Despite the luxury slump, watch brands continue to impress – and wow – with these timepieces.
Viewed from above, MB&F’s latest horological machine looks unexpectedly normal, at least by the brand’s standards. The HM7 Aquapod is round (a first for the HM collection); it has a central tourbillon, and the bezel is characteristic of traditional diving watches. But view it from the side and you’ll see that the watch is anything but conventional.
The notched bezel actually surrounds two domed sapphire crystals, giving it the appearance of a ringed planet. The real inspiration, however, is much closer to home. The articulated lugs, tentacle-shaped rotor and generous amounts of lume actually take after a jellyfish. Such a case requires a vertically mounted movement, and this one’s automatic with a power reserve of 72 hours. The watch can also be admired in the dark, with lume having been applied to the numerals and the areas surrounding the movement. There’s a dedicated crown for winding it, while the second crown takes care of time adjustments.
The largest wristwatch MB&F has made, this 53.8mm by 21.3mm aquatic beast was designed by prolific watch designer Eric Giroud; and was brought to life by 49 collaborators, including brand founder Max Busser. MB&F HM7 Aquapod: $193,200 (rose gold), $160,500 (titanium)
We’ll get straight to the point. The Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers Celestia Astronomical Grand Complication 3600 is the most complicated wristwatch the brand has made. Its 23 functions might pale in comparison to the 57 offered by the brand’s Ref. 57260 pocket watch from 2015, but 2017’s highlight is still pretty out of this world.
Focusing on astronomical complications, its list of such features is lengthy. These include a moonphase, sunrise/sunset complication, day/ night length indicator, zodiac, equinoxes, solstices, running equation of time, star chart, tourbillon, sidereal time, power reserve indicator, and mareoscope, which shows the relationship of the sun, moon and tides.
Incredibly, this double-sided watch houses a calibre just 8.7mm thick, bringing the overall case dimensions to 45mm in diameter and 13.6mm in thickness.
This movement consists of 514 parts that have been finely finished to Geneva Seal standards, and is the result of five years of work by a single master watchmaker. Unsurprisingly, only one piece of this white gold beauty has been made. Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers Celestia Astronomical Grand Complication 3600, price upon request
A PLACE IN THE SUN
If you’ve always found the idea of sundials romantic, you may have considered a watch with an equation of time – that refers to the difference between standard 24-hour time and true solar time (it can vary by -16 to +14 minutes a day). That’s the complication Breguet has dedicated its latest novelty to, in honour of its founder’s appointment in 1814 to the Bureau des Longitudes (a French scientific institution) in Paris.
The Breguet Marine Equation Marchante 5887 is one of the rare watches that display a running (marchant) equation of time, which means it uses a second minute hand that runs according to solar time. It is more common to find subdials that show how many minutes you need to add or subtract to tell the difference.
In the 5887, that hand is tipped by a sun motif. The equation of time’s figure eight-shaped cam is also visible above the tourbillon carriage and runs on a sapphire disc to prevent obscuring the view of the tourbillon. A fourth, anchor-tipped hand indicates the date for the perpetual calendar and the dial is engraved with a wave pattern to emphasise the nautical theme. Breguet Marine Equation Marchante 5887: $331,000 (platinum), $309,000 (rose gold)