GOOD TASTE IN ORIGINALITY
Why make things complicated when you can keep them simple? With this model, Patek Philippe shows how you can break free of the conventions. We take a closer look.
On the dial of a chronograph, you often see a whole host of information laid out more or less stylishly. The simplest watches feature two totalisers in bicompax position, but most have three. By introducing this complication to the Aquanaut collection for the first time, Patek Philippe really stands out from the rest. A single totaliser, for the minutes, is displayed at 6 o’clock. Its shape echoes the octagonal bezel with its rounded angles. The totaliser’s orange minute track adds dynamic presence. Short-time measurements are made using the second hand, also coloured orange. This choice of colour ensures perfect readability, setting up a clear contrast with the black dial. A date counter in the regular position at 3 o’clock rounds off the time information.
Price: 39,710 EUR patek.com
By Dan Diaconu
A LITTLE BUBBLE OF FRESHNESS
The Bubble family has just got bigger! Born this summer, Corum’s new creation attracts the eye with a palette of refreshing colours crowned with precious or fine stones and an ultra mini diameter!
And now the Bubble family has a little sister! For a long time, Corum explored different types of dial (by varying colours or patterns and sometimes both) and focused on large watches (42, 47 and 52mm, in order of size) in this watch collection, but has now opted to concentrate on smaller watches, mainly for women. And if you’re going to go small, then you might as well go really small! So here is the latest addition to the range: the Mini Bubble.
Even though the Mini Bubble borrows from the design elements of its predecessors, with its circular steel case, ultra-rounded sapphire glass for a “magnifying glass” effect and the bubble-shaped crown with a rubber grip, it still stands out with its own personality. The watch comes in a trio of colours: bright blue, half way between turquoise and peacock blue; red vermillion with a hint of burgundy, and a delicately amber-tinted beige. Each one has a bezel set with 36 stones to match the colour of the dial, including topazes, rubies and diamonds, to add light and sparkle. The alligator leather strap, also in a matching colour and rounded off with a steel tang buckle, contribute to the overall harmony.
The 17-mm-wide steel case is water-resistant down to 30m. It contains a quartz movement, the calibre CO137. The calibre drives the wide, curved leaf-shaped hands for the hours and minutes.
What is small is often precious, and the Mini Bubble watches by Corum are limited to 18 pieces for each colour.
Price: 4,300 CHF
By Sharmila Bertin
WHEN CRAFTSMANSHIP BECOMES ART
Watch dials are sometimes the ideal medium for artistic creation. The art of painting has pride of place in the tradition of the watchmaking firm.
The creations in the Les Ateliers d’Art collection highlight the experience and skill of the Jaquet Droz craftsmen and women. Their talents can be found on the dial of the Petite Heure Minute Lion. As the name of the timepiece suggests, here the king of the jungle takes centre stage. The dial is made of an usually deep black “Grand Feu” enamel, providing an ideal background for the miniature painting. The contrast sets up varied tones and highlights the feline. Its mane seems to come to life in the light. The animal’s intense gaze shines out. To achieve such levels of realism, this masterpiece was painstakingly hand-painted with the help of very fine brushes – some of them having a single bristle with the thickness of a hair. Since this is a limited edition of just 28 numbered pieces, each model is truly unique.
Price: 32,900 EUR jaquet-droz.com
By Dan Diaconu
AUTUMN WILL BE PRECIOUS
Chocolate brown mother-of-pearl, rose gold and white diamonds: these are the precious ingredients in the recipe made by Harry Winston, helping us take leave of summer without regrets and celebrate the arrival of autumn with due elegance
Nature is the first to show the signs that autumn is coming. As the weeks go by it is transformed, with the leaves on the trees taking on a range of colours: copper, golden and chocolate brown. Sometimes the first star-shaped snowflakes will fall from the sky. This natural but warm transformation has been captured by Harry Winston and made into a watch: the Midnight Chocolate Diamond Drops.
The new piece, with a 39mm-wide pink gold case, is decorated with a coat of diamonds. 91 dazzling brilliant-cut gems cover the bezel and extend to the lugs around the gloss brown alligator-leather strap. Beside the crown featuring the initials of the watchmaker-jeweller, the traditional three-part signature evoking the entrance to the Harry Winston salon in New York also includes three diamonds of a slightly larger size.
The dial is covered with a mother-of-pearl disc echoing the same soft chocolate brown colour and comes with six triangular gilded hour markers, along with a rectangular bar at 9 o’clock where the three diamonds are laid. The peacefulness of the chocolate and iridescent design is gently shaken by a shower of precious stones. Like snowflakes of varying sizes, the golden-edged diamonds encroach over the right-hand side of the dial, forming a cluster between 3 and 6 o’clock. In the centre of this autumnal scene are two tapering leaf-shaped hands displaying the hours and minutes, while the date is shown discreetly in a window at 6 o’clock.
Price on request
By Sharmila Bertin
A VISION IN DEEP SEA BLUE
Get out your swimfins! The Deepsea by Rolex celebrates a decade of extreme diving by combining interesting technical innovations and a much-awaited design change.
The Oyster Deepsea, the more muscular version of the Sea-Dweller, first launched in 2008. It is Rolex’s professional diving watch and watertight down to 3,900 metres. This year, it has been equipped with the D-blue dial. The dial first appeared on a model launched to commemorate James Cameron’s 2014 expedition to the Mariana Trench, 10,908m below the sea surface, and features a beautiful gradation of colours from midnight blue to black, recalling the colour of the oceans. The new model, the 126660, also differs from its predecessor, the 116660, due to small changes to the sides of the watch case and lugs. The result? The 44mm-wide Oystersteel case now comes with a wider strap featuring a resized safety clasp. Extensions are also available, making it possible to wear the watch over a thick neoprene wetsuit, substantially improving wearer comfort. Otherwise, the new timepiece has kept all the main features, including the helium valve at 9 o’clock and the unidirectional revolving bezel with a disc made of Cerachrom, a type of ceramic developed in-house by the brand with the crown logo.
Like all Rolex watches, the Deepsea has the Superlative Chronometer designation, guaranteeing excellent performances, and a 5-year warranty.
Price: 11,550 EUR
By Dan Diaconu
MAKING ITS MARK
A collection based not on a particular model but on a kind of material: this is the idea behind models made from carbon in a very contemporary style.
Following a collaboration with Bamford, a company specialised in made-to-measure casing for timepieces, TAG Heuer launched the Monaco watch made from highly attractive carbon. The brand decided to take the idea further and has unveiled three versions of the Aquaracer with a 41mm-wide case machined in titanium and with black PVD coating. The aim? To design a new collection made from a single material: carbon! To guarantee a striking first impression, the black and grey patterns from the printed carbon dial are set off with touches of pink gold, yellow and blue. The combinations provide the timepieces with an urban identity, without taking away their characteristic features as diver’s watches. The watches are watertight down to 300m, come with a screwed titanium back, a unidirectional revolving bezel made of carbon and steel, and optimal display of the time information.
The models come with a nylon strap with black, yellow or blue topstitching, and a folding clasp with an extension for diving. They will be exclusively available in TAG Heuer stores and from the brand’s website.
Price: 3,650 EUR (yellow and blue) – 3,700 EUR (pink gold) tagheuer.com
By Dan Diaconu
The style is instantly recognisable. All the classic signature features of the brand are brought together to give a new lease of life to a timeless model.
Some brands have a visual identity that is so perfectly rooted in the watchmaking microcosm that each new creation issuing from their workshops is easily recognisable. The Luminor California 8 Days DLC condenses many of the features that have helped to forge the design signature of Panerai for decades. The typical shape of the 44mm-wide titanium case with DLC and the crown protection is one such. The “California” dial with Roman numerals in the top half and Arabic numerals below is another, with all coated in lume. The signs of affiliation are so clear that the Italian officine has opted for a dial free of any inscription or logo. The display of the time information is consequently optimal. The hour and minute hands have a specific oxidation treatment resulting in a unique blue tone, ideally contrasting with the colour of the dial.
As its name suggests, the Luminor has a very generous power reserve of 192 hours, thanks to the presence of two barrels mounted in series in its self-winding movement, the calibre P 5000.
The timepiece also stands out through a non-coated leather strap, which will take on a patina over time, guaranteeing it will be unique. The strap can be worn on a cuff strap made from the same leather. Using this option metamorphosises the watch into an ideal fashion accessory, boosting its original and assertive look.
Price: 7,500 EUR
By Dan Diaconu
H IN EVERY WHICH WAY
Black or white, horizontal or vertical, lacquered or coated in diamonds, the Parisian brand’s signature initial plays with directions in a feast for the eyes true to the playful spirit that Hermès watches are known for.
The H in Hermès is a symbol in itself that appears in the Parisian brand’s pieces. It’s sometimes subtle, sometimes extrovert and sneaks into every craft and collection from the famous belt buckle and tie to the silk scarf and tableware. And of course not watches like the new Heure H Double Jeu. Designed in 1996 by the designer Philippe Mouquet who was also behind the famous Voyage d’Hermès perfume bottle, the Heure H’s body is the 8th letter of the Latin alphabet turned into a bezel with the base as lugs.
This version of the Double Jeu showcases the duality of colours, with inky black or classic white, and materials by contrasting silky lacquer with jagged diamonds. This sensory game that dazzles the sense of sight and touch continues along the H’s lines. The initial glitters either up and down or side to side; it’s surrounded by 122 diamonds (vertically-set) or the bottom half and centre line glitters with 93 diamonds (horizontally-set) whilst the top half is coated in black or white lacquer. The latter version with the gem-covered bottom half has no markers but a silver bar running through the centre.
Four curvy Arabic numerals lie on the edge of the Heure H Double Jeu’s lacquered dial on the vertically-paved model that literally melt into the main dial. Two little silver spear-shaped hands track the hours and minutes in the middle of the glittering square.
The square steel case measures 21x21mm with a white grained or black Barenia calfskin strap and deployment clasp.
Price: 5,800 – 8,500 CHF hermes.com
By Sharmila Bertin
An aesthetic symbol displaying great mechanical skill, a tourbillon cage decorated with a Maltese cross now animates the dial of a watch certified by the Geneva Seal.
At the 2018 SIHH (Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie) in Geneva, Vacheron Constantin introduced a new collection, the FiftySix. The aim was clear: to give new customers a chance to access the world of a brand symbolising excellence. The task was allotted to the first automatic model without the Geneva Seal certification, and providing all the main time elements, hours, minutes and date. Now, as summer draws to a close, a new model has been added to the range and actually to head it, since this is the first model with a high complication, the FiftySix Tourbillon. As the name suggests, the self-winding movement includes the famous regulating tool invented by Breguet. While the aim of a tourbillon is to cancel out the effects of gravity, it has always acted as a strong attraction for lovers of luxury watchmaking. The new reference should be no exception.
But there is no need to hurry off to your favourite Vacheron Constantin store, since the FiftySix Tourbillon will only be available exclusively in the brand’s boutiques from spring 2019!
Price: 99,000 EUR exc. VAT vacheron-constantin.com
By Dan Diaconu
Denim is our favourite fabric of them all! This Omega watch in casual chic style has all the aesthetic and technical assets you could wish for.
From David Bowie to Lana Del Rey, the famous blue material has inspired large numbers of artists. Once it was a robust fabric loved by workers and farmers, and now it is a vital element in male and female wardrobes, available in all shapes and sizes and to be combined with a range of styles for all occasions. From the casual garment to the chic accessory there was only a small step, and now that step has been taken with the new blue denim Railmaster. The dial recalls the colour and texture of the famous material, resulting from a vertically brushed effect. And to add to the model’s casual chic look, the 40mm-wide case is combined with a NATO strap made of real blue denim with brown leather loops matching the lining.
It’s worth noting that Omega has also made a version with a steel strap.
Price: 4,500 EUR omegawatches.com
By Dan Diaconu