An insider about Baselworld 2014: Elizabeth Doerr
Elizabeth Doerr, Watch journalist, editor-in-chief of quillandpad.com, author of '12 Faces of Time', contributor to Forbes.com ... answers our questions on Baselworld 2014. She talks timepieces, brands and personalities.
Your most unfortunate late arrival
The meeting before ran over and unfortunately I missed the explanation of the new TAG Heuer V4 tourbillon right from Guy Sémon’s mouth because of it…that was a real shame.
Your most remarkable meeting
I had a lot of remarkable meetings, but I think I can perhaps pinpoint the meeting with Konstantin Chaykin as the most remarkable at Baselworld. I had never met him personally before it, and I was blown away by his surprisingly gentle nature and incredibly creative and innovative outlook. I had no idea that he had built up such a large horological empire in Russia with 50 people working in his factory!
Your best encounter
Was definitely at the Hermès booth….what a relaxed, elegant atmosphere! And this year’s crop of wristwatches was nothing short of incredible. Something for everyone, and all of it in elegant, gorgeous quality.
The most surprising brand, product, material or person
It is hard to surprise me at Baselworld – certainly a byproduct of having attended the fair for so many years. But I had FOUR enormous surprises this year, and I’m not sure any of them is less surprising than the next!
1) Rolex introducing a silicon hairspring to a mechanical caliber in a ladies’ 34 mm watch. See my extensive thoughts on this here.
2) Nomos’ introduction of its own escapement and balance called the “Swing System,” which was added to its own caliber and put in a brand-new watch called the Metro. Most unexpected of all that was the new watch, not the new escapement! And all for just € 2,600. Read more about it here.
3) My hometown boys from Shinola offering a lifetime guarantee on their quartz watches built in Detroit. These are approx. $500 products. Amazing!
4) Finding Olivier Müller (as CEO) and Karsten Fräßdorf (as head watchmaker) together at L.Leroy. This news had not yet seeped through to me, and I will admit having been greatly surprised.
Something that struck you about the organization
It’s admittedly very hard to keep track of every eventuality at an event the size of Baselworld. However, errors occurring in the wake of changing out most of MCH’s press team was more than evident. In my particular case, I discovered the most extreme example after returning to the press parking lot after eight days: my car had been “clamped” due to the fact that the parking attendants had told me to park in the wrong part of the lot and neglected to give me a chit to put in my windshield. I would welcome a more experienced team next year with fewer such glitches!
Your shortest night
The Independents’ Party on Sunday night, which took place right after Daylight Savings Time had been put into effect (effectively robbing us of a precious hour of sleep). It was so much fun that I just couldn’t rip myself away to go to bed at a reasonable hour.
Your longest day
Naturally I paid for that fun the next day, which turned into my longest day for sure…even though I had to drag myself through it a bit, I am very happy to report that my feet didn’t hurt thanks to my special “fair” shoes!
Your favorite watch
This is an entirely unfair question! However, if you must have an answer, I’m going to surprise you (and myself) by naming two ladies’ watches as my two favorites (I cannot choose) this year! The Margot by Christophe Claret and the Arceau Millefiori by Hermès.
The contact you most look forward to following up on and to getting to know better
Perhaps Konstantin Chaykin as explained in question 2. I would like to understand how he thinks much better…
The sentence or words that got to you?
There are a few words that press people now overuse that have begun to raise my hackles a bit. Among them: “DNA” and “iconic.” And my all-time (non-)favorite: “novelty”!