Everything you need, nothing you don’t – the best two-handed watches of 2018Nick Kenyon
There comes a time in the journey of every watch collector when the pursuit of the most complicated watch loses its shine, as you start to wonder if there is real meaning to be found by having a ninth tourbillon in your watch. You stop stressing if your chronograph has a vertical clutch, and wonder if you will remember the tide-indicator complication on your watch as you lie on your death bed. To yearn for something simpler, something that just tells you the time is perfectly natural, and surely in part a reason why designs that are classic and timeless are often more simple than complex. As the great man Antoine de Saint-Exupéry once said, “Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add but when there is nothing left to take away”, leading me nicely to compiling a list of the best two-handed watches of 2018.
Spring is a time of new beginnings and warmer weather. And at only 5.8mm thick, Swatch have created the first metallic version of its slimmest watch. While there are eight brand-new different models available in the Skin Irony collection – all featuring different straps, dials, and case finishes – it’s the sporty, rubber-strapped Skinspring, and its minimalist aluminium silver dial that we can see strapped to wrists in the fresh spring sunshine.
Ref No. SYXS107, Case size 38mm, Case material Steel, Movement Swiss quartz, Price $200
The brainchild of international photographer and watch collector Ming Thein, the Ming 17.03 retains all the distinctive characteristics of the 2017-released 17.01, from its flared lugs and floating numerals to its 38mm nitrogen-filled titanium case and a dial design that defies description. Inside is a Sellita SW330-1 automatic movement, which upgrades the movement, but also the added functionality of GMT complication.
Ref No. 1703M, Case size 38mm, Case material Titanium, Movement SW330-1, Price 1300 CHF
Originally launched in 1992, La Grande Classique de Longines epitomises the ‘elegance is an attitude’ tagline of the winged hourglass brand. There have been countless variations over the years, with different sizes, styles and dial colours. The latest update sees stunning sunray blue dials added. Here, it’s combined with Roman numeral hour markers and a delicately slim case profile.
Ref No. L4.718.104.22.168, Case size 36mm, Case material Steel, Movement L592.2, Price $1525
MONTBLANC 1858 AUTOMATIC
Just two years after the vintage-inspired collection was announced, the Montblanc 1858 collection has been given a stylish new update. The entry-level Montblanc 1858 Automatic case has shrunk from 44mm to 40mm, and it is now offered in a smoky champagne-coloured dial that’s pictured here. While the military feel is still very much apparent, this version cements it with extra trendy appeal.
Ref No. 119065, Case size 40mm, Case material Steel, Movement MB 24.15, Price $3820
When you think of Panerai, the Luminor is what instantly comes to mind. The epitome of a do-it-all tool watch, its hefty steel case paired with a clean dial and that ever-confident crown guard is as iconic as it gets in watches. This Base Logo model houses the brand-new in-house calibre P.6000, a manually wound movement that is a key move in Panerai’s transition to becoming a completely autonomous manufacturer.
Ref No. PAM00775, Case size 44mm, Case material AISI 316L steel, Movement P.6000, Price $6450
CARTIER DRIVE DE CARTIER EXTRA-FLAT
When the Cartier Drive de Cartier Extra-Flat was introduced in 2017 it was available only in white or rose gold. Not a completely unexpected move by the fine jewellery French Maison, which still introduces most new models in precious metals. Predictably, the people cried for a steely alternative and, sure enough, Cartier delivered. It’s just as flat, at 6.6mm thick, and just as precious, with the case maintaining a delightful mix of high polished and finely brushed finishes.
Ref No. WSNM0011, Case size 39mm, Case material Steel, Movement Calibre 430 MC, Price $7850
Not every watch needs to be a marvel of mechanics. Sometimes all it takes is a captivating design to take things to the next level. Such is the case for the latest women’s watch collection from Piaget, the Possession, with an assortment of case designs, gem sets, and colours available. It’s this rose gold-cased number, set with 53 brilliant-cut diamonds, and an interchangeable lapis blue alligator strap that steals our heart.
Ref No. G0A43082, Case size 29mm, Case material Rose gold, Movement 56P quartz, Price $19,500
BREGUET CLASSIQUE 5157
One of the most traditional and delicate decorations in watchmaking is the engine-turned dial. Hand-crafted according to closely guarded inherited methods, these specially engraved dials have become a signature of the Breguet style, which is exemplified by the Classique Extra-Plate. It features a traditional “Clous de Paris” hobnail dial and pairs it with classic Breguet hands and a rose gold case with a delicately fluted caseband.
Ref No. 5157BR119V6, Case size 38mm, Case material 18k rose gold, Movement 502.3, Price $24,100
CARTIER RÉVÉLATION D’UNE PANTHÈRE
As with some of life’s great wonders, only when you see can you believe. And this latest marvel from the French Maison is the perfect example. With a simple turn of the wrist, what was once a blank dial begins to fill with tiny gold beads, flowing from top to bottom and revealing a stylised panther’s face. And then almost as quickly, it disappears, the beads resting at the bottom of the dial.
Ref No. HPI01259, Case size 37mm, Case material 18k pink gold, Movement 430 MC, Price POA