Note by project editor Petrina Fernandez:
One of the most interesting things about watches is that anyone can participate in this conversation. It is one of the few accessories — if not the only one — that speaks across generations and genders, with subject comprehension second to sheer emotion.
I came to watches late in my life, with no patience for accessories as a child. I otherwise might have broken quite a few falling off trees and into ditches — I certainly lost a couple of teeth that way. Children, especially the more foolhardy ones, are a great test market for Casio’s G-Shocks.
The first timepiece I wore with any seriousness was a Tissot my mother received as a retirement gift and passed on to me. Years later, on my maiden trip to Switzerland for the 2014 Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie in Geneva, I decided to buy a watch for the first time and spent hours searching before finding The One. It had no visible brand name but featured a dreamy tableau of reindeer and pine trees executed in the traditional Swiss art of paper-cutting, delicate black imagery against a white dial in a stainless steel case with a red strap.
In honour of great finds and acquisitions, this sophomore issue of Retrograde is dedicated to techniques, all manner of how-tos where watches are concerned. We examine the uses of tool watches (Tools for the Professional, Page 56) and the beauty of automatons (When Motion + Function Click, Page 78) before diving deep into horological art and science (The Devil’s in the Details, Page 103).
We then talk to IWC board member Hannes Pantli about building a collection (A Collecting Habit, Page 64), and look at the appeal and perils of buying pre-owned pieces (The Allure of Second-Hand Watches, Page 66). To hedge your bets with potential investments, check out what auction houses Sotheby’s and Christie’s have to say about valuations (Value Proposition, Page 68).
There’s even a touch of star power as we dissect product placements in the movies (Screen Shots, Page 26) and recount interviews with famous brand ambassadors (Apt Appointments, Page 28). Finally, we pit a historian against a revolutionist in contemplating the future of watchmaking (It’s Complicated, Page 52) and ponder its position in the blockchain era (The Future of Time, Page 55).
As interesting as the business is, the real emotions lie in the timepieces themselves, the only accessories as alive as we are with beating hearts and moving hands. There is a fair bit to read, but you need not be a fan of the tools to enjoy the tales. We had a great deal of fun readying this edition of Retrograde, and hope it stokes similar wonder in you or reminds you of some of your own precious moments. As much as watchmaking prides itself on precise timekeeping, age-old crafts and spellbinding movements seem to exist purely to pause the clock and draw you firmly into the present. Likewise, we hope you lose yourself within these pages and let them carry you away on a fantastic journey through time.
'Retrograde' is complimentary with every copy of The Edge Malaysia (Oct 7).