This year's episode of that annual spectacle of dazzling timepieces, the Central International Watch Fair, will feature leading manufacturers. It is due to kick off on Tuesday at Central Chidlom where it will continue for just over a month.
Four heart-throbs from the popular TV series Suparb Burut Chutathep model some of the timepieces chosen for the Luxury category at the fair. From left: Warintorn Panhakarn, wearing a Corum Golden Bridge Automatic, Tanin Manoonsilp, sporting a Harry Winston Opus, James Mar showing off a Frank Muller Thunderbolt Tourbillion, and Thanawat Wattanaputi with the Piaget Dancer Exceptional Piece designed for men.
Now in its 15th year and with its budget currently running at 5 billion baht, the fair will also feature rare and limited-edition items displayed at Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie and BaselWorld, two of the world's biggest watch fairs held earlier this year in Switzerland.
"We were the first to host an annual timepiece showcase event in Thailand," said Nidsinee Chirathivat, executive vice-president for merchandising at Central Department Store. "Over the past 15 years, it has been proven that Central International Watch Fair is Asia's ultimate timepiece event, with overwhelming response from locals and foreigners. Most importantly, we have been honoured by HRH Princess Soamsawali, who will kindly grace the opening of the event."
The Piaget Dancer Exceptional Piece for men (37,000,000 baht).
The line-up of watches has been divided into three categories: Luxury, Hi-end and Mid-range. Luxury brands include Bvlgari, Corum, Harry Winston, Hublot, Piaget and Sarcar. The Hi-end marques will include Breitling, Charriol, Gucci, Longines, TAG Heuer and Zenith. And in the Mid-range category will be names like Casio, Citizen, Guess, Issey Miyake and Seiko.
Brands that don't normally take part in watch fairs such as Breguet, Blancpain, Glashutte Original and Tiffany & Co will also be participating in this year's fair. In addition, Auguste Reymond, the Swiss manufacturer that's been in the business for 115 years now, will be making its Thai debut at this event with some handmade watches which will be exclusively retailed by Central.
Also making an appearance at the fair for the first time will be Ateliers de Monaco with its mechanical watches which have been hailed as "nouvelle horlogerie".
"Leading brands put their trust in the event by showcasing their latest collections and introducing their new masterpieces," Nidsinee said. "In the past, most brands focused on vintage items, but this year's fair will feature various designs and mechanisms. Each brand has developed cutting-edge technologies and techniques. This will amaze watch-lovers and collectors and make the timepieces a valuable investment."
A prelude to the event, held recently to showcase some of the most expensive of the exhibits, saw a quartet of actors from the TV drama series Suparb Burut Chutathep modelling some very valuable timepieces. Warintorn Panhakarn, wearing a Corum Golden Bridge Automatic, Tanin Manoonsilp, sporting a Harry Winston Opus, and James Mar crooned the soap opera's theme song while flashing a Franck Muller Thunderbolt Tourbillion, priced at 9,063,000 baht.
The highlight of the show, however, was the moment when Tanawat Wattanaputi, the fourth member of the quartet, and Chutimol Sakulthai appeared on the runway, each of them wearing a Piaget Dancer Exceptional Piece. Together, the two watches _ one designed for men, the other for women _ are worth a cool 69 million baht.
"We are very positive that Central International Watch Fair 2013 will be warmly embraced by watch-lovers and collectors as always, since the fair features the most extensive list of brands, collections and special deals," Nidsinee said. "What makes this year's strategies different is that we took a new approach to the presale event. Customers can shop on Facebook through leading credit-card companies and enjoy the same privileges as those offered at the event itself."
The Corum Golden Bridge Automatic (3,760,000 baht).
Pictured with Nidsinee Chirathivat, centre, executive vice-president of Central Department Store, are from left Krist Chatikaratana, executive director, Cortina Watch (Thailand), Tanaporn Amornsomkiat, assistant to the president, ST Dimension Watch Boutique, Yuki Srikarnchana, managing director, Pendulum, Dr Soipetch Resanond, executive director, Baechtold, Toey Mahadumrongkul, chief executive (marketing), Trocadero, and Narun Thamavaranukup, managing director, PMT The Hourglass.
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- Writer: Noko