We’re just back from Geneva after an intense week at the SIHH tracking the 40,000 square metres of this luxurious salon to hunt down the latest trends in the watch world. Forget mind-boggling complications and horological acrobatics, and make way for the transfiguration of humble watch straps; 2016 is going to be the year that shoes give watches an extra kick of sex appeal and glamour.
It’s all about dressing up the watch strap and alliances with haute chaussure and haute couture are opening the door to higher degrees of customisation and versatility, bringing a much-needed dose of trendiness to the usually conservative domain of Swiss watchmaking.
The Reverso range of Jaeger-LeCoultre's iconic watches stepped out for their 85th birthday in grand red carpet style with sexy new straps and fresh faces with bold colours, courtesy of cult shoe designer Christian Louboutin. The gorgeous metallic colours on the Scarabé Reverso strap add a refreshing dash of seduction to this timeless watch. As part of the Atelier Reverso service, customers can now customise to their heart’s delight, choosing engravings, dial colours, gem-setting options and a cornucopia of watch straps - including the 2016 models designed by Louboutin - for their Duo and Duetto models.
Geneva-based watchmaker Roger Dubuis proclaimed 2016 as the Year of the Diva and unveiled this exuberant Velvet model with a ruched gold leather strap made by Parisian shoemaker Maison Massaro. Renowned for its custom-made shoes since 1894, Massaro is the darling of celebrities and the bottier behind Chanel’s iconic black and beige sling back of 1958. The Massaro strap adds a charge of sensuality and Hollywood glamour to these watches for women, which echo the warm gold tones of the heel in the centre of the dial.
Men have not been overlooked in the strap department and IWC continues its ongoing relationship with the Italian luxury shoemaker Santoni as purveyor of artisanal straps for its main collection of watches for men. This year, the emphasis is on IWC’s history as a manufacture of pilot’s watches and many of the new Big Pilot’s models are kitted out with calfskin straps that emulate the original aviator watches made by IWC 80 years ago, including the IWC Big Pilot’s Perpetual Calendar Edition Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.