Five sleeper hits you may have missed during Watches & WondersZach Blass
With 40 brands presenting at Watches & Wonders, there are a lot of novelties to like – and many you may have missed. It was no secret most consumers were heavily awaiting releases from Rolex, Tudor, and Patek Philippe, but some of the most interesting watches came from brands you may not be as familiar with. With so much coverage to sift through, here are five sleeper hits you may have missed during Watches & Wonders.
Hermes is predominantly known for having some of the highest quality leather goods around the world. They have also really stepped their watch game up over the last few years, bumping many offering up from ETA-based movements to Vaucher ebauches. More often then not Hermes is associated with slim dress watches, but this Watches & Wonders Hermes has created a strong offering in the sports category: The Hermes H08. With its titanium case and 100 metres of water-resistance with a screw-down crown, this watch is more than ready for daily and active wear. The H1837 caliber is a Vaucher ebauche that’s industrially finished with an intriguing “H” motif across the bridges and a respectable power reserve of 50 hours. With a 39mm cushion case that is practically lugless, it’s lug-to-lug measurement is very compact. This leads to me to completely disagree with Hermes that this is a “men’s watch”. This is an “everyone watch” perfect for all wrists. The watch is offered on a variety of rubber and webbed straps as well as a titanium bracelet – the colour options available depend on whether you opt for a case with or without a black DLC coating. Price: $5,700 – $8,900 USD
Montblanc 1858 Geosphere Limited Edition
The latest entry into the saga of limited edition 1858 Geosphere watches, Montblanc has introduced a new reference that leverages a smoked brown-beige dial that evokes the aesthetic of the desert. The watch looks like it would be the perfect match for archaeologists on the hunt for new discoveries in Egypt. Its sandy toned dial and bronze case (42mm in diameter, 12.8mm thick, and 100 meters water-resistant) would pair perfectly with the stereotypical khaki wardrobe, and the world-time complication would allow the archaeologists to keep track of the time back at headquarters. The dial displays both the Northern (anti-clockwise rotation) and Southern Hemispheres (clockwise rotation) through two registers at 12′ and 6′, each with 24-hour day/night scales. All hands and hour markers, as well as the hemisphere indicators, are coated with ample SuperLuminova® to offer easy legibility in darkness.
The MB.29 automatic caliber within has a 42 hour power reserve, but is not visible via the caseback. Instead Montblanc has opted for a more attractive engraved titanium caseback inspired by Reinhold Messner’s 2004 trek, displaying the Gobi Desert’s famous Flaming Cliffs, also known as Bayanzag, that were on Messner’s route across Northern Asia.
Regarding the intricate process of caseback production, Montblanc explains: “Made of titanium, the metal must first be structured, which means that the decoration will be engraved by laser, taking into consideration the relief of the drawing. Then the desired finish (matt and shiny) is also achieved by laser. Finally comes the colouring phase. The colours are created with laser-generated oxidation. It is the level of oxidation that determines the final colour obtained (and desired).” Price: $6,500 USD, Limited Edition of 1,858 pcs.
Chopard L.U.C Time Traveller One Black
The Chopard L.U.C Time Traveler One Black Limited Edition is both classic and futuristic in form. It almost looks like a vintage timepiece frozen in carbonite, with a monochromatic black and dark grey aesthetic that is like wearing a classic noir film on the wrist. The dial features a blend of textures with both hand-applied satin brushing and a concentric gullioche texture to the hours and minutes track. The inner-most ring hosts a date complication with the outer ring housing a rotatable inner GMT bezel that corresponds to a world timer scale beyond it. By lining up the 12th hour of the GMT bezel with the desired city, you are then able to read the local and travel time from the same central hours and minutes hands. The black 42mm case – 12.09mm thick and 50 meters water-resistant – is made of ceramised titanium that means the watch is lightweight and highly scratch-resistant. The in-house L.U.C 01.05-L COSC movement, visible beneath the sapphire caseback, has 60 hours of power reserve and is well finished with Geneva stripes and bevels. Price: $15,500 USD, Limited Edition 250 pcs.
Ulysse Nardin DIVER X SKELETON
Buyers are overwhelmed with divers nowadays, with many following similar aesthetics and design cues. The Ulysse Nardin DIVER x SKELETON solves this problem by offering a premium diver with a familiar level of robustness but with a greater level of movement technology and a vastly more intriguing aesthetic. The 44mm blue PVD case, with 200 metres of water-resistance, is on the larger side but the lugs have a slope to them that will mitigate wrist presence. The bezel is made of a lightweight aerospace grade blue carbonic that is highly robust and attractive with its natural texture. The crown guards are rendered in orange to match the accents of the bezel, dial, and orange strap – resulting in a fun and futuristic look.
The movement has a hearty power reserve of 96 hours, the complex caliber redesigned to fit the DIVER x SKELETON. According to Ulysee Nardin: “The engineering team has completely redesigned the UN371 movement, which is visible through the 44mm case. Originally designed for the Executive Skeleton collection, it has been improved by the addition of an oscillating weight in the shape of the Ulysse Nardin’s iconic X. There is also a barrel cover placed at midday with a blue Carbonium®”. Price: 22,000 USD, Limited Edition 175 pcs.
Arnold & Son Luna Magna
Wow. That is the first word that came to mind when I saw this watch. The dial is absolutely stunning, comprised of aventurine glass and a white lacquered sub dial with blued hands. While the aforementioned is very eye-catching, the moonphase in particular is perhaps the star of the show. The three dimensional moonphase is made of half white marble and half blue aventurine glass. It results in a realistic moon aesthetic, with the white marble taking on the texture of the moon and the blue aventurine setting the outer space backdrop. The 18K red gold case is 44mm in diameter and 15.9mm thick (including the sapphire crystal), so while a dressy watch there is certainly a larger presence on the wrist. Fortunately the lugs are not too long and have an arch that forms around the wrist.
The A&S1021, hand-wound mechanical movement is designed and finished very well, with arabesque Geneva stripes, glistening chamfers to the bridges, circular graining to the manipulate, and nicely blued screws with polished heads. At its centre is a moonphase indicator that allows the wearer to set the correct moonphase with ease, making a complex complication much more user friendly. Once set you will not need to correct it for 122 years for added peace of mind. It is also neat that you can see the moonphase ball from both sides, but the indicator ensures you don’t have an inverse setting on the dial side. With the large case size, you at least get a larger mainspring that results in a massive 90 hour power reserve. Price: CHF 43,900, Limited Edition 28 pcs.