Basel World Watch Fair 2013 – by Leo Parker

Screen Shot 2013-05-07 at 14.56.37For those of you who have no idea what or where The Basel World Watch fair is, its essentially the stand-out event in the luxury watch calendar and any watchmaker worth their salt – the likes of Rolex, Breitling, TAG Heuer and Hublot – see it as the ideal platform to showcase exactly what they have got in store over the next twelve months.

Now with the 2013 Fair a distant, but fantastic, memory, we have the opportunity to look back at the event and unveil some of the finest, most luxurious and, quite frankly, jaw-dropping timepieces that were showcased at this year’s celebrity packed event.

All the world’s biggest watchmakers came out to play at BaselWorld 2013 with the likes of Rolex, TAG Heuer, Breitling and Hublot truly showcased why they are considered the world’s most revered and prestigious watchmakers.

The event had plenty of buzz about it prior to its commencement and, it’s safe to say, it definitely didn’t disappoint on any level with some breath taking luxury watches being unveiled to an eager throng of consumers who were lucky enough to score tickets to the event.

Switzerland is the spiritual home of watchmaking so it’s no surprise that the world’s leading names wait for BaselWorld to show off what they’ve had up their sleeves and will be releasing over the next few months. Courtesy of the chaps over at The Watch Gallery, we have some exclusive photos from this year’s BaselWorld event and prepare to be blown away by a horological master class from the likes of TAG Heuer, Hublot and Rolex.

So, let’s stop talking about BaselWorld and start looking at some of the watches that were unveiled at the event – safe to say, they were all pretty amazing.

TAG Heuer MikroPendulum Watch:

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TAG Heuer MikroPendulum Watch

TAG Heuer Carrera Collection:

TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 1887 41mm

TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 1887 41mm

TAG Heuer Carrera Jack Heuer Edition

TAG Heuer Carrera Jack Heuer Edition

 

Hublot Masterpiece MP-05 LaFerrari Watch:

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Hublot Masterpiece MP-05 LaFerrari

Hublot Masterpiece MP-05 LaFerrari

 

 

Rolex Stand:

Rolex stand at BaselWorld 2013 – 1230 square metres, six weeks to construct

Rolex stand at BaselWorld 2013 – 1230 square metres, six weeks to construct

Rolex GMT Master II

Rolex GMT Master II

 

Rolex 36mm Day Date with Crocodile Strap

Rolex 36mm Day Date with Crocodile Strap

 

Rolex 50th Anniversary Daytona Platinum watch

Rolex 50th Anniversary Daytona Platinum watch

 

Zenith Stand:

 

Austrian daredevil, Felix Baumgartner, helping to launch new range of Zenith Pilot watches

Austrian daredevil, Felix Baumgartner, helping to launch new range of Zenith Pilot watches

 

The watch worn by Baumgartner during descent to earth

The watch worn by Baumgartner during descent to earth

 

As you can see, BaselWorld 2013 has seen some spectacular timepieces unveiled and some of the best are showcased above. With such an exceptional array of watches showcased at the event, excitement is already high over what the world’s leading watchmakers have got in store for BaselWorld 2014.

 

There’s so much more to a pair of Dr Martens

 

From Cow to Boot

From Cow to Boot

Fancy a trip to the Dr Martens factory, to see a pair being made ? Yes I know, this may sound like Chinese water torture to some people but believe you me, you’ll never take shoes for granted or look at them in the same cavalier manner ever again ! So as I was saying I was LUCKY enough to take a little jaunt upt North, to Wellingborough, Northamptonshire. Not only the home to British footwear but the home to Dr Marten – land otherwise known as the Cobbs Lane Factory. After a brief history of the iconic DM footwear and how the Made in England range and a couple of bespoke collaborations are still created at the unique Cobb’s Lane factory, which has been producing footwear for the Griggs family since 1901. It is the home of the original Dr. Martens boot. Within these modest factory walls work a close knit family of people steeped in traditional shoe-making methods.

In and amongst the noisy industrial backdrop of pristinely preserved machinery is the unmistakable smell of freshly cut leather, here the familiar form of a Dr. Martens shoe or boot begins to take shape. The process takes the boot through various highly skilled stages of the creation process until its final arrival – laced up and spotless – in a box … ready for a life which no two pairs will have the same life experience (See the images below to see the process in action).

A piece of leather goes through a number of stages in the process to the finished article, but its life starts as carefully selected hides are stored in a small pile of just one week’s supply. They are then lifted – one at a time – on to the desk of the Clicker. This has long been one of the most prestigious jobs in a footwear factory. It is the Clicker’s task to cut the single hide into various component parts of the boot’s upper pattern; using just the right strip knife, the expertise lies in creating the minimum amount of waste while ensuring the finest sections of the hide are utilised. His knife also pricks marks in the leather to show where eyelets and seams will later be placed. To succeed to the standard required for a Made in England product, the Clicker needs experience, a steady hand and, above all, an eye for detail.

The thing a pair of Docs is probably most famous for is its air cushioned sole, this is produced using a granular compound that is melted and then injected into a mould which carries the distinctive “DMS” sole pattern and the Resistance Rectangle indicating that the compound is resistant to Oil, Fat, Acid Petrol and Alkali. When the soles have cooled, a felt strip is inserted into the cavity of the insole, followed by a comfort pad, both of which are placed by hand. The sole is then placed against the upper, temporarily joined at the toe and heel by “spotting” a hot blade between the welt and the sole ready for the real moment of inspired creation.

A highly skilled machinist places the upper and sole – which are now loosely sandwiched together – against a heated blade which is kept at 700 degrees centigrade. This blade goes in between the sole and the welted upper, melts the PVC of the sole and seamlessly fuses the two parts of the boot together.

All that is left is to finish the side wall of the sole with the distinctive Dr. Martens grooving, again done with great hand skill as the boot is pushed against a razor sharp spinning blade cut in the form of the instantly recognisable groove, and creating the two toned grooved sole edge.

With the plastic last finally removed, the finished boot gets a hand-polish and lace-up to ensure its all spick and span, before being boxed and readied for shipping to stores, literally around the world.

 

THE DR MARTENS PROCESS FROM START TO FINISH

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What winning jersey will you be wearing – Giro d’Italia or The Tour de France ???

Presentazione nuova maglia Giro d'Italia 2013 disegnata da Paul SmithI think its pretty damn fair to say the two most important races in the cycling calendar are the Giro d’Italia and the Tour de France, who both this year have something to shout about. Firstly, the Giro, which will be marking their 96th edition, which began in 1909, This year the events organisers, RCS Sport Cycling, have invited Sir Paul Smith, to design the leaders jerseys.

The four jerseys are, the Maglia Rosa is the jersey worn by the leader of the time general classification. The Red Jersey is worn by the leader of the points general classification. The Blue Jersey, is the symbol of the King of the Mountain classification leader and finally the White Jersey is worn by the best young rider in the general classification.

In addition to the British designer’s signature on the jerseys’ collar, the left sleeves will bear the iconic Paul Smith stripes as the hallmark of his work. The race started on 4th May with the Grand Departure in Naples. The riders will then face 21 stages  finishing up on May 26th in Brescia. Paul said recently of this collaboration;

“I started cycling at the age of 12 and raced until I was 18. A bad crash put me in hospital for several months, after which I discovered the world of creativity, design and fashion and started my career, which luckily has progressed to what it is today.

During that period I have always followed cycling and have been privileged to meet many key riders, building friendships with Bradley Wiggins, Mark Cavendish, David Millar and many more. I also have a huge collection of jerseys from the 70s right up to current times, often signed by the riders.

With all this in mind, it was an absolute honour and delight to be asked to design the four jerseys for the Giro and I hope that the simple approach that I’ve made is acceptable to you all; putting red piping with the pink, cleaning all of the jerseys up to keep them as simple as possible and adding a little drawing of a cyclist by myself onto the jerseys.” 

Then, we have the other European cycling powerhouse, The Tour de France, this year celebrating its centenary year and French Sports brand Le Coq Sportif have designed a unique jersey specifically for the 100th year of the tour. The 2013 yellow jersey or Maillot Jaune – is a symbol of this great, now international, bike race – brings innovation to the fore. The ever symbolic yellow of the jersey, even brighter this year, features a translucent « Moor’s Head » imprint on the main body of the jersey. This is a first, in recognition of the island – Corsica – which is to host the Grand Départ of the 100th Tour on 29th June.

Another special feature of this year’s race is the grand finish, which is to take place, for the first time, at night, inspiring le coq sportif to incorporate an array of reflective detail in the golden tunic.

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Lets hope for the Great Gatsby rather then the Not so Great Gatsby !

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Few films are guaranteed to effect trends in Menswear and even fewer before they even hit the cinema screens, OK James Bond is always a dead cert, but The Great Gatsby has almost been anticipated with baited breathe. The Original book by F Scott Fitzgerald, takes place in 1922, during the Roaring Twenties, a time of prosperity in the U. S., post World War I. The book received critical acclaim and is generally considered Fitzgerald’s best work. It is also widely regarded as a “Great American Novel” and a literary classic, capturing the essence of an era. The Modern Library named it the second best English language novel of the 20th century, amongst many of its accolades.

Over the years the book has been turned into a number of film versions for both the big and small screen, from a silent version in 1929, to probably the most famous interpretation starring Robert Redford and Mia Farrow. To a made for TV version in 2000 in which Toby Stephens & Mira Sorvino played the lead characters. But the latest incarnation is definitely the one creating the most attention, the vision for this Gatsby is in the Hands of Australian Director Baz Luhrmann (Romeo & Juliet and Moulin Rogue). Now here’s where the problems begin for me, although the aforementioned films are greats, Mr Luhrmann is also responsible for the dreadful Australia with Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman and that Chanel Ad with Ms Kidman, you know “I’m a dancer !” Also, and I can’t believe I’m doubting the work of the legendary Mr Carter, also known as Jay Z, who is responsible for the soundtrack. I say this, solely, because of the hideous cover by Mr Andre 3000 & Mrs Carter (Beyonce) who together have tortured the Amy Winehouse (RIP) classic “Back to Black”. Then, it managed to lure me back with another cover, this time a Jazzy 1920’s reworking of the Beyonce, work of genius “Crazy in Love” by the Scottish songbird Emeli Sandé, I know.

Now to the clothing, where to begin, the costumes for this lavish production have been handled by long time collaborator of Baz Luhrmann, in work and play, as they are a husband and wife team, Catherine Martin. For Luhrmann’s Gatsby, she sort a female silhouette, reflective of this era, which could only come from one Fashion house, Prada. Martin worked particularly close with Miuccia Prada to achieve a stunning result. So stunning is the final result on the silver screen, that the work of this collaboration can currently be seen up close and personal in an exhibition, at the Prada New York Epicentre on Broadway NYC, which then moves onto to both Tokyo and Shanghai.

For the male characters of the motion picture, Catherine Martin chose an American clothing institution, in it’s oldest retailer, Brooks Brothers.

“ Brooks Brothers is mentioned numerous times in Fitzgerald’s writings as a representation of the ultimate gentleman’s purveyor of fine clothing to the American man of distinction,” stated Catherine Martin. “It is this most basic and fundamental connection that has made our collaboration so authentic.”

Brooks Brothers were so impressed by Martin’s interpretation of their archive that they have release a limited edition collection inspired by the very film. The collaborative effort consists of formalwear and daywear, including tuxedos, tailored suits, suiting separates (sport coats, waist coats, and trousers), shirts, ties, shoes, and accessories, what more could a dapper gent need ? (See the behind the scenes video below)

But Brooks Brothers and Prada are not the only retailers to have been enthralled by the Gatsby Spell, literally everyone from Marks & Spencer to Harrods latest Summer 2013 Ad campaign have a little more then the Gatsby about them (See below).

 

Harrods campaign Summer 2013

Harrods campaign Summer 2013

 

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Marks & Spencer Summer 2013

Brooks Brothers for the Great Gatsby Summer 2013

Brooks Brothers for the Great Gatsby Summer 2013

This is no Ye Olde Curiosity Shop – Anderson & Sheppherd Haberdashery

anda rowland_9.tifOK before I launch into today’s post, I have to stress, I am not about to moan, I promise you. But, in this line of business you are asked to attend alot of things. Things including meals at Posh Eateries, parties, even trips abroad for launches, I can hear your groans already, along with the violins, yeah yeah I deserve it. Anyway, the point I’m trying to make is, when you have been in this game as long as I have and when you have been asked to as much as I have, lets just say the novelty wore off a long time ago. So when I was asked to visit a new Haberdasery, of a Savile Row Tailor, I had certain preconceptions and it was only down to the friendship I have with the PR that I agreed.

anda rowland_4.tifNow, I, like I am sure a lot of you guys have certain presumptions when you hear the words Savile Row, Stuffy, Pricey, Oo Suits you sir, the list goes on. All I can say about the Anderson & Sheppherd Haberdashery(actually on Clifford St parallel with Savile Row) is, that I was proved wrong. YES I admit it, I was wrong and I’ll even go as far to say, I was wrong on pretty much all of my biases.

The store genuinely offers a carefully curated collection of trousers, shirts, knitwear, swimwear, ties, belts, hats, and other accessories for the thoughtfully stylish man, honest. The emporium is overseen by Audie Charles, the longtime right-hand woman of the legendary London tailor Doug Hayward. Who explained to me, “Doug lived above his shop, and, eventually, his flat sort of crept into the shop,”

She best summed up the thinking behind the concept as, “The haberdashery is meant to be like that: welcoming, like someone’s Mayfair home. The scarves and sweaters are not behind some glass front. We encourage people to pick them up and play with them, to get the full tactile experience.”

The attention to detail is sublime, no thought has been overlooked, from the warmest of welcomes once you walk in through the door, to the light and airy environment, some what against convention, to the equally warm exit you receive that ensures you want to return, even for just a nosey around.

anda rowland_11.tifVirtually everything in the haberdashery is exclusive to Anderson & Sheppard and has been sourced from the British Isles, whether fisherman’s sweaters from Ireland, knitwear from Scotland, or cabled shooting socks from Cornwall. And Clifford Street is proudly unseasonal, offering heavy woollens and light weight knits, all year-’round, so that no matter where you live or might be about to holiday, Anderson & Sheppard will have what you’re looking for—in stock, ready to go.

First-time Anderson & Sheppard visitors are made as welcome at Clifford Street establishment. The front sitting room, with its muted music and beautiful fireplace, offers refuge from the bustle of the outside world, while a corridor leads back to the airy, gloriously skylit room where most of the merchandise is displayed. Visitors are encouraged to linger, have a drink from the bar, and settle into the TV room at the back.

Plus, with handkerchiefs costing as little as £10 and neckties starting at £40, the haberdashery has something appealing for every man, Audie, who I now feel I’ve known all my life, wants it to be, “A familiar destination: a place you come to whenever you’re in town.”