Hiren Kumar Bose spends lengthy hours to compile a list of twenty outstanding, genre-breaking and technologically superior watches for which the year will be remembered
VOUTILAINEN Vingt-8 ISO
The 39 mm watch has a completely innovative display of the time based on System 1 and System 2 human behaviour, propounded by Israeli-American psychologist notable for his work on the psychology of judgment and decision-making, as well as behavioural economics, for which he was awarded the 2002 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics. The Vingt-8 ISO breaks with System 1 behaviour, whereby time is read at a glance using a deeply entrenched “code”, and instead elicits System 2 behaviour in which telling the time acquires a deeper, more intellectual dimension. This heightened awareness of time is translated by an hour and minute hands which are superimposed on each full hour and opposed at each half-hour. The angle between the two hands is always the same, whatever the time. The secret lies with the minute’s disc that turns with the hour hand so that the minute’s hand can mark the elapsed minutes.
DE BETHUNE DB25L Milky Way
This 44.6mm watch is an artful combination of elements and materials encapsulated in gold and glass with a few drops of the essence of the skies. This unique blue oxide structure plays host to the captive stars. First, small white gold spheres set one by one by hand stand out from the deep sky blue. Then, their abundance is revealed under the fiery dart of the laser. Draped in a fine layer of the pure gold leaf, they shine and sparkle, casting out subtle golden glints of colour. The steel case back celebrates a forgotten knowledge once reserved solely for the emperors of China. The dial’s star-studded sky in blued and polished titanium with white gold stars pin joined by hand. The Milky Way pattern has been produced by microlaser striking gilded with 24 ct gold leafs. Finally, a blued steel and platinum spherical moon-phase stand guard majestically over this Elysium. It has a self-regulating twin barrel, the silicon annular balance encircled by a white gold ring, the “De Bethune” balance-spring with the flat terminal curve; the silicon escape wheel spherical moon-phase indicator with the precision of one lunar day every 122 years; and the triple pare-chute shock-absorbing system.
CORUM Admiral’s Cup AC-One 45
It’s among the few bronze watches that feature a caseback made of the same alloy. The brand’s exclusive and superlative treatment given to the pre-patinated bronze case halts the patination process before the alloy turns green. The 45mm case with teak wood dial resembles a ship’s deck and features nautical flags in varied colours to denote the hour markers. The dauphine-shaped hour and minute hands are open-worked, rhodium-plated, and infused with SuperLuminova. A remarkable diver’s watch it is water resistant to 300m.
DIOR Grand Soir Botanic
Precious stones, materials, and dazzling colours play with volumes to create the illusion of a flower blossoming under the glass. The dial is adorned with mother-of-pearl, opals, and polished gold elements, while the case is covered with a pavé of snow-set diamonds, testifying to exceptional jewellery savoir-faire. The dial with an off-centre movement at eight o’clock features blue, pink and yellow sapphires, emeralds, diamonds and rubies that evoke the falling of evening light. A more morning piece has its off-centre movement at two o’clock, and its flower adorned with pale sapphires, intense sapphires, emeralds, pink sapphires, diamonds, and rubies. The 36 mm Dior Grand Soir Botanic N°1 is in white gold, diamonds, and pink and yellow sapphires, while the Dior Grand Soir Botanic N°4 is adorned with white gold, diamonds, tsavorite garnets, white opal and malachite.
NOMOS GLASHÜTTE Tangente Neomatik Nachtblau
With minimal aesthetics, the 35mm cased watch, in stainless steel, screams classic with its looks. Its blue dial (also in white dial) forms a canvas for the soft colour accents to stand out. The blue minute markers, and the orange small seconds hand in the sub-dial at six o’clock give this watch its avant-garde appeal making it suitable for all occasions, formal or informal. Housed in this slim timepiece is one of the brand’s newest movements – the ultra-thin automatic calibre DUW 3001, offering a 42-hour power reserve.
LOUIS MOINET Memoris Wins Good Design Award
As the pusher of this 46mm watch is activated the column wheel orchestrates the graceful ballet of the gears, passing information to the hands while the chronograph sits proudly alone on the dial side. A recipient of the international Good Design Awards, the starry base of Memoris, in 20-piece limited edition, consists of a brass plate coated with a translucent blue. Individual stars created using an entirely new fixed graver process are all fashioned to feature different angles and depths giving the impression that they are really shining against the backdrop of the night-blue plate beneath them. The synthetic gemstones have been used very exclusively. Usually destined to serve as good pivots and provide proper lubrication of the movement components, gemstones have found a new purpose elsewhere: black zircon, in a screwed setting, takes on a decorative function here – on the Memoris case horns. The flange and counter bridge is through-coloured – and yet maintains a certain degree of transparency. Housed in a 46 mm rose gold case, it sports alternating brushed and polished finishes and bears the Louis Moinet signature on the side. In homage to the watchmaking skills of its forebears, it features chevé concave crystals, now made from scratchproof sapphire.
BREITLING Avenger Hurricane
With a 50 mm XXL diameter, a sturdy construction equipped with lateral protective reinforcements and an all-black look enhanced by yellow accents and aviation-inspired stencil-type numerals, the watch uses Breitlight® which is 3.3 times lighter than titanium and 5.8 times lighter than steel. This exclusive high-tech material boasts a number of qualities like exceptional resistance to scratches, traction and corrosion, anti-magnetic, thermal stability and anti-allergic properties. Water-resistant to 100 m it features a rotating bezel with rider tabs serving to memorize times.
ULYSSE NARDIN Executive Moonstruck Worldtimer
This 46mm watch depicts the movements of the moon and sun in relation to the Earth, as well as a map of the tides. It recreates the moon’s orbit and the apparent movement of the sun around the globe. Unlike any other astronomical watch, its intuitive display hides a sophisticated mechanism that provides an unusually accurate indication of the phases of the moon. In the centre of the dial, the Northern Hemisphere is depicted as seen from above the North Pole. Six o’clock in London represents the Greenwich meridian, marking GMT. Three concentric discs turn around this fixed map of the world. The outermost circle features a symbol representing the sun. This solar disc, which completes one revolution in 24 hours, also sweeps over a display of 24 time zones and is equipped with a day/night indicator. These markings control the Worldtimer function, allowing the wearer to simultaneously display the time in the 24 cities inscribed on the internal flange. As for the moon, this appears on a lower orbit. Two discs work together here: on top, the first functions as a circular window showing the position of the Earth’s satellite; below, the second disc, in gold, shows the changing phases of the moon. By separating this unique display into two rotating parts, it accomplishes a high level of precision that the time lag for each lunar month is just 5.7 seconds per day or one day in 40 years. The dial also displays a particularly easy-to-read map of the tides, which is the result of the gravitational forces of these two celestial bodies, as well as of the centrifugal force exerted by the rotation of the Earth. This sometimes exaggerates or cancels out the influence of the oceans. Equipped with silicium technology, and entirely designed and produced in-house, the self-winding calibre UN-106 housed in the Moonstruck Worldtimer once again offers a date function, on a track encircling the world map. Push buttons at 8 and 10 o’clock enable the wearer to quickly move the time forward or backward by one hour – a very handy feature while travelling or when switching to summer time.
BREGUET Tradition Répétition Minutes Tourbillon 7087
In this 44 mm watch the watchmakers using simulations have synthesised about a hundred thousand sounds, which were classified into categories according to psychoacoustic criteria. These sounds were listened to and evaluated to identify the two desired notes with the aim of revolutionising sound perception by modern harmonies and tuning. The construction of the 44mm timepiece was then undertaken to reproduce the selected sound mechanically. It has hammers that strike vertically from the movement towards the bezel. Thanks to this technique, the mechanical vibrations are very efficiently transformed into sound waves. A so-called semi-active buffer that maximises the hammer’s energy while eliminating the risk of a double strike caused by the vibration. An articulated damper has been devised that is synchronised with the hammer’s strike, which is immediately pulled back by a spring. A membrane placed on the back of the case, linked to the bezel, vibrates the air in the acoustic cavity between the pierced caseback and the membrane. The volume of the minute-repeater is thus increased, while the sounds from the mechanism are filtered. Manufacture Breguet is the first to use titanium in a movement for acoustical reasons, mainly because this material is so difficult to work with. In addition, there is a magnetic governor which can be seen on the dial side through the sapphire-crystal glass. Made as a tribute to the company’s long history, it is naturally endowed with a tourbillon. Besides, it has titanium bridges based on antique Breguet models, silicon springs, and an inverted lateral lever escapement with silicon pallets.
A.LANGE & SÖHNE Tourbograph Perpetual “Pour le Mérite”
With a chronograph, a perpetual calendar with a moon-phase and a tourbillon it is the most accurate watch ever manufactured by Glashutte based watchmaker and available in a limited edition of only 50 platinum-cased timepieces. Via the fusée connected to the mainspring barrel with a 636-part chain, the power of the mainspring is delivered to the movement with constant torque thanks to the efficient way in which the principle of levers is harnessed. A planetary gear system inside the fusée assures that the flow of power from the mainspring barrel to the going train is not interrupted while the watch is being wound. Similar to the perpetual calendar, built around the tourbillion, about one-third of the total number of components are part of the chronograph-rattrapante. Besides, only the tourbillon mechanism is made of 84 parts. The total number of parts of this timepiece strand to an astounding 1319!
TAG Heuer Connected Modular 45
The 45 mm connected watch features include Alarm, Android Pay, Android Wear 2.0, Bluetooth, Chronograph, Day-Date, Directional Wind and Weather Monitoring, Google Fit, GPS, Gyroscope, SmartWatch, Stopwatch, USB charging, Wi-Fi enabled.
The 48.35mm width x 60.23mm length x 20.02mm height watch marks the 20th anniversary of the brand and is its first transformable watch. It is a revolving satellite complication with 3 levers of complexity with rotating satellites for the hours mounted on a planetary gear placed on one of the biggest carrousels. It is also a transformable watch. You can unlock the case from its cradle, flip it over. Then the time is protected by a titanium shield. A kind of Reverso but in Urwerk style! The markers, dials, indexes and satellites have been treated with Super-Luminova®.
GREUBEL FORSEY Grande Sonnerie
Eleven years in the making, during which Robert Greubel and Stephen Forsey worked in the utmost secrecy to assemble this timepiece, striving in particular to achieve absolute harmony between the movement, the exterior, and the acoustics this timepiece represents the quintessence of their expertise and their ideal of watchmaking excellence. It is ergonomically designed for optimum ease of use, while an exceptional repeater power reserve enables it to run for about twenty hours in “Grande Sonnerie” mode. The most important elements and indications (such as the tourbillon, the cathedral gongs, the striking hammers, and the power reserve and mode indicators) were incorporated with the greatest care to ensure architectural balance. This was no mean feat – the watch designers succeeded in housing the 935 parts comprising this timepiece and its exterior in a space measuring 43.5 mm in diameter and 16.13 mm high. Grand Sonnerie’s movement is manually wound, but the striking mechanism features a self-winding system which provides about 20 hours of power reserve. The minute repeater and its additional striking mechanism sound the exact time on demand, down to the minute. The specific characteristics of this timepiece include, in particular: 21,600 vibrations/hour and a 72-hour chronometric power reserve. This timepiece has three modes to choose from Grande Sonnerie (which strikes the hours and the quarters in passing), Petite Sonnerie (which strikes the full hours in passing) and Silence (which does not strike in passing). The pure and rich sound of the Grande Sonnerie is enhanced by an acoustic resonance cage made from titanium.
HUBLOT MP-09 Tourbillon Bi-Axis
The manufacture’s first attempt at a multi-axis tourbillon, the same is showcased in a unique case which provides maximum visibility of its fascinating double rotation tourbillon. Equipped with a 5-day power reserve, the bi-axial tourbillon makes a full rotation in one minute along one axis while another makes its full rotation every 30 seconds overcoming the effects of gravity in more multi-pronged fashion than an ordinary tourbillon. One can admire the MP-09 Tourbillon Bi-Axis mesmerising orbit from multiple angles. The hour and minute indicators are quite obviously displayed on the top right portion of the “lightbulb” but less obvious is the date indicator on two arcs just beside it –the back panel highlighting the numeral.The date corrector lever actuated on the left side of the case makes date correction easier than the usual complete cycling through 31 days to get to the correct date. The power reserve is easy to read as well.
JAEGER-LECOULTRE Duomètre Sphérotourbillon
The Dual-Wing concept enabled the brand to create a tourbillon with precision adjustment. The small seconds can be reset to zero according to the flyback principle by using a push-piece located under the tourbillon at 2 o’clock, without stopping the function of the regulating organ. The small second’s hand is reset and immediately continues its course, accurate to within a second. A multi-axis tourbillon revolves around the axis in its titanium cage in a traditional manner then turns around a second axis tilted at 20 degrees. The combination of these two rotations (30 and 15 seconds respectively) enables the watch to defy the effects of gravity in all positions. It is powered by the in-house calibre 382 mechanical movement. A 24-hour subdial on the upper part of the dial serves to display the time in another time-zone.
JAQUET DROZ Grande Seconde Moon
Unique in its display, the Grande Seconde is based on the now iconic 8-shaped dials, with the hours indicated in a smaller sub-dial at 12. The 43mm case the perfectly rounded and smooth. The second sub-dial is oversized and placed on the lower half of the dial integrating the complications, namely the date-by-hand, a second time-zone, and a moon phase, combined with a date on its periphery. It claims 1-day deviation every 122 years. The watch is powered by the same base calibre as the other Grande Seconde watches meaning a highly-finished movement with modern features. This twin-barrel movement with automatic winding features a free-sprung balance, a silicon balance spring and silicon pallet horns. It runs at a modern 28,800 vibrations per hour (4Hz) and offers a healthy power reserve of 65 hours. It is beautifully finished with Cotes de Genève radiating from the balance wheel and an open-worked rotor, executed with polished chamfers and frosted surfaces.
MOVADO Edge 2017
The 34mm cased watch is an attention getter thanks to its ridged, three-dimensional dial with an uncanny industrial turbine pattern. Available in three gorgeous variations – stainless steel, or a rose or yellow gold PVD finish – it has created a furore in fashion circles. Designer Yves Behar has given a modern, artistic twist to the Edge collection by incorporating a looped brown leather strap. The classy upgrade looks beautiful and is equally comfortable on the wrist.
FRÉDÉRIQUE CONSTANT Flyback Chronograph Manufacture
The watch rewrites the rule book on one of the most demanding mechanical complications—the flyback chronograph. The watch’s heart beats with Calibre FC-760, entirely developed and created in-house. Thanks to its flyback function, this chronograph can measure a succession of events, such as during a race, without needing to be reset to zero every time. It is also equipped with a “Direct In-Line” function enabling instantaneous activation of the flyback function, with zero-resetting and launch of a new measurement simply by pressing a pusher at 4 o’clock. Contrary to classic constructions, the chronograph functions are distributed not by a column wheel, but instead by a star-shaped wheel driven by a pusher, thus ensuring particularly smooth operation. Another innovation is a clutch powered by a device based on two toothed pinions.
BLANCPAIN Villeret 8 Day Week of the Year Large Date
The Manufacture offers a large twin-aperture date display, along with a week of the year indication showing the number of the week around the rim of its dial with a traditional blued serpentine hand. To ensure visual balance as well as enhanced readability, the day of the week is also displayed with a blued hand on a subdial in the 9 o’clock position. The change of the week of the year takes place with the transition from Sunday and Monday. The numbering from 1-53 is a reminder that certain years comprise 53 weeks according to official calendars. The red gold 42mm case is equipped with patented under-lug correctors that are entirely out of view when the watch is worn. This system also enables the owner of this timepiece to adjust the indications with a fingertip, thus avoiding the need for a stylus tool. The chapter ring and Blancpain logo are enamel-painted, a decorative technique requiring many successive oven firings at an extremely high temperature of more than 800° Celsius. The corrector at 11 o’clock serves to modify the day of the week; while its counterpart at 1 o’clock controls the week of the year. The large date is set via the crown. Powered by Calibre 3738G2, a 378-part self-winding movement, the watch is equipped with three mainspring barrels guaranteeing an 8-day power reserve, as well as a titanium variable-inertia balance with gold micrometric regulation screws and a balance spring in silicon.
FAVRE-LEUBA Bivouac 9000
Weighing 140 g this 48mm watch takes the concept of mechanical altimeter from the older model nurturing the ambition of scaling the highest peak in the world – Mt Everest – with a 9, 000m altimeter. The new Bivouac is water-tight to protect the air inlet, which is required for the barometer, by a fine, but tough membrane made from a micro-perforated hydrophobic material. This membrane allows air but not water or dust particles to pass through. This is a major innovation as far as design and technology are concerned. The red central hand tells the altitude, indicated on the bidirectional rotating bezel, carrying a scale divided into 50m steps, and going up to 3,000 m. One full clockwise rotation thus indicates a climb in altitude of 3,000 m. The small red hand of the sub-dial located at three o’clock continues to turn too during the climb, and after three full rotations of the red central hand, it arrives at its final climb altitude of 9,000 m. To prevent the bezel unintentionally moving to a different position, it is held tight in place by a two-way ratchet mechanism. The watch uses a manual-winding FL311 movement, specially designed for mechanisms with an altimeter, and also features an indicator for the power reserve, an impressive 65 hours.