Stealth-wealth stunners: five platinum watches to die for (one of which the Swiss should be very afraid of…)Zach Blass
Platinum is the most noble metal for watches. It’s both precious and powerful, a tough and costly metal for brands to work with and for buyers to purchase. Yet being a white precious metal, there is a quiet irony to the aesthetic it provides. Platinum watches are usually the most expensive in any brand’s catalogue, yet they make for some of the best stealth-wealth options due to the fact they look like steel watches at first glance. It’s only when you feel their reassuring heft on the wrist that you truly know what you are dealing with. Here are five stunning platinum watches for all of us to admire and drool over.
Patek Philippe 5270P-01 Chronograph, Perpetual Calendar
Excluding the piece unique Grandmaster Chime in stainless steel, the Patek Philippe 5270P-01 Chronograph, Perpetual Calendar is the king of salmon dials. One of the most desirable complication watches the brand offers, the 5270P-01 harkens back to earlier eras of Patek Philippe design with a blend of more current taste accounted for by its modern case diameter of 41mm. Back in the day, you would have seen watches such as this closer to 36mm (aka the perfect size in my book) – but Patek Philippe maintains its classic vintage-driven aesthetic in its larger platinum case. On its back, you see some of the best finishing and movement technology Patek Philippe has to offer – a highly embellished Caliber CH 29‑535 PS Q with a lateral clutch column wheel chronograph, day, date and leap-year indicator, and moonphase. The movement alone boasts over six patented innovations. The case, being platinum Patek Philippe, has its embedded diamond at the six side of the case to signal it is fashioned of the noble metal. And, yes, that is quite an expensive indicator. Price: $205,810 USD
Credor Eichi II “Ruri” GBLT997
OK. I’m calling it. The Credor Eichi II Ruri may not only be the best blue dial of the year, but the best blue dial of all time. The printing alone is an extraordinary feat, with each hour marker and the Credor branding at 12 drawn onto the dial by hand. When you watch the artisans perform this daunting task, the naked eye cannot even register they are moving. It’s only when you watch a sped up video that you see the artisans hand move to draw the index. Previously only made with porcelain white dials, the ‘Ruri’ is lapis lazuli coloured porcelain that thins out towards the extremities of the dial, resulting in a lightened outer edge. It feels like you’re staring into the depths of space with the blue hue of the earth ringing around the inner bezel. This is not only the least expensive watch on this list, but also my favorite aesthetically and horologically. The Swiss should be very afraid. Price: $54,000 USD
The Omega Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch Caliber 321 Platinum
The first watch to bring back the revived 321 caliber from Omega, this platinum take on the watch is an incredibly luxurious tribute to the moon watch and its history. At first glance, it may seem like your ordinary speedster dial – but its combination of subtle and bold details really make it stand out. It features an applied Omega logo and printed text of past Speedmasters, but also includes meteorite stone chronograph registers to heighten its relationship with outer space. The tone of the meteorite, in a way, evokes footsteps left on the surface of the moon – a fitting aesthetic for a moon watch. The bezel also pays tribute to the original space/moon era of the watch, returning to the dot-over-90 bezel that collectors clamour over when it comes to vintage Speedys. Whereas the 321 historically has been covered by a solid caseback, the returned version is proudly on display via its exhibition caseback and the lateral clutch column wheel movement is truly a sight to behold. The movement, and its nuances, require a single watchmaker to assemble and regulate it – and only a select group of watchmakers are approved to handle this process. Price: 55,000 CHF
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar In Platinum Limited Edition
A great example of stealth wealth and super-cool aesthetics, the design of this limited-edition Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar in Platinum, in partnership with Japan-based retailer Yoshida, offers a very under-the-radar package for the lucky group of collectors able to acquire the fine timepiece. The platinum gives off the appearance of steel, but the precious heft is real when strapped to the wrist. The Royal Oak is known for being supremely embellished inside and out, with hours spent on the case and bracelet alone to hand finish it to the Audemars Piguet standard. The black Grande Tapisserie dial is a more tame choice than the icy blue version found on the Swiss limited edition. Its design is more “if you know, you know”, and does not beg for attention. That being said, those who do know will definitely want to take a closer look at this gorgeous timepiece – 41mm in diameter and a slender 9.5mm thick. Price: Upon Request – sold strictly through Japan-based retailer Yoshida
Grand Seiko SBGZ001 Limited Edition
The SBGZ001 is effectively the “snowflake on steroids”. The watch leverages the same pattern found on the SBGA211, but extends out to its hand-engraved platinum case. Remember, platinum is a very strong metal and very unforgiving to work with – its completion is a true testament to the talent of the artisans at Grand Seiko. The watch is also powered by the 9R02 movement assembled and decorated in the Micro Artist Studio. It is basically Grand Seiko’s take on the movement found inside the Eichi II models. It features two mainsprings set in parallel within a single barrel and uses the unique Torque Return System to deliver a power reserve of 84 hours. Not only is it technically sound, but the embellishments performed on the movement are bevels and chamfers that are near Dufourian levels – with the maestro himself giving the nod of approval after visiting the Micro Artist Studio personally. Price: $76,000 USD – Limited Edition of 30 pieces.