Sometimes you need to make a statement. You want to let the room know that you’ve arrived and need your watch to have your back. When it comes to making an impact, while you can resort to gregarious gem-setting or passionate pops of colour, the diameter of your watch is a much more direct way of getting eyes on your wrist. So if you’re in the market for a watch where size is the prize, here are nearly a dozen of the best big watches (we’re talking 42mm+) from the last 12 months that definitely won’t fly under the radar.
SEIKO PROSPEX “SAVE THE OCEAN” SRPE39K
The Seiko “Save The Ocean” collection was set up by the brand to help raise money to protect our world’s oceans, with proceeds from each sale going to conservation organisations. The Seiko SRPE39K features the classic turtle shaped case, as well as one of the most attractive dials of 2020, with a shimmering blue set against the outlines of stingrays as though glimpsed just below the surface of the ocean. This deliver serious bang for your buck.
Ref No. SRPE39K, the case size is 45mm, case material is steel and the movement is the 4R36. Price: $995 AUD
SWATCH X BAPE TOKYO
BAPE, the coveted and highly collectible Japanese streetwear brand, teams up with the masters of playful horology, Swatch. All three watches – black, grey and white – have multicoloured camo print straps that crank up the visual interest. While the watches namecheck BAPE’s birth city, with “Tokyo” emblazoned on their loops, the bezels list a selection of global hotspots. Fun and fashion-forward, this is a feel-good statement piece for the wrist.
Ref No. SO27Z705S, the case size is 47mm, case material is plastic and the movement is the quartz. Price: $225
Green is enjoying renewed popularity in the watch world and Longines is jumping on board with this diver in a fetching shade of matt khaki. In fact, the colour’s utilitarian qualities match up with the HydroConquest’s functionality that includes 300m of water resistance, a self-winding movement and a ceramic unidirectional bezel. It all adds up to a handsome daily wearer that would transition from work to weekend with ease.
Ref No. L3.782.4.06.6, the case size is 43mm, case material is steel and the movement is the L888. Price: $2400
TAG HEUER AQUARACER
Every now and then, TAG Heuer will release a watch that makes you double take and think, “Why hasn’t this been done before?” That is exactly the response you might have when you see the new Aquaracer that features a unique tortoiseshell-patterned resin bezel, and alligator leather-patterned rubber strap. But if you want function as well as form, this dive watch also boasts a full 300m of water resistance.
Ref No. WAY201N.FT6177, the case size is 43mm, case material is steel and the movement is the Caliber 5 Automatic. Price: $3950
BREMONT PROJECT POSSIBLE LIMITED EDITION
Until last year, the fastest time for climbing all 14 of the world’s 8000-metre mountains was eight years. Then Nirmal Purja smashed the record in under seven months. The former Gurkha completed the challenge with a Bremont on his wrist and the British brand has now commemorated his feat with a limited-edition diving watch. Made from a combo of titanium and bronze, this is a real peaky blinder.
Ref No. Project Possible, the case size is 43mm, case material is titanium and the movement is the BE-93-2AV. Price: $8500
CARTIER SANTOS-DUMONT XL
This watch was relaunched to some fanfare last year but, to the distress of mechanical watch lovers, only in quartz. That situation is now happily remedied in this model that’s powered by a hand-wound movement. Impressively, this mechanical upgrade adds just 0.2mm to the case thickness, ensuring the watch retains its rakishly slender proportions. Bulk-wise, it may not live up to the XL tag, but this refined classic is still a big deal.
Ref No. CRWSSA0032, the case size is 46.6mm, case material is steel and the movement is the 430 MC. Price: $8450
TAG HEUER CARRERA SPORT CHRONOGRAPH COLLECTION
Heuer’s 160th anniversary isn’t just a celebration for the brand as we know it today. It should also be celebrated by any fan of racing-heritage chronographs and timeless style in general. The Carrera family has seen countless iterations, but these new models in sumptuous colours with full ceramic bezels (except the green’s steel), are wonderfully clean examples of sporty chronographs. Bearing in mind the in-house movement, this isn’t a TAG Heuer to miss.
Ref No. CBN2A10.BA0643, the case size is 44mm, case material is steel and the movement is the Heuer 02. Price: $8300
AUDEMARS PIGUET ROYAL OAK OFFSHORE SELFWINDING CHRONOGRAPH BLUE
The Royal Oak Oshore has always been a powerful display of all-out masculine bravado with some of the hardest edges in watchmaking (there’s a reason why Arnold Schwarzenegger is a devotee). One of the newest additions is no less bombastic, with a blue fumé dial and ceramic bezel, pushers, and crown all making the watch look as futuristic as when it was first released in 1996.
Ref No. 26405CE.OO.A030CA.01, the case size is 44mm, case material is ceramic and the movement is the 3126/3840. Price: $34,900 USD
HUBLOT BIG BANG SANG BLEU II WHITE
Inspired by the work of tattooist Maxime Plescia-Büchi, this isn’t so much a timepiece as it is a hedonistic and occult sculpture. Geometry cascades across the case, dial, and even crystal, all combining to evoke a magic that is unseen anywhere else in watchmaking. To explain the complications would be redundant, as this is just one of those watches designed to be stared at and never to check the time.
Ref No. 418.NX.2001.RX.1604.MXM20, the case size is 45mm, case material is titanium and the movement is the HUB1240 UNICO. Price: $36,700
IWC PORTUGIESER YACHT CLUB MOON & TIDE
While we associate the Portugieser with a discrete, classic and covetable chronograph, this is a dazzling tour de force in 18k gold. It supplements the demure watch we know with a boat-load of functions for the high seas. On dry land, the blue sunray dial is a real headturner, while the active yachtsman will get enough practical tech to guarantee smooth sailing whatever the weather.
Ref No. IW344001, the case size is 44.6mm, case material is gold and the movement is the 82835. Price: $51,100
AUDEMARS PIGUET ROYAL OAK CONCEPT FLYING TOURBILLON GMT
The Royal Oak concept line has long pushed the boundaries for what is considered 21st century watchmaking, taking inspiration from science fiction as much as it does traditional Swiss finishing techniques. The new edition of the Flying Tourbillon GMT pushes the watch even further towards the search of perfection in industrial architecture and futurist design, all the while displaying AP’s technical prowess from any angle you look.
Ref No. 26589IO.OO.D002CA.01, the case size is 44mm, case material is titanium and the movement is the 2954. Price: $198,400 USD