The Time+Tide team pick their favourite Dubai Watch Week 2023 releasesTime+Tide
Editor’s Note: Dubai Watch Week has distinguished itself from other watch fairs over the years by being an event that puts the watch community first, there is zero commercial pressure – just education and engaging with over 60 brands ‘in the metal’. But, this year approximately 20 new watches made their debut during Dubai Watch Week 2023. A lot of the releases were quite strong, so the Time+Tide team wanted to highlight some of their favourites – and making these picks was definitely not easy with so many great options to choose.
Borna – H. Moser & Cie. Streamliner Small Seconds Blue Enamel
This was a hard choice – and I have to start off by giving an honourable mention to the Ressence Type 1 DX3 with its awesome lume and unique time display. A watch that felt like a real novelty, however, was H. Moser & Cie’s downsized integrated-bracelet sports watch. With only a 1mm reduction in size compared to the Streamliner Centre Seconds, the new Streamliner Small Seconds Blue Enamel may seem redundant, but it brings about a big change (and price increase). First of all, just look at that dial. It combines Moser’s well-known love of fumé gradients with grand feu enamel, uninterrupted by pesky items such as a brand name.
The real novelty, however, is the brand-new micro-rotor calibre that Moser claims will be used as a base for complications down the line thanks to its slim design. The finishing is lovely – my favourite being the openworked gear train. Given the small difference in case sizes, I wonder whether Moser just unveiled the replacement for the Centre Seconds model. Price: CHF 29,900
Jamie – MB&F HM11 Architect
For me, it wasn’t even close: Max Büsser’s latest creation, the MB&F HM11 Architect, easily stole the show and stands out as one of his most innovative and dare I say wearable designs. Inspired by the postmodern ‘bubble houses’ of the 60s and 70s, the HM11 features four “rooms” which each contain a different feature: a time-telling face, a power reserve indicator, a thermometer and finally the watch’s time-setting crown. The watch rotates upon a base, so you simply turn the whole watch around to the room you’d like to observe.
Despite its complex design and complications, it’s only 42mm in diameter and boasts a 96-hour power reserve that’s charged via a novel winding mechanism. In short, rotating the case itself winds the watch, and it’s completely rewound after just 10 full clockwise rotations of the case.
‘Architect’ is a fitting moniker for this piece, as it’s truly architectural in its design, with a bulbous flowing sapphire crystal topper that exposes the workings of the beautiful movement below. Two models are available (or were available, as I think they’ve all been snapped up): a blue-coloured movement model with a white strap and a red gold movement model with a green strap.
The HM11 is Büsser at his mental best. Weirdly, this might be the most ‘practical’ of his creations as its rotating design makes it easy to focus on each feature – although this is no tool watch. It might cost the same as a house but this is one timepiece worth putting off a renovation for… Price: CHF 213,000
Fergus – Oris ProPilot X Calibre 400 Laser
10 years ago I saw a video from Veritasium, one of my favourite science YouTube channels, explaining how microscopic holes can create colourful designs. In 2016, that technology made its way into Australian banknotes with a transparent section of holographic imagery, and I think about how cool that is whenever I handle cash. Now, it’s finally made its way into watchmaking with the Oris ProPilot X Calibre 400 Laser. The original nanotech process was inspired by the iridescent shine of butterfly wings and beetle shells, but rather than punching tiny holes in a thin plastic film, Oris have replicated the effect with laser engraving.
Gently transitioning between blue, green and violet, the dial is highly dynamic in any lighting conditions. It’s a technicolour display without needing a drop of pigment, and the surrealism is made all the more vibrant in contrast to the industrious titanium case. The futuristic styling is incredibly modern, while the 39mm case is gladly comfortable and unisex. Plus, the in-house Calibre 400 from Oris boasts a 120-hour power reserve with a smooth 4Hz sweep. If you want to learn how the optical interference works, I highly recommend checking out that Veritasium video. Price: A$8,000
D.C. – Doxa SUB 300β Seddiqi Limited Edition
With their unimpeachable oceangoing history, Doxa are one of the most revered names in dive watches, with their iconic SUB 300 as their most recognisable piece of kit. But I have to say, they’ve been playing with their blueprint as of late, and what better place to get a bit outrageous than the sky’s-the-limit environs of Dubai Watch Week? Conceived in a new collab with retail partners Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons, behold the Doxa SUB 300β Seddiqi Limited Edition, as cool as a dark desert night. Much like the blacked-out ceramic and gold Skarkhunter did, Doxa continues to play with tradition, going with a deep blue mother-of-pearl dial, and midnight ceramic insert on the black ceramic bezel.
It’s a reserved aesthetic, but one that wildly upsets the standard Doxa look, and I’m all for it. The iridescent dial ripples like a cool blue flame, and you can dress things up or down to your liking, opting for the traditional beads-of-rice bracelet or a bright white rubber strap. But you’ll have to move like a barracuda if you want to snag one for yourself, as the edition is limited to just 50 pieces. Price: AED 11,750 (~A$4,900)
Zach – Ressence Type 1° Round DX3
In an attempt to be a gentleman, I let other members of the Time+Tide team pick first – big mistake. Moser’s slimmed-down Streamliner definitely caught my eye with its even tamer dimensions, new calibre, and expectedly stunning dial. MB&F’s HM11 was, in my opinion, the technical champion of all the Dubai Watch Week releases. Oris’ ProPilot X Cal. 400 is a familiar favourite freshened up with a ‘laser’ dial that can only be understood ‘in the metal’ – having held it personally I can attest it looks really good. The Doxa SUB 300β Seddiqi Limited Edition really surprised me as well on the dial front. I hate engendering watches, but mother-of-pearl typically adds an element of femininity with brighter and boldly iridescent hues. In this far less common dark blue colour I am starting to imagine a whole new manner mother-of-pearl can be utilised in watches I had never before thought of. So, one by one I watched my frontrunner draft picks scooped up by other members of the Time+Tide team.
But, also fortunately, as Borna mentioned before, I still have the Ressence Type 1° Round DX3 at my disposal. The third and final entry into a trinity of sandy-salmon dialled Dubai editions, Ressence closes out the show with a party of ample lume on the dial. These three Dubai editions all had very structural and angular dials that leveraged graphic patterns inspired by Arab Geometric Art. This particular model incorporates a luminous mosaic that is so strong and bright when charged it can still be spotted in daylight – although it looks its best in the dark.
The 42.7mm titanium case is lightweight and comfortable on the wrist, and with its short loop lugs it is quite wrist-friendly for its size. The Apple-like future-forward aesthetic of the orbital dial remains as a Ressence signature, but, without comprising this signature, it is remixed in this rose gold-hued Arabic art-inspired way. Price: CHF 23,600 (excl. VAT) , limited to 35 pcs.