Watches & Wonders 2021: The top 8 timepieces

Written by Alex Doak, NCS

Around this time of 12 months, life-style journalists can be regaling watch fanatics with tales from Richemont’s ritzy Watches & Wonders commerce honest (previously Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie, SIHH) at Geneva’s Palexpo conference heart, and the historic Baselworld, the place each different watchmaker, from Alpina to Zenith, is hosted and toasted within the Herzog & de Meuron-designed Messe exhibition complicated.

But the occasions of final spring made a unique “messe” of all that, in fact, which implies that, for a second 12 months, we’re reporting on essentially the most extraordinary horological creations launched completely through Watches & Wonders’ on-line portal — whipped up in report time final March, and now absolutely loaded with panel discussions, keynotes, commerce assets and a Q&A interface.

This time, it is showcasing 38 watchmakers — up from 30 at 2020’s occasion, due to a spaghetti junction of name manoeuvres catalyzed by Baselworld’s awkwardness over exhibitors’ refunds for the cancelled 2020 present. Patek Philippe, Rolex and Chopard, who have been speculated to debut their very own bodily occasion this 12 months to rival Baselworld’s desperately rejigged Hour Universe, are among the many Basel stalwarts which have hopped aboard the great ship Watches & Wonders, making it fairly the luxurious super-cruiser.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Hybris Mechanica Calibre 185 (Quadriptyque)

Right now, given all the things, to what query is the reply a 1.35 million-euro ($1.6 million) mechanical watch that retains monitor of the synodic, draconic and anomalistic cycles of the moons, and chimes out the time with miniature hammers and gongs, all unfold throughout 4 dials in a case that flips from again to entrance utilizing a 90-year-old mechanism devised for polo-playing officers of the British Raj? At some level quickly, the ten collectors with sufficient of an “in” with Jaeger-LeCoultre to accumulate this limited-edition indulgence will discover out.

The watch retails at $1.6 million.

The watch retails at $1.6 million. Credit: Courtesy of Jaeger-LeCoultre

Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Hybris Mechanica Calibre 185 (Quadriptyque).

Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Hybris Mechanica Calibre 185 (Quadriptyque). Credit: Courtesy of Jaeger-LeCoultre

Speaking to NCS over Zoom, CEO Catherine Renier in contrast the Quadriptyque to an idea automotive, whose six-year gestation will profit the core catalog because the tech trickles down. It has additionally galvanized the Swiss marque’s formidable battalion of artisans, able to making all the things from the uncooked steel beneath one roof.

Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921

Going again a complete century is a relative blink of the attention for Switzerland’s oldest maison and, certain sufficient, this contemporary reboot of a Roaring Twenties traditional feels as recent as ever. The asymmetry is tenuously pegged to the wants of the last decade’s burgeoning automotive tradition (steering wheels, awkward wrist angles and all that) however you may simply revel within the avant-garde stylings, in addition to the beautiful mechanics gleaming from the caseback.

Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921.

Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921. Credit: Courtesy of Vacheron Constantin

Montblanc 1858 Split Second Chronograph Limited Edition 18

In the world of watches at the least, there is not any obvious finish to the classic revival development (not that we’re complaining). What you see right here, nonetheless, is real residing historical past: storied Swiss producer Minerva’s hand-wound 19-09CH caliber from 1909, nonetheless laboriously hand-crafted utilizing the identical strategies, in the identical workshops overlooking the chocolate-box-pretty valley of Villeret. (Hamburg’s most interesting pen maker acquired Minerva in 2007.) It’s nonetheless a very refined little bit of package, too: two column-wheel clutches controlling two seconds stopwatch arms that may be “split” to time two subsequent occasions, and calculations of velocity and distance will be remodeled three minutes, moderately than the standard one.

Montblanc 1858 Split Second Chronograph Limited Edition 18.

Montblanc 1858 Split Second Chronograph Limited Edition 18. Credit: Courtesy of Montblanc

Roger Dubuis Excalibur Glow Me Up

This limited-edition providing from Geneva’s enfant horrible horologer is just spectacular. Supercharging the spokes of the signature Excalibur skeleton dial, during which a tumbling tourbillon cage floats in area, is disco-worthy Super-LumiNova paint. Furthermore, the circumference of the case contains a patented world first, luminescent diamonds, in a equally lurid ’70s color method. To obtain this, Roger Dubuis invented a brand new expertise that applies the coating to small groves beneath the baguette-cut stones. A greater title might need been “Show Me Up” for all the eye this’ll garner.


Roger Dubuis Excalibur Glow Me Up. Credit: Courtesy of Robert Dubuis

The watch case features luminescent diamonds.

The watch case options luminescent diamonds. Credit: Courtesy of Robert Dubuis

Oris Divers Sixty-Five Cotton Candy

“With spring comes fresh hope,” goes the press launch, “and with it (more so than ever this year) light at the end of a long, dark tunnel.” Amen to that, Oris. Bound to carry an immediate smile, the Divers Sixty-Five Cotton Candy is greater than an omen for spring, It’s summer season in 38 mm of bronze alloy, with a gelateria of dial colors from sky blue to mint inexperienced to child pink. Starting at about $2,300, it is also the (comparatively) wallet-friendly funding a number of us want as we exit that tunnel.

Oris Divers Sixty-Five Cotton Candy.

Oris Divers Sixty-Five Cotton Candy. Credit: Courtesy of Oris

The bronze watch come in a gelateria of colors for $2,300.

The bronze watch are available in a gelateria of colours for $2,300. Credit: Courtesy of Oris

Ulysse Nardin UFO

Breaking from wristwatches momentarily, this is a reminder of the place the precision mechanics, which so many take as a right, initially got here from: marine chronometry. In different phrases, a small clock mounted on gimbals within the captain’s cabin, retaining robustly exact “home time” as a method of figuring out longitudinal place.

Ulysse Nardin UFO.

Ulysse Nardin UFO. Credit: Courtesy of Ulysse Nardin

One hundred seventy-five years in the past, Ulysse Nardin’s prize-winning chronometers stored 45 admiralties heading in the right direction in such a style. But as an alternative of celebrating the anniversary with a throwback, the Swiss watchmaker is throwing issues ahead, so to talk. “We always look ahead,” CEO Patrick Pruniaux mentioned in a press release. “We wondered what a marine chronometer designed in 2196 would be like.”

Sure sufficient, the UFO lives as much as its title, in addition to the model’s historic repute, with triple-dial time zones and a sci-fi structure with an eye fixed on the longer term in addition to the ocean.

Piaget Altiplano Ultimate Concept La Côte-aux-Fées

Since Piaget made its ultra-thin idea of 2019 formally core-catalogue, they’ve actually been having enjoyable with it — no imply feat, given the mere 2 mm of depth afforded by The World’s Thinnest Watch. The 4 principal parts of a watch — the motion’s baseplate, the caseback, case ring and crowning bezel — are all merged right into a single part, which leaves simply the motion’s wheels and comes to be dropped in, mounted on a single bridge. The latter is the place issues will be blended up, realised in vivid style by a breakthrough expertise referred to as atomic layer deposition (ALD).

Piaget Altiplano Ultimate Concept La Côte-aux-Fées.

Piaget Altiplano Ultimate Concept La Côte-aux-Fées. Credit: Courtesy of Piaget

In this case, ALD permits the verdant slopes surrounding Piaget’s historic atelier in La Côte-aux-Fées to be rendered in razor-thin inexperienced aluminum oxide, deposited in gaseous pulses. The inexperienced alligator strap was most likely a bit simpler.

Louis Vuitton Tambour Carpe Diem

“Our aim was to get off the beaten track,” mentioned Michel Navas, founding grasp watchmaker at Louis Vuitton’s Swiss La Fabrique du Temps workshop, in a press launch. This 12 months, he could not have achieved so extra off-beatedly — and fully in-house as well.

The clock's mechanics are in the shape of a skull.

The clock’s mechanics are within the form of a cranium. Credit: Ulysse Frechelin/Louis Vuitton

Louis Vuitton Tambour Carpe Diem.

Louis Vuitton Tambour Carpe Diem. Credit: Ulysse Frechelin/Louis Vuitton

Push the reptile-shaped push-piece on the best of the case and the central snake’s head lifts as much as reveal the hour aperture positioned on the brow of the cranium, whereas the rattlesnake tail oscillates in direction of the minutes, under the power-reserve hourglass. Seize the day, for certain. As for managing to grab one in all these…


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