Buying an Investment Watch? These New Models Are Your Best Bets

Catch them if you can.

By Carol Besler 19/10/2022

The upper level of today’s watch market is driven by collectors, and their increasingly high standards have led brands to unleash a steady stream of limited editions that exceed our expectations—technically, aesthetically and even symbolically: If the model once went to space, was favoured by a celebrity, is double signed, or represents the last of its reference, it’s all the more covetable.

Limited in number, but not in price, every new introduction seems worthy of alerting your financial advisor about incoming damage. The question is, how many are truly collectible—not just great watches but also solid investments? Plenty of this year’s new releases are potentially investment-worthy, especially from the hot names among the independents, but model by model, it’s difficult to predict what will take off and what won’t. If it’s safe bets you’re after, it’s best to stick to the top of the heap, so our list of the most collectible watches of 2022, so far, is limited to debuts from the Holy Trinity: Patek Philippe, Rolex and Audemars Piguet. Here are two models from each that we think will rise to the top.

Rolex Air-King Ref. 126900

Rolex Air King

Rolex Air-King Rolex

 

The Rolex Air-King is not the Daytona, or the Submariner or even, for that matter, the Explorer, but hear us out. On the surface, it’s a simple, affordable ($10,350), stainless steel sports watch, but so was the Patek Philippe Nautilus at one time—for decades, in fact—until it wasn’t. Could the Air-King be the next cultish outlier, the dark horse of the stainless steel sports watch parade? The new Ref. 126900 that replaces the 2016 version is still the same 40mm size with Oyster bracelet, black dial and green lettering, but the case was redesigned to include straight sides and lugs. More notably, it now has crown guards, which puts the Air King in the brand’s Professional watches category, even though it’s the only one that combines crown guards with a polished, non-indexed bezel. Probably the next most noticeable difference is that there is now a 0 before the 5 on the minutes scale, so each five-minute interval is now marked by two digits, something that will easily distinguish the 126900 from pre-2022 models. Also, the applied numerals, hands and triangular hour marker are now filled with Chromalight, Rolex’s proprietary lume. It contains the Rolex calibre 3230, a COSC-certified Superlative Chronometer. At retail, it is priced at $10,350 and so far going for around $15,930 on the secondary market.

LEARN MORE: HERE

Rolex GMT-Master II Ref. 126720VTNR

Rolex GMT-Master II Ref. 126720VTNR

Rolex GMT-Master II Ref. 126720VTNR Rolex

The great novelty of the new GMT-Master II is the position of the crown and cyclops date window on the left. A watch for lefties is unusual for Rolex and in the watch world in general and rarity is a prime factor in collectible watches. Collectors call it the “destro,” which translates to “right” in Italian, as in watches to be worn on the right wrist. It could, however, be worn on the left hand, with the crown simply facing the other way, where it doesn’t pinch the crease where you bend your wrist. The green and black bezel are exclusive to this line, and it’s worth noting that two-tone Cerachrom itself is rare—Rolex introduced its proprietary ceramic formula in two tones only in 2013, and it is only used on certain sports models. The green bezel on this model is the same as that on the Submariner Date. Flipping the crown also meant flipping the cyclops window from 3 o’clock to 9 o’clock, which looks wonderfully odd and eccentric. There is the option of either a Jubilee or Oyster bracelet. The retail price is $15,500 and it is currently selling in the $43,000 to $58,000 range on the pre-owned market.

LEARN MORE: HERE

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Jumbo Ref. 16202

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak "Jumbo" Extra-Thin Ref. 16202

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak “Jumbo” Extra-Thin Ref. 16202 Audemars Piguet

The Royal Oak is not just one model, but hundreds of models produced over five decades in various metals, complications and limited editions. The back catalogue stretches into the horizon. This year is the model’s 50th anniversary, and Audemars Piguet dropped a jubilee model that would have been a collector’s piece even without the anniversary-themed rotor. The new Royal Oak “Jumbo,” Ref. 16202 replaces the 15202, the reigning Jumbo since 2000 and the purest expression of the iconic design, with time and date only. The 16202 has a new movement, the caliber 7121, replacing the 2121, which had been used in the Jumbo since it was launched in 1972. Both are ultra-thin, but the 7121 is equipped with design changes including a repositioning of the logo from 12 o’clock to 6 and a new double-hash index at 12. Otherwise, it is the same classic design that collectors know and love. If it’s not broke, don’t fix it. There are four references: steel (approx. $45,200), pink gold and yellow gold (both approx. $95,500) and platinum (price upon request). The steel model is selling in the $215,000 plus range on the pre-owned market—as is, it must be noted, its predecessor, the 15202.

LEARN MORE: HERE

 Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon Extra Thin RD#3

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon Audemars Piguet

What’s a 50th-anniversary collection without a virtuoso showpiece?  The RD#3 (RD stands for Research and Development) is a virtuoso edition of an icon that retains its purity of design, a very difficult combination to achieve. It looks a lot like the new 16202 Jumbo, but without the date, and with the edition of a flying tourbillon. It is pure Royal Oak, with the Bleu Nuit tapisserie dial, baignoire markers and hands and an eight-sided bezel with screws. The dial is pared-down pure, with no date window, no “automatic” under the brand name at 12 o’clock, and no logo at 6 o’clock. And it’s thin at 39mm by 8.1 mm. Not quite as thin as record-holder Bulgari’s BVL 288, but also not as wide, and instead of a peripheral rotor, it has a full central rotor. It’s worth noting that before the RO stole the spotlight, Audemars Piguet was known for complications and slim watches. It sports a full-rotor flying tourbillon, which seems like an all-around impressive representation of the brand at its best. The 50th Anniversary rotor makes this hard to beat as a collector’s piece. The price is upon request and it is limited in production, which means it will be harder to come by than the already difficult to obtain Royal Oaks. The model has been quoted at CHF 157,500 ($238,301 at the current exchange) on several watch news sites. It hasn’t popped up on the pre-owned market yet, but one reseller is offering a previous steel 41mm Royal Oak flying tourbillon with a different calibre and different dial for about $470,900

LEARN MORE: HERE

Patek Philippe Ref. 5470 1/10th Second Monopusher Chronograph

Patek Philippe Ref. 5470P-001 1/10th Second Monopusher Chronograph

Patek Philippe Ref. 5470P-001 1/10th Second Monopusher Chronograph Patek Philippe

The Patek Philippe Ref. 5470 ticks all the boxes of elements that make a watch collectible right now—ultra-thin design, high-frequency escapement, a steel sports watch design and a manual-wound chronograph. The 5470 has it all, and then some. The movement, CH 29-535 PS, was 10 years in development, with 31 patents, seven of which are new. The primary technical feat is the display of 1/10th second on the central dial simultaneously with a regular one-minute central chronograph seconds hand. It incorporates two separate chronograph mechanisms, one driving the central chronograph seconds (white), and the other (sporty red) 1/10th seconds hand, which travels five times faster around the dial, once every 12 seconds. Because two chronographs use ample energy, the movement was highly optimised, with a Nivaflex mainspring that adds barrel torque without adding thickness; a 1/10th second hand made of Silinvar, which requires 3.35 times less energy to operate than steel; and a salad of silicon components in the escapement, which equips it to handle the friction of high frequency. Though not a special edition, like all Patek complications, it will be limited in production. The official price is “upon request,” and some secondary sellers are equally cagey, also listing “price upon request.” One watch news site lists CHF 380,000 (about $574,950) as a retail price. Otherwise, the 5470 seems nonexistent so far on the pre-owned market.

LEARN MORE: HERE

Patek Philippe Ref. 5172G Chronograph With Salmon Dial

Patek Philippe Ref. 5172G Chronograph

Patek Philippe Ref. 5172G Chronograph Patek Philippe

Salmon is a rare species in the watch world. It’s exotic and unusual—a handful of brands have used it for special editions only, a convention that dates back to the 1930s and ’40s when it first emerged. The colour pops, but unlike a bright orange or a bold red it’s more neutral, sophisticated and muted. It is still used very rarely, and is therefore highly collectible. It is not an exaggeration to say this dial type can fetch a premium of anywhere from 50 per cent or double, or even sky’s-the-limit prices, depending on the brand and the model. Some salmon dials are one-of-a-kind, created on special order by clients. Rock star Eric Clapton, for example, ordered salmon versions of Ref. 3970, 5004 and 5970 from Patek Philippe. The Ref. 3970, made in 2008 sold for just under $1,300,000 at Sotheby’s a couple of years ago. A version of Patek’s legendary Ref. 1518 with a salmon dial sold by Phillips in 2020 for just over $5 million, and a rare “pink on pink” Ref. 1518 in pink gold with a salmon dial sold at Sotheby’s last year for $13.7 million. Any Ref. 1518 will fetch a high price, of course, but a salmon dialed version is in another stratosphere. The Ref. 5172G, first introduced in 2019, now comes with a salmon dial. Aside from its pretty colour, it’s a great watch with pump pushers, dual subdials, syringe hands, the absence of a date window (a must for purists) and a tachymeter scale that gives it a sporty touch and the manual-wind caliber CH 29-535 PS. If you’re connected enough to purchase one at retail for $116,535, consider this salmon dial a great catch.

LEARN MORE: HERE

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Escape from the Ordinary

Ponant, the luxury cruise line known for its meticulously planned itineraries and high-end service, ups the ante on their upcoming European Journeys that promise an unrivalled exploration of the Mediterranean.

By Robb Report Team 19/02/2024

Not all cruises are created equally. Ponant, the luxury cruise line known for its meticulously planned itineraries and high-end service, ups the ante on their upcoming European Journeys that promise an unrivalled exploration of the Mediterranean. From the stunning Amalfi Coast to the pristine Greek Islands, the narrow Corinth Canal to the picturesque Dalmatian coast, historic Istanbul and beguiling Malaga, each destination is a unique adventure waiting to be unravelled. With Ponant, these aren’t just locations on a map; they’re experiences that come alive with the intimate knowledge and insight that their expert guides provide.

Ponant’s luxury cruises are renowned for their individuality, with no two journeys the same. This is not by chance. Itineraries are scrupulously designed to ensure that each passenger is left with a feeling of having embarked on a journey unlike any other.

Athens-Venise. Photograph by N.Matheus. ©PONANT

In 2025, their fleet will set sail for a combined 56 departures from March to October, exploring the dreamy locales of Greece and the Greek Islands, Malta, Italy (including Venice and Sicily), Croatia, France, Turkey, Spain and Portugal. These European Journeys offer an intimate encounter with the Mediterranean, its people and culture. As you cruise in luxury, you’ll dive deep into the heart of each destination, exploring historic sites, engaging with locals, sampling scrumptious cuisine and soaking in the vibrant atmospheres.

The company’s small, sustainable ships, which can accommodate from as few as 32 to 264 guests, have the exclusive ability to sail into ports inaccessible to larger cruise liners, affording privileged entry into some of the world’s most treasured alcoves. Picture sailing under London’s iconic Tower Bridge, crossing the Corinth Canal, or disembarking directly onto the sidewalk during ports of call in culturally rich cities like Lisbon, Barcelona, Nice and Venice, among others.

Photo by Tamar Sarkissian. ©PONANT

This singular closeness is further enriched by destination experts who unravel the tapestry of each locale’s history and traditions.

Onboard their luxurious ships, every guest is a VIP and treated to refined service and amenities akin to sailing on a private yacht. Whether at sea or ashore, their destination experts guarantee a fascinating experience, immersing you in the rich cultural and historical diversity of each region.

Indulge in the finest gastronomy at sea, inspired by none other than gastronomic virtuoso and Ponant partner, Alain Ducasse. Each voyage offers an expertly crafted dining experience, from a-la-carte meals with perfectly matched wines by the onboard Sommelier at dinner and lunch, to a French-inspired buffet breakfast, featuring all the favourite pastries, fresh bread and quality produce.

Chef Mickael Legrand. Photograph by NickRains. ©PONANT

For a more intimate discovery, consider Le Ponant, with its 16 high-class staterooms and suites—perfect for private charter—sailing eight exclusive routes between Greece and Croatia, offering guests unparalleled experiences both onboard and ashore. Ponant’s commitment to crafting unforgettable experiences extends beyond itineraries. Aboard their ships, the luxury is in every detail. Unwind in opulent cabins and suites, each offering private balconies and breathtaking views of the azure water and destinations beyond.

Ponant’s upcoming European Journeys are more than just cruises—they’re your passport to a world of cultural immersion, historical exploration, and unrivalled luxury. Don’t miss this opportunity to embark on the voyage of a lifetime: the Mediterranean is calling.

To book European 2025 sailings visit au.ponant.com; call 1300 737 178 (AU) or 0800 767 018 (NZ) or contact your preferred travel agent.

 

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Saint Laurent Just Opened a New Bookstore in Paris. Here’s a Look Inside.

The chic new outpost is located on the city’s arty Left Bank.

By Rachel Cormack 14/02/2024

Saint Laurent is taking over even more of Paris.

The French fashion house, which only just opened an epic new flagship on Champs-Élysées, has launched a chic new bookstore on the Left Bank. Located in the 7th arrondissement, Saint Laurent Babylone is a mecca of art, music, literature, and, of course, fashion.

The new outpost is a tribute to the connection that Yves Saint Laurent and partner Pierre Bergé had to the Rue Babylone, according to Women’s Wear Daily. (In 1970, the pair moved to a 6,500-square-foot duplex on the street.) It is also inspired by the house’s original ready-to-wear boutique, Saint Laurent Rive Guache, which opened in the 6th arrondissement in 1966.

The exposed concrete in contrasted by sleek marble accents. SAINT LAURENT

With a minimalist, art gallery-like aesthetic, the space is anchored by a hefty marble bench and large black shelves. The raw, textured concrete on the walls is juxtaposed by a soft blue and white rug, a wooden Pierre Jeanneret desk, and sleek Donald Judd stools.

The wares within Saint Laurent Babylone are the most important part, of course. Curated by Saint Laurent’s creative director Anthony Vaccarello, the collection includes everything from photos by British artist Rose Finn-Kelcey to books published by Saint Laurent itself. Some tomes on offer are so rare that white gloves are required for handling.

The store also offers an enviable selection of records that are no longer being pressed. Highlights include Sade’s Promise, Kate Bush’s Hounds of Love, and the debut studio album of electronic band Kraftwerk.

Other notable items on the shelves include Leica cameras, chocolates made in collaboration with pastry chef François Daubinet, prints by Juergen Teller, and brass skull sculptures. You’ll also find an assortment of YSL merch, including pens, lighters, and cups.

To top it off, Saint Laurent Babylone will double as an event space, hosting live music sessions, DJ sets, book readings, and author signings over the coming months.

Saint Laurent’s latest endeavor isn’t exactly surprising. With Vaccarello at the helm, the Kering-owned fashion house has entered new cultural realms. Only last year, the label established a film production company and debuted its first movie at Cannes.

The space is fitted with a Pierre Jeanneret desk and Donald Judd stools.
SAINT LAURENT

Perhaps Saint Laurent film reels and movie posters will soon be available at Babylone, too.

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The Best Watches at the Grammys, From Maluma’s Jacob & Co. to Jon Batiste’s Vacheron Constantin

Music’s biggest names sported some outstanding watches on Sunday evening.

By Rachel Mccormack 08/02/2024

Weird yet wonderful watches punctuated this year’s Grammys.

The woman of the moment, Taylor Swift, who made history by winning Album of the Year for an unprecedented fourth time, wore an unconventional Lorraine Schwartz choker watch to the annual awards ceremony on Sunday night. That was just the tip of the horological iceberg, though.

Colombian singer-songwriter Maluma elevated a classic Dolce & Gabbana suit with a dazzling Jacob & Co. Astronomia Tourbillon and a pair of custom, diamond-encrusted Bose earbuds, while American musician Jon Batiste topped off a stylish Versace ensemble with a sleek Vacheron Constantin Overseas Tourbillon. Not to be outdone, rapper Busta Rhymes busted out a rare Audemars Piguet Royal Oak for the occasion.

There was more understated wrist candy on display, too, such as Jack Antonoff’s Cartier Tank LC and Noah Kahan’s Panerai Luminor Quaranta BiTempo.

For the rest of the best watches we saw on the Grammys 2024 red carpet, read on.

Maluma: Jacob & Co. Astronomia Tourbillon

Maluma busted out some truly spectacular bling for this year’s Grammys. The Colombian singer-songwriter paired a classic Dolce & Gabbana suit with a dazzling Jacob & Co. Astronomia Tourbillon and a pair of custom, diamond-encrusted Bose earbuds. The sculptural wrist candy sees a four-arm movement floating in front of a breathtaking dial adorned with no less than 257 rubies. For added pizzaz, the lugs of the 18-karat rose-gold case are invisibly set with 80 baguette-cut white diamonds. Limited to just nine examples, the rarity is priced at $1.5 million.

Asake: Hublot Big Bang Essential Grey

Nigerian singer-songwriter Asake may not have won the Grammy for Best African Music Performance for “Amapiano,” but did wear a winning Hublot Big Bang at Sunday’s proceedings. Released in 2023, the Essential Grey model is made purely of titanium for a sleek, uniform feel. The 42 mm timepiece was limited to just 100 pieces and cost $37,000 a pop.

John Legend: Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Selfwinding

Multihyphenate John Legend wore a legendary Audemars Piguet with silky Saint Laurent on Sunday evening. The self-winding Royal Oak in question features a 34 mm black ceramic case, a black grande tapisserie dial, and striking pink gold accents. The watchmaker’s signature is also displayed in gold under the sapphire crystal. The piece will set you back $81,000.

Jon Batiste: Vacheron Constantin Overseas Tourbillon

American musician Jon Batiste received four nominations but no wins at this year’s Grammys. The “Butterfly” singer can take solace in the fact that he looked ultra-sharp in Versace and Vacheron Constantin. A tribute to the spirit of travel, the Overseas Tourbillon features a 42.5 mm white-gold case, a bezel set with 60 baguette-cut diamonds, and a blue dial featuring a dazzling tourbillon cage inspired by the Maltese cross. Price upon request, naturally.

Fireboy DML: Cartier Santos

Fireboy DML’s outfit was straight fire on Sunday night. The Nigerian singer paired an MCM wool jacket with a Van Cleef & Arpels bracelet, several iced-out rings, and a sleek Cartier Santos. The timepiece features a steel case, a graduated blue dial with steel sword-shaped hands, and a seven-sided crown with synthetic faceted blue spinel.

Noah Kahan: Panerai Luminor Quaranta BiTempo

Best New Artist nominee Noah Kahan wore one of Panerai’s best new watches to Sunday’s festivities. The Luminor Quaranta BiTempo features a 40 mm polished steel case and a black dial with luminous numerals and hour markers, a date display at 3 o’clock, and a small seconds subdial at 9 o’clock. The timepiece can be yours for $14,000.

Busta Rhymes: Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore

Legendary rapper Busta Rhymes busted out a chic Audemars Piguet for this year’s Grammys. The Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph in question is distinguished by a 42 mm rose-gold case and a matching pink méga tapisserie dial with an outer flange for the tachymeter scale. The face is fitted with three black subdials, large black numerals, and a black date display at 3 o’clock. You can expect to pay around $61,200 for the chronograph on the secondary market.

Jack Antonoff: Cartier Tank Louis Cartier

Producer of the year Jack Antonoff took to the red carpet with a stylish Cartier on his wrist. The Tank Louis Cartier in question appears to be a large 33.7 mm example that features an 18-carat rose-gold case, a silvered dial with black Roman numerals and blued steel hands, a beaded crown set with a sapphire cabochon, and a brown alligator strap. It’ll set you back $19,900.

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This 44-Foot Carbon-Fiber Speedboat Can Rocket to 177 KMPH

The new Mayla GT is available with a range of different powertrains, too.

By Rachel Cormack 03/02/2024

We knew the Mayla GT would be one of the most exciting boats at Boot Düsseldorf, but a deep dive into the specs shows it could be downright revolutionary.

The brainchild of German start-up Mayla, the 44-footer brings you the blistering performance of a speedboat and the luxe amenities of a motor yacht in one neat carbon-fiber package.

Inspired by the go-fast boats of the 1970s and ‘80s, the GT sports an angular, retro-futuristic body and the sleek lines of a rocket ship. Tipping the scales at just 4500 kilograms, the lightweight design features a deep-V hull with twin transversal steps and patented Petestep deflectors that help it slice through the waves with ease. In fact, Mayla says the deflectors decrease energy usage by up to 35 percent while ensuring a more efficient planing.

The range-topping GT can reach 185 kph. MAYLA

The GT is also capable of soaring at breakneck speeds, with the option of a gas, diesel, electric, or hybrid powertrain. The range-topping GTR-R model packs dual gas-powered engines that can churn out 3,100 hp for a top speed of more than 100 knots (185 kph). At the other, more sustainable end of the spectrum, the E-GT is fitted with an electric powertrain that can produce 2,200 horses for a max speed of 50 knots. The hybrid E-GTR pairs that same electric powertrain with a 294 kilowatt diesel engine for a top speed of 60 knots (111 km/h/69 mph). (The GT in the water at Boot sported two entry-level V8s good for 650 hp and a top speed of over 70 knots.)

The GT is suitable for more than just high-speed jaunts, of course. The multipurpose cockpit, which can accommodate up to eight passengers, features a sundeck with sliding loungers, a wet bar and BBQ, and a foldaway dining table for alfresco entertaining. Further toward the stern, a beach club sits atop a garage with an electric transom door.

The garage has an electric transom door. MAYLA

The GT is even fit for overnight stays. Below deck lies a cabin with a double bed, sofa, wardrobe, vanity, and en suite. You can also expect a high-tech entertainment system with TVs and premium audio.

As for price, the GT with the entry-level powertrain will cost between $2.7 million and $2.9, depending on the final configuration. (You can fine-tune the layout, hull color, and interiors, naturally.) Interested buyers can set up a sea trial with Mayla, with test-drives set to begin this spring in Europe.

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Red Centre

First Nations artist Shaun Daniel Allen joins forces with Chopard to create a timepiece inspired by the Australian landscape.

By Horacio Silva 29/01/2024

Shaun Daniel Allen does not look like your typical collaborator on a prestige watch. For one, Shal, as he prefers to be known (“There are many Shauns but only one Shal,” he explains), is more heavily tattooed than your average roadie. His youthful appearance, bad-boy ink and all, belies his 38 years and leads to a disconnect. 

He recounts being recognised on the street recently by a journalist, who, unable to remember his name, shouted out, “Chopard!” “I was with a friend,” Shal says, holding court in his apartment in Sydney’s inner city, “and he’s, like, ‘What the hell? Does that happen to you often?’”

Perhaps because of his body art, he reasons, “People don’t put me and Chopard together.” It’s not hard to understand the confusion, Shal adds; even he was taken aback when Chopard reached out to him about a potential collaboration a little more than a year ago. “When I first went in to see them, I was, like, I don’t know if I’m your guy. I’m not used to being in those rooms and having those conversations.”

He’ll have to adapt quickly to his new reality. Last month Chopard released Shal’s interpretation of the Swiss brand’s storied Alpine Eagle model, which in itself was a redo of the St. Moritz, the first watch creation by Karl-Friedrich Scheufele (now Co-President of Chopard) in the late 1970s. 

Previewed at Sydney’s About Time watch fair in September, to not insignificant interest, and officially known as the Alpine Eagle Sunburnt, the exclusive timepiece—issued in a limited edition of 20—arrives as a stainless steel 41 mm with a 60-hour power reserve and a burnt red dial that brings to mind the searing Outback sun. Its see-through caseback features one of Shal’s artworks painted on sapphire glass.

When the reputable Swiss luxury brand approached Shal, they already had the red dial—a nod to the rich ochre hues of the Australian soil at different times of the day and gradated so that the shades become darker around the edges—locked in as a lure for Australian customers.

Shal was charged with designing an artful caseback and collectible hand-painted sustainable wooden case. After presenting a handful of paintings, each with his signature abstract motifs that pertain to indigenous emblems, tattoos and music, both parties landed on a serpentine image that evoked the coursing of rivers. “I have been painting a lot of water in this last body of work and the image we chose refers to the rivers at home,” he says, alluding to formative years spent at his grandfather’s, just outside of Casino.

It says a lot about Chopard, Shal points out, that they wanted to donate to a charity of his choosing. “Like everything else on this project,” he explains, “they were open to listening and taking new ideas on board and it actually felt like a collaboration, like they weren’t steering me into any corner.”

In another nice touch, a portion of the proceeds from sales of the watch will go to funding programs of the Ngunya Jarjum Aboriginal Corporation—an organisation, established in 1995 by Bundjalung elders, whose work Shal saw firsthand after the 2022 eastern Australia flood disasters ravaged their area. “Seeing Ngunya Jarjum suffer from the floods,” he says, “and knowing how much they do for the community on Bundjalung Country was heartbreaking. I want to see Bundjalung families thriving and supported.”

So what’s it been like for this booster of Australian waterways to be swimming in the luxury end of the pool? “I’ve done a few things with brands,” he offers, referring to the Louis Vuitton project earlier this year at an art gallery in Brisbane, “but nothing on this scale. It’s definitely fancier than I’m used to but I’m not complaining.” Neither are watch aficionados.

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