But as smartphone cameras improved, allowing for better macro photography, watch enthusiasts started to come. Over the past few years, and especially amid pandemic lockdowns that have given people enough time to spend on social media, the industry has taken a 180-degree turn. While the platform’s impact on watch design may be indirect, it has become so central to the way watches are introduced, promoted, and sold that the question might be: whether a new watch design does not appear on Instagram, does it even exist?

With the IWC Big Pilot “Tribute to 5002” the answer is literally no. First built as a prototype, the watch was turned into a limited edition of 100 pieces only after Christoph Grainger-Herr, managing director of IWC, posted an image of the piece, dubbed Safari, on his personal channel. , in June 2017.

“I was on safari at the time, in the Kruger National Park in South Africa,” Grainger-Herr recalled in an interview at a recent IWC event in Los Angeles. “I said, a little stupidly, that if I get 50 confirmations in comments from people saying they would buy it, I would. We had over 250 comments in 15 minutes.

“We sent all the reservation forms by DM,” added Mr. Grainger-Herr. “It was our first accidental foray into social commerce.”

More recently, Instagram has confirmed interest in an unexpected revival at Girard-Perregaux. “We posted a photo of a watch called Casquette, produced by Girard-Perregaux in the 1970s, with a very 1970s design, and people went crazy,” said the brand’s general manager, Patrick Pruniaux. “One of these watches is now being produced with a partner for a charity auction. “

Reinvented for the Only Watch auction on November 6 in Geneva, the unique timepiece – a remake of a funky spaceship-like model that Girard-Perregaux debuted in 1976 – was made in collaboration with the London-based watch customizer Bamford Watch Department.


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Hazel J. Edmonds

The author Hazel J. Edmonds

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