Insiders about Baselworld: Suzanne Wong from REVOLUTION Asia
Returning from the world's biggest watch trade fair, Suzanne Wong, Editor-in-Chief at REVOLUTION Asia, answers a set of questions on her Baselworld 2014. She talks us watches, personalities, brands and so on.
Your most unfortunate late arrival
It was on the day when the clocks changed and I arrived at 16h30 for a 15h30 appointment. I was sprinting towards the booth (in 4-inch stilettos) and came face-to-face with my photographer, who was wearing a tragic expression. “We missed it,” he announced sepulchrally, and I swore comprehensively in Chinese. We were able to make a replacement appointment, so that wasn’t too unfortunate. The real catastrophe was that I had to wear flat shoes for the rest of the day.
Your most remarkable meeting
One day in Hall 1, I bumped into my friend Guillaume from Hautlence, a brand that I’m personally very fond of. I was quite pleased to have the chance for a quick chat, and then he said, “Actually I’m with someone at the moment; would you like to have a picture taken with the King?” This confused me for a few seconds; I thought he meant Elvis. It turned out to be Eric Cantona, which made me feel extremely conflicted. I was (am still kind of) an Arsenal fan. But it was still pretty cool, plus it made my photographer jealous for days.
Your best encounter
It’s impossible to name just one. The beauty of Baselworld is that no matter who you’re with, no matter where you are, no matter what time it is, there is infinite potential for an encounter that will define the entire fair for you. I might have a specific story or two to share, but you’ll have to ask me in person.
The most surprising brand, product, material or person
Rolex, with the Datejust Pearlmaster 34mm and the Syloxi silicon hairspring. I am always surprised by Rolex. Last year, when we expected something earthshaking for the Daytona anniversary, we got the extremely restrained, understated platinum Daytona. This year, without any warning whatsoever, we got the long-awaited first use of Rolex’s co-patent in silicon technology. They’re still surprising me right now, with the news about their new CEO. And I’m not easily surprised.
Something that struck you about the organization
Organisation? I don’t know if I can comment on that — to me, every year Baselworld is a gorgeous, chaotic swirl of people and product and excitement, heightened by nine days of absolute immersion in this industry microcosm. One thing I did observe is that whereas last year’s fair was defined by the show-stopping watches that debuted, this year’s fair was more about technologies, about potential, about the things you don’t necessarily see with your eyes. At so many of the brands I visited this year, I saw products that gave off an incredible sense of latent energy. Doors are starting to open, through which we can glimpse new horological horizons.
Your shortest night
It was Saturday, when my head hit the pillow at 23h00. Every other day ended way past midnight into the early morning, so strictly speaking they can’t be counted as nights at all.
Your longest day
I feel like Thursday, Friday and Saturday weren’t separate days at all. They were one long continuous day, intercut with naps between the hours of 03h00/04h00 and 06h30
Your favorite watch
Watches that I like tend to fall into two categories. There are watches that stimulate my intellect — they make me wish I was small enough to actually go inside them and explore their movements. An example of this is the Arnold & Son CTB with central dead seconds and central chronograph sweep seconds. The clarity with which the central dead seconds leaps from one marker to the next, the even precision of the central chronograph sweep seconds, the whimsicality of their interplay set against that serene dial… I could very happily live in this watch, wandering around the movement, sitting there watching the dead seconds pallet click over. Then, there are watches that provoke an extremely visceral reaction in me, like the Maurice Lacroix Masterpiece Roue Carrée “Cube”. Ladies and gentlemen, that is a sexy watch. The electrifying sheen of its silicon dial-side wheels, the geometry and implied texture of the repeating dial pattern, the gloss on those anthracite-grey hands, the way the hands taper sharply near the base and become needle-fine at the tips. If I could eat this watch, I would.
Two other watches that make me react similarly are the De Bethune DB25 with white enamel and blued titanium dials. You know how some people are so beautiful that it’s intimidating? Those De Bethune watches are like that. There is one watch that occupies both categories, and to me this represents everything I desire in a timepiece. The Voutilainen 2-Eight Hisui with that impossibly beautiful dial and upper movement plate and escapement with double direct impulse given via two escape wheels — it makes my heart beat faster. I love green things only slightly less than I love red things, I love unusual escapements, the finish is (as always) exquisite, and this watch is absolutely killing me.
The contact you most look forward to following up on and to getting to know better
I live in Singapore, where REVOLUTION is headquartered, so I always try and see as many people as I can during the few times a year that I happen to be in Switzerland. Can I say “everyone”? It’s true, anyway.
The sentence or words that got to you?
What everyone says to each other at the end of an appointment: “Have a good fair.” My friends, it was a fucking excellent fair. The things I saw and experienced, the people I saw and experienced them with — they continue to inhabit my waking and dreaming hours.
Link: REVOLUTION Online