From the darkness came the light! Pre-SIHH 2019, Vacheron Constantin is exciting all the senses with an exceptional timepiece certified by the Geneva Seal to bewitch the eyes and the ears.
Get ready for a masterpiece! Just a few weeks from the official presentation at the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie 2019 in Geneva, the single-piece Minute Repeater Tourbillon Sky Chart has been unveiled. As usual for the Les Cabinotiers collection, Vacheron Constantin has put all its know-how into creating an exceptional collector’s item.
The majestic, white-gold watch case is 45mm wide and 15.1mm thick. When you turn it over, you see a completely different scene with an engraved sky chart of the northern hemisphere. The Geneva night sky, magnified by the concave case and the sapphire glass, includes an ellipse, the Milky Way, the stars and the constellations, all lit up by a luminous coating. The stars are shown in their exact position at the time when you look at the watch. The night scene turns around once in every 23 hours and 56 minutes, corresponding to sidereal time.
The watch complications, like the minute repeater, are driven by a hand-wound movement made from 413 components and supplying 58 hours of power reserve.
Price on request vacheron-constantin.com
By Dan Diaconu
AT THE HEART OF THE OCEAN
This professional diving watch, the latest model made by the Florentine brand, celebrates its new ambassador. It will be officially launched at the next SIHH.
Free-diving is a way of life for some and a new and much hyped sport for others, but always has a real power of attraction. Although the champion free-diver, Guillaume Néry, withdrew from competition after an accident that almost cost him his life, it has not stopped him from communicating his passion. Beautiful videos showing him moving slowly in weightlessness and the photos on his Instagram account recount his varied underwater adventures. And now, to go with him on his dives, he can count on a new watch designed by Panerai.
The Submersible Chrono Guillaume Néry Edition has all the assets needed for safe underwater excursions. The large, 47mm-wide titanium case is water-resistant down to 300m and is both light in weight and robust. The wide, unidirectional bezel shows the time remaining underwater. “Aesthetics are a source of efficiency“ the French free diver has said. The choice of blue and grey tones and the presence of large features coated with lume are the watch’s major assets.
On the dial, all the time information is driven by an automatic movement. Alongside the ultra-clear display of the hours and minutes, the calibre P.9100 can measure split-times quickly with a chronograph module featuring a flyback function. The two barrels guarantee a generous power reserve of up to 74 hours.
Price: 18,900 EUR
By Dan Diaconu
ELEGANT AND PRACTICAL
The Master Collection Annual Calendar was presented at the last Baselworld event, and is on sale at last. The model remains true to the elegant and practical spirit of the collection.
Since 2005, the Master Collection by Longines has been expanded to include watches that all combine simple, classic and modern designs with sophisticated mechanisms. The result? The models in this range can be worn on all occasions and feature very useful functions on a daily basis, like this new watch with an annual calendar. So the crystal-clear time information has been changed to provide an uncluttered and refined visual display. The rhodium-plated or blued steel hour and minute hands move above a silver surface with a barleycorn pattern or a totally black design. Depending on the version, the watches feature Arabic or Roman numerals. At 3 o’clock, two counters display the date and the month. The watch handles months with 30 or 31 days, and needs to be corrected only in February.
The 40cm-wide steel case houses an automatic calibre, the L897, including a rotor that can be seen through the sapphire caseback. The contemporary mechanism provides the watch with 64 hours of power reserve.
The Master Collection Annual Calendar can be worn with different types of straps. The steel version is ideal for a dynamic look. If you are in search of elegance, you can opt for the black, brown or blue alligator leather versions. Whatever your choice, all the watches come with a comfortable and secure folding clasp.
Price: 1,940 EUR
By Dan Diaconu
TIME AS JEWELLERY
This is not an evolution but a design revolution! The feminine Twenty-4 launched in 1999 is given a radical change of shape to house an automatic calibre.
Until this year, the Twenty-4 model by Patek Philippe was famous for its elegant rectangular design. The brand wanted to give a new look to the watch, with a 36mm-wide case available in steel or pink gold. Whichever metal you choose, the chamfered bezel still shines out with the assistance of 160 diamonds. Depending on the version, the dial comes in a deep blue colour, shades of grey, a bright and sunny chocolate brown or a delicate motif recalling the texture of wild silk. The watch has two baton-style hands and large Arabic numerals. The simple display provides easy reading of the time information in all lighting conditions. The watches are all worn with a strap made of the same material as the case. A set of curved links and a folding clasp give them the flexibility to guarantee comfort.
It’s worth noting that a rose-gold, jewelled version of the Patek Philippe – Twenty-4 Automatic is available, and set with 479 diamonds: 208 on the bezel and the lugs, 13 on the crown and 258 on the strap.
Price: 23,660 EUR (steel) – 41,150 EUR (pink gold) patek.com
By Dan Diaconu
Like a futuristic black knight, the new model from the Defy collection comes in black ceramic armour and seems to rise out of the night to take possession of your wrist. A stealthy look that perfectly matches the avant-garde architecture of this piece made by Zenith.
Despite its youth – officially launched in 2017 – the Defy watch is already fully grown up. It has such a strong personality that it already has all the makings of an essential element in the contemporary watchmaking world. But with apologies for the easy pun, the Defy defies time! It doesn’t go round it or flee it, but overcomes it. It lives in the present but is inexorably projected into the future, thanks to its avant-garde silhouette in particular. To add to the effect even more, Zenith has given it some new armour made of black technical ceramic. The Defy Classic Black Ceramic is adorned with a light and resistant material, a first for the collection.
The Defy Classic Black Ceramic model is powered by a famous automatic mechanical movement, the calibre Elite 670, but with a black, open-work version. The calibre runs at a frequency of 4Hz and provides a power reserve of 48 hours.
This latest member of the Zenith collections comes with a black rubber strap with a body featuring an embossed chequerboard pattern and a double titanium folding clasp coated in black DLC.
Price: 7,500 CHF zenith.com
By Sharmila Bertin
LETTING TIME GO BY
The Arceau watch was created in 1978 thanks to the mischievous pencil of Henri d’Origny. It has been continually renewed since then, without ever losing its identity. With the 78 version, filled with contrasting colours and materials, it shows time passing playfully by.
The success of the Arceau model since 1978, the year of its creation, is due first to the superb design by Henri d’Origny, with a fine bezel, asymmetrical lugs inspired by stirrups and Arabic figures evoking the flowing mane of a galloping horse. And second, by the talent and creativity of Hermès. The brand has continually given this iconic model the wonderful gift of reinventing itself, skilfully embracing arts and crafts or adopting a modern look. This is the case for the new Arceau 78, which moves between the light and the dark, the smooth and the grainy, for a highly contemporary style.
True to the aesthetic features of the 40-year-old collection (time goes by so fast!), the Arceau 78 watch has a 40mm-wide steel case. The polished structure strongly contrasts with the brushed bezel on top of it, with a sanded deep grey surface. A fluted crown has been placed in its traditional 3 o’clock position to take care of the watch’s various functions.
The delicately grained dial also comes in an anthracite colour, but is illuminated by the famous slanting typography invented by Henri d’Origny. The Arabic figures around the hour rim seem to be unsettled by speed. They are coated in sand-coloured Super-LumiNova®, a colour that blends in wonderfully well with the natural Barenia leather of the strap.
A Swiss-made quartz movement drives the blackened gold leaf-shaped hour and minute hands, discreetly highlighted by a touch of beige Super-LumiNova® and placed at the centre of the dial, as well as the date in a counter at 6 o’clock.
Price: 3,150 CHF hermes.com
By Sharmila Bertin
IN THE SPIRIT OF THE TIMES
The wings on its logo have flown away and the brand has begun its identity change. The first models in the Premier collection are showing the way with a focus on style and a top-of-the-range mechanism.
Among the five models in the brand-new Premier collection, released by Breitling before the year’s end, the Premier B01 Chronograph 42 model and its various versions immediately attract attention. They are easy to wear with their classic look and have a whole host of assets. But judge for yourself!
Inside the 42mm-wide steel case is the Calibre 01. This self-winding in-house movement combines top performance and accuracy. The chronograph is certified as a chronometer by the COSC and generates a healthy power reserve of 70 hours. Through the sapphire crystal, the rotor and a handful of components are on display.
Price from €7,470
By Dan Diaconu
CUT OUT FOR THE EXTREME
After the Aquatimer Perpetual Calendar, now it is the turn of a pilot’s watch to get all the technical advantages of the high-tech combination developed by the brand.
Like at the school made famous in the Hollywood film, Top Gun, where America’s top fighter pilots were trained, IWC has been forming an elite unit of the brand’s pilot’s watches since 2007. At the next SIHH, to be held from 14 to 17 January in Geneva, a new watch will be joining the squadron: the Double Chronograph Top Gun Ceratanium. Like the collection’s previous models, the watch stands out for its robustness, with the help of a 44-mm-wide case made of Cerantanium. This is a titanium and ceramic alloy, combining lightness and solidity. And for even more resilience, an internal case of soft iron is on hand to protect the automatic calibre from magnetic fields.
Along with the wide hour and minute hands making their way around a minute track featuring hour markers and Arabic numerals, the watch is unusual in having a rattrapante (or split-second) mechanism. The monopusher at 10 o’clock makes it easy to use and display the split-time measurements.
Price on request
By Dan Diaconu
SYNCHRONISED TO WEB 4.0
Hiding behind the name Satoshi Nakamoto is the creator of the first virtual currency and a new vision for exchanging value. A new watch celebrating these innovations can only be bought with bitcoins.
Most people have now heard of bitcoin. The virtual currency was invented just 10 years ago and has given rise to numerous fantasies. For some it is a speculative investment, for others it is the means of payment of the future. In any event, the crypto-currency symbolises the revolution of P2P (peer-to-peer) exchanges and transactions between computers and servers on the internet. Alongside bitcoin, the concept of the blockchain was born. Storing and transmitting information without centralised control are the rules in a world that seems very much immaterial. Just like time? To give material form to the concept, Hublot has launched the Meca-10 P2P model at the end of this year. The watch is designed around a large, black, 45mm-wide ceramic case, taking us into a modern, aesthetic and digital world. On the sapphire crystal caseback, an interconnected map of the world evokes data traffic, the strap features lines recalling printed circuit boards, and the bezel is encircled with figures and letters like a line of computer code.
This limited edition of just 210 pieces, a reference to the number of bitcoins in the world (21 million), is only on sale online with payment using the famous digital currency.
Price: the equivalent of $25,000 in bitcoins www.hublot.com
By Dan Diaconu
Exemplary style and a top-quality mechanism give this unique piece all the attractions needed by watch collectors.
As the festive season draws near, several watchmaking brands are continuing the tradition of creating collectors’ items to show off their artistry and craftsmanship and focusing on the theme of Chinese astrology. The L.U.C Perpetual T Spirit of the Chinese Zodiac by Chopard is one of them. The 43mm-wide, fully hand-engraved rose gold case is decorated with the 12 signs of the Chinese zodiac in chronological order. No less than 210 hours of work went into creating this truly exceptional display. The bezel is also engraved with Chinese motifs. Other, more geometric designs elegantly enhance the dial, along with the hour and minute hands. This is the setting for the time information, including a perpetual date feature. There is a large double-counter for the date, along with the day of the week, the month and the leap years, as well as a 24-hour indicator.
Price on request chopard.com
By Dan Diaconu