The Must-See Timepieces From LVMH Watch Week

Expect plenty of gold, serious movements and intricate dials.

By Paige Reddinger 25/01/2022

LVMH is back with a bang… well, sort of.

The company had originally planned to hold the kick-off for its Q1 watches in 2022 with a big in-person unveiling in Geneva this month, which got derailed due to the ongoing challenges of the pandemic. The company had hosted its first annual Watch Week in January of 2020 with a splashy event in Dubai, just before Covid-19 went global, which gave the company a bit of an unexpected leg up over its competitors who were forced to unveil watches later in the year over a series of Zoom press conferences. But, to accommodate the change of plans this year, the company showed watches in respective markets in lieu of a global gathering. The big trends are yellow-gold cases, slim-down profiles and movements and serious dial work. Here is a look at some of the highlights.


Big Bang Integral Time Only

Hublot Big Bang Integral Time Only

Hublot Big Bang Integral Time Only Hublot

The Big Bang trims its waistline. For the first time, the Big Bang Integral is being offered in a new 40mm size. Hublot watches have, traditionally, catered to pumped-up wrists in sizes up to 45mm. “In the ‘80s, our first watch, I believe, was 35mm and at that time that was a men’s watch,” Hublot CEO, Riccardo Guadalupe told Robb Report. “We went to 48 mm five or six years ago and I think we are going down heavily [in size].”  Previous editions of the Big Bang Integral, however, came in 42mm but demand for more unisex-friendly watches has seen many brands begin offering models in reduced diameters. “We believe that we can sell this watch either to men or women,” Guadalupe, confirmed. “We believe that the ergonomics, the lightness and the size are quite important.”  The new slim-fit look doesn’t just apply to its circumference; it is also the thinnest iteration at just 9.25-mm thick. The dial has also been scaled-back to a time-only layout versus its predecessor’s flyback chronograph movement. However, it features the same integrated bracelet as the original.

“Integral was really a big challenge, because as you know we are known for rubber straps and not bracelets,” said Guadalupe. “A year ago we launched the Big Bang Integral in 42mm in titanium, ceramic and rose gold. Since then, we have also developed new colours of ceramic. But we wanted the Integral to be a big pillar in our collection in the future.”

Three versions of the new 40mm Big Bang Integral are offered in an all-black ceramic, yellow-gold and titanium timepieces.

Price: All-black ceramic, $27,800, limited to 250; yellow gold, $68,800; titanium, $24,800.

Yellow Gold Collection

Hublot Yellow Gold Collection

Hublot Yellow Gold Collection Hublot

Reminder: Gold is back, baby! Hublot is introducing the precious metal across all of its pillar collections including the above Big Bang Integral, the Big Bang Unico, the Classic Fusion Chronograph and the Spirit of Big Bang. “I was thinking about yellow gold for a few years, because it was really in fashion in the ‘80s and ‘90s,” Riccardo Guadalupe told Robb Report. “In 1980, when we came with our first Fusion [the Classic Original] watch it was in 18-carat gold with a rubber strap. So, I said to myself, ‘We should go back to those roots and come with a few models in yellow gold.’” It demonstrates a serious push for the alloy following several years of a steel rush and it’s refreshing. Guadalupe also nodded to the cyclical nature of fashion as an influence, rightly predicting the comeback of ’80s style which has already been reinvigorated on the runways.

“We will see what the market reaction will be, but sometimes it’s just a feeling and we want to be leaders of the trend that is going to happen,” he said. “Fashion always recycles and in fashion, the cycles are shorter, but in the watch industry it can be a 10- or 20-year cycle to come back to a material or another thing that has become fashionable again.” Guadalupe, however, opted for the titanium Big Bang Integral to wear on his wrist during our meeting. Nevertheless, we suspect his big bet on gold will be just in time for the next sartorial wave.

Price: Classic Fusion Chronograph ($37,400), Big Bang Integral ($73,200), Big Bang Unico ($51,200), Spirit of Big Bang ($56,500)


Octo Roma Blue Carillon Tourbillon

Bulgari Octo Roma Blue Carillon Tourbillon

Bulgari Octo Roma Blue Carillon Tourbillon Bulgari

Bulgari focused primarily on its women’s collections for its Q1 introductions (see below), but its Octo Roma Carillon got a snazzy update with the introduction of a blue high-tech carbon-based coating on the movement and the circumference of the platinum case when viewed from the side. The company also added hour indexes and an Arabic numeral at 12 o’clock. While the new hue is certainly electrifying, the numerals distract from the modern architecture of the BVL428 calibre with cut-out bridges in an ALD treatment, as well as a perforated surface made of alternating polished steel. Nevertheless, it’s a serious complication piece featuring three gongs, visible on the dial side and attached directly to the body of the case, along with three openings on the side of the case for better sound amplification. The gongs are bent and formed by hand in several stages before being hardened at temperatures up to 1,652 degrees Fahrenheit before being cleaned and reheated in a 932-degree kiln, which gives the metal its superior sound. They are drawn out with a file in order to hone the chords of the chime. It plays note C for the hours; E, D and C for the quarters; and E for the minutes.

It features 75 hours of power reserve and houses 432 components in a movement measuring 25mm by 8.25mm. It’s a big watch, as is to be expected from this kind of timepiece, at 44 mm by 12.83 mm thick and comes with a matching blue alligator strap to highlight its new hue.

Price: Upon request, limited to 30.

Serpenti Piccolissimo

Bulgari Serpenti Piccolissimo

Bulgari Serpenti Misteriosi Bulgari

Talk about striking! Bulgari’s latest high-jewellery Serpenti Misteriosi timepieces, not surprisingly, are the most seductive women’s watches in the LVMH lineup. The Serpenti is so iconic it hardly needs an update, but this year the Italian house decided to equip the model with its other area of expertise—ultra-slim watchmaking. The new Piccolissimo (Italian for “very small”) BVL100 calibre is one of the smallest calibres in the world. The only other calibre to rival that claim is Jaeger-LeCoultre’s calibre 101, which is rectangular, unlike Bulgari’s spherical creation. Bulgari’s however takes the cake for the thinnest at 2.5mm versus JLC’s at 3.4mm.

It’s the company’s latest twist on extreme thinness, following a series of multiple world record’s in its Octo Finissimo line for men. And while the company already laid claim to the world’s thinnest tourbillon movement in the Serpenti Seduttori, Fabrizio Buonamassa Stigliani, Bulgari’s creative director and head of watch design, says it actually takes its cues from the ultra-thin movements of the Finissimo line and zero components were used from the Seduttori tourbillon. “The idea behind this movement was to elevate the Serpenti as the best of our know-how,” he said in a small group of journalists during a press conference Monday morning. He added that the company felt obliged to create the in-house movement for its high-jewellery Serpentis because, “These kind of pieces that cost a fortune, the idea to have a quartz movement starts to become something that is not interesting for this kind of market. Even the ladies would love to have a mechanical movement for these kinds of watches.”

While the movement is certainly the biggest news for the Serpenti, there have been other refinements including more details on the interior of the mouths from gem-setting to fine-finishing, as well as a slimmer body, neck and a flatter head. In fact, Buonamassa Stigliani says that it took 6 to 8 months just to perfect the shape of the case and head between the size, weight and movement. The entire design, including the movement, was three years in the works. Meanwhile, for the first time, the tongue of the snake operates as a lever to open the head and the interior watch can fully detach from the head for easier after-sales servicing, preventing damage to the jewellery structure. The patented crown, which can be found underneath the serpent’s lower jaw, features a bidirectional system (which does not require the crown to be pulled out) that sets the time in one direction and winds the watch in the other direction.

The new series is based on heritage examples of early Serpentis, including one that belonged to Elizabeth Taylor in the early ’60s (pictured below, left). That piece was mimicked in a white gold case and head set with 626 round brilliant-cut diamonds, 2 pear-cut emeralds, a diamond-paved dial, a yellow-gold double-tour bracelet with round brilliant-cut diamonds and a white-gold tail set with round brilliant-cut diamonds, which is the most expensive of the lot at approx. $383,000. Unlike the original, it features an immaculate invisible snow-setting of diamonds that carry through to the interior of the snake’s mouth and along the bezel of the timepiece inside.

Elizabeth Taylor's 1961 Serpenti; A Heritage Serpenti from the Bulgari Archives

Elizabeth Taylor’s 1961 Serpenti; A Heritage Serpenti from the Bulgari Archives Buglari

And while you really can’t go wrong with any Serpenti, least of all one that takes after a provenance piece owned by one of the most famous jewellery collectors in Hollywood history, the rose gold case set with brilliant-cut diamonds, turquoise inserts, a 2 pear-cut rubellites for the eyes is another clear standout—so beautiful, it’s downright sinful (approx. $351,000). Both this version and the one mentioned above also come with a faceted sapphire crystal dial cover for extra sparkle. The black (approx. $232,000) and emerald enamel (approx. $319,000) Serpentis are hand-engraved and feature flat, instead of faceted sapphire crystal covering the dials.

Bulgari Serpenti Misteriosi


Bulgari Serpenti Misteriosi

Needless to say, these are historic pieces, thanks to the introduction of a mechanical movement and a thoughtful redesign, and will be the must-have Serpentis to own for serious collectors (with six-figure price tags to match). While they will be small in production numbers they are, however, not technically limited.

Serpenti Tubogas

Bulgari Serpenti Tubogas

Bulgari Serpenti Tubogas Bulgari

The Serpenti Tubogas line went for gold this year in two single wrap Serpenti models in 18-carat yellow-gold model and two-tone steel and 18-carat yellow gold. The line had predominately focused on yellow-gold previously, although a double curved yellow-gold Tubogas did exist in the lineup and it is sold out. “Today, the yellow-gold trend is very, very strong,” said Buonamassa Stiglioni. “It’s massive. A few years ago it was just in some regions, but today we receive requests for yellow-gold from many countries.” Indeed, women have been flocking more towards yellow gold in recent years and the version above left likely won’t be available for long if the approx. $58,000 double strap version is already out of stock.

Price: Yellow gold, approx. $46,100; Two-tone, approx. $18,100



Defy Skyline

Zenith Defy Skyline

Zenith Defy Skyline Zenith

Following the limited-edition release of its Revival Defy A3642 heritage piece last week, Zenith homed in on dial design for its more accessible Defy Skyline range. Drawing inspiration from the night sky above the manufacture, just like its founder, Georges-Favre Jacot, did 157 years ago, the dial features an engraved star-studded texture in a sunburst finish set within an octagonal case, inspired by the earliest Defy from 1969 on which the Revival A3642 is based, and topped off with a 12-sided bezel.

Powered by the automatic El Primero 3620 movement, which takes cues from the El Primero 3600 1/10th of a second chronograph, the Defy Skyline collection features a 1/10th of a second hand, which beats at 5 HZ and comes with a stop-second mechanism for a precise setting of the time. The bi-directional rotor, visible through the caseback, has also been fashioned in a star motif and delivers 60 hours of power reserve.

The steel 41 mm watches will, no doubt, draw comparisons to Audemars Piguet’s icon—the Royal Oak, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year after its debut in 1972. But at $12,200 a pop, they are far more affordable, offering a similar look at a, relatively speaking, palatable price. And as an added bonus, you can also switch out the bracelet for a rubber strap, also adorned with star pattern, which is offered in blue and black to their corresponding dial colors or olive-green for the silver-dial version. All can be easily swapped without the use of tools thanks to a quick strap-change mechanism.

Price: $12,200

Defy Extreme Carbon

Zenith Defy Extreme Carbon

Zenith Defy Extreme Carbon Zenith

At 45 by 15.4mm this is the heftiest watch of Zenith’s 2022 debuts thus far. But it’s also incredibly light thanks to its layered carbon fibre case and marks the first time a Defy Extreme model has been made in the material. And, inside, it houses the fastest chronograph movement on the market with time measurements at 1/100th of a second and two escapements operating at 36,000 VpH (5Hz)  for the hours and minutes and minutes at the chronograph function operating at 360,000 VpH (50 Hz). It’s a full package sports watch and the perfect mascot for the next season of Extreme E racing, of which Zenith is the official timekeeper, which will kick off this February with the Desert X Prix in Saudi Arabia. The partnership means you can expect more limited-edition Defy Extreme watches tied to the Extreme E races in the future.

The watch comes on a black leather strap with a titanium triple folding clasp but can be swapped out for a black velcro version or a red rubber strap. The latter will highlight the colourful dial markers including the 1/100th of a second chronograph scale in bright yellow, the chronograph counters in bright blue, green and white and hits of red in the power reserve indicator—all of which, naturally, mimic the colour schemes of the Extreme E’s “X Prix.”

Fortunately, you won’t have to race to your local AD to claim your stake on one as the Defy Extreme Carbon will not be a limited edition, giving you more time to deliberate on its five-figure price tag.

Price: $36,100


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Watches & Wonders 2024 Showcase: Laurent Ferrier

We head to Geneva for the Watches & Wonders exhibition; a week-long horological blockbuster featuring the hottest new drops, and no shortage of hype.

By Josh Bozin 18/07/2024

With Watches & Wonders 2024 well and truly behind us, this week we look at Laurent Ferrier, a brand hailing from Geneva.


Laurent Ferrier Classic Moon

The 63-year-old, third-generation independent watchmaker continues the tradition of his Genevan ancestors. Since 2009, his namesake brand has thrived in an ultra-competitive industry thanks to his dedication to classical timepieces, assembled by hand, using the highest grade materials available.

The Laurent Ferrier Classic Moon builds on this storied heritage. The 40 mm dress watch (the brand’s first moonphase complication) is available in silver with a blue-ish dial, or rose gold with a brushed silver dial. It salutes the vintage dress watches of yesteryear with Roman numerals and baton-shaped indices; vintage-inspired date numbers; Assegai-shaped hour, minute, and date hands; a double moonphase; and a pebble-shaped case reminiscent of 19th-century pocket watches. 

The attention to detail continues with an attractive subdial made of Murano aventurine glass, engraved in moon and star motifs and hand-applied white paint details. The engraving is also hand-filled with Super-LumiNova, while the subdial is covered with a translucent disc in petrol-blue enamel.

At roughly a $116,000 starting price, it may deter those who would rather invest in a dress watch from, say, Patek Philippe. But the Classic Moon certainly captures the charm of this style of timepiece, and those willing to support the self-sustaining Swiss brand won’t be disappointed with the result. This a timepiece made to the highest levels of craftsmanship—and a fitting climax to a week spent in the horological heaven that is Watches & Wonders.

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Bay Watch 

After losing its lustre for decades, Sydney’s Double Bay is undergoing a renaissance. And with harbour views, lush parks and a friendly village feel, it’s no wonder luxury developments are flourishing.

By Horacio Silva 16/07/2024

The boarded storefronts on the strip of New South Head Road in Double Bay currently under construction near Cross Street are plastered with archival images of the harbourside suburb in its 1960s and 1970s heyday. In the grainy black-and-white images, passers-by dressed in their imported European finery inhabit the bustling streets and fashionable shopping destinations of the time, including Mark Foy’s department store on Knox Street and the chic boutiques of Claire Handler, Maria Finlay and Nellie Vida—three Hungarian expats who sourced the latest trends from the Continent for style-starved locals. 

The images serve as a reminder of an era when European designers dictated the style for modish Australians. They’re also a document of how much this prestigious enclave, located 11 minutes’ drive from the CBD and a snow-cone’s throw from some of Sydney’s best beaches, has changed.

The area’s once-thriving boutiques are a thing of the past, replaced by all manner of beauty-focused establishments. Gone too are the open-air dances in Steyne Park, the old Hoyts Theatre (an Art Deco gem of a building on the main drag that was the nexus of the community) and the illegal casino a few doors down from it called the Double Bay Bridge Club.

Which is not to say that this once-sleepy hollow, whose fortunes have ebbed and flowed in the last 50 years, has become the profligate relic that detractors, who pilloried it as “Double Pay”, predicted it would become after it fell from favour over the past few decades. Far from it. “There’s only one Double Bay,” says Angela Belle McSweeney, director of Australian Turf Club and a former public relations maven whose office was located for years on Knox Street, above the famed 21 restaurant.  “In terms of Australian glamour, it’s always been the benchmark and now more than ever.”

Joseph Hkeik, the owner of All Saint Clinic, which caters to the taut skin of the city’s high society, concurs. “There really is something palpable in the air,” says Hkeik, who is in as good a position as any to talk about the changing face of the place.

“A lot is happening, and everyone wants to be seen in Double Bay. It’s the hotspot of Sydney.”

All Saint Clinic

If Double Bay is once again the talk of the town, it’s in no small part due to chef and restaurateur Neil Perry. After stepping away in early 2020 as founder of the Rockpool Group, through which he created legendary restaurants such as Rockpool and Spice Temple, Perry resurfaced a few months later with plans to start anew on the prized willow-festooned corner of Bay Street and Guilfoyle Avenue. In June 2021, he opened his award-winning seafood restaurant Margaret, and soon after, the adjacent bar Next Door and the Baker Bleu bakery two premises along.

He has not looked back. The fat cats today may be younger than the potentates who used to frequent the area’s old stamping grounds like George’s and the Hunter’s Lodge, and the ladies who lunch are more “wind-swept” than their pre-Botox predecessors, but the Lamborghinis and Ferraris parked nearby suggest that this is once again where the elite meet to eat.

“It is definitely going through a renaissance,” says Perry of his new domain, “but I honestly think it’ll be more than a passing moment. Double Bay has the beautiful parks and waterfront, and for all the glitz it also has that village atmosphere close to the city that everyone wants. And there is so much investment in the place.” That’s somewhat of an understatement.

Originally earmarked to be the site of Sydney’s Botanic Gardens when it was settled in the 1820s, the suburb remains as green as ever, but these days it’s hard to see the trees for all the construction cranes. 

On Bay Street alone, real estate powerhouse Fortis has broken ground on mixed-use properties that are among the city’s most hotly anticipated new addresses. Of the new developments, perhaps the most eagerly awaited is Ruby House, a luxury five-storey strata office block on the corner of New South Head Road and Bay Street, due for completion in early 2025. A collaboration of luminaries, including Lawton Hurley as lead architects and interiors by Woods Bagot, Ruby House will offer a range of sun- dappled office spaces, ranging from 60–550 m², with starting prices around $3 million. The ground floor will feature retail spaces, as well as three best-in-class restaurants, adding more culinary heft to a street that already includes Bibo, Matteo and Tanuki.

Ruby House

“Our vision for Double Bay is to bring life back into this once-great suburb,” says Charles Mellick, director of Fortis, “and to create a vibrant precinct that is seen as the most sought-after neighbourhood in Sydney, if not all of Australia.” Big call, indeed. And yet take a stroll along the suburb’s verdant paths and suddenly Mellick’s words do not feel so hyperbolic. A few doors down from Ruby House, 24 Bay St is slated to open this August in the heritage- listed modernist masterpiece, Gaden House, designed by Neville Gruzman, a former Mayor of Woollahra and one of Sydney’s most influential 20th-century architects. Fortis is also teaming with architects Lawton Hurley on the building, which will house Song Bird, Neil Perry’s (does this man ever sleep?) new three-storey, 230-seat Cantonese restaurant. Underground will be the speakeasy Bobbie’s, helmed by Linden Pride of Caffe Dante in New York, voted best bar in the world in 2019. 

“Double Bay used to have two of the best Chinese restaurants in the city,” says Perry, referring to the defunct Cleveland and Imperial Peking. “We’re not trying to reinvent the wheel with Song Bird so it’s going to be great to continue that tradition.”

Across the street at 19-27 Bay Street, the first flagship RH Gallery, formerly Restoration Hardware, is also under construction. A five-level commercial building, opening in late 2025, it will house bespoke luxury home furnishings and a rooftop restaurant not unlike the company’s jumping location in New York’s Meatpacking District. Meanwhile, a few blocks over on Cross Street, Ode—a luxury tower developed by Top Spring Australia—is slated to open in 2025 next to the InterContinental Hotel (itself recently sold and being reimagined to include top-floor apartments and retail). Designed by Luigi Rosselli Architects, Ode’s 15 spacious residences and penthouses, with shimmering harbour views, are being eagerly contested by the one percent, with two of the three penthouses already being bought off-plan for $21.5 and $24.9 million.

Ode, Double Bay

For all the positivity, and dollars, swirling around the suburb, there is no cast-iron guarantee that these new commercial opportunities will help rekindle the moribund boutique scene and return Double Bay to its former fashionable standing. It’s been a while since Claire Handler and her Hungarian cohorts made cash registers sing.

As such, not everyone is convinced about the suburb’s supposed rebirth. “The rents in this area are astronomical as it is,” says Tony Yeldham, the legendary menswear impresario who opened his Squire Shop for discerning gentlemen as a teenager in 1956. “It’s going to be near impossible for smaller players to stay alive, but I’ve seen this area go through so many ups and downs so I’m hopeful if sceptical.” For the most part, the locals remain sanguine about the area’s potential, with one proviso. As Joseph Hkeik explains, “We just need these lovely builders to finish up so we can all get some peace and quiet.”

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The Finer Things

Shimmering with gold, diamonds and precious stones, these women’s watches represent the pinnacle of haute horology. Just look at them…

By Belinda Aucott-christie And Josh Bozin 16/07/2024

Bulgari, Van Cleef & Arpels, Chanel, Piaget, Chopard and Cartier were among the prestige brands to unveil women’s novelties at this year’s Watches and Wonders fair in Geneva. Here we review some of our favourites, including a new style from Bulgari who impressed via an artistic collaboration with architect Tadao Ando and Chanel whose latest bobbin cuff was inspired by a spool of thread.


Tadao Ando Serpenti

The brand’s collaboration with lauded Japanese architect Tadao Ando artfully remixes the enduring Serpenti Tubogas model. The collection celebrates the four seasons; pictured here is the Summer (natsu) with a two-tone, yellow-gold-and-steel bracelet and a green aventurine dial. $27,600. Availability on request;


Lady Arpels Brise d’Été 

The maison’s Poetic Complications novelties ensure that telling the time becomes a spectacle. On this occasion, the flowers on the dial blossom and close in a randomised pattern at the touch of a button. Van Cleef & Arpels’ latest lesson in horological theatre was four years in development, with the dial alone taking 40 hours to master. Price and availability on request;


Bobbin Cuff Couture

Playing on the vintage “secret” watches of the 1920s, the Bobbin Cuff Couture was inspired aesthetically by a spool of thread. The idiosyncratic jewellery-watch is crafted entirely in 18-karat yellow gold, set with rows of brilliant-cut diamond “threads” and a 17-carat emerald-cut sapphire that hides the watch face. Price and availability on request.


Limelight Gala Precious 

At 26 mm, a timepiece that captures the poise and elegance that has come to define Piaget’s jewellery watches. Now, with the inclusion of 38 brilliant-cut diamonds, the 18-karat rose gold “Decor Palace” dial and matching bracelet, this Limelight Gala is arguably the best of a collection that interweaves art, design and jewellery, with an emphasis on beauty. Around $118,500. Availability on request;


L’Heure  Du Diamant Round 

Chopard showcases its smarts in the art of diamond setting. Here, the maison’s artisans have orchestrated an amalgamation of contemporary design and alluring precious stones. The green malachite dial is a standout feature, as is the Chopard MD29 hand-wound mechanical movement. Price and availability on request;


La Panthère de Cartier

From one of the brand’s most symbolic collections, this iteration of the Panthère de Cartier watch is designed in a rhodium-finish white gold case set with 136 brilliant-cut diamonds, and a rhodium-finish white gold panther head set with 297 brilliant-cut diamonds. The striking, pear-shaped eyes are crafted from emerald. Price and availability on request;

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Marc Newson Has Designed Everything from Pens to Superyachts … Now He Wants to Go to Space

On the heels of a new career-spanning book, the industrial designer and Apple alum shares his ultimate design project.

By Lee Carter 16/07/2024

Sporting shades, Marc Newson reclines on a sunny terrace of his Greek island retreat. If he appears exultant, he has every reason to be. Devoting his life’s work to elevating everyday objects into items we covet, Newson has become one of the most sought-after industrial designers in the world.

Case in point, Newson has just returned from Salone del Mobile, the sprawling design fair in Milan, where he launched a colossal book about his equally colossal career, signing copies for devoted fans barely able to lift it.

Over 400 pages, the monograph chronicles Newson’s nearly four decades in design from his start as a jewelry major at Sydney College of the Arts to producing avant-garde furnishings to now crafting luxury speed boats for Riva and even a concept plane in an art project for the Fondation Cartier. All told, Marc Newson: Works 84–24 (Taschen) is a testament to his tireless pursuit of perfection.

Asked to reflect on 40 years of soaring success, the Australian designer all but blushes—or perhaps it’s the Mediterranean sun. “When I look at my own work,” he says, “particularly in the context of a document that begins and ends, it almost feels like I’m reading about someone else.” After all, he demurs, he’s only doing his job. “The core of my occupation is troubleshooting [and] problem-solving. I apply the same rigor, process, and rules to every project, whether it’s a pen or a mega-yacht.”

Marc Newson’s Horizon luggage, designed for Louis Vuitton, and his Orgone chair demonstrate the importance he puts on curves. Taschen

The Newson look is aesthetically niche, but touches almost every sector, from fashion to household goods. It’s bold yet pragmatic, sumptuous yet futuristic, reverential yet iconoclastic. A transparent timepiece for Jaeger-LeCoultre, a sensuously curved cognac bottle for Hennessy, and a sleek aluminum luggage collaboration with Louis Vuitton (the latest of which just appeared in Pharrell Williams’s spring 2025 collection) all point to a singular, forward-looking vision. Or how about the katana sword he created in 2019 with a ninth-generation master swordsmith in Japan? He calls the tradition and sophistication required to execute that work “unfathomable, almost alchemical, practically spiritual.”

Two decades ago, in 2004, he created the Zvezdochka sneaker for Nike. Modelled entirely on a computer and made from a single piece of injection-molded resin, the footwear—named after the 1961 rocket-riding Russian dog—was intended for astronauts to wear during their daily exercises in zero gravity. As Newson notes, “Where else would you need the perfect sneakers but running on a treadmill in space?”

Newson’s groundbreaking Lockheed Martin Chaise.

From the beginning, Newson—who helped lead Apple’s design department, and the development of key products such as the Apple Watch, for five years—has always possessed the unusual ability to bend ideas about design to his will. His Lockheed Lounge, a shapely chaise pieced together from curved aluminum panels, became an instant phenomenon with its 1988 introduction. Named for its resemblance to the early aeronautical stylings of Lockheed Martin, the furniture piece bucked the reductive ethos of modern design at the time. In 2006, it broke the record for the highest price paid at auction for the work of a living designer, topping that price 11 years later in 2015, going for $3.7 million at Phillips London.

Around the turn of the millennium, Newson—a vintage sports car enthusiast who once flew to the U.S. to purchase a 1959 Aston Martin DB4 with the entirety of a paycheck—shifted gears to focus his energies on the transportation sector. Asked by Ford to jot down some concepts, he came up with the 021C in 1999. A radically simplified three-box configuration, the model had a main cabin, hood, and trunk; the latter two sections were mirror images.

The Ford 021C, which Newson claimed caused “a lot of head-scratching” at the American car company.

“It was utterly ridiculous and childlike,” Newson says of the design with a laugh. “There was a lot of head-scratching [at Ford], but I reasoned that since I’m not an automotive designer, I don’t want to and can’t play the typical automotive games.” Thanks to the support of Ford’s “brilliantly curious and open” top brass, the cartoon of a car became a drivable reality and a beloved Newson fan favorite. Soon after the release of the 021C, the Australian airline Qantas came knocking, seeking Newson’s design eye for a variety of projects, including the interiors of its airport lounges and, more challengingly, the invention of a fully horizontal bed for its premier passengers on long-haul flights. No small feat of imagination, this triumph led to his appointment as the company’s creative director.

The Qantas Skybed, designed for the Australian airline’s long-haul flights. Qantas

As Newson’s fame ascended, so did the demand for his work—in the design industry and beyond. New York gallerist Larry Gagosian was quick to add the maverick designer to his roster of art stars, such as Jeff Koons, Richard Serra, and Michael Heizer, and in 2007, he mounted Newson’s first solo exhibition in the U.S., featuring a limited-edition, experimental furniture series. “The stuff I do with Gagosian is not exactly mainstream design,” Newson says. “They’re these sort of rarefied follies [or] crazy experiments that I concoct. I don’t have to answer to anyone except myself—and perhaps Larry.” One object in the exhibition was a nickel surfboard with a storied lineage. “I wanted the prototype to be tested by [professional big wave surfer] Garrett McNamara,” Newson recalls. “He took the board to a Pacific island notorious for its huge swells on top of a coral reef. He actually lost the board in the waves and was driving back to his hotel when he saw a local with this tangled mass of metal under his arm. The story goes that the Mir space station had plummeted into the ocean the day before, and this guy thought he had found pieces from the crash. He had no idea it was a crushed surfboard.”

Is there a project he has yet to tackle? “Every time I think I’m at the end of the list,” he says, smiling, “I think of something new.” Space, for instance. “I would love to work more extensively in the area of space exploration. That is something I continue to find compelling and fascinating. It ticks all the boxes for me in terms of engaging with technology, incredible processes, and modern materials. And, of course, I would love to go to space. That’s the end game.”

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Piaget Just Dropped a Colourful High-Jewellery Line with 1970s Style

“Essence of Extraleganza,” a fusion of the words extravagance and elegance, is a tour de force of haute joaillerie that celebrates Piaget’s 150th year.

By Victoria Gomelsky 16/07/2024

Long before Piaget was a jeweller, it was a watchmaker. The luxury brand traces its roots to La Côte-aux-Fées, a village in the Swiss canton of Neuchâtel where Georges-Édouard Piaget founded a movement-making company in 1874.

In 1959, the maison introduced jewellery for the first time, showcasing its creations at the new Salon Piaget in Geneva. Almost immediately, the brand established itself as a trendsetter across both realms.


Proof that the watchmaker-turned-jeweller continues to occupy the most rarefied precincts of the luxury trade arrived last month, when Piaget unveiled its “Essence of Extraleganza” high jewellery collection. The third and arguably most spectacular of the brand’s 150th anniversary product introductions (following the reboot in February of its Piaget Polo 79 timepiece and the April unveiling of the thinner-than-thou Altiplano Ultimate Concept Flying Tourbillon), the collection of 96 jewels and bejewelled timepieces is a tour de force of craftsmanship and gem-setting that bears an explicit connection to Piaget’s roots in jewellery.

“Of our three major launches this year to date, none of them have just been a launch — each and every one of them has hinged on a product, a story, a saga bringing the past and present together,” Benjamin Comar, CEO of Piaget, tells Robb Report.


“So of course, this high jewellery collection had to bring more density than a regular collection. And this is why it’s called ‘Essence of Extraleganza’ — because through these 96 pieces, Piaget’s artistic director, Stéphanie Sivrière, went back to the Piaget DNA, to the moment when Piaget evolved from watchmaker to jeweller, to the decisive moment where this Swiss maison decided to revolutionise the watch world by imagining a new avant-garde vocabulary, filled with colours, textures and gold: the 21st Century Collection.”

That collection, introduced in 1969, included an array of jewellery watches that reimagined how to wear time. From metal bracelets with a fabric-like texture to swinging sautoirs, the pieces were bold, colourful and utterly of the moment.


Three years ago, when Sivrière began working on what would become Essence of Extraleganza, she took her inspiration from those heritage designs of the 1960s and ’70s. The result is a stunning lineup of bold, cheerful and wildly original jewels, including highlights such as a necklace featuring a fiery cascade of trapezoid-cut carnelians set in rose gold and centered on a 21.23-carat cushion-cut spessartite garnet; a cuff watch loaded with 26.11 carats of baguette-cut Colombian emeralds; and a suite of blue-on-blue designs including a V-shaped necklace set with sapphires, tourmalines, and marquise-cut aquamarines surrounded by opals, turquoise and diamonds, along with a matching ring and pair of mismatched earrings.


“Stephanie chose to highlight the couture inspiration of Piaget and paid homage to our chainmaker skills as a golden thread throughout the collection,” Comar says. “This was very impressive to witness unravelling in front of our eyes week after week. The carnelian necklace, for instance, was created like a never-ending puzzle: first the mesh structure completely hand-woven, then every hue and piece identified by a number and patiently assembled to create this mix-and-match yet balanced effect.”

The throughline that connects the 2024 collection to the one introduced 55 years earlier is, undoubtedly, Piaget’s willingness to embrace modernity while employing traditional techniques in service of timeless designs.

“Piaget’s jewellery style is still coherent and that’s the beauty of it,” Comar says. “When Valentin Piaget asked his Swiss designers in the early Sixties to go to Paris in order to attend a couture show and get inspired by this fashion revolution (think Cardin, Courrèges, Twiggy) this was so incredibly new for the time. And today, when we look at their past gouaches where they would create the swinging sautoirs directly on the glossy pages of the fashion magazines to really picture what this woman would be wearing today, it’s so modern. And still has the same effect today: timeless yet modern. That is the Piaget paradox.”

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