The watch brand sure knows how to party

GQ reported from this week’s Watches & Wonders conference in Geneva. Click Click here to read all of our coverage from the event or Sign up for the Box + Papers newsletter to get the latest information in your inbox.

Everyone at dinner had been warned there would be gunshots, but we all jumped and some even screamed when we heard the explosion. That sound signaled the start of the bike race, and as young cyclists circled the track, I returned to my “local” veal, according to the menu, with morel and smoked carrots. This is the scene at Tudor’s party on Tuesday night in Clocks & Wonders week. The night is proof that there really is no party quite like the watch brand’s party.

When we arrived at the location, which is protected as a national secret, the room was large but nothing special. Towering black curtains hung from the ceiling around us, forming a square the size of half a football field. We politely sipped champagne until the waiter directed us to sit down to dinner. The curtains dropped abruptly, revealing the track and the Tudor cycling team speeding along it. The team then participated in four different racing events—Keirin, knockout, “Longest Circuit” and team sprint—while we enjoyed dinner.

Watch parties defy reality even if they are more modest. On Monday, in the basement of Rolex headquarters, the waiters pass by vegetarian and arancini samosas and the waiter mixes the strongest gin & tonic I have ever tasted. This is a much more casual event but even here, on the stage in front of the room where a band plays live music, are large Oscar statues from actual Oscars. They were driven from London, where they happened to be, to attend the event.

Regardless of the atmosphere, however, these parties often boil down to the same thing: a bunch of people standing around talking about their favorite new watches from the fair. I’ve heard a lot of the same things: Cartier’s stuff is great—especially the Platinum Normale strap; The new 37mm Tudor Black Bay 54 will sell well; Tag Heuer is killing it with their new stopwatch. An influential figure called Chronograph A. Lange & Söhne Odysseus The coolest thing in the fair is a mile away. Here’s everything else worth noting from day two of Watches & Wonders.

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