We are defining this loosely here, to refer to watches that are not quite what one would call dress watches, but something styled a little more outdoorsy, and masculine.
Introduced in 2012, the Pelagos is among the best value in a dive watch, with ticks in all the right boxes for superb performance: titanium case, helium release valve, 500m depth rating, ceramic bezel, impeccable vintage-modern styling, and excellent bracelet with spring-loaded clasp that maintains a snug fit with varying water pressure. In 2015, Tudor outdid itself by making the Pelagos available in blue, and fitted with a COSC-certified in-house movement!
Even before considering this watch’s particular attributes, it is already a superstar, from the tidal wave of opinion it has generated. It’s certainly quite a departure from the dress watches and high complications that is Patek Philippe’s calling card; but the company has made pilot’s watches in the past; and this present one is not only very good, it is also going to be rare and highly sought-after.
The watch that one wears on most days, is the one that comes closest to expressing who we are. Far from mundane, these are the Very Important Watches of any collection.
Perfect neo-classic styling, size and proportions; this quintessential Rolex is also a testament to the manufacture’s constant drive to make every functional aspect of its timepieces that little bit better. For starters, the gold President bracelets have small ceramic sleeves between the precious metal parts, as well as steel pins holding them together, for suppleness, comfort, and to reduce wear between these parts. Then there’s the new cal. 3255 movement that features a heavily augmented and optimised version of the Swiss anchor escapement that reduces sliding friction in its running. Combined with a thinner barrel, optimised gear train and all-new lubricants, the movement yields chronometric results that are said to far exceed the COSC benchmark.
An outwardly attractive watch with a well-sized 39mm case, and retro-cool design incorporating the fluted bezel and “pie-pan” dial from Omega’s watches of the 1950s; at the same time, the Globemaster is also among the most authentically performance-oriented timepieces on the market. Each Globemaster comes with its own METAS certificate that clearly displays the test results for what amounts to one of the most rigorous and comprehensive test regimes in the industry. METAS tests for exposure to magnetism at 15,000 gauss, deviation of running time in six positions, function and performance of the watch during and after exposure to magnetic fields, and much more. On top of this, all movements are also COSC-certified. The steel version even comes with a tungsten carbide bezel that’s even more scratch resistant than ceramic – for USD7,700!
It’s as much an uber-cool chronograph with a tourbillon, as an ultra-sporty tourbillon with chronograph function. We’ll go with the former for now. Multi-part Grade 5 titanium case brims with possibilities, but the star is the monster of a movement beating within, a 4Hz COSC-certified cam-actuated chronograph with a steel and carbon fibre tourbillon cage, based on the existing vertical clutch chronograph CH 80 calibre. Priced under CHF15,000. Says TAG Heuer general manager Guy Semon, “To be clear, I am not claiming this tourbillon to be a work of haute horlogerie, but of the very best of the industrialisation process.”
It’s not the beautiful design that makes the Chronographe one of the most jaw-droppingly innovative timepieces of BaselWorld 2015. There’s a 3Hz time-telling train on the right side of the movement, paired by a 5Hz chronograph train on the left. The cherry on top is the blade spring that, instead of a barrel, powers the chronograph through the entirety of its 20-minute power reserve, by simply pressing the chronograph reset. Elegant, efficient, innovative. And what a beautiful watch, besides.
When the coolest watch brand on earth, and the coolest individual on the planet collaborate on a watch, the resultant Hublot x Lapo Elkann mash-up is plain cool beyond words. Made with design input from Elkann, the Big Bang Unico Italia Independent features the latter’s favourite social-media blue, fashioned out of carbon fibre with texalium, a material with a 2,000-angstrom coating of aluminium on its surface that can be treated for colour. For Elkann who has a penchant for denim as evinced in his taste for blazers and full denim interior of one of his Ferraris, a denim strap complete with studs is the natural choice. Also comes with a pair of sunglasses of the exact shade of texalium, made in-house by Hublot.
Part 2 (Design, Ladies’ Watches, Complicated Watches) continues here.