This week in New York City, top retailers and watch brands celebrate in style during the seventh annual Madison Avenue Watch Week. The event is a weeklong open house for New York visitors and residents to get up close and personal with some of the top retail stores on Madison Avenue. For watch brands with boutiques located on that high-stakes street (between 57th and 86th streets), this event is a chance to showcase the newest timepieces were unveiled earlier in the year at the various shows. Many of these watches have not yet been seen in the United States.
This year, participating in the event, which runs from May 8 through the 13, are brands such as A. Lange & Söhne, Hublot, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Montblanc, Panerai, and Vacheron Constantin. Many of the participating brands are also offering seminars, watchmaking demonstrations and more.
Presented by the Madison Avenue Business Improvement District (BID), Madison Avenue Watch Week is sponsored by The Wall Street Journal and supported by the Horological Society of New York. In fact, the Horological Society of New York is hosting the open-to-the-public “Watch Walk on Madison Avenue” on Tuesday May 9 at 10 am. The meeting place is Vacheron Constantin’s watch boutique (729 Madison Ave), and there will be multiple stops along the walking tour. A similar walking tour for watch “bloggers” is being held on Wednesday by BID.
As to the individual watch brand events, information can be found at www.madisonavenuewatchweek.com, where attendees can also register to attend the events. However, highlights run the gamut from Montblanc showcasing its auto-inspired TimeWalker watches, to Jaeger-LeCoultre hosting by-invitation-only Master watchmaking classes to learn how to put together a movement, and A. Lange & Sohne – in typical German style – serving pretzels and beer and showcasing the Lange Haus concept. Focusing on the next generation of watchmakers, Vacheron-Constantin is holding a children’s watchmaking workshop in its boutique on Saturday, May 13.
Additionally, this year the School of Visual Arts (SVA) in New York has created a special public art installation called “A Moment in Time.” The exhibit, created by design students at SVA, features 16 different six-foot-tall (or wide) watch sculptures that commemorate certain moments.
It’s filigree and yet rocky in a way few movements with ~700 components are. All the components appear to have substantial quantity to them, almost begging the question why so many different moves we view incorporate fragile-looking little springs and cams inside their design. The Tourbograph resembles a beautifully decorated machine that dwarfs other movements.Hidden deep within the bowels of the L133.1 is a fusée and string transmission system, designed to ensure a more even delivery of torque as the mainspring unwinds over its brief, 36-hour power book — 36 hours is indeed brief, but a shorter than average power book isn’t exactly unusual among such exceptionally complicated moves. The chain itself is 636 components, but Lange counts it as you (yes, one) component from the 684 part count of this movement itself.On the wrist, the 43mm-wide and whopping 16.6mm-thick platinum case is a hefty, hefty monster. It wears fine, but the weight of the case as well as the ~1,400 components inside it can make for one very heavy watch. Weapons grade, I believe is the word. Few watches make me feel invincible, but this one did in its own odd way — as it, in all fairness, is a fragile thing.