Editor’s note: Despite us pretty much living in the watches game, plenty of watches slip under our radar. Last year, Felix sketched out a list from various price points of lesser known low-key watches that are still, undeniably, lit. From the blue pops and sweet bracelet of the 44mm Panerai Luminor Marina Logo 3 Days Acciaio to the gradient dial and attractive price tag of the Tissot Seamaster to the Longines Master Collection Annual Calendar (another one with a pretty hot value proposition), it covers some ground and unearths some beauties.
Sometimes I like to think of the watch industry’s annual releases like an epic, sprawling house party — the sort where everybody shows up. There’s the classy guys who show up at the scheduled start time (SIHH) with nice wine and house gifts, and then, when it’s all settling into polite chit-chat mode, talking about the latest highbrow TV shows, the rest of the party shows up (Baselworld) and it starts getting hectic. Like all good parties, there are cliques, frenemies and drama. Pretty soon all eyes are on the cool kids — your Pepsi GMTs and the like — and you get caught up in the excitement with everyone else. Next thing you know it’s 4am and you’re having an awesome conversation with six randoms you hadn’t noticed before, but who are absolute legends in their own right. These are those six watches.
Panerai Luminor Marina Logo 3 Days Acciaio – 44mm (PAM 00777)
Watches don’t come much more under the radar than this, the latest generation Luminor Base. Aside from the new strap, it’s hard to see what separates this PAM from its Base brethren. But under the hood is a brand new in-house movement, good for three days. $6900
Longines Master Collection Annual Calendar
The Master Collection is a range of stylish, timeless watches that, by virtue of its consistency, rarely makes the headlines. You won’t find novel case materials or crazy dials here. But one that you should probably pay a little attention to is this one. Because while this 40mm steel watch might look like a day-date, it’s actually an Annual Calendar — displaying the month and date neatly, simply AND without the need for an adjustment at the end of every other month. $2925
Tissot Seastar 1000 Powermatic 80
Tissot’s newest Seastar is an object lesson in how to flex, without getting in people’s faces. Nice, new ceramic bezel, cool graduated dial and the impressive Powermatic 80 (for 80 hours of power reserve, obvs) all adds up to a very tidy package indeed. $1000
Cartier Drive de Cartier Extra Flat in steel
Last year the precious metal debut of the skinny Drive was the belle of the ball. But this year its steel sibling played second fiddle to Santos. But just quietly, if retrained elegance is your thing, your excitement about this watch should be anything but. Pure design plus stainless case plus Cartier equals a watch that is a surefire hit. $7850
IWC Portugieser Chronograph Edition “150 Years”
IWC were making all the noise at SIHH this year, thanks to their big birthday party. And amidst their blue and white commemorative collection were a few outstanding novelties, like the attention-grabbing Tribute to Pallweber. But there was also this simple twist on an all-time great, the classic Portugieser chronograph. $11,300
Rolex Oyster Perpetual 39
Rolex’s hottest 2018 releases are pretty flashy – Pepsi bezels, rainbow bezels, Everose cases, jubilee bracelets … and the new black and white dial OP 39s are as classic as they come. Zero complication, but still all the hallmarks that make Rolex great. $7150