ALL ON THE WRIST

TRA­DI­TION AND TECH­NOL­OGY WERE EQUALLY ON DIS­PLAY AT THIS YEAR’S BASEL AND GENEVA WATCH FAIRS, AS BE­FITS AN IN­DUS­TRY DE­VOTED TO THE PASS­ING OF TIME

The Australian - Wish Magazine - - Contents - 26. PATEK PHILIPPE: CALA­TRAVA PI­LOT TRAVEL TIME

Thirty-one daz­zling time­pieces from Basel­world and the Sa­lon In­ter­na­tional de Haute Hor­logerie

01. A. LANGE & SÖHNE: ZEITWERK MINUTE RE­PEATER

When the well-heeled es­tab­lish­ment wants to ex­press sta­tus and taste through their wrist­wear they in­vari­ably do so by strap­ping on some­thing re­fined and Swiss. When the Sil­i­con Val­ley tech-set — peo­ple like mil­lion­aire en­tre­pre­neur Kevin Rose — want to make the same state­ment, the go-to brand is the Ger­man A. Lange & Söhne. ALS has quickly made its name as the master of mod­ern clas­si­cism, and nowhere is that more ev­i­dent than in the Zeitwerk Minute Re­peater. Not only does this Zeitwerk dis­play the time in a dig­i­tal read­out, it by­passes the tra­di­tional re­peater pat­tern of hours, quar­ters and min­utes with an ar­guably sim­pler chim­ing sys­tem. POA

02. BALL: ENGI­NEER II GREEN BERETS

If you think the black ti­ta­nium car­bide case and nubuck strap of this mil­i­taryin­spired watch looks good, you should see it with the lights off. It lights up like a fair­ground. Lu­mi­nous ma­te­rial on watches is hardly new, but few do it like Ball. Rather than use paint, which loses its glow over a few hours, Ball use tiny glass tubes filled with (safely) ra­dioac­tive H3 gas. Aside from be­ing plain cool, this gas will emit an even and con­sis­tent glow for the next 25 years. RRP $2950

03. BAUME & MERCIER: CLAS­SIMA

Baume & Mercier’s re­vi­talised Clas­sima range is all about sim­plic­ity done well. The Clas­sima is a clean time­piece, not at all os­ten­ta­tious, that will look good on any wrist. But that doesn’t mean the watch is bor­ing — the cen­tral line guil­loche fin­ish of the dial and the vi­brant blue hands make it a re­fined piece. The Clas­sima works with a T-shirt or a tuxedo. Baume & Mercier de­signed this to be a first “good watch” and for many peo­ple that means it will be their only good watch. Trends come and go, but Clas­sima is for­ever. RRP $3150

04. BRE­ITLING: SUPEROCEAN II

Bre­itling, the mae­stro of mas­cu­line de­sign, has taken its pop­u­lar dive watch, the Superocean, and turned the macho dial up to 11. Rated to an eye-pop­pingly deep 1000m, the Superocean II has had the dial and bezel sim­pli­fied to max­imise leg­i­bil­ity, and the case pro­file trimmed down to max­imise com­fort. Bre­itling con­tin­ues to do things its own way, avoid­ing scratch-re­sis­tant but shat­ter-prone sap­phire for its bezel in­sert, in­stead opt­ing for a unique molded rub­ber. To pull off the 44mm Superocean II on a steel bracelet you need a su­per-sized wrist, but it’s worth the weight. RRP $5340

05. CHANEL: MADE­MOI­SELLE PRIVÉ CAMÉLLIA DIAL

The Made­moi­selle Privé col­lec­tion from Chanel takes (for its cen­tral theme) ob­jects and sym­bols that were sig­nif­i­cant to Gabrielle Chanel. In this case that ob­ject is the camel­lia, her favourite flower. We’re look­ing at a se­ri­ous piece of bling here – the white gold case is set with 60 bril­liant-cut di­a­monds, which is noth­ing com­pared to the 330 di­a­monds that coat the dial. It takes some­thing pretty spe­cial to out­shine 390 di­a­monds, but that’s ex­actly what the mar­quetry mother of pearl camel­lia does. The soft, opales­cent sheen of the flower con­trasts with the hard bright­ness of the di­a­monds to stun­ning ef­fect. POA

06. BUL­GARI: ROMA FINIS­SIMO TOUR­BIL­LON

Bul­gari broke into watch­mak­ing by ac­ci­dent. Forty years ago Bul­gari was known only as one of the great jew­ellers. In 1975 the brand made 100 un­usual time­pieces, never in­tended for sale but as gifts for val­ued cus­tomers. The watch was called the Bul­gari Roma and drew in­spi­ra­tion from an­tiq­uity. It was a sur­prise hit, and next thing you know Bul­gari is a reg­u­lar fea­ture at Basel­world and the Roma an es­sen­tial part of the brand’s of­fer­ing. To celebrate, Bul­gari has re­leased the Roma Pi­anis­simo Tour­bil­lon, which boasts a fly­ing tour­bil­lon only 1.95mm thick, the thinnest ever made. RRP $155,000

07. BURBERRY: THE BRI­TAIN ICON CHECK FOR MEN

Burberry’s CEO and chief cre­ative Christo­pher Bai­ley has been very clever in in­te­grat­ing the brand’s check into this lim­ited edi­tion of its pre­mium au­to­matic watch, the Bri­tain Icon Check. The monochrome skele­tonised dial im­plies the clas­sic fab­ric pat­tern rather than over­stat­ing it. Burberry pairs this very en vogue dial with a case de­sign that tips its hat to the clas­sic sports watches of the 70s, but gives it a mod­ern twist with a scratch-re­sis­tant black diamond-like car­bon (DLC) coat­ing. RRP $20,949

08. CARTIER: RONDA LOUIS CARTIER XL WATCH FIL­I­GREE PAN­THERS DÉ­COR

Just down the road from Cartier’s La Chaux-de-Fonds man­u­fac­ture is a 19th cen­tury farm­house, where 50 of Cartier’s finest toil away to pro­duce about 500 watches a year. The farm­house is Cartier’s Mai­son des Métiers d’Arts, and the watches are among Cartier’s most beau­ti­ful cre­ations, us­ing al­most for­got­ten ar­ti­sanal skills, such as mo­saic and enam­elling. One of the most stun­ning ex­am­ples is this Ronde Louis Cartier XL, its mid­night-blue dial dom­i­nated by the Cartier pan­thers in gold fil­i­gree, set with gems. POA

09. BREGUET: TRA­DI­TION AU­TOMA­TIQUE SE­CONDE RÉTROGRADE

All watch brands have their em­blem­atic de­signs, and for Breguet that de­sign is the Tra­di­tion. And with a history dat­ing back to the 18th cen­tury Breguet has a bet­ter claim on tra­di­tion than most. But don’t be fooled by the clas­sic ro­man nu­mer­als and tra­di­tional guil­loche dial: this latest ver­sion is very much 21st cen­tury tech, down to the sil­i­con es­cape­ment and bal­ance spring. But the hero of the watch is the ret­ro­grade sec­onds in­di­ca­tor, which doesn’t re­volve around the dial but rather whips back to 0 ev­ery minute. Must be seen to be be­lieved. RRP $41,800

10. CHOPARD: L.U.C XPS FAIRMINED

Re­leas­ing a watch to sup­port a good cause is hardly rev­o­lu­tion­ary. But with the Chopard L.U.C XPS Fairmined the cause is a lit­tle closer to home than most. The lux­ury watch in­dus­try uses a lot of gold, and the process of ob­tain­ing it can be en­vi­ron­men­tally harm­ful and haz­ardous to the work­ers, who are of­ten poorly paid. Chopard is work­ing to change this, sup­port­ing re­spon­si­bly run and com­mu­nity-owned mines that meet the eth­i­cal bench­mark of the Fairmined cer­ti­fi­ca­tion. The watch does good and it looks good in the process – the stun­ning slate-grey gal­vanic dial and rose gold combo is a knock­out. RRP $22,500

11. DIOR: DIOR VIII GRAND BAL PIÈCE UNIQUE EN­VOL NO. 5

As one of the great fash­ion houses, it makes per­fect sense that Dior’s time­pieces take in­spi­ra­tion from the world of cou­ture. This one-of-a-kind Grand Bal “En­vol” is inspired by the fash­ion for ev­ery­thing Egyp­tian that swept through Europe in the 19th Cen­tury — a Parisian in­ter­pre­ta­tion of Pharaoh-chic. The mar­quetry dial is set with mother of pearl and the shim­mer­ing shell of the scarab bee­tle, cre­at­ing a stun­ning green back­drop which is ac­cen­tu­ated by the punk pink neon hands and the dial-side white gold os­cil­lat­ing weight which is fin­ished with a del­i­cate rib­bon of baguette-cut di­a­monds. POA

12. FRED­ERIQUE CON­STANT: HORO­LOG­I­CAL SMART­WATCH

Ap­ple doesn’t have a mo­nop­oly on wearable wrist tech — “smart” de­vices are trend­ing this year in the lux­ury watch world too. One of the best in show was the Fred­erique Con­stant Horo­log­i­cal Smart­watch. At first glance the el­e­gant time­piece is as far from dig­i­tal as you could imag­ine. But look closer and you’ll no­tice that the sub­dial at six has a read­ing from 0 to 100. Be­hind the tra­di­tional façade ticks a move­ment de­vel­oped in con­junc­tion with Sil­i­con Val­ley’s Mo­tionX, al­low­ing the wearer to quan­tify a range of pre­set ob­jec­tives, from steps to sleep. Oh, and the bat­tery lasts two years. RRP $2250

13. GI­RARD-PER­RE­GAUX: MINUTE RE­PEATER TOUR­BIL­LON WITH GOLD BRIDGES

Gi­rard-Per­re­gaux’s award-win­ning haute horol­ogy depart­ment doesn’t make many watches a year. But what it lacks in vol­ume it over­com­pen­sates for in qual­ity. This minute re­peater rep­re­sents a strong move by the brand into the rar­efied world of chim­ing watches — and Gi­rard-Per­re­gaux wants to show that off. The move­ment shines on this watch, only ob­scured by the brand’s sig­na­ture golden bridges. Even the tour­bil­lon, which is nor­mally the hero of the show, plays sec­ond fid­dle to the in­tri­cate sys­tem of gongs and ham­mers that com­prise the re­peater mech­a­nism. RRP $592,270

14. GUCCI: DIVE

Even though we’re stuck in the depths of win­ter, it’s never too early to start fan­ta­sis­ing about sum­mer. And this diver from Gucci is just the watch to help you with that. The big 45mm case looks ex­actly as a solid dive watch should, but Gucci has added flair by pair­ing the sober black-and-white dial with an on­point NATO-style strap in the iconic red and green Gucci stripe. Just look­ing at this watch makes you think of beaches and BBQs. RRP $1270

15. HER­MÈS: SLIM D’HER­MÈS

One of the best watches re­leased this year came from an un­likely quar­ter: Her­mès. The ven­er­a­ble fash­ion mai­son is bet­ter known for beau­ti­ful bags, but boy, are their stocks on the rise when it comes to cred­i­ble wrist­wear. Her­mès teamed up with Parisian graphic de­signer Philippe Apeloig for the spe­cially de­signed, dis­tinc­tive type­face that gives the watch its mid-cen­tury ap­peal. As for the en­gine, it’s pow­ered by Her­mès’ own in-house move­ment. POA

16. HUBLOT: BIG BANG UNICO KING GOLD CE­RAMIC

When the Hublot Big Bang was first re­leased at Basel­world 2005 it made, well, a big bang. It’s hard to over­state the im­pact the over­sized case, bold de­sign and use of un­con­ven­tional ma­te­ri­als had on the world of watches. This year the Big Bang cel­e­brated its 10th birth­day, and while it may no longer be the en­fant ter­ri­ble of mod­ern horol­ogy the Big Bang is still big news. This latest edi­tion has all the Hublot hall­marks: rub­ber strap, ce­ramic bezel, in-house UNICO chrono­graph move­ment. The whole pack­age is cased in 18k King Gold. A decade on and still go­ing strong. RRP $43,800

17. IWC: POR­TUGIESER AN­NUAL CAL­EN­DAR

For IWC, 2015 is the year of the Por­tugieser. The col­lec­tion has been com­pletely re­vamped (and re­named — it was for­merly just the plain old Por­tuguese), with a host of new mod­els. But the star in their line-up is the an­nual cal­en­dar, which makes keep­ing track of birthdays, an­niver­saries and the end of the fi­nan­cial year as easy as glanc­ing at your wrist. Fea­tur­ing a brand new in-house move­ment the an­nual cal­en­dar does ex­actly what it says on the dial, telling you the day, the date and the month. Even bet­ter, you don’t have to fid­dle with the watch to change the date from 30 to 1 ev­ery sec­ond month — it’s clever enough to do that for you, ex­cept in Fe­bru­ary. You’re on your own there. RRP $29,100

18. JAEGER-LECOUL­TRE REN­DEZ-VOUS MOON

If we’re hon­est, women of­ten get short shrift when it comes to in­no­va­tive watch de­sign. There’s a ten­dency to just make a men’s model a lit­tle smaller, sprin­kle it with di­a­monds and knock off for the day. But Jaeger-LeCoul­tre is buck­ing that trend with the Ren­dezVous Moon. Sure, it’s be­jew­elled, and comes in la­dy­like sizes, but it also has a stun­ningly beau­ti­ful moon­phase in­di­ca­tor — the mother-of-pearl moon sits in an en­graved rep­re­sen­ta­tion of the night sky, which makes this watch a unique de­sign and a se­ri­ous piece of watch­mak­ing art in its own right. RRP $67,000

19. LONGINES: SYM­PHONETTE

This year at Basel­world, Longines part­nered with Time+Tide to por­tray its el­e­gant new time­pieces in a unique way. Rather than sim­ply pho­tograph­ing the watches, we com­mis­sioned Amer­i­can menswear il­lus­tra­tor Matt Miller to cap­ture them us­ing a pal­ette and can­vas in­stead of lens and light­box. The re­sult­ing wa­ter­colour paint­ings, like this one of the Sym­phonette, ap­plied a nos­tal­gic lens over the prod­uct. His artist’s eye picked out the sleek oval case shape, diamond bezel and white mother of pearl dial, which is in­laid in 12 sep­a­rate pieces. RRP $5275

20. LOUIS VUIT­TON: ES­CALE TIME ZONE

The colour­ful Es­cale Time Zone al­most didn’t hap­pen, ac­cord­ing to Hamdi Chatti, Louis Vuit­ton’s VP of Watches & Jew­ellery: “It’s a con­cept that be­came a col­lec­tion.” The orig­i­nal Es­cale World­timer, re­leased last year was a cut-through piece but its suc­cess was a dou­ble-edged sword. “It caused great frus­tra­tion,” Chatti says, “be­cause ev­ery­body wanted this beau­ti­ful piece. And even if you could af­ford it, you would still have to wait six months be­cause each one is hand-painted.” The Es­cale Time Zone is Louis Vuit­ton’s so­lu­tion to this de­mand, scal­ing down the size and mak­ing a more com­mer­cially vi­able printed dial. But LV hasn’t skimped on the looks or the func­tion­al­ity. It has the same bold checker­board dial and an in-house move­ment that backs up the good looks. RRP $8650

21. MAU­RICE LACROIX: MAS­TER­PIECE GRAV­ITY 40TH AN­NIVER­SARY

You could drown in the inky blue di­als of the Mau­rice Lacroix Mas­ter­piece Grav­ity. And if you man­age to avoid the di­als, you run the risk of be­ing hyp­no­tised by the con­stant “breath­ing” of the sil­i­con es­cape­ment, which ticks away in plain view. Ba­si­cally, check­ing the time on the Grav­ity is a per­ilous thing. It sucks you in, urg­ing you to ad­mire the de­tails un­til your reverie is bro­ken by an in­creas­ingly ir­ri­tated co-worker/spouse/stranger re­peat­edly ask­ing you the time. But hon­estly, if we had to choose be­tween main­tain­ing so­cial norms and own­ing this watch, we’d prob­a­bly choose the watch. RRP $24,900

22. MONT­BLANC: TOUR­BIL­LON CYLIN­DRIQUE GEOSPHÈRES VASCO DA GAMA

Who knew that the mak­ers of fine writ­ing in­stru­ments were ca­pa­ble of such horo­log­i­cal artistry? The Tour­bil­lon Cylin­drique Geosphères Vasco da Gama rep­re­sents the pin­na­cle of Mont­blanc’s watch­mak­ing prow­ess. A mas­ter­piece from its Villeret man­u­fac­ture, the Geosphères, which shows the cur­rent time any­where in the world thanks to the hand-painted hemi­spheres, is dom­i­nated by the stun­ningly sculp­tural (and tech­ni­cal) tour­bil­lon with cylin­dri­cal main­spring. As an ex­am­ple of just how much work is in­volved in a watch like this, the three-di­men­sional bridge that holds the tour­bil­lon in place takes one week of work to fin­ish. POA

23. OMEGA: GLOBE­MAS­TER

Stephen Urquhart, the Pres­i­dent of Omega, is an im­pos­ing fig­ure in the in­dus­try, and you can dou­ble that ef­fect when you add a brand new plat­inum Globe­mas­ter to his wrist. This suit­ably pres­i­den­tial time­piece is the cherry on the top of Omega’s new Globe­mas­ter col­lec­tion, which draws its in­spi­ra­tion (es­pe­cially in the “pie-pan” dial and fluted bezel) from the brand’s much-ad­mired vintage Con­stel­la­tion mod­els. But im­por­tantly this isn’t a straight reis­sue of the past, it con­tains Omega’s tech­ni­cally ad­vanced Co-Ax­ial Master Chronome­ter move­ment. Urquhart ac­knowl­edges that the dis­tinc­tive bezel de­sign was “an im­por­tant part of our history that we hadn’t re­ally con­tin­ued to push all these years”. But that’s all changed now: for Omega, 2015 is all about the Globe­mas­ter. RRP $8875 in steel

24. ORIS: DIVERS SIXTY-FIVE

Over the past few years the watch in­dus­try has caught up with the world of menswear in re­al­is­ing that vintage is in. These days it’s prac­ti­cally manda­tory to pull out a de­sign from your ar­chives, give it a few tweaks and an­nounce it as a nov­elty. But few her­itage reis­sues have been ex­e­cuted as well as the Oris Divers Sixty-Five. If you put this watch next to the 1965 watch that inspired it you’d be hard pressed to tell the dif­fer­ence. The only real give­away is that the case has grown a few mil­lime­tres to suit mod­ern tastes. RRP $2300

25. PAN­ERAI: RA­DIOMIR FIRENZE

This is an im­por­tant watch for Pan­erai be­cause it speaks to the brand’s history and Ital­ian her­itage. It’s a lim­ited edi­tion of 99 pieces that will only be sold in the bou­tique in Florence, the city of Pan­erai’s birth. Each 47mm case has been metic­u­lously hand-en­graved by a sin­gle ar­ti­san over the course of a week — just one slip of that ar­ti­san’s hand means the whole case has to be dis­carded. The dec­o­ra­tion of the case is in­formed by Floren­tine history, with the city’s coat of arms sit­ting amid forms inspired by Re­nais­sance ar­chi­tec­ture. The Ra­diomir Firenze is a beau­ti­ful, though al­most un­ob­tain­able trib­ute to a beau­ti­ful city. POA At Basel­world this year ev­ery­one was talk­ing about one watch. And it had noth­ing to do with fruit. It was the Patek Philippe Cala­trava Pi­lot Travel Time. The Cala­trava col­lec­tion dates back to 1932 and is widely re­garded as the last word in dressy el­e­gance. The util­i­tar­ian styling of the Pi­lot Travel Time, while made to the high­est stan­dards, is about as far from clas­sic Patek as you can imag­ine. But the most in­ter­est­ing thing about the Pi­lot Travel Time is that is shows that Patek is will­ing to en­gage with younger cus­tomers by of­fer­ing more con­tem­po­rary de­signs. POA

27. PI­AGET: ALTI­PLANO CHRONO­GRAPH

Pi­aget takes the dic­tum of “less is more” lit­er­ally. For years the brand has ex­celled at cre­at­ing some of the world’s most amaz­ingly slen­der time­pieces. But in 2015, Pi­aget has added some­thing to its flag­ship line. The tra­di­tion­ally time-only Alti­plano just be­came a lit­tle com­pli­cated, with a fly­back chrono­graph and a sec­ond time-zone dis­play. That has not stopped it be­ing the thinnest chrono­graph ever made. The en­tire watch mea­sures a mere 8.24mm thick. The dial of the watch is sim­i­larly pared back, with a min­i­mal­ist look that will ap­peal to those who nor­mally avoid the usu­ally sports-fo­cused com­pli­ca­tion. RRP $40,400

28. RAY­MOND WEIL: FREE­LANCER PIPER

It’s not un­com­mon for lux­ury watch brands to have re­la­tion­ships with aerospace or automotive com­pa­nies, but all too of­ten these “syn­er­gis­tic” re­la­tion­ships feel over-mar­keted and in­au­then­tic. In con­trast it would be hard to find a more gen­uine con­nec­tion than that be­tween Piper Air­craft and Ray­mond Weil. Mr Weil, the founder of the brand, was a keen pi­lot and proud owner of a Piper plane. This lim­ited edi­tion Free­lancer, with chrono­graph and GMT com­pli­ca­tions, picks up on the vis­ual cues of Piper’s al­time­ter gauge with the run­ning sec­onds sub­dial at nine. RRP $5999

29. ROLEX: OYS­TER PER­PET­UAL YACHT-MASTER

On the open­ing day of the Basel­world fair a quiet crowd sur­rounded one dis­play. The watch that ev­ery­one was so ea­ger to see was the new Rolex Yacht-Master. Sure the new case in Everose (Rolex’s patented rose gold), vintage-inspired dial and matte Cer­achrom bezel were all im­pres­sive, but what blew peo­ple away was the “never-be­fore-seen-on-a-Rolex” Oys­ter­flex bracelet. Rolex has stolen the show many times, but never with an ac­ces­sory as small as a bracelet. But what a bracelet. It fea­tures a su­pere­las­tic me­tal core and an in­ge­nious ven­ti­la­tion sys­tem that makes it ex­tremely com­fort­able to wear. POA

30. TAG HEUER: MONACO V4 PHAN­TOM

For the past 300-odd years me­chan­i­cal watches have re­lied on wheels, gears and pin­ions to keep the hands turn­ing. The TAG Heuer Monaco V4 changed all that. Draw­ing in­spi­ra­tion from high­per­for­mance en­gines the V4 transmits power from its four bar­rels us­ing tiny ser­rated steel-re­in­forced rub­ber belts. How tiny, I hear you ask? Try 0.07mm thin. This year the V4 got a stealth makeover. The en­tire case and dial is con­structed in su­per-light, su­per­strong and su­per-black Car­bon Ma­trix Com­pos­ite, which gives the al­ready fu­tur­is­tic-look­ing watch a dis­tinct air of men­ace. RRP $61,000

31. VACHERON CON­STANTIN: HAR­MONY UL­TRA-THIN GRANDE COM­PLI­CA­TION CHRONO­GRAPH

When Chris­tian Sel­moni started work­ing at the grand mai­son of Vacheron Con­stantin in 1990, com­put­ers had no role in the de­sign or pro­duc­tion of watches. Sel­moni, now artis­tic di­rec­tor, says that these days com­put­ers do have a role, “but not so much for de­sign­ing — we use them to sim­u­late the re­flec­tion of light on the me­tal, for ex­am­ple”. For a brand to be so cau­tious about the use of com­put­ers is al­most un­think­able in this day and age, but Vacheron Con­stantin, which cel­e­brates its 260th birth­day this Septem­ber, is no or­di­nary brand, and Sel­moni ac­knowl­edges that pre­serv­ing its her­itage while look­ing to the fu­ture is hard. “We are the old­est con­tin­u­ously op­er­at­ing watch­mak­ing brand, we’re fa­mous for clas­sic de­sign, but we don’t want to ap­pear old and dusty so we com­bine tra­di­tional aes­thet­ics with con­tem­po­rary tech­nique,” Sel­moni says. This dual­ity is per­fectly en­cap­su­lated in the New Har­mony col­lec­tion, which fea­tures the tra­di­tional chrono­graph com­pli­ca­tions en­cased in a highly tech­ni­cal in­ter­pre­ta­tion of the cush­ion case. POA

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