From Blancpain To Breguet: The Best New Watches From Swatch Group
There seemed to be a breath of fresh air circulating through the watch manufactories of the ‘Time To Move’ event in Switzerland.
Last summer, Swatch Group CEO Nick Hayek announced that from 2019 onwards, the company's brands would no longer participate at Baselworld.
Moving forward it has, instead, decided to hold its own product presentation and with a notably personal touch.
Blancpain, Breguet, Harry Winston, Jaquet Droz, Glashütte Original and Omega welcomed Tatler to their storied spaces to discover more about each brand, and here are our favourite watches that were on display.
1/6 Breguet Classique Tourbillon Extra-Plat Squelette 5395
The extra-thin tourbillon has been mastered by many in recent years, with ultra-thin watches emerging from the likes of Jaeger-LeCoultre, Bulgari and Audemars Piguet.
Breguet is another contender in the ultra-thin tourbillon competition. In 2013 it introduced the Breguet Classique Tourbillon Extra-Plat Automatique 5377 in rose gold, which was followed up with a platinum model the following year, and a 2017 revamp, which boasted a grand feu enamel dial.
This year’s mechanical self-winding skeleton design is slightly thicker than its predecessors at 7.77mm, because of the domed glass box that reveals an exquisite movement–previous models have boasted 7mm in thickness.
But when held, the added weight can be forgiven thanks to its sheer elegance. An 80-hour power reserve and silicon balance spring, lever and escape wheel keeps the model practical and wearable, while the openworked dial ticks all the technical boxes. What do we think overall? Bravo, Breguet.
2/6 Omega Speedmaster Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Limited Edition In Stainless Steel
This year marks 50 years since Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first people to walk on the moon–doesn't time fly?
For Omega, this means that 2019 is also the 50th anniversary of its beloved Speedmaster, commonly known as the Moonwatch, becoming the first timepiece to make it to the lunar surface. To celebrate, the brand unveiled its Speedmaster Apollo 11 Limited Edition in Moonshine gold earlier this year but the decadent model, all 1,014 pieces, has already sold out.
So Omega has followed up with the Omega Speedmaster Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Limited Edition in stainless steel. Not quite as rare, with 6,969 pieces on offer, it's more contemporary than the Moonshine gold alternative, which is almost a replica of the original watch made to celebrate the moon landing in '69.
Its 9 o'clock subdial features a laser engraving of Buzz Aldrin climbing the Eagle lunar module's ladder and the closed caseback has a footprint representing mankind's frst step on the moon.
A personal favourite, this stainless steel limited edition balances the fine line between superb watchmaking and brand heritage. But with less than 7,000 pieces up for grabs, time isn't on our side—Houston, we (may) have a problem.
3/6 Blancpain Villeret Date
Named after the village of Blancpain's birth, Villeret is one of the maison's most classic collections. Everything you'd expect from the latest model is there: sleek lines, a clean dial, timeless elegance. But for 2019 Blancpain has upped the ante with the addition of a calendar timepiece.
The date is presented in an ultra-feminine oval window that’s integrated within the chapter ring. For someone who struggles to find women’s timepieces that marry subtle femininity with refined aesthetic, this piece certainly catches the eye.
At 33.2mm in diameter, available in steel or red gold, the Villeret Date is set with brilliant-cut diamonds (but can come without for those who prefer a more modest look). Powered by the brand's in-house 1151 movement, it boasts a four-day power reserve and excellent accuracy.
(Related: Is This The Most X-Citing Skeleton Watch Yet?)
4/6 Glashütte Original Sixties Panorama Date
The Glashütte Original Sixties Panorama Date is undeniably bold. It’s not the first time that the maison has unveiled a coloured dial (having previously introduced a green-to-black faded face at Baselworld 2018) but burnt-orange is an even more audacious choice, and it's already caught the eyes of collectors worldwide.
Its dégradé dial is constructed at Glashütte Original’s manufactory in Pforzheim, Germany, which is where the team had flown in from when we meet in Geneva. It's explained that after a galvanic bath that gives the dial its golden yellow hue, watchmakers carefully apply a series of layers in red and black lacquer to achieve the subtle colour gradient that renders each piece unique.
Arabic numerals, diamond-cut indexes and manually-applied hour markers and hands highlighted with Super-LumiNova add to the stylish piece’s overall aesthetic.
5/6 Jaquet Droz Magic Lotus Automation
Jaquet Droz is a brand especially notable for its skills in both watchmaking and mechanical art. Achieving and maintaining this delicate balance is something that many luxury maisons try to master, but few do so at this level.
An extraordinary example of metiers d’art, the Magic Lotus Automation is a mechanical marvel. Inspired by the circle of life, its dial depicts a pond that represents the different seasons and, with it, stages of life.
Extremely complex, once the wearer engages the pusher, the disc starts to rotate. A koi carp swims around the dial, its tail moving from side-to-side, passing under the detailed lotus leaves that float above.
The automaton process lasts four minutes, during which the lotus flower changes colour and another flower’s centre gemstone changes from a blue to a yellow sapphire before, finally, a ruby.
Of all the spectacular wristwatches presented at 'Time To Move', whether you'd wear it or not, the Magic Lotus Atomation was, without doubt, one of the most memorable masterpieces on offer.
(Related: These Japanese Watches Have A Hidden Superpower)
6/6 Harry Winston Ocean Sparkling Biretrograde Automatic
The Ocean collection is Harry Winston’s luxurious sports series, combining practicality with sophisticated design. This new Ocean model is a first because of its use of ruthenium crystals, which are presented–raw–as a dusting on the dial.
This is what gives the Ocean Sparkling Biretrograde Automatic its textured background, upon which watchmakers have positioned a retrograde display and off-centered hours and minute markers.
Water-resistant up to 100 metres, this wristwatch is designed for everyday wear despite its complexity. Brilliant-cut diamonds weighing a total of 127 carats and 91 baguette-cut diamonds weighing approximately 4.41 carats adorn two 32mm versions that are available in white or rose gold.
But with only 40 pieces available, we advise you act fast.
This article first appeared on hk.asiatatler.com.