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