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What Happens in Vegas: Betting on the Las Vegas Shows

Every year, Las Vegas hosts the American watch shows, Couture and JCK. Now, JCK isn’t much of a watch show any more, but it is still hugely important for jewelry. I LOVE going to the Couture show. It’s a chance to catch up with friends from the watch industry, including the great people from Feldmar, without having the pressure of seeing a ton of new watches. After all, I’ve seen just about everything at Basel and SIHH.

Revolution USA kicked off the Las Vegas shows with the third annual Revolution Motorcycles and Musclecars Ride on May 30th. We partnered with Baume & Mercier and Indian Motorcycles for the first time and it was a tremendous success – in fact, we had more participants than ever before: 28 people, with 12 motorcycles and eight cars.

Most people who go to Las Vegas for the watch shows never leave the Strip, and that’s a shame. The natural beauty to be found all around the city is incredible and worth exploring. Check out the video and pictures from our desert adventure.

The Mood

The overall mood at the Couture show was very good — optimism is high for the US market, and the watch brands exhibiting at Couture Time claimed to have had a number of substantive meetings with important watch retailers.

The US is still a huge watch market and the more we can do to spread the good watch word and expand the pool of US customers, the better the market will be.

US Special Editions

The Las Vegas shows are not usually ones where new watches are introduced, but this year several companies unveiled new US-only special editions.

Grand Seiko introduced a Spring Drive Limited Edition for the USA, 300 pieces in stainless steel, 50 pieces in rose gold and 30 pieces in platinum, with snowflake dials. The dial is inspired by the iconic kabuki dress.

Grand Seiko Spring Drive US-Only Special Edition
Grand Seiko Spring Drive US-Only Special Edition

Pictured here is Brice Le Troadec, USA brand president of Grand Seiko, modeling the US-only special edition Grand Seiko Spring Drive, a project he spearheaded.

Grand Seiko USA Brice Le Troadec
Grand Seiko USA Brice Le Troadec

To add color to its Vanguard collection, Franck Muller introduced three new US-only editions. The Vanguard, as befits its name, has become the sales leader for Franck Muller and the focal point of the brand as it continues to succeed in the USA.

Franck Muller Vanguard Special US Editions4
Franck Muller Vanguard Special US Editions

Capitalizing on its success in sports watches, Longines introduced a new collection of three US exclusive HydroConquest timepieces (300 pieces in stainless steel, 550 in black PVD and 150 in gray PVD). At 41mm, these new HydroConquest watches are true diving watches, water-resistant to 300 meters and featuring red indices. The initials USA in the bottom right corner of the dial and a luminous numeral 50 in the upper left corner of the bezel identify these as US exclusive models. An engraved American flag motif on the caseback completes the design.

Longines Legend Diver -- original is in the middle2
Longines Legend Diver

We also got another look at the ultra-cool Legend Diver in black PVD, which we were able to contrast on the spot with the original Legend Diver from the 1960s (pictured together here).

While not a US-only special edition, Bell & Ross introduced its new BR 01 Laughing Skull during Couture, a very cool skull watch where the lower jaw moves when you wind the watch.

Bell & Ross BR 01 Laughing Skull2
Bell & Ross BR 01 Laughing Skull

I gotta say, lots of people don’t like going to Vegas for the shows, but I enjoy the whole thing – the Revolution ride, the over-the-top nature of Las Vegas itself, the chance to sit down and chat with friends from the industry and more.

I love starting the Las Vegas shows with our ride into the desert, weaving between the majestic rock formations and getting away from the neon lights of the Strip. The ride and the camaraderie always set the stage and the mood for a successful show.

I can’t wait until next year.

Check out the complete Las Vegas report and photo shoot in the October 2018 issue of Revolution USA.

Sidebar: Yoshifusa Nakazawa, Micro Artist Studio Watchmaker, Seiko/Credor

I had the chance to sit down with Yoshifusa Nakazawa from Credor, who I met on my second trip to Japan to tour the Seiko Group facilities. Mr. Nakazawa sits in a small office under a slanted ceiling, slaving away on some incredible pieces until they are perfect. He was in Las Vegas to demonstrate the assembly of the H2 and the Credor Sonnerie.

Yoshifusa Nakazawa6
Yoshifusa Nakazawa

“I have been working for Seiko since I was 18, doing lots of different things, but I always come back to watches. I like the challenges of watchmaking, there is always something different. The assembly and adjustment of the Sonnerie is a real challenge and always keeps me on my toes.

“I can do two or three Sonnerie pieces a year. I also assemble the H2. If I dedicated all my time to the H2, I could do 100 pieces a year.

I like my small room. It’s like an atelier in Switzerland and it allows me to concentrate on my work. I work from 8:30 am – 5:30 pm, and I always play golf before I go to work. Playing golf is like assembling complicated watches. You are never satisfied.”

About The Author: Keith Strandberg

Keith W. Strandberg (KeithStrandberg.com) has written about timepieces in many different publications for the past 25+ years. One of the few international journalists living in Switzerland, Strandberg is the Editor-in-Chief of Revolution USA (Revolution.Watch). He has written for the trade extensively as well as for mainstream publications like Variety, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, United Airlines’ Hemispheres, Men’s Vogue, USA Today, Tennis and many more.

Read more from Keith Strandberg

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