Borna’s top 5 from Geneva Watch DaysBorna Bošnjak
Geneva Watch Days, a trade show that began as a pandemic special, has now expanded way beyond its initial eight founding brands, with more than 20 exhibiting partners for its 2022 edition. I was happy to see so many independent brands showcased at the event, which will become painfully obvious in my top five picks for this year.
MB&F Legacy Machine Split Escapement EVO
The Legacy Machine series from MB&F has always presented the large balance wheel front-and-centre, and the LM Split Escapement EVO is no different. Where it does differ from (most of) its LM brethren is the positioning of the lever and escape wheel, which normally combine with the balance wheel to complete the escapement. As its name may suggest, the trio has been separated, or split, if you will, leaving the balance wheel peacocking above the sky blue dial, while the other escapement components hide behind it. The grade 5 titanium case, 80 metres of water resistance and an integrated rubber strap help it live up to the sporty EVO name, without compromising on the special feel that any MB&F piece brings.
Greubel Forsey GMT Balancier Convexe
We go from one haute horlogerie, titanium, integrated-bracelet “sports” watch to the next, and this one is even more mad. Greubel Forsey’s new GMT Balancier Convexe takes the sportier, Convexe case and packs it full of complication executed in the highest degree of hand-finishing. The main time is displayed on a concave ring around the hand-carved titanium globe, with a 24-hour scale nestling between the two. The sub-dial at 9 o’clock houses the GMT complication, though it’s somewhat overshadowed by the large, 30-degree inclined balance wheel – a Greubel Forsey signature. The caseback features a sapphire crystal, though it doesn’t offer a look at the surely well-finished movement, rather displaying a 24-city worldtimer. I could go on for days about the insane levels of finishing – frosting, black polishing, barrel polishing and the mirror-polished case interior that reflects all of this wonderfulness, but that could be an article in itself.
De Bethune DB25 Perpetual Calendar
Titanium seems to be the name of the game when it comes to high-end independents, as De Bethune’s new DB25 Perpetual Calendar comes cased in a highly polished 40mm case rendered in that same metal. Its classic lines are interwoven with some De Bethune signatures, namely the hollowed-out lugs, while the two-tone dial employs hand-applied guilloché and a palladium and blued steel moonphase display. This piece isn’t just a new colourway either, as De Bethune is proud of slimming down their perpetual calendar calibre, which meant a 4mm case size reduction when compared to the previous model. Equipped with a titanium and white gold balance wheel and hairspring with a De Bethune terminal curve, the movement lost none of its impressive features.
Breguet Classique 7337
The Breguet Classique 7337 has a far-reaching history, with inspiration for it going as far back as 1823, when a pocket watch with similar dial features was sold. Last re-worked in 2020, the new 7337 does away with some of the dial flourishes of its predecessor, simplifying the small seconds and calendar apertures. It wouldn’t be a Breguet without a rose engine-applied Clous de Paris guilloché dial, here used for the main time display, while its surrounding features a barleycorn pattern. The 2.4mm thin Calibre 502, with its off-centre rotor and silicon components, returns from previous Classique 7337 models, cased in either white or rose gold.
Hautlence Linear Series 1
Hautlence has been on the up-and-up in recent years, and is releasing a daring-display duo at 2022’s Geneva Watch Days. While the wandering hours of the Vagabondage are nicely executed, it was the list-like display of the Linear Series 1 that intrigued me. The hours, displayed in a column on the left are read separately from the one-handed minute display, which is conveniently interrupted to show off the flying tourbillon. At the end of the 12 hours, the indicator flies back to the start, as the Agenhor-developed automatic caliber employs a retrograde function, too. The large, TV-style case is what we’ve come to expect from Hautlence, also offering 100 metres of water resistance, should you wish to take this nearly A$100,000 marvel for a dip.