“Pi­aget mak­ing use of spring drive tech­nol­ogy from Seiko is def­i­nitely a par­a­digm shift that will have ma­jor reper­cus­sions in the fu­ture”

DA MAN - Caliber - - FAIR -

Take, for ex­am­ple, A. Lange & Söhne and their Dato­graph Per­pet­ual Tour­bil­lon. Un­der­ly­ing their sub­tle ap­proach to lux­ury, the tour­bil­lon on this time­piece is only vis­i­ble through the case-back—which is rather un­com­mon in mod­ern watches equipped with this par­tic­u­lar com­pli­ca­tion. Then again, “hid­den” tourbil­lons aren’t ex­actly new for A. Lange & Söhne. Fur­ther­more, the Dato­graph in the watch’s name refers to a unique fea­ture com­bin­ing “date” and “chrono­graph” func­tions, while the Per­pet­ual part refers to a whole group of mech­a­nisms rang­ing from a date dis­play to a moon phase in­di­ca­tor. The go­ing price for this lim­ited time­piece (only 100 are pro­duced) sits at a breath­tak­ing €295,000.

That be­ing said, it would seem that A. Lange & Söhne is also push­ing their Sax­o­nia Moon Phase model—which comes with a price tag only a hair over a tenth of the Dato­graph Per­pet­ual Tour­bil­lon. In­deed, many brands were vis­i­bly fo­cus­ing more and more on their en­trylevel of­fer­ings. An­other par­tic­u­larly no­table ex­am­ple of this trend would be IWC’s Time­zoner Chrono­graph, which is part of the brand’s over­hauled line of pi­lot watches. De­signed with the mod­ern jet­set­ter in mind, it looks un­mis­tak­ably IWC and houses a range of nifty com­pli­ca­tions. More im­por­tantly, at just be­low $12,000, the Time­zoner Chrono­graph is a def­i­nite bar­gain.

Speak­ing of mar­ket trends, how­ever, there were mi­nor shifts in de­sign and ma­te­rial pref­er­ences as well. For the lat­ter, there’s the resur­gence of clas­sic yel­low gold. It cer­tainly begs the ques­tion: Why was yel­low gold ever un­pop­u­lar in watch­mak­ing? Did too many peo­ple per­haps feel that it was a bit too os­ten­ta­tious, or even some­what tacky, com­pared to the sub­tler shades of white and rose gold? In any case, yel­low gold is back, and Aude­mars Piguet had the per­fect piece to show why this hue should have never gone out of fa­vor.

The talk­ing piece is, of course, the Aude­mars Piguet Royal Oak Chrono­graph 26320 Yel­low Gold. While not a new de­sign by any means, this up­dated Royal Oak model is wider than its pre­de­ces­sors at 41mm in di­am­e­ter but also thin­ner at 10.8mm. So, it’s ac­tu­ally rather thin for a chrono­graph and feels bal­anced on the wrist. While it has many other fea­tures go­ing for it, such as the brand’s sig­na­ture Grande Tapis­serie pat­tern on the dial, this Royal Oak will cer­tainly be re­mem­bered fore­most for its in­ge­nious way of uti­liz­ing yel­low gold. Its gilded ap­pear­ance is quite vivid, yet it is al­most com­pletely coated with a brushed fin­ish, giv­ing it a matte look that is easy on the eye while be­ly­ing a more clas­sic sense of lux­ury.

Noth­ing, though, says “lux­ury” quite like a gold move­ment. As in, a watch with a move­ment made out of gold—which is both a tech­ni­cal marvel and an un­beat­able feast for the dis­cern­ing eye. That watch is the Parmi­giani Fleurier Bu­gatti Su­per Sport Sap­phire, part of a line of lim­ited edi­tion time­pieces crafted by Parmi­giani in a part­ner­ship with Bu­gatti that goes all the way back to 2004. While new ad­di­tions to the line have been re­leased fol­low­ing SIHH 2016 (namely the Parmi­giani PF Bu­gatti 390 con­cept watch), the Bu­gatti Su­per Sport Sap­phire sits in a league of its own.

In essence, the Bu­gatti Su­per Sport Sap­phire is a skele­tonized struc­ture, rem­i­nis­cent of an en­gine block, to which sap­phire seg­ments have been added. This gives

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