When launched in 1972, Audemars Piguet’s Royal Oak redefined “cool.” Its first version made entirely of black ceramic achieves a similar effect 45 years later. Applied to the proportions originally determined by the master, Gérald Genta, this new object of desire becomes a natural choice for the King of Cool.

Its brushed and polished surfaces, in both case and bracelet, take five times longer to produce than with steel. If this were not enough, the eternal spirit of the ref. 5134 perpetual calendar caliber makes it a veritable time machine that looks both counter-cultural and classically elegant at the same time. Anytime. Anyplace.

Royal Oak

It would be difficult to find another watch as purposeful as the Ressence Type 5. It is as cool as 21st-century watchmaking can be. A base mechanism housed in the lower part of the chassis gives power to the planetary gear and the discs module that’s immersed in a special silicon oil. This module works as a transmission and separates the time into three displays: a small dial for hours, the main disc for minutes and another, smaller sub-dial for seconds. It then adds a fourth that marks the temperature, a necessary indication since the fluidity changes with temperature; there is a compensating system for this.

If that were not enough ineffable coolness, there is no physical connection between the module ROCS5 and the base ETA 2824 automatic caliber. A system of tiny magnets attached to both systems transmits movement between the dry and wet sections of the watch. This construction allows the use of a lightweight Grade-5 titanium case, negating the need for heavy steel. I can’t think of a watch more techno-cool than this.

Ressence Type 5
Ressence Type 5

With an enviable pedigree, any Panerai timepiece going back to the 1930s looks properly cool on the wrist, but few can match the advanced LAB-ID Luminor 1950 Carbotech. This mechanical engineering marvel proffers a design that declares war on friction by using materials like titanium, ceramic and the abundant but no-less-striking carbon with its multiple applications.

The hardness of the individual components of the P. 3001/C movement makes it unnecessary to use any kind of lubricant or superfluous jewel bearings; it requires a mere four rubies. The case is made of Carbotech and the dial of carbon nanotubes, so the time is read over an intensely black background. The result of these technologies is a warranty of 50 years of operation without lubrication. When you are absolutely cool, who has the time to take a watch in for a service?

Panerai

There are watches with relationships to motorsport and F1, but very few like the Roger Dubuis Excalibur Spider Pirelli Double Flying Tourbillon. Behind this mouthful of a name is an abundance of coolness that is difficult to match. Apart from the sub-zero RD105SQ mechanism with double tourbillon integrating 365 individual components, inside a 47mm blue-accented case made of titanium-coated black DLC, this example of high tech is secured to the wrist with a special rubber strap: the material comes from a genuine F1 tire used in a race. And not just any race, but the 2016 Monaco Grand Prix, the actual tires used on the Mercedes GP that Lewis Hamilton drove to victory. Not even the North Pole can be as cool as this watch, of which there will only be eight examples.

Roger Dubuis Excalibur Spider Pirelli - Double Flying Tourbillon

All HYT creations drip coolness and none more so than the large, limited edition designed with the über-cool Guns & Roses frontman, Axl Rose. For rock stars like Rose, the skull has long been established as a decorative trope of the genre and in this instance, it has received a Damascus steel treatment finished in blue. Surrounding the skull, the fine capillary tube that shows the time is filled with black liquid and there is no minute hand – a rock star does not need one. On the back, the Guns & Roses logo completes the design that only 25 fortunate fans will enjoy.

HYT Skull Axl Rose

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