-next – from my wrist. I don’t mean I literally couldn’t get it off, but I didn’t want to, so it too has accompanied me to Europe.

While here I’ve been doing the final check on The Australian Financial Review Magazine summer watch lift-out. It’s out on December 12, crammed with the latest in wristwear. Just don’t expect to recognise the watch on the cover – as you’ll see, it looks like no other.

Bani McSpedden


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