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This holiday season, the world’s top watch houses put their best forward

Volume up: Canada’s Vieren looks to the 1970s for its latest exuberant piece

With a diamond-set dial that glitters like a backlit dance floor and a set of hands radiating from a recessed circle evoking a record turntable, the Vieren Stereo Diamond collection is an accessory seemingly made to fit in with the sequinned jumpsuits and velvet tuxes one might have worn to Studio 54 in its heyday. According to Jess Chow, the Canadian watch brand’s CEO, that’s exactly the vibe she was aiming for.

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Vieren co-founders Sunny Fong and Jess Chow.Chris Vassalos/Handout

“People are looking for more fun and celebration in their lives, and we’re seeing a resurgence in things that are nostalgic, tactile and whimsical,” says Chow, who co-founded Vieren in 2020 with Canadian fashion designer Sunny Fong. “When we think about a special time in history that reflects these sentiments, it would be the 1970s. There was a freedom evoked during that decade that is special, and we’re looking to celebrate that golden era.”

Behind the disco ball whimsy of the Stereo Diamond Collection’s dial, however, is a serious timepiece. Like all of Vieren’s watches, each of the 15 pieces in this limited-edition collection is built by hand at a watchmaking studio in La-Chaux-de-Fonds, the Swiss valley where many of the world’s best watches are made. The brand’s direct access to this studio and its artisans allows Vieren to custom design many elements of their watches, giving them an advantage over other startup watch brands that are limited to off-the-shelf components.

“Sunny Fong and I carefully consider every design detail so that your Vieren timepiece is a talisman that brings good fortune,” Chow says. In addition to the name, which means “celebrate” in Dutch, the Vieren logo resembles a bat, a symbol of longevity and happiness in Chinese culture. “Beyond Swiss craftsmanship, the modern collector cares about thoughtful design elements that make a watch more than a timekeeping instrument,” she says. “We are obsessed with the idea of celebrating life’s most meaningful moments and we hope that our timepieces help you to make the most of every second of your life.”

– Jeremy Freed


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Tale as old as time: A master watchmaker explores the human obsession with timekeeping

Traditional mechanical watches ought to have gone the way of the rotary-dial telephone long ago, but their enduring popularity suggests that they are worth more to us than the sum of their tiny parts. In Hands of Time, a new book by British watchmaker Rebecca Struthers, the author explores our enduring fascination with watches and clocks over the centuries and the miraculous technology that makes them tick.

An antique watch restorer with a PhD in horology, Struthers is an ideal guide for this journey. From the water clocks of ancient Rome to the wristwatches used in the Second World War, each stop on Struthers’ grand tour reveals as much about the timepieces as the eras in which they were created. Imbued with personal anecdotes about the life and craft of a modern-day watchmaker, it’s essential reading for enthusiasts, history buffs and anyone else who’s ever pondered the nature of time. – J.F.

Hands of Time: A Watchmaker’s History, $43.50 at bookstores and online (harpercollins.ca).


All angles: A rectangular timepiece is a distinctive choice

Tank Louis Cartier watch, $17,400 at Cartier (cartier.com).
Reverso Tribute Monoface Small Seconds watch, $14,300 at Jaeger-LeCoultre (jaeger-lecoultre.com).

CLASSIC STATEMENT

Designed in 1917, the Tank remains the epitome of good taste in 2023.

TURNED OUT

A swivelling case with a back that’s ideal for engraving gives the Reverso its unique look.


Longines Dolce Vita watch, $2,350 through longines.com.
Tissot Heritage Banana Centenary Edition watch, $725 at stores and resellers across Canada (tissotwatches.com).

BOXY FRESH

This option represents refined Swiss watchmaking at a price that’s perfect for budding aficionados.

THAT’S A WRAP

An ergonomic curved case and a set of funky numerals make this Banana perennially surprising.


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