Manually wound in-house movement with 72-hour power reserve
41mm in white gold
295,000 Swiss francs (S$408,000)
A New Era:
Typically, the ever-popular round watch is a staple for a big watch brand. Audemars Piguet has been an exception – until now. The Le Brassus manufacture, of course, is best known for its much-loved octagonal-bezelled Royal Oak. This year, the brand created plenty of buzz with an all-new round watch family, Code 11.59, launching with 13 references including top-of-the-line models like the Minute Repeater Supersonnerie.
In The Details:
I like the collection’s attention to detail and the way AP designers have integrated codes from the Royal Oak. Featuring the brand’s signature mix of brushed, polished and bevelled surfaces, the multi-part round case integrates an octagonal case body. The open-worked lugs have been welded to the bezel, adding a sporty, modern feel. Also a plus is the gradated lacquer finish on the higher-end pieces such as the Minute Repeater Supersonnerie.
This watch is powered by the manually wound Calibre 2953, based on Audemars Piguet’s Supersonnerie chiming movement where the gongs are mounted on a device functioning as a soundboard. Activated by a slider on the left side of the case, the resultant chiming is noticeably louder than other minute repeaters, while remaining pretty mellifluous.
Blancpain | Villeret GMT Date
In-house automatic movement with four-day power reserve
40mm in red gold or steel
$56,500 (red gold with red gold bracelet)
One of my favourite dress-watch families, Blancpain’s Villeret collection is nearly four decades old and has several elegant distinguishing qualities: These include a two-stepped bezel that gives the watches a sleek profile, and cut-out leaf-shaped hands. This year, the collection focuses on streamlined functionality with the new Villeret GMT Date – a dual-time watch that enables a traveller to read travel and home times simultaneously.
This is not the first time a GMT complication has been seen in the Villeret family, but this function has thus far been combined with complex calendars. This new model retains just the GMT function, date and time for a refined aesthetic. A red triangle- tipped hand indicates home time on a 24-hour scale. The watch is powered by Blancpain’s 5A50 automatic movement, which has a four-day power reserve and an antimagnetic silicon hairspring.
Its stepped bezel and compact, curved lugs give the Villeret GMT Date a slim profile, as well as an elegant presence. It’s a perfect option for those who have always wanted dual-time functionality in a Villeret, without the multiple calendar windows of the traditional GMT models from the collection. The 40mm timepiece is available in either red gold or steel, with the choice of an alligator strap or metal bracelet.
Cartier | Revelation d’une Panthere
Manually wound in-house movement with 38-hour power reserve
37mm in white gold and diamonds
The panther is a long-time Cartier signature. Now that the brand is focusing its energies on design and heritage, we’re seeing many gorgeous new iterations of the decorative panther-themed timepiece. These include bracelet watches featuring three-dimensional, gem-studded panther heads or panther motifs created using techniques like wood marquetry. The most striking of the pack is the new Revelation d’une Panthere.
Back With Bling:
Last year, Cartier debuted the first Revelation d’une Panthere. While the watch dial initially looks plain green, moving the watch causes tiny gold spheres to cascade downwards, momentarily creating the outline of a panther head. Basically, the gold balls are suspended in a liquid that has been patented by Cartier. The latest version of the Revelation d’une Panthere works by the same principle but, instead, with 650 diamonds.
Of course, there’s plenty more ice aside from those floating above the black lacquer dial. From bracelet to bezel, this timepiece is covered in diamonds – including those in the dial, this sleek white gold timepiece has a total of 1,289 diamonds totalling 19.39 carats. It’s powered by a manually wound movement, not like anyone’s getting something like this to tell the time.
Franck Muller | Vanguard Crazy Hours
Self-winding movement with 42-hour power reserve
53.7mm by 44mm in steel, carbon, titanium or rose gold
Starts from $21,486 (steel)
From unusual tourbillons to time displays that run backwards, Franck Muller has masterminded several interesting technical innovations. But one complication has remained its signature since being launched in 2003 – the Crazy Hours time display, which comprises jumbled-up hours that are in the “correct” position only four times every 12 hours. Now, this feature is placed for the first time in the brand’s sporty, tonneau-shaped Vanguard case.
Similar to the brand’s Cintree Curvex case, the curved form of the Vanguard helps it to sit comfortably on the wrist. Despite its lugless design, the Vanguard Crazy Hours still wears pretty large with its sizeable dimensions of 53.7mm by 44mm by 13.7mm. Case options are available – those who like their watches light should opt for titanium or carbon; while the steel or rose gold models will suit those who like a reassuring weight on the wrist.
A Classic Refreshed:
Despite being 16 years old, the Franck Muller Crazy Hours remains a timeless, whimsical feature. I like how the juxtaposition with the Vanguard case and aesthetic gives this classic complication a fresh feel – and it’s a bonus that the large, applied numerals in highly contrasting hues help to emphasise the Crazy Hours display. The many case options, from sporty steel to edgy- looking forged carbon, will satisfy different aesthetic preferences.
Jaquet Droz | Magic Lotus Automaton
Automatic movement with 68-hour power reserve
43mm in red or white gold
Zen On Your Wrist:
Among watch brands today, Jaquet Droz is synonymous with poetic horological automatons, primarily thanks to the brand’s many takes on its animated singing-bird motif. Instead of birds singing and hatching against leafy backgrounds, Jaquet Droz’s 2019 release focuses on the life cycle of a lotus and a koi swimming beneath blooms floating in the pond of a Japanese Zen garden.
Work Of Nature:
Taking three years to develop, this automaton has four patents pending and its elements are engraved by hand. The koi and the lotus directly across it are not just still motifs mounted on a disc – the centre stone of the lotus changes each time it appears from beneath a leaf or the time-display dial, while the koi’s entire body swishes along. Each animation, when activated, lasts more than four minutes, with eight rotations lasting 30 seconds each.
Naturally, the watch is on the larger side to accommodate this tableau – the watch comes in a 43mm case of white or red gold. However, it sits extremely well on the wrist, thanks to its short and slightly curved polished lugs. Turn the watch over and you’ll find a pretty impressive view as well: The bridges and rotor are engraved with motifs of carp and lotus blooms that reflect the goings-on on the other side.
Montblanc | 1858 Geosphere
Automatic movement with 42-hour power reserve
42mm in bronze or steel
$9,400 (bronze, limited to 1,858 pieces), $8,300 (steel)
As more bronze watches hit the shelves, it takes a distinctive design to stand out. Montblanc’s 1858 Geosphere does that with its unusual design featuring two rotating hemispheres that function as an approximate world- time display, and a second time display at nine o’clock. A simpler version of the high-end Tourbillon Cylindrique Geospheres models, the Geosphere was first launched last year in steel or bronze (limited edition), both with a black dial.
A New Icon:
This year, the Geosphere gets a new look with a bronze case and a gradated khaki dial. This adds to the 42mm watch’s outdoorsy, old-world charm – its bezel is also a compass – and unusual style. It’s complemented by vintage-esque details like beige-Superluminova-coated numerals, a railway minutes track and a Montblanc logo from the 1930s. I like its well-made, dimensional feel, in large part due to the lume-treated domed globes on its dial.
Quality From Within:
Montblanc continues to push its value-for-money proposition: This watch, just like all the watches in the 1858 collection, undergoes the brand’s Laboratory Test 500, whereby timepieces are exposed to over 500 hours of simulated wear in different conditions. Making for a better wearing experience are details such as a caseback made from titanium (because bronze can cause allergic reactions) but finished with a bronze-coloured coating.
Patek Philippe | Annual Calendar Regulator Ref. 5235R
Automatic in-house movement with 48-hour power reserve
40.5mm in rose gold
A Layout With A Difference:
Featuring separate displays for the hours, minutes and seconds, the regulator-style dial has an interesting link to watchmaking history. Traditionally, regulator clocks were used in watchmaking workshops to make it easier for watchmakers at their benches to adjust the watches they were working on. In 2011, Patek Philippe unveiled its first regular-style wristwatch, the Ref. 5235G in white gold.
Remade In Rose Gold:
While its look is undeniably luxe, the Ref. 5235R’s vertically brushed graphite-coloured dial and angled lugs provide an industrial-ish contrast that emphasises its technical feel. The annual calendar function requires adjustment only once a year at
the end of February, keeping the user on top of the days without needing constant attention.
Measuring just 10mm in thickness and 40.5mm in diameter, the Ref. 5235R is driven by a movement specially designed for this model. Created for the Ref. 5235, the automatic Calibre 31-260 REG QA features a top-of-the-line regulator that includes Patek innovations such as its silicon escapement
and balance spring. All in all, this is an elegant timepiece that’s far more interesting-looking than your average dinner-party watch.
Richard Mille | RM 16-01 Reglisse
Automatic movement with 55-hour power reserve
50.2mm by 38mm, in TZP ceramic and white gold
I’m a sucker for all things crazy and colourful, but that’s the exception rather than the norm in the typically conservative watch world. I was therefore pleasantly surprised when Richard Mille’s candy- and fruit-themed collection, Bonbon, was well-received by many of my fellow journos at the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie in January. Seems like whatever your age, sweet treats still put a smile on people’s faces.
The brainchild of the brand’s artistic director Cecile Guenat, the Bonbon collection comprises 10 new models housed in six Carbon TPT or Quartz TPT cases and four two-tone ceramic cases. One standout of the collection is the RM 16-01 Reglisse (which is French for liquorice). A coil of the chewy “candy” takes centre stage in this watch: The realistic- looking black strip is stamped from a solid block of titanium and is coated in black chrome.
What needs to be made clear is that despite their playful aesthetic, there is no quibbling over the quality of these pieces. The RM 16-01 Reglisse features a top and bottom bezel in blush-pink and yellow TZP carbon respectively, and a caseband of white gold – the slightly curved, three-part case construction associated with the brand that makes for an excellent fit on the wrist.