Asia Is Not Enough
There is more than meets the eye with the first online world exclusive timepiece offered by Sincere Fine Watches.
On 6 July 2018, Asia’s premier watch retailer Sincere Fine Watches (SFW) via its e-commerce site, www.sincerewatch.com, offered its first online world exclusive timepiece – the Laurent Ferrier Galet Traveller Asia Map.
Headquartered in Singapore, SFW boasts of a physical retail network presence in nine countries, primarily in North and South East Asia, and even in Australia.
The Laurent Ferrier Galet Traveller Asia Map is by no means a watch for everyone. It is a high horology piece for serious collectors and it is being retailed exclusively online for SGD136,000 or about USD100,000. What’s more, it is rare because only three such pieces have been made.
Why would an Asian-based watch retailer with an established retail presence want to open up such a high-value timepiece to a worldwide audience through its digital platform?
After all, the Asia Pacific region is by itself a huge market not just for everyday consumer goods but high-end luxury items as well. It is no secret that the world’s most populous country, China with a population of 1.4 billion, and India, the second most populous country with 1.3 billion, are both located in Asia.
Moreover, the Asia-Pacific region is where 60 percent or 4.3 billion of the world’s population resides. South East Asia, where SFW is firmly entrenched and established, is already home to more than 600 million.
Well, the world is their oyster, so to speak. In other words, Asia is not enough. For SFW, as a retailer of fine luxury watches, the world and not Asia alone is their market.
With digital technology, access to a global audience and on a 24-hour “open for business” basis, is a non-issue and an opportunity not to be missed. Moreover, SFW has the credibility and legacy in watch retailing, having been founded in 1954, to back the timepieces it offers both offline and online.
There shouldn’t be any issues pertaining to legitimacy and even after-sales service support for the Laurent Ferrier Galet Traveller Asia Map. The time is now for a worldwide retail presence, albeit an online one.
The retailer’s customer base includes high net worth individuals who were once based in South East Asia but have since relocated to another part of the world where SFW does not have a physical retail presence. An online presence allows the retailer to reconnect with such customers and offer their limited production world exclusives such as the Laurent Ferrier Galet Traveller Asia Map for example.
MAP OF ASIA
What sets the three-piece limited edition Galet Traveller Asia Map apart from the existing Traveller collection is the enamelled dial using what the brands terms the “Grand Feu cloisonné by champlevé enamel” technique.
Bear in mind that an enamelled dial isn’t created using ordinary paint; the enamelled dial is vitreous-like because enamel is actually a coating of glass or silica combined with other elements such as chromium, iron and iodine to add hue.
Once the chosen colours are applied using a brush onto the dial, it is “fired” or heated at more than 840 degrees Celsius in an oven. Using high temperatures explains the “Grand Feu” or “great fire” technique.
Good enamellists must be highly experienced and precise as the process is extremely tedious; the colours must be added on layer by layer, and they have to be meticulous to avoid damage to the dials during the firings. Imperfections include cracks or bubbling that results in miniature holes on the dials.
For Laurent Ferrier’s “Grand Feu cloisonné by champlevé enamel” dial, “The outlines of the Asian continent is formed using the technique of cloisonné champlevé which refers to an area hollowed out in a sheet of white gold where the enamel is filled in. The dial is divided into compartments where the different colours of enamel are put in.
“An additional effect is provided by a specific hand-finished treatment. Between the continent and the sea, the material is shaped in a gentle slope so that the layer of enamel is lighter near the shore providing a varying shade of blue,” the brand explains.
Enamelling techniques are an ancient jewellery and metalworking art form used to create beautiful coloured items that will last. It is said that enamelling and cloisonné metalworking first emerged in the Near East, otherwise known as Western Asia.
According to The Vitreous Enamellers’ Society, the earliest known enamelled items, gold rings with vitreous coloured layers, were produced in Cyprus sometime around the 13th century BC during the Mycenæan period.
Horologists adopted the enamelling technique during the 15th century, as noted by Laurent Ferrier.
The functional highlight of the Galet Traveller Asia Map is the dual time zone display complication. The central hour and minute “assegai” hands indicate “local time”, the current time of the watch wearer’s location. The French word “assegai” refers to the “spear-shaped” hands. The date display at 3 o’clock is the local date.
The “home time” is indicated via a 24-hour disc seen through the aperture at 9 o’clock on the dial. With the 24-hour disc display, the watch wearer will have an immediate sense of whether it is day or night at home time.
The “home time” is the location where the watch wearer originated from. It is generally taken to be time of the country where the watch wearer resides in as it allows him to contact his family, friends and loved ones at a convenient time.
The “home time” will move in tandem with “local time”. Therefore, it is best to first set the “home time” at 9 o’clock by using the central hour and minute hands. After which, the local time or the new time zone where the watch wearer is in can be set by either moving the hour hand forwards by way of the top oblong push-button at 10 o’clock or backwards with the bottom oblong push-button at eight o’clock.
The tiny notch found on each push-button is to allow the fingernail to secure a grip to either advance or reverse the hour hand.
The Galet Traveller, first introduced in 2015, is equipped with the brand’s in-house Calibre LF230.01 automatic movement that is chronometer-certified by the Besançon Observatory.
The beauty of the Calibre 230.01 is visible through the case back and features an off-centred micro rotor in 18-Karat gold with a pawl-fitted unidirectional winding system fixed between the mainplate and the micro rotor bridge. What’s more, this is what is termed the échappement naturel or “natural escapement” with double direct impulse on the balance which was an idea and invention of the famed Abraham-Louis Breguet that is made possible with Laurent Ferrier’s own movement.
This Laurent Ferrier escapement achieves two impulses per oscillation and maximises the restoration of the energy used. In other words, the escapement reduces the torque needed to wind the mainspring, resulting in optimal winding.
Laurent Ferrier movements are a sight to behold thanks to the construction and finishings. “Our movements focus on the architecture of different bridges. This is our signature and it includes our shape and finishings. We are inspired by neo-classical designs. The level and care we have on the external parts such as the dials and watchcases including the movements, are what makes us different. Our final watches offer balance,” notes Christian Ferrier.
While Laurent Ferrier is a relatively young watch brand, its watches can be said to be steeped in horological history, from the use of ancient decorative techniques like enamelling, cloisonné enamelling and even movements which are inspired by past watch innovations and ideas.
Moreover, the Traveller Asia Map is a tribute not just to Asia but to the brand’s watch collectors, notably Singaporeans, who first supported Laurent Ferrier during its infancy.
In a nutshell, the Laurent Ferrier is about a map, art, technique and history. Interestingly, the first letters of each of the four words spell out “m-a-t-h”.
Speaking of which, it is worth noting too that although limited to three pieces, the Traveller Asia Map is priced at SGD136,000 which is practically the same price as its related Galet Traveller enamel pieces. Do the “m-a-t-h” and it is easy to realise that this Sincerewatch.com world exclusive sold online is practically worthy of consideration.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
A watch enthusiast and collector. He founded TimeWerke to share the passion via a print magazine and videos on YouTube (TimeWerke Videos). He is the editor-in-chief of TimeWerke.