As 2019 ends Hiren Kumar Bose picks up the watches which will be remembered for their finest watchmanship and doing things differently
BREGUET Ref 5395
The 41mm watch features a tourbillon-equipped movement just 3mm thick that’s skeletonised to the max and decorated with all the finishing techniques for which the Breguet name is synonymous. It has self-winding movement with peripheral oscillating weight, balance spring and escape wheel in silicon and chapter ring with Roman numerals on a sapphire disc. The running seconds are on the tourbillon shaft. It’s water-resistant to 30m.
GRUEBEL FORSEY GMT Quadruple Tourbillon
The 39.5mm GMT Quadruple Tourbilloncontains a 705-part movement incorporating four tourbillons, three timezone displays, a universal time function and an exquisite 3-D globe that accurately replicates the revolution of the Earth. The watch shows the time in two separate time zones on two dials and the rotating Earth provides a 24-hour universal time display as well. The case has a sapphire window located adjacent to the globe, which allows the wearer to enjoy a view of the Equator and Southern Hemispheres as well. It’s limited to just 66 pieces.
DE BETHUNE DB28 Yellow Tones
With complete mastery of the art of thermal oxidation of metals, De Bethune’s 42.6mm watch continues to explore all the colour shades resulting from the heat released by the chemical reactions of heat-treated steel and titanium. To create its own fiery, radical, magnetic yellow, De Bethune applies it’s famous technique of gently oxidising grade 5 titanium to tint its surface naturally. This ritual conjures an extraordinary, rare and uniform fire yellow. This oxidation is applied to the case components and to most of the movement’s components. Each element is thus individually examined to ensure the process is properly calibrated to suit shape and mass. The iconic DB28 features the two new floating lugs unveiled this year. The timepiece presents a hand-wound mechanical calibre, fully visible and incorporating the patented spherical moon phase are located at 6 o’clock and the high-performance escapement which features a titanium balance wheel with white gold weights and a patented flat terminal curve balance spring.
HARRY WINSTON Project Z 13
The 42.2mm watch has a three-dimensional architecturally structured dial, satin-black circular chapter ring and structure holding the moon cover with carbon inserts. The Project Z special editions have cases made from Zalium: an exclusive dark-grey alloy that is ultra-light, non-allergenic, non-corrosive and tough. The latest addition to the Z range is the Project Z13, which has a moonphase display as well as regular hours, minutes and date indications within a complex, multilayered dial. Featuring a moon phase display and a retrograde date, a first for the collection, the supporting structures of Project Z13 rely upon on the aesthetic language of mechanics.
H MOSER & CIE Swiss Alp Watch Concept Black
After removing both logo and indices from the dial of its Concept models, it now presents a watch with no hands which give the time without displaying it. The glossy black dial features a one-minute flying tourbillon at 6 o’clock. To find out the time, you need to use your ears. As it was in the time before the use of electricity became widespread: people had to use minute repeaters to discover the time when it was too dark to see. A minimalist creation it integrates a minute repeater and a tourbillon in a rectangular case that looks like a smartwatch.
LOUIS VUITTON Voyager Minute Repeater Flying Tourbillon
A skeletonised dial and transparent caseback allow a view of the mechanism, which has tiny gongs and hammers sounding the hours, quarters and minutes and a flying tourbillon that serves as the “V” of Vuitton and the Roman numeral five. Housed in a 9.7mm case, it’s one of the world’s thinnest watches with both a minute repeater and a flying tourbillon. The distinctive watch also marks the first time Louis Vuitton offers a minute repeater with cathedral gongs: two hammers and two gongs that chime the time. The manual-wind LV100 calibre takes a single master watchmaker 320 hours to assemble. The 42mm watch’s case has an unusual cushioned shape and is partially invisibly set with approximately eight carats of baguette-cut diamonds.
MONTBLANC 1858 Split Second Monopusher Chronograph
The 44mm titanium and bronze cased watch with a distinctive smoked-green dial crafted from nephrite jade, a first for the Maison. It houses a black gloss dial with a telemeter chapter ring and a central “snail” tachometer scale. A sapphire crystal caseback allows the superb hand-wound Minerva movement to be seen in all its glory. Only 100 pieces to be made.
PANERAI Submersible Marina Militare Carbotech
The 47mm easy-wearing dive watch takes the design originally created for Italian navy divers during the Forties and gives it a modern twist. Just 33 pieces will be made and the price includes a training session with “Comsubin”, the diving and commando group of the Italian Navy.
ZENITH Pilot Type 20 Adventure
This year, French inventor and “watercraft” pilot Franky Zapata achieved the crossed the English Channel in 22 minutes on a turbine-powered hoverboard. He was wearing the 45mm, bronze-cased Pilot Type 20 Adventure with its grained, green dial and outsized, luminous Arabic numerals. A khaki “Matrix” calfskin leather strap is supplied with the watch, along with an alternative made from camouflage fabric. The 45mm watch is equipped with an automatic Zenith Elite 679 calibre, ensuring total reliability and a 50-hour power reserve designed to outlast the most tenacious ambush.
TAG HEUER Autavia Isograph
A new material created to manufacture balance-springs for high-performance chronometer watches were featured in the brand’s Calibre Heuer 02T Tourbillon Nanograph. Now, the same carbon composite hairspring is being expanded in the brand’s watch movements known by the moniker Isograph. With this TAG Heuer becomes the first manufacture to create balance-springs using a material it has invented and developed specially. Within the watch, the balance-spring is the most complex component to produce, assemble and adjust. The inherent features of the carbon composite balance-spring plus balance pairing lend it new and unique properties that allow the utmost accuracy, excellent shock resistance, low density, good thermal performance, impossible to copy or counterfeit and naturally non-magnetic.
AUDEMARS PIGUET Minute Repeater Supersonnerie Code 11.59
This 41mm wristwatch has the sonic power of a pocket watch. It’s exceptional acoustic performance, sound quality and harmonic tone are granted by the patented gongs, case construction and striking regulator developed at the time. The performant gongs are not attached to the main plate, but to a new device acting as a soundboard, which improves sound transmission. The redesigned striking regulator eliminates unwanted noise thanks to its more flexible anchor system. The 18-ct white gold case is complemented by a smoked blue enamel dial set off by white gold hands, applied indexes and numerals, as well as an Audemars Piguet signature in enamel. The soundwave caseback design is inspired by the watch’s exceptional acoustics.
The 47mm watch offers a double viewpoint: that of the sky visible from the surface of the globe and that of the globe visible from the surface of its atmosphere. Two complete globes – celestial and terrestrial – serve to mirror a fusional moment. Its nocturnal face differs from its diurnal appearance. This night-time view shines in the dark, making it hard to imagine the cosmic mechanics underlying this nocturnal scene. Along its horizontal and vertical axes, its complications are reflected in an arrangement set at all four cardinal points. The celestial globe displays the constellation of the zodiac that is invisible at noon on the dial side and the one that is visible at midnight on the caseback side. A 24-hour scale near its equator provides a GMT reading.
HERMÈS Arceau L’heure De La Lune
The 43mm watch offers a unique vision of Earth’s satellite with the simultaneous display of moon phases in both northern and southern hemispheres. Two mobile counters gravitate on a meteorite or aventurine dial, revealing mother-of-pearl moons in step with an exclusive module, coupled with a Manufacture Hermès movement. Framed by a white gold case, the mechanics adopt a light, barely-there role. The horse, representing the origins of Hermès, gallops elegantly into the world of dreams. With a total thickness of just 4.2 mm, its 117 polished and bead-blasted components are incorporated within the Manufacture Hermès H1837 movement: a technical challenge designed to preserve the slenderness of the overall mobile chassis, which sweeps around the dial in 59 days!
ULYSSE NARDIN Marine Mega Yacht
This 44 mm watch features hours, minutes, moon phase, power reserve, tourbillon power reserve with patent-pending anchor and windlass linked to the winding mechanism, flying tourbillon, moon phase, tidal coefficients and volumes. Built in the same spirit as a luxury mega yacht, the watch, crafted in platinum is regulated by a flying tourbillon equipped with a cage modelled on a latest-generation ship’s propeller. It boasts of a 3D “grand feu” enamel dial, reminiscent of a ship’s bow. Keen to be as realistic as possible, Ulysse Nardin has perfected an authentic miniature windlass, visible at 12 o’clock. To ensure the watch is firmly anchored in the nautical world, the cage of the flying tourbillon is decorated with a propeller, its blades specially honed to guarantee the highest level of performance for latest-generation yachts.
VAN CLEEF & ARPELS Lady Arpels Zodiac Lumineux Aries Watch
The 38 mm white gold-cased watch from the brand’s Zodiac Lumineux Collection with white gold bezel, round diamonds; glitter blue enamel dial, enamel tracing; translucent blue enamel beads, sculpted yellow gold Aries, is made of yellow sapphires, round spessartite garnets and round blue sapphire eye. It also sports on-demand lightning animation developed exclusively for the Manufacture.
FREDERIQUE CONSTANT Hybrid Manufacture
Frederique Constant has a whole new take for calling their cutting-edge smartwatch the world’s first 3.0 watch. It refers to the three technologies offered in a single watch—mechanical timekeeping, smart features, and calibre analytics. By fusing a mechanical movement with seamless electronic technology, the Frederique Constant Hybrid bridges the gap between the smartwatch and the mechanical watch. The world’s first mechanical smartwatch combines three unique technologies—mechanical timekeeping, smart features, and calibre analytics.
PARMIGIANI FLEURIER Tonda 1950 Rainbow
The 30mm watch’s bezel has been embellished with an array of baguette-cut gemstones, selected especially to match the hues of the rainbow—21 sapphires in pink, blue, yellow and orange, three rubies, six tsavorites and six amethysts—totalling 3.73 carats. The small seconds sub-dial at six o’clock, designed in such a way that it melds seamlessly with the minimalistic dial. The PF701 automatic calibre with 29 jewels, at just 2.6mm thick, powers the functions of the watch. It vibrates at 3Hz and offers a power reserve of 42 hours.
A LANGE & SÖHNE Datograph Perpetual Tourbillon
The 41.mm white-gold cased Datograph Perpetual Tourbillon’s gorgeous salmon-coloured dial is difficult to resist. The watch combines a flyback chronograph with a jumping date perpetual calendar and a tourbillon regulator. No fewer than 729 components make up the exquisitely decorated movement of this horological masterpiece
BVLGARI Serpenti Misteriosi Romani
The one-piece limited series and the most expensive high-end quartz timepiece ever made by Bvlgari, its cuff features a snake sinuously coiled around it. To reinforce the theme, the cuff is embellished with baguette-cut diamond scales, so that the wrist inhabits the design and becomes part of the snake itself. The white gold-cased watch comprises of a massive number of precious stones — the snakehead is crowned with a 10-ct Sri Lankan sapphire and a total of more than 60-ct of diamonds and 35-ct of sapphires form the snake’s body and scales.
HUBLOT Big Bang 38mm ‘Cappuccino’
Nicknamed ‘Cappuccino’ owing to its coffee palette, this watch from Hublot’s signature Big Bang collection dazzles in 38mm of 18-ct pink gold. Encrusted with two rows of diamonds, the bezel sparkles like a cappuccino’s foam glistening in the sunlight. Juxtaposed against the chequered pattern of the dial in coffee hues are the applied numerals, indexes and hands that complement the case, which is water-resistant to 100m. Powered by an accurate quartz movement, this piece comes fitted with a rubber strap in rich brown.
GRAHAM Swordfish Chronograph
An eye-catching timepiece distinguished by its two prominent portholes on deck to magnifying the elapsed time counters was discontinued around 2011 due to excessive counterfeiting though launched in 2004. This rare and esoteric watch line makes a boisterous reappearance with four new timepieces—two in steel and two in bronze, all in 46mm. Presented in bronze and steel cases, Graham’s new versions of the Swordfish Chronograph have two distinct personalities. The bronze model (made from a resilient alloy used by the naval industry) exudes a more vintage-marine spirit while the steel model is decidedly more contemporary. Both models have a sapphire crystal caseback with a Swordfish stamped on the glass and the limited number edition/ 33 engraved on the metal. For hypoallergenic reasons, the bronze model is fitted with a titanium caseback.
JAEGER-LECOULTRE Rendez-Vous Night And Day
The watch is a gorgeous presentation of the day-and-night complication. Indicated at six o’clock in stylistic resplendence, the display is complemented by the textural splendour of the guilloche-finished dial, the large transferred numerals, and the faceted hands. The 34mm case in steel or pink gold is paved with diamonds on the bezel. Water-resistant to 30m, the case houses an automatic Jaeger-LeCoultre calibre. While the steel watch comes with a blue leather strap to match the dial details, the gold watch is fitted with a strap in black. The latter also comes in a smaller case size of 29mm.
VOUTILAINEN Starry Night Vine
The 39mm one-piece watch’s dial decorated by lacquer artist Tatsuo Kitamura of Japan it features the sky above of vineyard using techniques of lacquering which takes far more than hundreds of hours of work to complete the dial and bridges. The raw materials for its creation are: Kinpun (gold dust), Jyunkin-itakane (gold leaf), Yakou-gai (shell of great green turban) and Awabi-gai (abalone shell from New Zealand). Top of that, another half of the landscape is created by Anita Porchet, one of the greatest contemporary enamel makers. Beautiful vineyard with rich colours is made with email cloisonné techniques. It shows vineyard on his full beauty, grapes fulfilled in enjoyable colours. To make the scene perfect, even the case is engraved by master engraver Eddy Jaquet in the theme of grapes and vine leaves.
FAVRE-LEUBA Bathy 120 Memodepth
A 48mm dive watch with a depth gauge capable of recording descents of up to 120m on two scales: the centre hand, coaxial to the hours and minutes, shows the current depth. The 3 o’clock sub-dial records the critical maximum depth reached (up to 120m) secured with a reset pusher at 4 o’clock. The hand-wound movement features a power-reserve indicator and is water-resistant to 200m. Because it’s titanium, it’s surprisingly light.
Inspired by Seventies skateboard culture and available in 35mm and 38mm sizes, the watch features a digital disc display behind three apertures and comes as a bracelet model in yellow-gold PVD or stainless steel or on a red or yellow strap. The name of the collection references the way a rider’s sneakers stick to the grip tape on a skateboard. The watches feature three windows on the face, as three white rotary disks indicate the hours, minutes, and date.