THE A-LIST

De­spite the lux­ury slump, watch brands con­tinue to im­press – and wow – with these time­pieces.

The Peak Selections: Timepieces - - Contents - TEXT CHARMIAN LEONG IL­LUS­TRA­TION DENISE REI LOW

HID­DEN DEPTHS

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)

SEE­ING STARS

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)

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