Watch Brands Sure Know How to Party

GQ is reporting from the Watches & Wonders convention in Geneva this week. Click here to read all our coverage from the event or sign up for the Box + Papers newsletter to get the latest in your inbox.

Everyone at dinner was warned there was going to be a gunshot, but we all jumped and a few even shrieked at the sound of the bang. The sound signaled the start of a bike race, and as the young cyclists bent around the velodrome I turned back to my “local” veal, per the menu, with morels and smoked carrot. This was the scene at Tudor’s party Tuesday night during Watches & Wonders week. The night was more evidence that there really is no party like a watch-brand party. 

When we arrived at the location, which was guarded like a state secret, the room was massive but nondescript. Towering black curtains hung from the ceiling all around us, forming a square the size of half a football field. We politely sipped champagne until the servers directed us to sit down for dinner. The curtains suddenly dropped, revealing the velodrome and Tudor’s cycling team speeding along it. The team then participated in four different racing events—the Keirin, an elimination race, the “Longest Lap,” and a team sprint—while we enjoyed dinner. 

Watch parties defy reality even when they’re more lowkey. On Monday, in the basement of the Rolex HQ, waiters passed around veggie samosas and arancini and the bartender made the strongest gin & tonic I’ve ever tasted. This was a much more casual event but even here, on the stage at the front of a room where a band played live music, were the large Oscars statues from the actual Oscars. They were driven up from London, where they happened to be, for the event. 

No matter the atmosphere, though, these parties usually boil down to the same thing: a bunch of folks standing around talking about which new watches they like from the fair. I’ve heard a lot of the same: Cartier’s stuff is great—particularly the platinum Normale on the bracelet; the new 37mm Tudor Black Bay 54 will sell extremely well; Tag Heuer is killing it with their new chronographs. One influential figure called the A. Lange & Söhne Odysseus Chronograph the most interesting thing in the fair by a mile. Here’s everything else worth noting from the second day of Watches & Wonders.

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