Best of 2018

As the year draws to a close, it’s time to look back at the watches that have stood out from the crowd. The full breadth of styles and prices is rep­re­sented, as Chris Hall picks his favourites

Business Traveller (Middle East) - - Watch Special -

1 TU­DOR BLACK BAY GMT

One of the ma­jor trends of the year has been watches equipped to keep time in two time zones at once, and this be­ing Busi­ness

Trav­eller it seemed only fit­ting to high­light the de­sign that best meets a globe-trot­ter’s needs. The Black Bay GMT looks great – es­pe­cially on the brown leather strap – and is a cinch to op­er­ate; the large red di­a­mondtipped hand in­di­cates the time at home on the 24-hour scale around the bezel. To make it, Tu­dor bor­rowed the key parts from Rolex’s out­go­ing GMT move­ment, so you know the me­chan­ics are fool­proof. Best of all, like all Black Bay mod­els, it isn’t out­ra­geously priced – yours for less than the price of a busi­ness-class flight. From $3,106.

2 FARER SEGRAVE CHRONOGRAPH

My best-value pick comes from a British brand cut­ting out such costly en­cum­brances as re­tail premises or brand am­bas­sadors. Come on Switzer­land – you can do it! But even on its own mer­its, Farer’s Segrave wins out: an ETA chronograph with char­ac­ter­ful de­sign for $2,167 is a no-brainer.

3 PATEK PHILIPPE 5270P

We all have the same dream, only the de­tails change. If you should sud­denly be­come a mil­lion­aire, re­ward your­self with an age­less beauty from Patek Philippe – a per­pet­ual calendar chronograph in plat­inum with “sal­mon” dial, for $185,377. It’s so taste­ful peo­ple will as­sume you’re old money.

4 GREUBEL FORSEY DIFFÉRENTIEL D’ÉGALITÉ

Robert Greubel and Stephen Forsey are per­fec­tion­ists among per­fec­tion­ists; their

work­shop pro­duces around 100 watches a year and each one is a per­fect demon­stra­tion of their aim to take me­chan­i­cal time­keep­ing as far as it can pos­si­bly go, all ex­e­cuted with a level of hand-fin­ish­ing that is un­sur­passed. The Différentiel d’Égalité em­ploys some­thing called a re­mon­toire spring, to­gether with a dif­fer­en­tial gear­ing to en­sure ex­tremely smooth de­liv­ery of the watch’s power to the es­cape­ment, which is an­gled through 30 de­grees for greater sta­bil­ity and re­vealed by the open­ing that crosses the lower left third of the dial. It’s a me­chan­i­cal mas­ter­piece ten years in de­vel­op­ment, al­beit one most own­ers won’t even no­tice at work, let alone fully ex­am­ine – and the bits you can’t see are pol­ished just as finely as the ones you can. Noth­ing sums up the charms of high-end watch­mak­ing bet­ter than that. Around $258,861.

5 ROLEX DEEPSEA

Noth­ing could fill me with more dread than the idea of de­scend­ing 3,900m be­low the waves, so I find the idea of this watch be­ing up to the task awe­some – in the orig­i­nal sense. Rolex has beefed up the case, bracelet and clasp and up­graded the move­ment: the tough just got tougher. Priced $12,557.

6 BAUME & MERCIER CLIFTON BAUMATIC

In­tri­cate move­ments and su­per­star de­signs may dom­i­nate here, but some­times you just want a watch that’ll do a great job with­out fuss. Anti-mag­netic el­e­ments, a five-day power re­serve and good daily ac­cu­racy make the Clifton Baumatic the ideal Mon­day-to-Fri­day watch. From $2,977.

7 NOMOS GLASHUTTE AUTOBAHN NEOMATIK

To make a “mo­tor­ing watch” is noth­ing spe­cial, but to make one that es­chews race­car touch­points like punched-leather straps, tyre-print rub­ber, red-and-black in­stru­ment di­als and, shud­der, car­bon fi­bre, now that’s more in­ter­est­ing. There are echoes of the Ger­man mo­tor­way and a nod to dash­board de­sign but, at all times, the need to make a beau­ti­ful watch has come first. There’s great tex­ture in the con­cave dial and raised lu­mi­nous seg­ments, and a sporty sim­plic­ity to the sin­gle-piece case. Most of all I like the over­all sense of light­ness that comes from the sparse ty­pog­ra­phy and com­mit­ment to white space – it’s a de­sign that never fails to put a smile on my face. Around $4,919.

8 BAMFORD ZENITH CHRONOGRAPH

Watch geeks know Zenith’s pedi­gree is im­pec­ca­ble, and that George Bamford is flavour of the month for col­lab­o­ra­tive de­signs that lace es­tab­lished mod­els with hip­ster­ish de­signs. What’s un­ex­pected is for his work to be so far ahead of Zenith’s own ideas; while it searches for its miss­ing mojo, Bamford has it in spades. Priced $7,897.

9 ORIS CARL BRAS­HEAR BRONZE CHRONOGRAPH

Noth­ing says “I bought my watch in 2018” like a bronze-cased retro-in­spired chronograph with a blue dial and a sub­tly tex­tured leather strap. Luck­ily, this Oris is more than a box-tick­ing ex­er­cise, it’s a co­he­sive and com­pelling over­all pack­age that’s also well-priced at $4,660.

10 GLASHUTTE ORIG­I­NAL SIX­TIES

Glashutte Orig­i­nal spends most of its time cleav­ing to clas­si­cal ideals of Ger­man watch­mak­ing, but it’s at its best when chan­nelling the raw, es­o­teric cre­ativ­ity of the GDR years. It’s cleaner and sim­pler with­out the date win­dow in­ter­rupt­ing that fan­tas­tic rich dial. Priced $6,473.

11 BUL­GARI OCTO FINISSIMO ROSE GOLD

Sure, the power of an all-gold watch as a sta­tus sym­bol is noth­ing new – and not al­ways as­so­ci­ated with good taste and re­fine­ment. Bul­gari changes that by giv­ing

the Octo Finissimo a sand­blasted fin­ish that di­als down the harsh gleam of gold to a warm, pow­er­ful glow. Priced $48,806.

12 AUDE­MARS PIGUET ROYAL OAK PER­PET­UAL CALENDAR

This was tough – I’ve seen more than 200 new watches up close this year, and many more that have im­pressed from afar. So to pick one that was re­leased at the start of the year feels bold – was it re­ally bet­ter than ev­ery­thing that came af­ter? Well, in engi­neer­ing the Royal Oak Per­pet­ual Calendar to be thin­ner than most stan­dard watches ( just 6.3mm) Aude­mars Piguet pulled off an enor­mous tech­ni­cal feat. Typ­i­cally, that kind of achieve­ment does not go hand-in-hand with flaw­less de­sign, but it’s an aes­thetic tri­umph as well as a me­chan­i­cal one. Which makes it my watch of the year. Price on ap­pli­ca­tion.

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