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A New Chapter: Subtle Luxury Time Pieces

The growing taste for subtle luxury sees timepiece sizes being dialled down


Paying tribute to the original Portofino watch from 1937, a moon-phase display takes centre stage against a white mother-of-pearl dial in the latest iteration of the Portofino Automatic Moon Phase 37 (formerly known as the Midsize). The 37mm stainless steel watch comes with a green alligator leather strap, handmade by the leather experts at Santoni.


While they look very different, there’s something similar about how these timepieces showcase refinement: by displaying practical functions with a little flourish. The arcing power-reserve indicator and a seconds sub-dial add interest to the face of the 38mm Breguet Classique (Ref. 5277BR/12/9V6) in rose gold (top). Calendar numerals, on the other hand, deck out the dial of the 37mm Patek Calatrava (Ref. 6000G-012) in white gold (bottom).


Just because a watch is on the smaller side — in this case, 40mm — doesn’t necessarily mean it has to compromise in terms of complications. The Girard-Perregaux 1966 Dual Time in rose gold features a dual time zone function (the second time zone is indicated by the coloured hand pointing at the inner hour ring), as well as a calendar date ring at six o’clock.


Two timepieces, two very different takes on tradition. On the left, the MB&F LM101 Frost is the latest model in the brand’s Legacy Machine series, which comprises avant-garde designs inspired by watches from a century ago. The 40mm watch features a textured sparkling dial in yellow gold. On the right, the Ulysse Nardin Classico Manufacture in a 40mm rose gold case is hewed more closely to classic design as we know it, with a restrained aesthetic incorporating a small seconds and date display.


Launched this year, the Cle de Cartier series sees the introduction of a brand new shape for the brand. Distinguished by a round dial in an oval case, and a rectangular sapphire-set crown that turns like a clicking key, the 40mm Cle de Cartier in white gold is powered by the new in-house automatic movement, 1847MC.



A nod to Omega’s vintage Constellation models, the 39mm Globemaster (top) in steel has distinguishing traits such as a “pie pan”-like dial, a fluted bezel and a star emblem at six o’clock. Inside, however, it is all about forward-looking technology, housing the anti-magnetic Omega Co-Axial Master Chronometer calibre 8900. Offering an alternative to its ceramic designs, Rado’s new 38mm Coupole Classic Automatic in steel (bottom) takes its style cues from its watches from the 1960s.