Between your Harrods Greens, Bucherer Blues and enough Hodinkee collaborations to populate their storefront, the not-so-humble boutique edition is very much here to stay. It generally makes sense as a concept; who better to understand what their customers are after than those directly selling them watches? That said, recolours of existing watches aren’t exactly high effort endeavours, even if they do typically look good. They speak of a quick turnaround on a straightforward, saleable product. Then there’s the Andersen Genève x Asprey Worldtime.
Andersen Genève began making world time watches over 30 years ago so you’d assume that means they’ve done a fair few in their time. You’d be wrong. The watchmaker only releases a scant handful of models each year and their annual production sits at well, well under 100 pieces. Not 100,000, but 100. If you were wondering why you don’t see them all that often, there you go.
The fact that a watchmaker with such rarefied production has collaborated with a retailer at all shows just how much of an institution Asprey is. They may have moved from their hallowed Bond Street location a little while back, but they’re still purveyor of fine objects to some of London’s most well- heeled patrons. They were never going to collaborate on something we’d consider ‘affordable’.
So, what about the watch itself? Well, it’s basically a revamp of Andersen Genève’s fifth World Time watch, 2015’s Tempus Terrae, which recently saw a pair of anniversary editions with blue gem-set bezels. The Asprey is different for a few reasons. First, it doesn’t have the gem-set bezel, instead opting for plain rose gold. Second, those lugs.
The triangle lugs actually come from previous Andersen Genève models, specifically the 1996’s Secular Perpetual Calendar and 2002’s Orbit Lunae. In fact, the lugs are what came to define both pieces. This being the first World Time model to use them makes for an aesthetic melting pot that should have been fired up well before now.
Of course, most of the action is happening on the dial with that incredible blue gold guilloche. The pattern is inspired by Asprey’s signature engine turning pattern, an intricate series of diamonds in diamonds that you can see on a few Asprey products – though it’s never been used on a watch before. What has been used however is the material, as it’s been an Andersen Genève staple since 2005. In short, this is a greatest hits of the watchmaker’s particular brand of haute horology dressed up in Asprey. It’s hard not to love.
At just under 40mm it sits nicely on the wrist and with the relatively large lettering the various time zones are easy to read without a loupe, something that many world timers fall down on. It does feel like the cities are crowding out the rest of the dial a bit, but from a practical standpoint there’s not much to be done there without enlarging the entire piece.
On the left-hand side at nine o’clock there’s a painstakingly finished quick-change button for the world time function, which is always useful. It’s just not the easiest to use in this instance, which is a shame. Still, it’s awkward because it’s so subtle and once set it makes for a much more elegant looking watch. Swings and roundabouts.
The movement is, as you might expect, stunning. The rotor has been matched to the dial in engine-turned blue gold, which somehow looks even better against the metal of the movement. The calibre itself – with its 40-hour power reserve – is well finished but without ostentation. It’s about as restrained as you can get, unlike the frame: a ring of black jade with the names of both companies inlaid with gold.
Honestly, the amount of effort lavished upon the World Time Asprey puts most boutique editions to shame. It’s not a recolour of anything, but a completely new watch that shows off the elements that have come to define Andersen Genève. Even without the Apsrey link, it would be a great watch; with, it adds that extra twist to make it, in my eyes at least, the most convincing case in 2022 for boutique editions as a concept.
The Andersen Genève x Asprey Worldtime is limited to 24 pieces which sounds miniscule, but given Andersen Genève’s annual production it’s a surprisingly big clutch of timepieces. It also makes sense in an on-the-nose way. 24 pieces for 24 timezones. As for price, it was never going to be cheap: For us mere mortals, that’s never going to happen. For the various millionaires and royals around the world that shop at Asprey though, that’s not too bad. And while Andersen Genève might not have the profile they deserve, it’s a beauty that’s well worth the money.
Price & Specs:
- Model: Andersen Genève x Asprey Worldtime
- Case/dial: 39.8mm diameter x 9.9mm thickness, red gold case, multi part dial with rotssting 24h time zone ring
- Water resistance: 30m (3 bar)
- Movement: High quality automatic movement upgraded by Andersen Genève, 21 jewels
- Frequency: 21,600 vph (3 Hz)
- Power reserve: 40h
- Functions: Hours, minutes, world time zone scale
- Strap: Hand-stitched nubuck leather
- Price/availability: £55,000
More details at Asprey.