The 2016 China Watch & Clock Fair has come and gone and there are many wonderful and exciting new developments taking place in the world of Chinese horology.
All the big players were on their game, and as was the case the last few years, FIYTA pulled out all the stops to have the most interesting booth by far. FIYTA is always the busiest booth at every event I attend, but I was lucky enough to have a chat with the European product manager, Oscar Madriles, about some exciting things coming in the near future from China's largest brand.
I was also very excited to have a hands-on look at one of the more unique and interesting watches to come from any Chinese brand over the last few years, the Red Dot Design Award nominated 3D models. Originally released in 2014, these pieces have been a great attention getter for the brand over the last few years. For 2016 they've released a few upgraded models, including a white dial version on stainless steel (WGA868000.WWB), as well as a beautiful rose gold finish on an updated black dial (WGA868000.PBR).
In case you haven't seen this piece before and aren't sure exactly what you're looking at, I'll explain. The 3D watch is built to display the time in two different ways, as shown in the two images below. From straight on, you can tell the time as usual with the standard hours and minute hands using the indices on the outer edge of the dial. But you can also tell the time by looking at the watch from the 6 o'clock position below. There's a red indicator at 6 o'clock that tells you the approximate time on a 12 hour angled rotating disc. I say approximate because, while the hours are clearly marked, the minutes are only indicated in (6) ten minute increments between the numbered hours.
I think the idea here...other than just being a cool design, is to provide the ability to tell the time without needing to turn the wrist. Don't confuse not wanting to turn the wrist for just being lazy...that's not the case. Watches that read the time from this direct southern position are (those more knowledgeable than I, please write in and correct me) generally known as driving watches.
A few other notable driving watches:
Visible through both the front and back is a Miyota automatic movement. Also added this year is the availability of a very high grade leather nato strap which very much compliments the sporty style of the watch. The watch is 45mm but after some time with the piece on my wrist, I can say it wears a bit smaller than that due angles on the polycarbonate glass. It's also very light in weight, and overall is an extremely comfortable piece to wear.
Find a list of dealers on the FIYTA website here. These pieces are generally in the $600 ballpark, but some creative googling might turn up even better prices.