A TOUCH OF FANTASY
After a first limited edition of the XPS Twist QF, released in 2017, Chopard is back and breaking the traditional watchmaking design rules, but always in style.
If you want to break the rules, then you need to master them to perfection. This is an art where Chopard has shown real skill, as can be seen in the Twist series from the L.U.C. collection. An example? Take a look at the L.U.C XPS Twist QF launched at the last Baselworld! The limited edition of 250 watches provides a new take on classic watchmaking style based on symmetry. You find the brand’s typically refined style, but the offset position of two of the elements gives the watch a unique personality that is guaranteed to please. The transgressive style is first of all highlighted in the seconds sub-dial. It is positioned at 7 o’clock and becomes the main visual focal point, since the satin sunburst finish on the dial converges towards it. To reset the dauphine-style hands, the discreet crown also comes as a surprise at 4 o’clock.
This 100% Swiss-made model meets all of Chopard’s usual high standards. The L.U.C XPS Twist QF has both the Fleurier Quality and COSC chronometer certifications. The 40mm-wide white gold Fairmined case is worn with a blue-grey matt alligator leather strap, dyed with plant pigments.
Price: 19,800 CHF chopard.com
By Dan Diaconu
A DOCTOR’S WATCH FOR 2019
During the SIHH, the Hamburg brand introduced several new watches, including one inspired by 1950s styles with a salmon-pink dial encircled by a pulsograph scale.
First developed in 1854, the sphygmograph was a mechanical instrument used to measure the heartbeat. It was bulky and somewhat impractical, and gradually lost ground to wrist watches including a pulsometer. These watches found favour with the medical profession in the mid-20th century. Known as “doctors’ watches”, they showed the pulse rate directly on the dial with no mental calculation required. Today, this type of timepiece is much in demand, most of all for its design. Making use of the experience provided by Minerva, Montblanc was inspired by these famous watches to create the Heritage Pulsograph Limited Edition 100, a monopusher chronograph featuring a pulsation bezel to count 30 heart beats. One hundred pieces are available, as its name suggests.
This new watch by Montblanc is powered by the MB M13.21 calibre, a hand-wound movement providing 55 hours of power reserve and housed in a 40mm-wide steel case.
Price on request
By Sharmila Bertin
LIFE IS SWEET
The French brand caused a sensation at the SIHH in January by launching a collection of “watch sweets” in 10 limited-edition models. Delicious!
For its latest participation at the SIHH, Richard Mille was the centre of attention with a series of watches that would be at home in a sweet box, but of a special kind, since the candy inside is not to eat but… to wear on the wrist! The Bonbon Collection is certainly a feast for the eyes, but above all an impressive recipe combining prestigious ingredients, luxury watchmaking and craftsmanship. The result is like a sweet shop counter, with 10 spectacular self-winding models in a limited edition of 30 pieces each.
The second range, Fruits, is a real fruit salad with all the most popular fruits (RM 07-03 Myrtille/Blueberry, RM 16-01 Citron/Lemon, RM 16-01 Fraise/Strawberry, RM 37-01 Cerise/Cherry) and exotic fruits (RM 07-03 Litchi/Lychee, RM 37-01 Kiwi), among other flavours. Each figurine on the dial is painted in acrylic, then lacquered and coated with ground enamel and very fine sand to produce a crunchy sugar effect. The cases of the six flavours combine coloured Quartz TPT® with Carbon TPT®.
Price on request richardmille.com
By Sharmila Bertin
TIME CROWNED WITH GOLD
Four new models have now joined Tissot’s classic Gentleman collection, all crowned with a solid pink-gold bezel and equipped with a robust self-winding movement, the famous Powermatic.
The word “gentleman” evokes elegance, courtesy and discretion, and it is no doubt because of these three refined qualities that Tissot gave this name to one of its collections. Gentleman is a series of watches with a fairly traditional design, passing through time with no heed for the fashions that come and go. And despite the masculine name, the brand from Le Locle has not left anyone out, since the watch comes in a size adapted to most wrists and in a range of four dial colours.
The Gentleman is housed in a 40mm-wide and 10.64mm-thick case with curved, ergonomic lugs for maximum comfort and is topped with a solid pink-gold bezel. The metal case is watertight down to 50m and houses the calibre Powermatic 80, a self-winding movement which, as its name implies, provides 80 hours of power reserve. It comes with a silicon hairspring for improved accuracy and magnetic resistance. The powerful mechanism gives life to the hour, minute and central seconds, as well as the date at 3 o’clock.
On the dial, there are four colours to choose from: black, ivory, chocolate and silver. The watch face features a fine cross and golden indices around the outside. The time is shown by a couple of dauphine-style hands and a slender second hand, which are all coloured gold, while the date is displayed in black against a white background.
This new Tissot watch is worn with a strap including three rows of links or with a smooth, black leather strap coloured black, caramel or chocolate, plus a steel folding clasp.
Price: 1,295 CHF www.tissotwatches.com
By Sharmila Bertin
ON THE GREEN
Hublot has made an ultralight, practical watch for golfers in a limited edition of 200 pieces. The watch keeps track of the number of shots you play during a round. Get into the swing!
Unlike most other sports, the best golf players are the ones with the lowest scores. But when you play an 18-hole course you still need a scorecard and a pen to fill it in. With the Big Bang Unico Golf Blue Carbon, Hublot gives you the chance to save your performance on your watch in a very simple way. There are three sub-dials on the open-work dial. The first, at 9 o’clock, counts the holes. Its counterpart at 3 o’clock records the number of shots you make at each hole. And the opening at 6 o’clock tots up all the shots played during a round. To keep track of your birdies and eagles, there are also three monopushers around the 45mm-wide case. The putter-shaped pusher at 2 o’clock activates the display mechanism for the number of shots and gives you the count for each hole. With the second, at 4 o’clock, you can go on to the next hole and reset the shot counter to zero. A press on the tee-shaped pusher at 8 o’clock resets the whole mechanism. You can then start a new round.
To guarantee that this is a very comfortable watch to wear, Hublot has made the case from a high-tech alloy, Texalium, a combination of fibre glass and aluminium. The result? The Big Bang Unico Golf Blue Carbon only weighs 98 grams! The watch can be precisely adjusted to the wrist with a velcro fastener on the contemporary strap.
Price: 32,100 EUR www.hublot.com
By Dan Diaconu
A GOLDEN ANNIVERSARY
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 space mission, which saw man walk on the Moon for the first time, the Biel/Bienne watchmaker has taken inspiration from an older model to create a truly dazzling limited edition!
On 21 July 1969, the whole world was riveted to the television to witness a historic event: the American astronaut Neil Armstrong (1930-2012) became the first man to walk on the Moon’s surface. He was joined 19 minutes later by his fellow crew member Edwin “Buzz“ Aldrin (1930). NASA had given official approval to the Speedmaster by Omega four years earlier, and the watch was a part of the extraordinary adventure. A few months later, at a gala dinner, the astronauts in the NASA space programme were given a yellow-gold Speedmaster encircled by a burgundy bezel. This was the reference BA145.022, with 1,014 watches made between 1969 and 1973. Now, half a century after the first steps taken by Armstrong and Aldrin on the Moon, Omega has unveiled the Speedmaster Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Limited Edition.
On the dial are black onyx facetted indices. The same colour is used on the lacquered watch hands. Powered by the hand-wound calibre Master Chronometer 3861, providing a power reserve of 50 hours, the hours and minutes are displayed in the centre, while the seconds can be seen in a sub-dial at 9 o’clock. The chronograph features are on display in two totalisers at 3 and 6 o’clock.
Price: 32,000 CHF omegawatches.com
By Sharmila Bertin
ICON IN BLUE
The iconic Autavia returned to the TAG Heuer collections in 2017. It again takes centre stage this year with a three-hand version featuring a smoky blue dial and a new Isograph hairspring.
The Autavia watch, first launched in 1962, was always more discreet than its younger brother, the Carrera. Its name combines two worlds and two industries, AUTomobile and AVIAtion, borrowing stylistic elements from both. In 2016, for the big comeback of the legendary watch, the brand from Le Locle launched a contest, asking watch fans to choose between 16 older models. The 50,000 people taking part voted to re-release the Autavia Rindt in 2017. This was a chronograph worn by the Austrian racing driver Jochen Rindt (1942-1970). The black watch with white sub-dials was joined in October 2017 by a limited edition unveiled for the 85th birthday of Jack Heuer, the founder’s great-grandson and honorary president of the brand. For Baselworld 2019, TAG Heuer again launched a new Autavia.
Although it is a similar shape to the previous models, the new watch stands out in different ways. It is not a chronograph but a three-handed watch with a date, to start with. Next, it does without the usual colours in the collection (black, white and silver), but comes in an attractive, delicately sanded blue with a Sfumato effect – that is, with a light colour in the centre that grows darker towards the outside of the dial. The large Arabic numerals for the hours are coated in white Super-LumiNova®, and there are silver, lume-coated hands for the hours, minutes and seconds. The date is at 6 o’clock.
The 42mm-wide steel case is topped with a bezel featuring a blue ceramic ring. Inside is the calibre 5, an automatic movement certified as a chronometer and including the Isograph hairspring made of a carbon composite, a new element developed in-house. It can resist gravity, shocks and magnetic fields.
The Autavia by TAG Heuer is equipped with a brown calf’s leather strap and a steel tang buckle.
Price: 3,500 CHF tagheuer.com
By Sharmila Bertin
THE MATTERHORN ON YOUR WRIST
The watchmakers from La Chaux-de-Fonds pay homage to their native land in this limited edition with a dial made from rock taken from the Matterhorn, the Alpine peak that is one of the symbols of Switzerland.
Nature was always at the heart of the work of Pierre Jaquet-Droz (1721-1790). Two of the specialities that made his reputation were singing birds and the use of rocks and minerals as ornamental gems. And gemstones can still be found on the dials of some watches by Jaquet Droz, the brand based in La Chaux-de-Fonds, as for example in the limited edition Grande Seconde Moon Swiss Serpentinite.
Just 88 models are available, exclusively reserved for the Swiss market. The dial features a disc made of serpentinite, a metamorphic rock with a yellowish or dark green colour, and a look and feel a little like a snake’s scales. The rock was taken from the abrupt slopes of the Matterhorn. This pyramid-shaped summit rises to an altitude of 4,478m. It is not only the 12th highest mountain in the Alps, but is also a symbol of Switzerland. The serpentinite decorating the dial on the Grande Seconde Moon Swiss Serpentinite produces an effect of depth due to the many veins running across it.
On this uneven surface, two sub-dials circled with silver form the outline of a figure 8 – the other Jaquet Droz symbol – with the two loops of different sizes: the hours and minutes are displayed with two lancine-type hands near 12 o’clock, while the seconds are at 6 o’clock. A large sub-dial contains two other complications, a date with a hand tipped in red and a moon phase decorated with white-gold stars.
These features are powered by a self-winding calibre, the JD2660QL3, which is housed in a 43mm-wide steel case and generates a power reserve of 68 hours.
Price: 18,800 CHF jaquet-droz.com
By Sharmila Bertin
HOWLING AT THE MOON
The Hermès wolf was originally designed for a silk scarf. It has now arrived on the dial of the Arceau model to make its trademark howl and celebrate the beauty of artistry and craftsmanship.
The substantial animal ranks at Hermès have now been joined by a wolf howling in the moonlight. The wolf was created in 2016 by a young designer from London, Alice Shirley (born 1984), who has worked with Hermès since 2012. The wild canine was originally designed for a silk scarf, but has arrived this year on the dial of a watch made by the Parisian brand, the Arceau Awooooo, which was launched at the 2019 SIHH.
The Arceau Awooooo model is a very exclusive edition with only eight pieces made. The watch comes with a graphite alligator-leather strap and a white-gold tang buckle.
Price on request hermes.com
By Sharmila Bertin
After a bronze version, the brand has released a limited edition of its Pilot watch combining a silver dial and case. The model has all the assets needed to become a collector’s item.
The 250 Pilot Type 20 Extra Silver watch is equipped with a vintage-look brown leather strap. It includes a leather flap, similar to the ones found on leather flight helmets until the mid-20th century.
Price: €7,900 zenith.com
By Dan Diaconu