Why watches look like watches

Watches were viewed as jewelry pieces when they were introduced in Germany and France after 1500. As jewelry pieces, importance was given to decorations rather than functionality, rendering accuracy as slightly relevant to their appeal. However, stuhrling original watch review, social and economic developments made watches more accessible to the ordinary people and they were increasingly viewed as functional pieces. Manufacturer and buyer emphasis on decoration was also diverted, leading to revolutionary change in shapes, sizes and design.

Today’s watches descend from timepieces that are best understood as talismans in the form of mechanical jewels

Most of today’s watches are functional accessories, tools that are worn on the wrist to keep up with a busy schedule. This wasn’t always the case. Earlier in this century and throughout the 19th century, timepieces were carried in the pocket. Earlier still, before there were pockets as we know them, they were worn as pendant jewels, suspended from a chatelaine at the waist or simply held in the hand as an object of wonder.

Not only do early watches look quite different from their modern descendants, but our attitude toward them has changed greatly also. To appreciate early watches, it helps to put aside the modern notion that watches exist mainly to keep time. Initially, clocks and sundials were more tangible representations of time as a concept than devices to measure it.

Watches first appeared in Germany and France shortly after 1500, but they were woefully inaccurate for the first 200 years of their existence. They were so inaccurate that minute hands were superfluous and didn’t appear until nearly 1700. Even if early watches could have kept accurate time, the coiled springs that made them tick would run down in less than a day. These timepieces are best understood as talismans in the form of mechanical jewels.

Watches evolved from small table clocks like the one serving as symbolic decoration in the 16th century portrait shown in Figure 1. The clock of the Renaissance was a metaphor for the sitter’s relatively brief lifetime and insignificant accomplishments as compared with Creation. Because of akribos xxiv watches review, watches also were meant to display wealth, case decoration was usually more important than the mechanism inside. Unadorned, functional cases were the exception until the primary purpose of a watch became timekeeping.

The watch case is a cleverly engineered container designed to protect a delicate piece of machinery so it may be carried around. Unlike other jewels whose form is not determined by function, a watch case must be constructed under narrow constraints that dictate, to a certain extent, the watch’s appearance.

The parts: You don’t have to understand in intimate detail how watches work to appreciate their history. In simplest terms, a watch has four components that must be accommodated within the case. These are the face or dial, a train of gears known as the wheelwork, a coiled mainspring that provides the power to turn the wheels and, finally, a controlling device called the escapement. Each of these components influences watch-case design in its own way.

The first and most obvious component, the dial, has numerals to indicate the time. Initially, the top lid of the case served as a dial, with the hour hand fitted and exposed outside. This was a satisfactory arrangement as long as the watch remained stationary. But it was problematic if carried around or made into jewelry. The hand was too vulnerable and easily lost or snagged on clothing.

These inconveniences may have prompted the first step in the transformation from drum clock to pendant jewel. As soon as watch cases acquired pendant rings that allowed them to be worn around the neck, they also got lids to protect the dial and hands. Watch crystals were not common until the mid-17th century. But once introduced, many early lids were cut away and fitted with crystals to make viewing the dial easier.

The familiar dial with a ring of 12 numerals around its edge appears on the earliest watches. Other highly decorative arrangements were attempted, but few survived for long because most were effectively illegible.

The gears: The second component of a watch, the wheelwork or train of gears, moves the hand to indicate the time. The number of teeth on gears needed to move hands is easy to calculate, but placing the actual gears in a pattern that function as a time machine isn’t straightforward. Consequently, early watches were thick because the wheels needed to make them work properly took a lot of space.

Until the 19th century, most watchmakers made their movements out of two brass plates separated by stout decorative pillars. Think of this as a thick sandwich with the plates as bread and the wheels as filling. A large movement needed a large case, not unlike a bowl. In French, cases of this type are called bassine or basin. Such large, flat surfaces begged for decoration, and casemakers complied.

By the first decade of the 17th century, small clocks became true watches as cases shrank to slightly larger than the size of a jumbo egg. Cases came in diverse shapes: oval, octagonal, fluted or even in the fanciful forms of flowers or animals. Not unlike other pendant jewels of the period, they were made of precious metals, hardstones and sometimes enameled.

By the second quarter of the 17th century, watch cases were constructed pretty much as they would be for the next 200 years. Watches were now small enough to be carried or worn as pendant jewels. But their weight still made them inconvenient and easily damaged when worn. The problem of swinging was solved by a shorter chain or a chatelaine. Pockets would become a good place to carry a watch, but until costume changed to incorporate this convenience, watches remained pendants.

The increased use of tissot watches for men as jewelry in the mid-17th century coincided with the rise of the newly developed technique of colored enamel painting. Some of the finest 17th century polychrome enamels survive as watch cases. The early 20th-century horologist G.H. Baillie aptly called this period “the great age of decoration.”

It’s unlikely that watches, particularly enameled examples, were carried around much because existing ones seldom shows sign of wear. Instead, they often appear to have sustained injuries from a single accident after which they were retired to prevent further damage.

Power source: The third important watch component, the mainspring, is the power source that drives the gears. Mechanical movements are driven by this spring wound into a tight coil with a separate key. The earliest watches had to be taken out of their cases to be wound, a great inconvenience that suggests they probably weren’t used regularly.

Watches work far better if they remain protected within their cases. To keep the movement enclosed, watchmakers began to cut a hole in the case through which to wind the spring. English and Dutch watchmakers preferred to have access from behind, so their holes were cut into the case back. Even with this improvement, holes still let in dirt and moisture. To prevent this, the movement eventually was put into an inner case, pierced with a winding hole and then surrounded by an outer case. The two comprised a “pair case” that divides the protective and decorative functions between a closely fitting inner case and an often extravagantly decorated outer case.

The cases are made of many materials, but silver and gold predominate. Inner cases are absolutely plain, pierced only by a single hole through which the watch can be wound. If the watch was designed to indicate the time by striking a bell (a repeating watch or clock watch), however, the inner case often was elaborately pierced around the circumference so the sound could escape. This piercing often was engraved to imitate a complex latticework, usually inhabited by exotic birds or serpents with grotesque faces among vines and foliage.

Sometimes outer cases are severely plain, relieved only rarely by a monogram or crest, but some feature hardstone and shagreen (granulated, untanned leather). The most interesting outer cases are gold with intricate repousse and chased scenes, often from classical mythology. The art of gold chasing flourished during the mid-18th century, particularly in England.

The movement of a pair cased watch is held within the inner case by a hinge adjacent to the pendant and a small latch and spring under the dial at 6 o’clock. A tightly fitting, hinged bezel holds the crystal and serves as a protective lid.

Winding a pair case watch requires some dexterity. After the outer case is opened, the inner case is removed to expose the winding hole. As one hand inserts the key, the other must hold both cases. To avoid dropping the watch, pair cases are best wound sitting at a table.

In contrast, French and Swiss watches generally are wound through the dial, which eliminates the need for two cases. Just as in a pair case, the crystal, movement and single case are secured by a common hinge. Because the movement is inside the case during winding, an outer case for dustproofing is unnecessary. Though winding through the dial is easier because there’s no extra case to handle, chips in the dial’s enamel are inevitable unless the winder is careful.

In the early 19th century, a new case with two back lids was developed. The inner lid has two holes, one for winding and one for setting. This solved most of the earlier problems, but the best solution to the dirt and damage dilemma was eliminating the key. Keyless winding was an important development of the 19th century. The most successful scheme for this transformed the pendant of the watch into a winder. At last, the watch case no longer had to be opened to be wound.

The sound: The fourth important component of a watch is more often heard than seen. The familiar ticking sound of a watch is produced by the “escapement” as it gradually releases the mainspring at a constant rate. The timekeeping mechanism of the watch, escapements alternately lock and release the gear train. Without an escapement, a watch would unwind in an instant.

Together with the gear train, the escapement influences a watch’s thickness. Until the early years of the 18th century, watches had to be thick because the escapement took up a lot of room. In fact, French watches of the 1690s were so thick they were called oignons (onions). A state-of-the-art watch of 1700 could easily have been an inch thick.

The 18th- and 19th-century quest for precision produced new escapements, most of which took up less vertical space and consequently allowed watches to be thinner. By 1800, for example, a sophisticated watch would have been 1/4″ thick or less. The pursuit of thinness reached its 19th-century peak in the 1820s when Geneva watchmakers produced movements thin enough to be concealed in a coin. The equation of thin with elegant reemerged during the Art Deco era with Cartier’s ultra-thin dress watches.

Decoration: Once the watch ceased to be a metaphoric talisman during the 18th century, its decoration reflected tastes evident in other small gold-work of the time. Snuff boxes, containers with tight-fitting lids for storing snuff (tobacco), greatly influenced watch case design.

The English produced repousse gold snuff boxes made with the same techniques as pair cases. The French used enamel, varicolored gold and precious stones with virtuosity.

But watches and snuff boxes were luxury items. The notion that ordinary people could own watches did not become a reality until the 19th century, when the Industrial Revolution made greater accuracy and mass production possible.

NFL watches kick off new Bulova Sportstime division

Bulova Corp. this month becomes the first major U.S. watch supplier to launch a separate division for sports fashion products. The new division is called Sportstime.

Clothing and other products with sport team logos and colors are fast becoming a major retail industry. Many malls already have stores devoted to such products, “indicating the growing impact of sports and sport teams on fashion products,” says Robert Ryan, Bulova’s vice president of marketing. “Our new Sportstime division shows Bulova’s intent to become a major force in that market.”

Team graphics: Leading the Sportstime lineup are new watches featuring National Football Leagueteam graphics. The metal case strap watches are available in men’s and women’s sizes with graphics for each of the 28 NFL teams. One series ($49.95 retail) features the official team crests on the dials. The other ($34.95) uses colors and helmet art of each team.

The watches are ready for Christmas shipping and will be supported by advertising in sports magazines. Clocks will be introduced next year, adds Ryan.

Sportstime’s wares won’t be limited to NFL watches. Details weren’t available at press time, but Bulova expects to develop league-related products later this year based on reviews on bulova watches. The firm also may develop and market “sport fashion and themed products beyond affiliate merchandise,” he says.

Sportstime products will be available to all vendors of Bulova and Caravelle products, as well as the growing number of sports league product stores. (Bulova also may offer separate but parallel marketing programs for all its sports watches, such as those of Marine Star and the lower-priced Caravelle brand, says Ryan.)

Bulova has made customized, corporate and premium program watches for years. But its first major thrust into sports fashion occurred in 1988 with the production of watches for the winter and summer Olympics. The success of that project, plus the growing sales of sports logo merchandise, led Bulova to create the new division.

New markets: Sportstime is the latest in Bulova Corp.’s expansion into new markets that complement its core watch business. In the past year, it has added the 14k Ultime jewelry line, Buly (leisure-time products such as backbags, pouches and ski jackets with clocks), Classic Moments (watches featuring famous or original artwork), trendy TFX fashion nixon mens watches and its popular clock miniatures.

Consolidation and development of these markets, plus the addition of more new markets, will continue into next year, says Ryan. The changes are part of the overall tendency in retail to cultivate specialized markets, he notes.

Swiss exports match record – Better time for watches

The Swiss watch industry, in deep decline for 10 years, made a fragile recovery in 1984, which in terms of exports almost matched the record year of 1981.

Based on figures for the first 10 months of 1984, Andre Margot, president of the Watch- making Federation, which represents the approximately 700 companies involved in the industry, said exports of watches and movements probably grew for the year by 8 per cent in volume and 13.5 per cent in value, to almost 3.9 billion francs ($1.5-billion U.S.).

In the face of severe competition, employment in Switzerland’s watch industry has been cut by more than half in the past decade, including a 5 per cent drop in employment in 1984 to 30,000.

In 1983, to counter falling demand, the industry was restructured through the merging of the two largest companies, Allgemeine Schweizerische Uhrenindustrie and Societe Suisse pour l’Industrie Horlogere.

Qualifying the success of the merger, Mr. Margot said: “The cash flow from the newly formed group leaves much to be desired. . . . A real pickup in investment has yet to come. There remains still, unfortunately, an excess of unused capacity and those unemployed . . . have yet to be reabsorbed.”

Mesmerizing aspects to know about Invicta 5511 from Invicta watches review

The Invicta 5511 is recognized to be one among the most renowned model of watches from Invicta flagship models. This model would found with a design from world famous sub aqua noma III type of range and it would not very much hard to learn why. Accordingly to the Invicta review, this model has been sold in the market at a great level than other models of the same range offered by other brands. You can also learn from the review that the features offered with this model would make almost all watch lovers to crave for the purchase of one for them.

Here are some of the mesmerizing features that is provided with Invicta 5511 model as per Invicta watches review

The watch comprises of a large circular case of about 50 mm in diameter. It is made from none other than surgical grade quality steel so that it would offer much better level of performance when used in various conditions as well. There is a unidirectional bezel that can be found on top of the case and this is made up of stainless steel as well. This bezel would also match precisely with the color of the case. The bezel has been brushed with satin and most of the features embossed on it would be in Arabic numerals for each interval of five seconds. If you are really planning to buy this watch then it would be worth the price as the features that you can find in it would be provided on a top quality range of watches from brand like Rolex.

You can find a large sunray dial that is composed with silver indexes which are then coated with trinity of luminescent shades. You can also find indexes to be positioned on each hour expect for 2, 4, 10 and 12. The large and luminescence dial would make sure that the watch can be read at any possible conditions as well. It would work perfectly and can be read very easily even in pitch black darkness. This watch is a Swiss made that can be found on the number 6 of the hour. This means that, the watch has been completely made and assembled in Switzerland including the parts as well. You can find a date window next to hour number 4.

You can find around three different types of sub dials that would rest at hour number 2, 6 and 10. You can make use of these sub dials in conjunction with the crown that can be screwed down to measure the fraction of seconds effectively. As per the invicta 8926c review, The dial window on the watch is made of crystal type flame fusion which is exceptionally resistant to any type of scratches and any kind of sudden shock as well.

Another specialty of this model from Invicta than other models is that, a diver can wear this watch and dive to a depth of about 1650 feet as well. Hence it’s majorly opted by the true professional divers.

Watchmakers enter the information age with new high-tech options

With consumers becoming more accustomed to carrying around personal gadgets like cell phones or BlackBerries that store phone numbers and addresses, these days it’s not enough for a watch just to tell time. It also has to have the ability to sound an alarm, reveal the hour in at least five time zones, share the latest boutique sales and, if it’s not too much to ask, even cook dinner.

Well, the latter might be out of the question for now, but otherwise watch vendors are listening to today’s multitasking consumers and providing them with styles that were once only available to super sleuths like Dick Tracy.

The cell phone is in your purse or in your backpack, but a watch is always on, always available and always on the periphery of your attention. Therefore, I think what will be common is that you’ll see watches offering more than time,” said Bill Geiser, vice president of watch technology at Fossil. “The challenge is in simplicity. Watches have small displays, and lots of buttons just aren’t conducive.”

Fossil recently created a $249 Wrist PDA watch that stores up to eight megabytes of information such as addresses and phone numbers. This information can then be transmitted back and forth to the wearer’s Palm Pilot or any other Palm Pilot-powered device.

Swatch is also understanding the value between the marriage of technology and style. In October, the brand held a star-studded press conference, including the unlikely trio of Mischa Barton, Denis Leary and Bill Gates, to unveil its Paparazzi watch. The $150 digital watch was created in collaboration with MSN Direct, a division of Gates’ Microsoft Corp. MSN Direct transmits information like weather, news, sports scores, movie times and horoscopes to the watch. Courtesy of Time Out magazine, the watch also shows information on clubs and shopping and can even tell the wearer, for example, when a local boutique has a sale.

G-Shock’s G7500, in addition to the more common features like being waterproof and working as a stopwatch, can display the time in 38 cities and hold 30 contact numbers. Its colorful and geometric face looks a little like a robot as well, which, while not technological in itself, certainly helps to suggest such. The G7500 retails for $120.

Freestyle, a license within the Geneva Watch Company, is a sports brand that caters to surfers. It’s Shark Tide style for $100 displays current and future tide heights and directions for 128 beaches worldwide.

Zucca, a French brand, also took cues from sports in its $266 Competition style. The dial, cased in an anodized aluminum frame, glows in the dark so that it’s visible regardless of environmental conditions.

Fossil’s Geiser said in the future consumers may see even more advanced bells and whistles in their watches. “I think we’ll see watches start to solve customers’ specific problems,” he explained.

VLG: great potential for Piaget business

VLG North America was keeping mum on its plans for the Piaget brand following the announcement last week that it was acquiring Movado Group’s Piaget business for an estimated $30 million.

Movado is the exclusive distributor of Piaget watches and jewelry in the U.S., Canada and Caribbean. Following the sale, expected to take place in February, VLG, a subsidiary of Geneva-based Vendome Luxury Group, will take over the distributorship and will also operate the Piaget boutique on Fifth Avenue in New York.

The Piaget brand is owned by Vendome, but has distributor deals in some countries.

“We know there is great potential for future development of the Piaget business in the North American marketplace,” said Simon J. Critchell, president and chief executive officer of VLG as well as Cartier Inc., also owned by Vendome.

However, he declined to offer any specifics about the future of the brand, adding, “It is premature to make any comments about what will happen. We will be more in a position to talk about it in January.”

The acquisition will add a third luxury brand to VLG’s stable of high-end watch brands, which now includes Swiss watchmakers Vacheron Constantin and Baume & Mercier. VLG was organized in September 1997 as an umbrella entity over the North American operations of the two brands, although each brand retains control of day-to-day activities, including sales, distribution, credit, customer service, after-sales service, public relations and advertising.

Piaget was the founding business for Lyndhurst, N.J.-based Movado, which began distributing the brand in 1961. The luxury watches now carry an average price point of between $12,000 and $20,000, and Piaget products are now sold in about 75 stores, mainly independent jewelry shops, in addition to its own boutique, according to Movado Group President Efraim Grinberg.

Grinberg told WWD that the sale allows Movado to focus on its own brands that it manages worldwide, including Movado, Concord, ESQ and the licensed Coach brand. The company does not break out individual sales figures for Piaget, but combines them with Corum, its other Swiss-made brand Movado distributes. In the most recent fiscal year ending in January 1998, Corum and Piaget had sales of $17 million, against $22.4 million in the prior year; Movado attributed the decline primarily to planned reductions in Piaget’s distribution.

“Given the scope of our own broad activities, we felt that we would be better off selling the North American Piaget business to VLG North America,” Grinberg said in a statement. “This transaction allows us to give greater focus to the rest of our business and frees capital that can be reinvested.”

Joe Gladue, an analyst at the Chapman Co., said the sale was likely a combination of Vendome wanting the distributorship for its brand, and a desire on the part of Movado to concentrate on its higher margin brands.

“Piaget watches are very expensive, and with watches that are that expensive, inventory turns are much slower and it ends up being less efficient,” Gladue commented. “Also, there wasn’t a tremendous amount of synergy between Piaget and the other Movado brands.”

In addition to the watches and Cartier, businesses owned by Vendome include Montblanc, Chloe and Sulka. Vendome is wholly owned by the Switzerland-based Compagnie Financiere Richemont AG conglomerate, which took Vendome private earlier this year to allow the luxury firm to escape the pressures of the stock market.

Movado, in addition to the brands it manufactures, distributes Swiss-made Corum watches in the U.S., Canada, Central America and the Caribbean. Grinberg said there are no plans to sell or change its Corum business.

On the dial

A Guess Girl

Kaci Brown is just your average 17-year-old teenager from Sulphur Spring, Tex. She loves fashion, hanging with friends and, of course, shopping. She does, however, have something that a lot of teens crave: a record deal. Her album, “Instigator,” just hit stores last month, and Brown is already getting rave reviews. But it’s Guess that’s given her the best review so far.

Guess Watches just launched its latest worldwide campaign, Faces to Watch, a follow-up to its Timeless Beauty effort. As part of the campaign, Guess Watches has teamed up with Universal Music Group, Brown’s label, to release the limited-edition Instigator watch. Named for the title track of her first album, the watch will be featured in her music video for the song.

For Guess Watches, Brown was a natural choice for the campaign. Her self-written lyrics and funky beats complement the image of the brand. Here, WWD gets the inside scoop from Brown, who is the first of the up-and-coming artists to be featured in the promotion.

WWD: How does it feel to inspire a fashion house?

Kaci Brown: I knew Guess was teaming up with Universal Music on this project. When I heard that I was going to be one of the first, I was so excited. I’ve been a Guess lover for a really long time, so it was a thrill for me.

WWD: How does it feel to be a Guess girl?

K.B.: I really don’t consider myself one. I can’t compete with those girls!

WWD: Your friends must be pretty impressed.

K.B.: They are in awe. They are most impressed that I got to meet Paul Marciano [Guess’ co-chairman and chief executive officer]. When we first met, he came up to me. We just started talking about our favorite restaurant in Nashville, where I lived after Texas. It’s called The Pancake Pantry and it’s this world-famous place with the best food. So we were just sitting there talking about it, and about models and what they eat and don’t eat. Then someone came up and asked him a question and said, ‘Paul…?’ I must have turned the brightest shade of red! I didn’t know I was actually talking to Paul Marciano. I just thought he was someone else from the company. I was so embarrassed.

WWD: What is your favorite accessory right now?

K.B.: It’s funny because I’ve never really been into watches. I’m never on time, and a watch never really seemed to help. But now I wear a Guess watch all the time. My outfit isn’t complete without it. I look at it as an accessory, not really as a way to keep time. In fact, I don’t even think the time is set on it, so I’m still always late.

WWD: How does your song relate to the Guess watch?

K.B.: Well, my song, “Instigator,” is bold and alluring. It’s about being a girl and having a good time. I would say the watch is also bold and alluring.

WWD: Did you have a hand in the design of the watch?

K.B.: I gave them input on which watches I liked the most from the line and I saw the mock-up of the Instigator watch before it was made. That was pretty cool.

WWD: Are you really into fashion?

K.B.: What girl isn’t? I’ve always loved fashion. Being from a small town, though, there wasn’t a lot available. But I’ve always loved getting dressed up.

Julee Greenberg

A Wristed Development

Music and fashion impresario Jay-Z is bringing his sensibility to a new Rocawear watch line. A timepiece collector himself, Jay-Z was heavily involved with the creation of both the women’s and men’s styles, adding on all the touches one might expect, from leathers stamped in croc patterns to Swarovski crystals galore.

“It stands on its own as a watch line, and isn’t just something to wear with the pants,” says Rudy Theale, president of licensing for the Vestal Group, the Anaheim, Calif.-based company producing the collection.

The collection of 63 stockkeeping units, of which 60 percent are designed for women, is being targeted toward department stores and specialty boutiques and begins shipping this month. Retail prices range from $95 to $295.

The Breil Thing

Come September there will be a new Italian watch in town.

Breil Milano, a 64-year-old brand manufactured by the Binda Group of Milan, is making its first serious foray into the U.S., beginning with the opening of a flagship store in Manhattan’s SoHo district, according to Marcello Binda, chief executive officer. It is also seeking distribution in department and select jewelry stores.

Known in Europe for its “Take everything, but not my Breil” and “Don’t touch my Breil” advertising campaigns, the brand will use similar messages to bond with its target 18- to 30-year-old market here. Steel silhouettes and chronographs in unique shapes and colors, as well as Swarovski crystal embellishments, define the unisex collection, which is priced at retail between $200 and $500.

“It is a brand of style, braveness and boldness,” says Binda.

Now a $200 million business, Breil hopes to double in size within seven years.

An Easy Reader

Matthew Waldman thinks telling time should be child’s play.

The president and designer of New York-based watch line Nooka conceived of graphic and linear time representation, rather than traditional analog or digital methods, after recalling the difficulty some of his grade school classmates experienced learning how to tell time. His signature designs use minimalist bars or dots to explain time increments. The designs were patented and licensed by Seiko in the late Nineties, and then improved upon after Waldman, who also runs the graphic design studio Berrymatch, went out on his own in 2004.

“The first versions were more like fine art pieces. These new models are more practical and wearable, because they stay clean and legible,” he says of replacing the watches‘ LCD faces with covers in mineral crystal that have cutouts through which the wearer views the necessary information. Collections with futuristic names like Zoo, Zot and Zen retail from $250 to $275.

For spring 2006, Waldman is enhancing his line with a collection of analog watches. Also retailing from $250 to $275, the Zan collection has mirrored stainless steel faces and straps in black Italian leather, stainless steel mesh or silver satin.

“I want my pieces to be more like fashion accessories than watches,” he says. Nooka is carried at museum shops, such as the one at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, but plans are already under way to add department store accounts such as Barneys New York this spring and Selfridges & Co. in London this summer. Waldman is also working on plans to introduce Nooka wallets, bags and belts in 2007.

The Big Time

Clearly not content to have the most massive watch store in the world, Tourneau had to go and beat its own record. The chain retailer, whose 16,000-square-foot Manhattan flagship was named the world’s largest watch store by Guinness World Records in 1998, topped itself with the newer Las Vegas store, which is 17,000 square feet. The Tourneau Time Dome, open since February in the Forum Shops in Caesars Palace, carries its own private label brand, as well as styles from Tag Heuer, Omega and Cartier.

For now, Tourneau has no plans to try and outdo itself again, but it has just announced that it will expand beyond U.S. borders for the first time, with 30 new locations in mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, to be opened within five years.