Harry Winston's Excenter Chrono in rose gold, $27,500, features three retrograde indicators that meaure12-hour, 30-minute and 60-second increments for men and women with a passion for timepieces.
No cell phone can match Harry Winston
RUMORS of watches' demise -- a drawn-out death by proliferation of cell-phone digital clocks -- have been greatly exaggerated.
For connoisseurs a watch, after all, has never been about keeping time. If it were, any old Timex or Casio would do. Yet, for every mass market action there is a reaction, a surge in the opposite direction toward nyah-nyah, can't-touch-this, keep-up-if-you-can exclusivity.
But even exclusivity can be relative. Some of the most prestigious names in jewelry and watches manage to kick out a few hundred thousand to a million watches annually -- barely original and surely, you can do better.
Look no further than Harry Winston. The jeweler with a claim to being a girl's best friend can be pretty chummy with the boys, too, especially this close to Father's Day.
The jewelry store might be known for its diamonds, but HW also produces about 3,500 watches annually, the bulk worn by women, with a little more than 1,000 adorning men's wrists.
"I like to tell customers that if you wear any other watch, you'll probably bump into another person wearing the same thing, but to find another with the exact Harry Winston watch is a remote proposition," said Robert Vilaihongs, a sales associate at the Ala Moana store.
Watches crafted of gold, platinum or a proprietary metal harder than titanium, called Zalium, start at $10,000 and run up to $100,000. And, even for men, the most wanted metal today is rose gold, its warm hue resulting from a touch of copper.
"These are for those who appreciate timepieces as a masterwork," Vilaihongs said. "It's for those with a passion for fine watchmaking."
Much like the automobile collector's enthusiasm for the engineering marvel that lies just beneath the hood, watch lovers are welcome to "look under the hood" of Harry Winston's rare timepieces via a clear skeleton back that reveals handcrafted, hand-assembled movements.
Among the watches on view are the Excenter Collection of complicated watches, including time zone and chronographs. The Excenter Chrono features three retrograde indicators that measure the passage of 12-hour, 30-minute and 60-second increments for those who like to keep score, whether timing laps at car races, yacht or boat speeds or underwater dives.
All are rugged enough to be worn with jeans and a T-shirt, and classic enough for the most elegant soirees.
More machismo is evident in a dial design inspired by the "shuriken," or ninja hidden blade.
Unfortunately, one watch you can't have, even if you can afford it, is the Opus 2006. The Opus line, started in 2001, is the rarest of Harry Winston Rare Timepieces. The limited-edition watches represent a collaboration between HW and some of Switzerland's most gifted independent horologists.
This year, only six tourbillon watches by HW and Greubel Forsey were produced, running about $485,000 each. All were sold at the recent Basel Fair in Switzerland, the world's largest watch and jewelry showcase.
The Opus 2006's floating movement is liberated from the effects of gravity to keep precision time. Of course, none of this matters if you're chronically late, but chances are, if you wear a Winston, people will wait for you.