ACCURATE BLUE TIMEKEEPING
Among its new watches launched during the SIHH, the Geneva-based brand brought out a new model with a smoky blue dial and equipped with an in-house automatic calibre certified by the COSC: the Baumatic.
Baume & Mercier is the epitome of watchmaking skill at affordable prices. The watches made by the Geneva-based firm are indeed inexpensive, but never compromise on design, quality or (most of all!) the mechanism. After launching its in-house calibre in 2018, Baume & Mercier is back this year, taking things further with a new version of the Baumatic (BM 13-1975A), an automatic movement that is certified as a chronometer by the COSC, the official Swiss institute that carries out tests for reliability and accuracy. Along with the immaculate calibre, the new watch, simple known as the Clifton Baumatic COSC, displays all the main time information on a wonderful blue dial.
The watch is powered by the Baumatic movement, running at 28,800 vibrations an hour (4hz), and providing an impressive power reserve of 120 hours once fully wound. The timepiece is housed in a 40mm-wide steel case that is water-resistant down to 50 metres.
The Clifton Baumatic COSC comes with a black alligator-style leather strap with a tang buckle or with a steel-link strap.
Price not available
By Sharmila Bertin
IN PRAISE OF SLOWNESS
This was one of the stars of the 2019 SIHH with an ingenious energy-saving mechanism as its chief asset. We take a closer look at a new watch certified with the Geneva Seal!
Resetting a perpetual calendar after it hasn’t been used for a while can turn into a tedious operation, as tricky as mounting a piece of Ikea furniture without the instructions. To make life easier, Vacheron Constantin has come up with an innovative solution: the option to slow down the frequency of the calibre. How does it work? On your wrist, the Traditionnelle Twin Beat Perpetual Date runs at a frequency of 5hz for perfect accuracy. But what happens if you have to go away on a trip and leave your precious timepiece at home? A press on the monopusher at 8 o’clock is enough to slow down the frequency, which falls immediately to 1.2hz. This “stand-by“ mode gives the watch an incredible power reserve of 65 days. The reduction in energy consumption has no effect on the perpetual date function throughout this period. So you will not have to reset the watch when you put on the watch again.
By Dan Diaconu
SHOW THE COLOUR!
When you combine a translucent, colourful case with a chronograph based on the legendary El Primero, you get one of the most surprising watches so far this year.
Hublot may not have access to all the alchemists’ secrets. But the brand’s ability to metamorphose materials never ceases to amaze. Since 2016, the firm has shown how sapphire can be shaped and coloured blue or red. This year, a newcomer to its colour chart can be found in the Spirit of Big Bang Yellow Sapphire. The colour of sunshine decorates the case, the bezel (held in place by six titanium screws) and the caseback. What’s more, the watch is as scratch-resistant as a diamond and surprisingly light on the wrist, thanks to the use of titanium, and weighs in at just 107 grams! Yellow is also in evidence on the dial. It is used for the central hour and minute hands, the hour markers, the running seconds and the two chronograph totalisers. These elements stand out perfectly against the monochrome grey, skeletoned workings of the mechanism.
The 100 pieces of the limited edition Spirit of Big Bang Yellow Sapphire are worn with a transparent yellow strap fitted with a titanium folding clasp.
Price: 104,000 EUR www.hublot.com
By Dan Diaconu
RUNNING ON MILLENNIA-OLD PRINCIPLES
The manufacture is celebrating the Year of the Pig with a limited-edition, platinum version of a watch now seen as a major classic in the Villeret collection.
This timepiece is a real technical feat. First launched by Blancpain in 2012, the Villeret Traditional Chinese Calendar is unusual in displaying both the Chinese and the Gregorian calendars. The difference between the two lies in the fact that one month in the Chinese calendar is based on the lunar cycle, whereas the Gregorian calendar keeps time with the sun, lasting 11 days longer. The result? Every two or three years, an extra month is added to the Chinese calendar. Another unusual feature of the division of time means the day is sub-divided into 12 two-hour periods, with the first beginning at 11 p.m. All this information is given material form in the limited edition watch, unveiled for the new Year of the Pig, with counters using Chinese characters. The dial is made of full-fired enamel and includes a discreet portrait of the animal in a counter at 12 o’clock. An opening displays the moon phases at 6 o’clock. The composition is encircled by an hour rim with Roman numerals and a Gregorian calendar with a serpentine hand pointing out the information.
The 45mm-wide case of the 50 platinum watches includes five correctors, so that the watch can be adjusted without a tool. Through the sapphire caseback you can admire a white-gold rotor engraved with the year’s zodiac sign. Blancpain is also releasing the Villeret Traditional Chinese Calendar in an unlimited version made of red gold.
Price: 81,830 EUR (platinum) – 61,870 EUR (red gold) blancpain.com
By Dan Diaconu
AS LIGHT AS AIR
Records are made to be broken. Bvlgari has achieved the feat of making the world’s slimmest and lightest carbon watch to be equipped with a tourbillon.
In 2018, Bvlgari topped the podium. The Rome jewellers and watchmakers earned the prized position after launching an extra-flat, self-winding watch with the world’s thinnest tourbillon. This year, Finissimo rhymes with superleggero, and is even lighter. The brand used CTP (Carbon Thin-Ply) instead of titanium for the 42mm-wide case. So the Octo Finissimo TB Carbon weighs in at just 48 grams! The high-tech material also gives the watch an original look, with its streaked patterns. But the use of sapphire crystal for the caseback means the watch is slightly thicker than the titanium model, rising from 3.95mm to 5.38mm.
The 50 pieces in this limited edition are worn with a carbon strap featuring a folding clasp.
Price: 130,000 CHF
By Dan Diaconu
THE DAZZLING BREGUET BLUE
The new work from the Breguet workshops features a dial made of “Grand Feu” enamel in a beautiful, deep and intense blue colour. It pays homage to the aesthetic traditions created by the brand’s founder, while slightly changing the rules of the game.
While the watchmaking trend of the times favoured the ornamental – sometimes outrageously so – the watches by Abraham-Louis Breguet (1747-1823) stood out through the work on the mechanism and the pride of place given to technique and practicality. He rid his watch cases and dials of all excessive ornament to focus on the essential: time. His approach gave rise to the Breguet watchmakers’ specific design method, which is still preserved by the Breguet brand. One of the ambassadors of the simple style is without doubt the Classique collection, especially the new Classique 5177 Grand Feu Blue Enamel model. With a slightly more rebellious style than its elders, it respects the brand’s visual signature while making it its own.
Price: 23’100 CHF breguet.com
By Sharmila Bertin
LUXURY WATCHMAKING IN A LAID-BACK SETTING
Among the new models introduced by the brand at the SIHH in Geneva, this watch is the first in the Overseas collection to feature a tourbillon.
The watches in the Overseas collection by Vacheron Constantin are sometimes sports watches and sometimes refined, but can always adapt to every situation, especially thanks to easily interchangeable straps. They will match your changing styles in line with your schedule or mood. The Overseas Tourbillon was introduced during this year’s SIHH in Geneva and is now the collection’s flagship. This is the first model in the range to include a tourbillon. This elite mechanism is housed in a fairly laid-back setting. The hour and minute hands move above a magnificent lacquered blue dial with a satin sunburst finish. The watch is housed in a 42.5mm-wide steel case that is just 10.39mm thick.
The brand has produced three straps for the model, made of steel, leather or blue rubber. Which one will you choose?
Price: 108,000 EUR vacheron-constantin.com
By Dan Diaconu
FROM PAST TO PRESENT
A clear, uncluttered dial, an elegant design, a nice price: this watch has all the assets needed to become a vital element in the well-dressed man’s wardrobe.
Montblanc has given the inspired vintage watch design Minerva centre stage in the Heritage collection. The GMT model, which was launched at the 2019 SIHH in Geneva, has all the brand’s hallmark assets: curved dials with colours inspired by the 1940s and 1950s, a fully polished steel case and an uncluttered dial. For this model, two sword-style hour and minute hands point towards Arabic numerals at the cardinal points, alongside discreet rounded indices and a painstakingly graded minute track. The slender central second hand stands out with its dark blue colour. A fourth hand, for the GMT function, is in a lighter blue and tipped with an arrow. It makes its way around a 24-hour scale on the outside of the dial in the same colour. During a trip, you can use this feature to show the time at home, while setting the main hour hand to the time zone of your destination.
Three elegant versions are available. The Heritage GMT combines silver or salmon pink dials with Sfumato grey alligator leather or Milanese mesh steel straps.
Price: 2,700 EUR (leather) – 2,900 EUR (steel)
By Dan Diaconu
To preserve unspoiled the spirit and look of the original model, the brand has produced an alternative display for the date as well as a new calibre.
In 2009, A. Lange & Söhne launched a watch signalling a clean break in style. Its originality? The watch features a digital display of the hours and minutes using jumping figures. Only the power reserve indicator and the sub-seconds are shown with hands. A unique personality, high-quality workmanship and the inclusion of a luxury watchmaking mechanism go to make the Zeitwerk one of the manufacture’s flagship models. To celebrate its 10th anniversary, a practical new version has been released: the Zeitwerk Date. As its name suggests, a date function has been added to the time features. The date display is as unusual as the watch itself and is based on a glass ring around the dial. The new feature blends in perfectly with the other visual elements. Under the perimeter showing figures from 1 to 31, the date is shown in red for optimal visibility in a monochrome setting.
Price: 89,000 EUR
By Dan Diaconu
CUT OUT FOR ADVENTURE
Owners of this limited edition watch get the chance to live an incredible experience with the explorer and brand ambassador. So get your bags packed!
We have followed him to the heart of the Amazon rainforest, to the summits of the Himalayas, to the South Pole and the North Pole. Nothing seems to stop the incredible adventurer, Mike Horn. Now Panerai has developed a new watch to match the brand ambassador’s lifestyle and to go with him on land or sea. The firm also wanted to give 19 of its customers a chance to enjoy an incredible experience in the company of Mike Horn. So purchasers of the limited series Submersible Mike Horn Edition (PAM 00985) will be invited to share the daily life of the explorer during an environmental course at the heart of the Arctic Ocean.
The Submersible Mike Horn Edition is worn with a blue strap made of recycled PET. The robust watch is watertight down to 300m and promises to be much more than a regular diving watch. Thanks to the experience offered by Panerai, it will also prove to be a wonderful memory.
Price: 39,900 EUR
By Dan Diaconu