T+T Holiday Picks: The best watches to gift for $10,000 – $20,000 (2022 edition)Time+Tide
Editor’s Note: The holiday season is upon us, which means it may be the time you are looking to buy a watch – whether as a gift for yourself or for a family member, friend or that special someone in your life. To make your life easier, the Time+Tide team has come together with their favourite picks at various price points. Following up our picks in the under $1000 segment, our picks in the under $3000 segment, our picks under $5000 segment, and our picks under $10000 segment today we are tackling the best watches under $20000 (but more than $10000). All prices are in USD.
Borna’s pick: Czapek Antarctique S
Czapek has been an underrated brand for a very long time, and though they’re still not talked about as much as they deserve, things have certainly changed since the release of the Antarctique. The original, with its 40.5mm diameter and highly sculpted case, was a compelling entry into the integrated bracelet space, and the S model expands on that even further. The case is reduced in size and simplified, measuring in at 38.5mm, an excellent size for those preferring a smaller watch. The sides of the case have less complex finishing, and the crown guards are more svelte too, for a less sporty look. The dials are just as beautiful, featuring the recognisable Antarctique pattern, with the salmon being my pick of the bunch.
The movement is no slouch either, and totally up my alley seeing as it’s equipped with a micro rotor in 950 platinum. Decoration-wise, the in-house SXH5 is distinctly modern, with plenty of skeletonisation, seen in the bridges and wheels, with plentiful hand finishing to the frosted black surfaces.
Price: CHF 19,500, US$20,500 (approx. A$31,000)
Zach’s pick: Zenith Chronomaster Sport Boutique Edition
The Zenith Chronomaster Sport is one of the brand’s most popular watches today, and it is not hard to see why. A modern evolution of their historic El Primero chronographs, the Chronomaster Sport notably includes a ceramic bezel. While some, as a result of this move, were quick to compare the design to the Rolex Daytona, the Boutique Edition with its tri-colour ceramic bezel to match their iconic tri-color register colour scheme gives off an irrefutably Zenith vibe. And, on the subject of Rolex, we know how The Crown has struggled with ceramic in the past – their Pepsi red and blue insert initially having a tint of purple in both the blue and red portions. Zenith, however, with a full ceramic bezel that’s more difficult to manufacture than just an insert, flawlessly executed not two, but three colours. The silvered dial works perfectly with the watch’s design, allowing the tri-colour bezel to be the subtle star of the show. And, of course, as the masters of high-beat chronographs, the El Primero 3600 1/10th of a second automatic chronograph movement is a huge technological and performance draw as well.
Price: US$12,800 / AU$17,200
Ricardo’s pick: Girard-Perregaux Laureato Eternity Edition Enamel
Enamel is a material used for some of the most beautiful dials in horology. And when done right, leaves a lustre that will stand the test of time. Which is what Girard-Perregaux strived for with the Laureato Eternity Editions. They are two watches, one in blue and one in green, that have these beautiful, rich enamel dials. Often used more on dressy watches, the choice of material almost doesn’t make sense here, on what many would consider a sports watch. Almost. Because the resulting 42mm pieces are absolutely stunning. And once you can finally pull yourself away from the hypnotic pattern of the dial, you still get a compelling package: 100 meters of water resistance, 52 hours of power reserve and a thin 10.68mm case. Leaving no doubt the Laureato Eternity Editions are ready for the rigours of daily wear and a place on everyone’s list.
Price: US$17,900 (we believe these limited editions are still available for purchase, but the standard production models are certainly a worthy option as well)
D.C.’s pick: Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Classic Duoface Small Seconds
My choice for this category is a watch with a split personality: the Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Classic Duoface Small Seconds. Well within budget, the JLC packs a lot of function within its classic rectangular form. You get the refined looks of an iconic dress watch design, featuring a vertically brushed silvered dial with a handsome guillochéd centre, blued hands, and a small seconds display.
But flip the Reverso’s case, and you’ll discover a dark surprise: a secret Clous de Paris guilloché dial in black, with a second time zone and a 24-hour display. While the polo ball-repelling solid caseback is lost, you’re gaining a truly elegant travel companion. JLC’s stellar movement heritage is brought to bear, with the 19 jewel manually wound movement controlling both faces. Finishing is as lovely as you’d expect from Jaeger-LeCoultre, and for me, the whole Reverso aesthetic is just so much more interesting than a Cartier Tank, no disrespect. The day/night and dark/light vibes are such an intriguing dichotomy: it’s no wonder that Christian Bale’s Bruce Wayne wore a Reverso in his Batman trilogy, given the whole secret identity aspect of a superhero’s day-to-day. And with the Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Classic Duoface Small Seconds’ retail price of US$10,900, there’s plenty left over in the budget for a few more crimefighting gadgets.
Luke’s pick: Blancpain Villeret Ultraplate ref. 6223C 1529 55A
There’s a lot more to Blancpain than the Fifty Fathoms. The Villeret is a compactly sized dress watch with a 37.5mm diameter that makes it a genuinely unisex option that rises just 9mm off the wrist. Made from white gold, the double-stepped bezel contains a plethora of fine details that demand a closer look. The leaf hands have a delicate sliver cut out from their centre, the applied Roman numeral hour-markers are crafted in white-gold, while the date window is coloured to blend in with the dial. And what a dial it is with those guillochéd criss-crossing lines emanating from its inky blue depths – a captivating detail that enlivens what would otherwise be an exquisitely simple watch. Style is backed with substance thanks to the caliber 1150 that delivers a hefty 100-hour power reserve.