With the upcoming JCK show around the corner — I was interviewed recently by the Fair Organizers about my take on time. For those who may be interested, the following is the printed result.
As a contributor to numerous influential publications and sites and founder of the industry beacon, A Timely Perspective, Roberta Naas is a true veteran and superstar of watch journalism. She continually showcases an extraordinary range of watch content across all of her outlets, so it seems only fitting that we turn the spotlight on her. Here is our conversation with Roberta on all things watches (and JCK).
1. Tell us about your career as a watch journalist. How long have you been in the industry and where did you get your start.
My story is very interesting because I started in this industry when there were no women at all in the watch journalism field. It was an all-boys type of network. I had to prove myself – my integrity, my ability, my accuracy, etc. – to break down all the right doors and pave the way for myself. That was 30 years ago this year- at National Jeweler Magazine, which was then a Gralla Publication. I have never really been able to leave this industry; it is one that – once entrenched – gets firmly under your skin. I love watches, the people, the technology, the brands and their involvements in things that matter.
Throughout my years in this industry I have written five books on watches and the history of timekeeping. I have been privileged to travel the world with watch brands and experience things most people only dream of. I have even founded www.atimelyperspective.com, an online site dedicated to luxury timepieces and the people therein. It has been a fabulous and insightful career – and one I feel blessed to truly love what I do in life.
2. What, in your opinion, are the biggest new trends in watches this year, both technically and aesthetically?
Oh there are so many wonderful trends emerging this year in fine timepieces. One such trend is the move towards more complex and aesthetically advanced women’s watches. For the past few years, we have witnessed brands making strong inroads in the world of women’s watches. This was even the subject of my fourth book, Jewels of Time, last year. But this year, so many brands are offering exciting new automatic and mechanical watches for women, watches with complications such as tourbillons, repeaters, chronographs and multi-time zones. Moonphases for women are also a big deal, as they are both technically and aesthetically advanced.
Also key this year is the trend toward useful functions in our fast-paced world. These functions include perpetual calendars, world timers and GMTs, and chronographs. On the complicated side, more brands are unveiling extreme tourbillons, and grande complications—but not in the big, bold manner of the past decade. This year a general streamlining – a thinning down – of watches is a big trend.
Also important are advancements in decorative elements. It is no longer just gemsetting and enamel work that offers an artistic appeal, but also new techniques are coming into play, including mosaic dials, wood and straw dials, and magnificently sculptured dials.
3. Who are you looking forward to seeing (watch exhibitors) at JCK this year?
Because JCK is so close to BaselWorld this year, I am spending eight days visiting nearly 100 key brands. There are so many I am looking forward to spending a little more time with. Among them: Baume & Mercier – great line up of both men’s and women’s watches this year; Tissot – love their T Touch watches and the amazing range of functions; Cuervo y Sobrinos and Louis Moinet – both innovative in their own ways; Movado – doing nice new things with their product line up; Parmigiani – they usually have some very rare pieces from their collection with them; Ulysse Nardin and TAG Heuer – I just can’t get enough of these brands. The list goes on … hence, my attendance at the show.
4. Do you wear a timepiece? If so which one and why?
Of course I wear a timepiece … I even sleep with a watch on. I am so fortunate because I own many watches (I still don’t have the money to own my dream watches) – both mechanicals and quartz pieces. I change my watch regularly – depending on where I am going, what I am wearing and the statement I want to make. Watches really are an amazing accessory, a true statement piece and an absolute thrill to wear when you find ones you love.