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Timepieces in times like these

The pandemic is making waves. And the watch industry is feeling the effects. However, this does not stop a number of brands presenting exciting mechanical innovations even in the virus spring of 2021. There is a small selection on the following page.

Shock resistance from Schaffhausen

It can certainly take a lot of hard knocks, the new IWC “Big Pilot’s Watch Shock Absorber XPL” with innovative 44 millimetre “ceratanium” casing. This is made possible by the “SPRIN-g PROTECT System”, developed over an eight year period. A cantilever spring suspends the movement inside the case. Its form and the use of Bulk Metallic Glass (BMG) have the effect that acceleration forces of more than 30,000 g cannot damage the in house caliber 32115 with a base plate made from an aluminium alloy used in the aerospace sector.

Transparency highlighted

Sapphire is hard and scratch-resistant but certainly not unbreakable. Therefore you would be ill-advised to let the brand new Hublot “Big Bang Integral Tourbillon Full Sapphire” fall onto a stone floor. For the first time in the history of watches both the 42 millimetre case as well as the link bracelet are made of the completely transparent material. Titanium is used to produce the folding clasp. In each of the 30 pieces the in-house calibre HUB6035 with micro rotor self-winding movement, 72 hour power reserve and tourbillon take care of the time.

Perpetual Calendar

Once again in their 27-year history the family of the “Lange 1”, launched in 1994, is expecting a ticking addition. The new “Lange 1 perpetual calendar” is available in an unlimited edition in pink gold. A. Lange & Söhne is also producing 150 pieces in white gold. The automatic calibre L021.3 consists of 621 components. On a purely theoretical level the revolving outsize date, retrograde day of week display, peripheral month ring and digital leap-year indication require manual correction in February 2100, the moon phase only after 122.6 years.

A watch that protects the mudflats

Those who put one of the 2009 steel “Aquis Dat Watt” from Oris on their wrist are contributing to the conservation of the mudflats. The limitation results from the fact that this picturesque stretch of land before the Danish, German and Dutch coast was declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 2009. The automatic watch with 43.5 mm diameter has a sophisticated combined moon phase-tide indication on the dial for safe mud flat walks. The corresponding hand rotates around its axis in 29.5 days.

Every hour strikes for a happy man

German design and the Swiss art of watch-making combine to a melodious composition in the MeisterSinger “Bell Hora”. This watch, diameter 43 mm, expresses on an acoustic level that every hour strikes for the happy man. When 60 minutes have passed a little hammer produces a chime on the gong under the dial. Of course you can also silence the mechanism, which is powered by the Swiss automatic calibre Sellita SW200, at the touch of a button.

Ticking silver disc

No question: In reference to watch casings silver has a polarizing effect. The precious metal notoriously tends to tarnish. The material with 70 Vickers is also not particularly hard. Despite this fact, Tudor decided to produce the 39 millimetre casing for the new “Black Bay Fifty-Eight 925”, which is waterproof up to 20 bar, in high-quality sterling silver. The manufacturer is maintaining adamant silence on which alloy has been used. The glass back, behind which the manufactured automatic MT5400 ticks, is new. The French textile strap
ensures secure and luxurious comfort on the wrist.

Photos Copyrights: © IWC, ORIS; Hublot, A. Lange & Söhne, Meistersinger, Tudor

Dr. Pascal Botteron

“In challenging times, a good ESG culture helps, to ride the storm better.”

The environmental, social and leadership aspects are not only decisive for success or failure in the economy, but they are also increasingly becoming a key differentiating factor in the financial industry.

Dr. Pascal Botteron is co-founder and CEO of Green Blue Invest (GBI) SA, a Swiss company dedicated to the development of ESG investment solutions. The core offering of Green Blue Invest is composed of ESG investment products starting their evaluation from the quality of corporate Governance. Before founding Green Blue Invest, Pascal Botteron had been involved in alternatives, risk management, portfolio management and impact investing for the last 25 years in banking, consulting and as an academic. In particular Pascal has occupied several Global Investment roles at Deutsche Bank in Asset and Wealth management based in the UK and Switzerland and has been Professor and/or Lecturer at the University of Lausanne, the Swiss banking School, Thunderbird, the University of Zurich and HEC in Paris.

What does ESG stands for exactly?
ESG is a terminology widely used to define how a corporation is addressing Environmental (E), Social (S), and Governance (G) aspects. The objective behind it, is to set standards to ensure well informed investors can choose to invest in companies that have good ESG characteristics or in other words can invest with purpose. It is interesting to know that it is not a new concept. It first appeared in several research works initiated by the United Nations 15 years ago. The objective of these studies was to highlight that drivers other than financial were – at least – of equal importance when investing in a company. These drivers, such as how a company addresses environmental issues, how it protects its human capital, how it maintains a corporate culture were all mentioned.

Is there a difference between US and Europe in regard to the commitment to ESG?
Today, the Environment aspect is the central element in Europe, whereas it is the Social aspect in the US. This is quite representative of the different society and political challenges faced on the two sides of the Atlantic. The reality in Europe is that climate change is a huge topic, especially after the Paris conference. It is embraced by politicians and many economic leaders following broad influence by voters and new generations. It took probably a decade to reach a wide adoption of ESG by the financial community as there was a misconception that companies who care about ESG, tend to underperform. The history of the last 10 years shows us this is not true. We saw that the fundamental drivers behind a good integrated ESG also contributed to generate market out-performance.

You have a special way to screen companies on ESG criteria – could you explain briefly?
Fundamentally and in its origin, a good ESG investment will assume that the three elements are well addressed when making a decision. Unfortunately, today, the investments tend to address only one or maybe two of the three elements. Our view is that the three aspects should be addressed in an integrated fashion. In this context, the key among the three ESG elements is the G. When a company is well governed, the board will undoubtedly address a good G, a good E and a good S collectively. Recent academic researchers have demonstrated this by proving that well governed companies have better E and S policies.

How can the “G” be measured?
The methodology we have chosen is one based on natural language processing. It is widely accepted in the linguistic and psychology sciences, that the character of an individual can be defined by the language he is using.

For example, someone saying ‘I’ in every sentence will tend to be ego-centric, while someone using ‘We’ will tend to be more a team-player. To extract the quality of governance, we use the same principle by using a proprietary dictionary of 7’000 words, capturing the G but also the E and S dimensions. These words are positive or negative. We study the appearance of these words in the annual reports of companies and based on how frequently they appear, we can statistically extract the quality of the ESG policy of a company. As the board is responsible for the annual reports, this means that we capture the “tone from the top”. In other words, we can pose a diagnostic on its quality of Governance and how it influences the integration of an ESG policy.

At the end of the day performance matters for an investor. How do ESG products perform compared to their benchmark?
I totally agree. We have seen over the last years that ESG indices have outperformed traditional indices. Some investors stress the fact that the absence of oil & gas companies is explaining this, which is partly true, but it only represents a small contribution. We believe the key is the fact that the majority of companies with true and honest ESG culture are more resilient and agile. Therefore, they tend to outperform their peers on a regular basis. In 2020, this phenomenon has been amplified showing that, in a period of major crisis, a good ESG culture helps to better weather the storm.

How is the demand for ESG-screened products developing and which investors are interested?
There is a massive shift of assets to ESG products, which is good news. It is forcing all companies to comply with E, S and G. This year we saw net-positive flows to ESG funds, while we saw net-negative flows to non-ESG funds.

Many reasons explain this movement. Firstly, many governments have set in place rules to force institutional investors to invest in ESG products and countries like France, Sweden and The Netherlands are leading the charge. Also, many banks are responding to the demand of the new generations – the millennials – who adhere to the need for a change including a change in the way to invest. The trend has been embraced and now there is a need to respond to this demand with more product solutions.

How long do you think it takes companies to adapt to ESG?
The transition will most likely experience an acceleration in the next months and years, but a lot remains to be done. Depending on the countries, it will take a few years to a few decades. The recent outperformance of ESG products vs non ESG products is definitely a trigger to this acceleration. To continue this trend, there are three elements that are essential: first, a good education process to ensure everyone from investors to decision-makers understand how to implement a good ESG culture; second, adoption of industry standards, ensuring that all ESG products respond to ESG rules; third, support the development of a new fully-dedicated ESG industry. In other words, there is a need for more ESG products, more ESG consultants, more ESG product managers to respond to the transition.

ESG ist jetzt im Trend. Was passiert, wenn sich die Unternehmen schnell umstellen und ESG plötzlich alltäglich wird?
It would be perfect! It means we would have done our job. Our objective is to force companies to do well. The reality is different as the vast majority of companies, investors and politicians have not sincerely embraced the concept.

Our belief is that the change will start with board members of all companies being engaged.

In your views, what are the three major challenges faced today to have the financial industry transition fully to ESG?
The ESG industry is still new and still considered as niche by many investors. We are at a turning point as some of the largest institutional investors and ultra-high net worth individuals have started to fully implement ESG. In this context, it will be essential to have a financial industry developing good ESG products, consultants ensuring these products respond to ESG standards, and an integration of the three ESG elements with a clear market outperformance objective.

Photos Copyrights: © Green Blue Invest Portrait Dr. Botteron, Shutterstock

Shaken or stirred?

Rationally speaking: Sophisticated intoxication every now and then is thoroughly worthwhile. To find out what it takes, when and how the subtle loss of focus currently works in the most stylish way, we questioned three of the best Master mixologists in the world.

The 20th Century Cocktail

”My «Pick me up», to move smoothly from the day into going out mode.“

His Gin Basil Smash has been a triumph worldwide since 2008: However, it is not his personal creation alone that makes Jörg Meyer one of the best in his business. The maker of the legendary „Le Lion“(Boilerman Bars, Cinchona Zurich etc.) in Hamburg also knows how to sweet talk with fine anecdotes about the history of the classic. While he recommends a Martini to focus, Meyer selects the 20th Century for the sophisticated loss of focus. „Which type of drinker does the cocktail suit? The experienced. He no longer has to look. He enjoys and observes.

If I could choose, an iconic city bar would be the perfect location for enjoying this cocktail. Interesting people, elegantly dressed, create a unique atmosphere. It is early evening and everyone is has a certain degree of tension: What will happen tonight? The 20th Century has been around since the 30s. It was mixed for the maiden journey of the 20th Century Limited Train, the most elegant express train in America. An impressive miracle of technology in Art Deco design with a bar. It is my opinion that a drinker should unearth something old in its own right and perfect it with the right ingredients over time. I would say it needs a gin that screams to you. HEPPLE. Lots of it. Fresh lemon. An extremely rare wine, bitter from Corsica, because it is the only one that ensures a long reverberation on the palate. CAP CORSE! And the secret ingredient, a homage to the elegant Roaring Twenties, a Créme de Cacao blanc. An exotically spiced, crystal clear cacao Brand: DUTCH CACAO.

On the first sip of this cocktail the juniper simply jumps out at you. You are grateful. Relaxation pure – not some random, different creative eruption in a glass. Then the refreshment emerges from the lemon. Wonderful. A quarter second later the lemon and cacao battle on the palate for predominance. To the sensory advantage of the palate. The long finale follows. The flavor of the wine diffuses through the Cap Corse. Cannot quite pin it down, but there is a surprising level of peace to be experienced, when the four flavours of juniper, lemon, cacao and wine blend to create an unexpected taste sensation. The result is umami. You sit, are silent and enjoy. The theatre at the bar. And the orchestra in the mouth. Staccatissimo! My „Pick me up“, to move smoothly from the day into going out mode. And never forget: Intoxication shows your true character. If you lose countenance here, it is time to work on yourself.

jrgmyr.net | lelion.net

I recommend:

“Caribbean holiday in a glass”

Philipp Kössl, Master Mixologist in the Zurich Gastro temple IGNIV, was inspired by the lockdown to create his current favourite drink: „The CryZtalColada is a smoothie, and in my opinion, a very cool variation on the exotic evergreen. The”milk washing“ – a technique from the 17th century gives it a clear, light flavour and makes it so much fresher than the traditional version. When I taste rum I automatically think of a zest for life and the lightness of the summer. And of parties with lots of friends. As a number of these feelings seem so remote in 2020, I wanted to experience the longing in a cocktail. I always say: It is a Pina Colada in a white tux – elegant, with zero stickiness, the pure flavour of the Caribbean. A drink that begins fresh and funky, tastes of rum and pineapple, then gives you the coconut kick. The fun leads to an extremely long finish and major „melting“. Suits this year down to a tee, sun holidays were after all always difficult in ”real life“.

This feel-good drink is perfect for an easy and relaxed atmosphere: A few warm rays of sun falling into the room, accompanied by Izzy Bizu, whose song ”Diamond“ brings a smile to my face and no appointments – that is the CryZtal Caribbean holiday in a glass. To avoid a rude awakening, I recommend the following guiding principle: Know your limits and don’t try to impress anyone. The odd sip of water also never hurts. It is time for one of our IGNIV Mocktails at the latest before one of the coconuts falls on your head.

igniv.com

“As soon as the cherry no longer tastes good, the magic is over!”

Tina Turner, Bill Clinton and Arnold Schwarzenegger were already his guests, of course you do not have to have star status to enjoy the art of Master Mixologist and author Hercules Tsibis in the Zurich ONYX-Bar at Hotel Park Hyatt. ”One of the drinks that really takes me on a journey, which lets me drift off into another era, is a classic: the Manhattan! Or should I say MY Manhattan! If not the most immortal of all, then I would have to say that it is one of the most wonderful drinks that has ever been invented. The perfect time of day or night to enjoy it? I would like to refer to Ernest Hemingway at this point, one of the greatest bar visitors and drinkers among the drunken writers. In the morning he was steadfast, this was the time for working and writing: „I was drunk one thousand five hundred and forty seven times in my life, but never in the morning.“

Accordingly – and also due to the magic of the night – the time after the sun has gone down, is certainly the best time to enjoy this drink. I am thinking of the classic bar feeling, preferably in New York. A wonderful Jazz pianist with a repertoire that entices you to dream. Dark, smoky, the babble of voices that rocks you into a trance and gives you the feeling of being in a time machine catapulting you into another era. The Manhattan is also nothing without its magic cherry. It begins as a raw and powerful classic, hard and without mercy. After the second sip there is a certain degree of heat. The red Vermouth comes to the fore, its sweetness and the herbs come to life and the whiskey invites you to dance. With each sip from the whiskey glass filled with ice cubes, the Manhattan gains in nuances and freshness. After the first few sips I bite into the Maraschino cherry and leave it to work its magic in my mouth for quite a while. I take a sip of the ice cold bitter sweet drink, it meets the cherry and caresses my palate. Something harmoniously sweet and fresh invigorates my dreams and makes me drift into other dimensions. There is definitely a fine line between unrestrained pleasure and unrestrained digression. I always recommend that one listens to the drink carefully and pays attention to the cherry. As soon as you no longer taste it, it is time to go – the magic has passed.

parkhyattzurich.com

Photos Copyrights:  Depositphotos.com, MYR, Lelion, Park Hyatt Zurich, IGNIV