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These new pocket watches blend elegance and technological savoir faire unlike their age-old siblings
The ubiquitous pocket watches which till recently was staple of auction house items is witnessing a renewed interest as brands release modern and updated versions made up of unusual materials and even convertible styles.
Though still called pocket watches they are changing the face of time. The accessory may have aged; in fact, become an oxymoron in the digital age but there is no stopping the Manufactures as they strike up imaginative ways to recreate its elegant essence.
Having a pocket watch in a regular collection was unheard of a decade ago. Today, there are at least a dozen top-tier brands creating pocket watches as part of their current collections. True heritage brands such as Patek Philippe, Vacheron Constantin, Audemars Piguet, and Chopard all offer a pocket watch selection. Additionally, brands with a younger history, such as Parmigiani Fleurier are also embracing the concept.
While top watch brands reach their archives for inspiration, several others are unveiling modern-day rendition of adding a twist, such as developing stylishly updated clasps and closures for the chains or offering the watch on a leather fob instead of on traditional chains. Other makers in order to reach the new clientele are adding versatility like introducing convertible pieces that can be changed from a pocket watch to a wristwatch and, in some instances, even a table clock. These new interchangeable watches are cleverly engineered using different systems that let the wearer convert the timepiece with ease.
For watch brands, the challenge of bringing contemporary version of pocket watches to the market involves creating them out of new materials, or with unusual twists and turns. While precious metals such as platinum and rose gold continue to be the preferred choice, some of the newer interpretations are offered in stainless steel and revered high-tech materials such as ceramic, titanium, or a diamond-like carbon coating. Some brands also blend tradition and modernity by adding fine details such as skeletonised movements, tourbillon escapements, and other functions.
“Equestrian Lepine” from Longines is inspired from a 1927 vintage metal Lepine pocket watch which is now on display at the Longines Musuem in St. Imier. Longines created their first equestrian related watch in 1878, it showed an engraved jockey and his horse. The back cover of the current version is decorated with a stamped out motif of a horse flying over a jump. The Lépine’s rose gold case measures 49.5 mm and houses a manually wound caliber L506 movement that offers 53 hours of power reserve and a frequency of 21,600 vph. The vintage looking white-lacquered dial features easy to read large black Arabic numerals and a minute ring with red Arabic numerals. Its small seconds dial is located at 6 o’clock. Just like with the original model, this watch features pink Breguet hands.
The Tissot Pocket Mechanical Skeleton is a fresh, modern take on a beautifully historical piece. The skeleton movement is undoubtedly the most impressive part of the Tissot Pocket Mechanical Skeleton. Every part of the hand wound mechanical movement can be fully admired thanks to the skeleton design. Arabic numerals on the dial complement the piece perfectly and nod to the history of this very special pocket watch.
Hermes has brought its Arceau Pocket which is part of the Exceptional Pieces collection that Hermes does every year. There is only one in the world and, unfortunately, it has already been sold.
Panerai’s Pocket Watch 3 Days Oro Rosso PAM00447 and Pocket Watch 3 Days Oro Bianco PAM00529 at 50mm they’re smaller than the 59mm GMT Ceramica. The elegant cushion-shape of the Radiomir case has Paillonné enamelling, a technique of applying layers of translucent enamel over tiny pieces of gold or silver, known as paillons.