Watch Out, 2023!

By Aishwarya Sati

While some love the design aspect, others favour the mechanical prowess, which sets the wheels of a watch into motion. And as we begin a brand-new year, here are some remarkable wrist companions that will help you kick-start a fresh timekeeping chapter, while also upping your horological game

AUDEMARS PIGUET CODE 11.59 STARWHEEL

Meet the new Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet Starwheel that features the wandering hours — a horological complication invented in the 17th century — displaying the hours using a system of satellites, gravitating along a minute scale — arranged on an arc, positioned at 12 o’clock. Audemars Piguet is responsible for reintroducing this complication in 1991, which had been lost in the sands of time. The new 41mm reference comes in an 18K white-gold and black-ceramic case topped by a round bezel and is water-resistant to 30m. Here, the architectural lines are enhanced by the wandering time display and the overlapping of geometric shapes, including the bezel, caseback, and Starwheel discs, as well as a rounded octagonal case middle. In addition to this, the 18K white gold lugs and caseback contrast with the black case middle and the new black-ceramic crown. It features a blue aventurine dial, which serves as a shimmering backdrop for the three discs that rotate on their own axes, just like planets housed inside the tiny universe of the dial. These discs are slightly domed, made of aluminium, and tinted black, thanks to a PVD treatment. They are also adorned with an opaline sandblasted finishing touch and feature white numerals. The time display is achieved, thanks to a central rotor, completing one revolution in three hours — on which these three discs are mounted. Each disc has four digits — from 1 to 12 — that take turns in pointing to the arched sector at the top of the dial on which the minute scale is printed. In sync with the timekeeper’s contemporary design, the 120-degree minute sector, which extends in an arc from 10 to 2 o’clock, and the inner bezel, are both black with white minute indications. It is driven by the in-house self-winding Calibre 4310, which supplies a minimum power reserve of 70 hours, and is visible through an exhibition caseback. One can also see the resplendent 22K pink-gold oscillating weight along with other intricate finishings. This new watch is fitted with a textured black rubber-coated strap and a new pin buckle engraved with the Audemars Piguet logo, instead of the usual AP monogram.

JAQUET DROZ THE ROLLING STONES AUTOMATON

The Swiss watchmaker has once again displayed its mastery of automatons, recreating the musical universe of the famed British band, The Rolling Stones that ruled the rock ‘n’ roll scene during the Swinging ’60s. They have limited this to 23 unique pieces, which can be personalised with any of their 23 album names — from 1971 to present. The 43mm timepiece is crafted in 18K red gold and displays interesting details on the dial that include miniature versions of their signature instruments — crafted in gold, meticulously hand painted, and mounted on a disc, which can rotate, on demand. The rotation lasts about 30 seconds and can be operated eight consecutive times, thanks to the push-piece inserted in the crown, at 3 o’clock. The power reserve is indicated at 8 o’clock by a mechanism, shaped like an arm of a vinyl record player, and just below that features the iconic ‘tongue’ logo — first featured in their 1971 album, Sticky Fingers. Faithful to its traditions, Jaquet Droz has spread treasures of creativity to bring this animated scene to life. The guitars and their amp are individually shaped by hand from a block of red gold, engraved and then painted. The cymbals are made of a slightly curved gold disc in order to reproduce the precise curvature. Their stand is represented by a white-gold thread. The various drum toms are also made of white- and red-gold threads, with a diameter ranging from 1.2 to 2.3mm. The watchmaker has ensured supreme attention to detail, which is evident in the exact hue of each instrument, the tweed finish of the amp, or the pickguard of the guitars — all hand painted using miniature technique. Even lead singer, Mick Jagger’s harmonica is replicated, right next to his microphone, in a block of gold. On turning over the watch, one can see the red-gold oscillating weight, which can be personalised and is part of the manufacture automatic movement that keeps the watch ticking for at least 68 hours. This artwork for the wrist is presented on a vibrant, red textile strap, which complements its snazzy design.

BLANCPAIN FIFTY FATHOMS 70TH ANNIVERSARY ACT 1

In 1953, Blancpain introduced the first modern diver’s watch — the Fifty Fathoms with a soft iron cage, housing the movement. However, it was lying dormant in the brand’s archives until 2003, when it was revived as an anniversary limited-edition, comprising three series of 50 watches — an homage to the icon’s golden jubilee. And this year, it celebrates 70 glorious years for which, Blancpain has unveiled a new model available in three 70-piece series. With the case measuring 42mm, Blancpain pays tribute to the 1953 model, which also had the same case dimensions, and the design cues are also reminiscent of the original watch. This is an exclusive diameter, as no contemporary Fifty Fathoms has been offered in this size. Regular models measure 45mm, while the usual limited-edition Fifty Fathoms has a 40mm case. The dial is black with a sunburst motif and features vintage-looking luminescent hands and block-type hour markers. The watch case, topped by the famous unidirectional bezel with a domed sapphire inlay, is made of polished steel. It is powered by the in-house automatic Calibre1315, known for its robustness and durability since its launch in 2007. Based on a three-barrel architecture, it provides a five-day power reserve, ensuring optimal convenience of the wearer. Its silicon balance spring guarantees resistance to magnetism – an essential criterion in the world of diving. Unlike most dive watches that come with solid steel cashbacks to ensure maximum waterproofness, Blancpain offers a glimpse into the inner workings of this movement, thanks to an exhibition caseback. One can see the fine finishings on the mechanism along with an oscillating weight bearing the ‘Fifty Fathoms 70th’ logo, made in platinum, also symbolising the timekeeper’s 70th anniversary. Water-resistant to 300m, the watch is presented on a black NATO strap made from recycled fishing nets.

PANERAI LUMINOR DUE TUTTOORO

Known for their oversized dive watches suited to withstand the choppy waters of the seas, Panerai has surprised many with the new Luminor Due TuttoOro collection, which features the brand’s first watches with gold bracelets. It is also distinguished by a smaller and slimmer 38mm case, forged from Panerai Goldtech™ – a patented in-house alloy combining copper content and platinum, which ensure the deep, red tone of the metal, and also the high shine. The reference featured here (PAM01182) showcases a navy blue, sun-brushed sandwich dial with a subtly textured surface that catches light along its expanse with the wrist’s movement. It displays minutes, hours, and small seconds at 9 o’clock. There’s also a rectangular date aperture at 3 o’clock. This resplendent timepiece is driven by the automatic calibre P.900 that measures only 4.2mm thick — the first Panerai movement of its size to combine the date function and a three-day power reserve, beating at a frequency of 28,800vph. The Luminor Due TuttoOro is water-resistant to 30m and includes a tool to allow interchangeability of the bracelet.

HUBLOT BIG BANG UNICO SORAI

The brand has been supporting SORAI (Save Our Rhino Africa India), an organisation founded by Hublot ambassador and former international cricketer, Kevin Pietersen since 2019. As with the previous two limited editions, a part of the proceeds from the sale of these watches is donated to the foundation. And now, Hublot has launched the third instalment of this series, at the recently concluded LVMH Watch Week in Singapore. Sculpted from polished and micro-blasted grey ceramic, especially developed for this limited edition, the Big Bang Unico SORAI features an open-worked dial showcasing a mix of the glowing colours of sunset and the hues of daybreak, beautifully represented by orange, yellow, purple, and pink. Housed inside the 44mm case, which is water-resistant to 100m, is the Unico self-winding manufacture movement with a 72-hour power reserve. Thanks to the patented ‘One Click’ interchangeable strap system, the Big Bang Unico SORAI can be worn with a grey fabric and Velcro version or a black, purple-and-orange camouflage design, reflecting the hues of sunset and sunrise.

ZENITH DEFY SKYLINE SKELETON

The latest offering from Zenith, showcased at LVMH Watch Week 2023 is their most elaborate skeleton watch and the only one in the world to feature a 1/10th of a second indicator. The new Zenith Defy Skyline come in a more angular case, which seamlessly integrates the open-worked dial along with a skeletonised version of their legendary El Primero automatic movement, replicating a four-pointed star. The chapter ring’s applied baton hour markers as well as the central hour and minute hands are filled with Super-LumiNova for easy legibility; something that is not prominent in skeleton watches. A constantly running 1/10th of a second counter at 6 o’clock makes steady jumps in fixed increments, completing one revolution every 10 seconds. The watch is available in dial options of black or blue, presented on steel bracelets. Fixed atop the 41mm stainless-steel case with sharply defined edges is the faceted bezel, inspired by the early DEFY models from the 1960s, reimagined with twelve sides that are positioned as extensions to the hour markers. With an emphasis on performance while undertaking an array of activities, the screw-down crown emblazoned with Zenith’s signature ‘star’ emblem provides a water-resistance of at least 100m. It is powered by the high-frequency automatic El Primero calibre, the 3620 SK that drives the 1/10th of a second hand directly from the escapement, which beats at 36,000vph and keeps the watch functional for approximately 60 hours.

BREITLING TOP TIME DEUS

First introduced in the 1960s, Breitling’s unconventional Top Time chronograph became a fast favourite with a stylish crowd of café racer and sports car enthusiasts. Men and women were equally drawn to its bold proportions and graphic dials. Today, the Top Time remains Breitling’s watch for bikers, boarders, surfers, and digital nomads — and at 41mm, it’s a fit for most wrists. The new model, Top Time Deus is limited to 2,000 pieces, and is co-designed with the Australian lifestyle brand Deus Ex Machina. This is the second collaboration between the two brands and has resulted in a watch that is built for open-road adventure with luminescent indexes and a white lacquered dial, contrasted by sky-blue on its sub-dials and speed-measuring tachymeter scale. One cannot miss the details such as the lightning-bolt-shaped chronograph hand, mushroom-shaped pushers, racing-themed calfskin leather strap, and caseback engraving of a Deus bike and rider designed by Deus creative director Carby Tuckwell. Water-resistant to 30m, each solid steel caseback is marked with the ‘One of 2000’ engraving, which also protects Breitling’s in-house Calibre 23, beating at a frequency of 28,800vph, supplying the watch with an energy reserve of at least 48 hours.

TAG HEUER CARRERA CHRONOGRAPH TOURBILLON POLYCHROME

Swiss luxury watchmaker TAG Heuer has introduced the stunning Carrera Chronograph Tourbillon Polychrome — an arresting design limited to only 150 pieces that seamlessly blends innovation and creativity. The premier complication is a statement, high-performance piece, and stands out for its vibrant, new multi-coloured dial design. Based on the celebrated Carrera Chronograph Tourbillon Nanograph, the 45mm watch uses its signature case, bezel, and strap design. The all-black case is made of ultra-lightweight and resistant fine brushed, black PVD grade-5 titanium with a fixed carbon tachymeter bezel. It features a domed, bevelled sapphire crystal with anti-reflective treatment, a black PVD grade-5 titanium crown and push buttons, as well as a black PVD grade-5 titanium screwed sapphire caseback with special engraving marking the limited release number of the piece. Contrasting against this deep black exterior is a novel rainbow-colored skeletonised dial with its classic tricompax layout, which highlights a black flange with 60 second/minute scale, rhodium-plated blue chronograph sub-counters at 3 and 9 o’clock with black-gold-plated polished hands, and a multi-coloured tourbillon at 6 o’clock. The applied indexes and hands are rhodium-plated, with Super-LumiNova on the hour and minute hands. It is driven by the Calibre Heuer 02T COSC chronograph tourbillon, developed entirely in-house to meet the highest standards of precision and performance, and offers a power reserve of 65 hours. The complication offers a water-resistance of up to 100m and is presented on a matte-black alligator leather strap with a rubber lining, complete with a titanium folding clasp with double safety buttons.

MONTBLANC STAR LEGACY NICOLAS RIEUSSEC CHRONOGRAPH

Over the years, Montblanc has presented an array of different iterations of its iconic Nicolas Rieussec Chronograph using different materials, finishings, and colours. The brand has now given this classic timepiece a contemporary aesthetic, while retaining several details that reinforce design codes from the original timekeeping device that was first built in 1821 in Paris. Montblanc has unveiled two new fresh interpretations of this timepiece — one in stainless steel, and the other in DLC-coated stainless steel (limited to 500 pieces). Both come in a new ergonomic pebble-shaped case measuring 43mm in diameter (the previous size was 44.8mm) with blue details that recall the colour of ink — a nod to the original device, along with an onion-shaped crown. The dial also showcases a graphic Clous de Paris motif on the dial (replacing the previous Grain d’Orge design), a traditional design that originates from the geometric design of Paris’s cobbled streets. Other details include open-worked indexes, dauphine hands with Super-LumiNova, dark-grey baton indexes, a new typography on the chronograph counters, a black, semi-transparent sapphire crystal on the caseback, blued screws on the dial and movement, and strong colour contrasts between the anthracite grey and electric blue. It is powered by the self-winding manufacture monopusher chronograph movement MB R200, the very first in-house movement developed by themaison, and supplied an energy reserve of at least 72 hours. It is equipped with a column-wheel mechanism, activated by a monopusher situated at 8 o’clock. In order to improve the chronograph’s start, the connection between the gear train and the chronograph’s wheels is alternately engaged and disengaged by a vertical disc clutch, which functions without any wear and tear. This mechanism prevents the elapsed time discs from jumping when the chronograph is switched on. There is also a rapid-reset mechanism for the hour and date, highly practical for travellers. These indicators can be reset either clockwise or counter-clockwise without affecting the position of the minute-hand. Water-resistant to 50m, the watch comes with a blue textile strap that complements its edgy design.

RADO CAPTAIN COOK AUTOMATIC CHRONOGRAPH

First launched in 1961, the Rado Captain Cook timepiece was in sync with the times when recreational diving had become extremely popular. Named after the British navigator and explorer James Cook, the remarkable design of the first Captain Cook watch stood out for its highly geometric case measuring 35.5mm, topped by a concave inward-sloping bezel, and protected by a domed acrylic crystal glass with a date-magnifying sub lens. The timepiece stayed in production till 1968 and was soon forgotten only to be revived by the brand in 2017, and now constitutes an important part of their portfolio. The new Captain Cook Chronograph features a characteristic box-shaped, scratch-resistant sapphire crystal with anti-reflective treatment on both faces. The thin, stylish 43mm stainless steel case features a polished black, high-tech ceramic inlay on the bezel, complementing the silver-to-black gradient dial. The numbers, markers and triangles are treated with Super-LumiNova. It is powered by the new, slimmer R801 automatic movement studded with 37 jewels, and offers a 59-hour power reserve, thanks to an antimagnetic Nivachron hairspring, which exceeds standard test requirements for higher accuracy. Water-resistant to 300m, the model comes with a polished and brushed stainless-steel bracelet, as well as an option of a brown leather strap, and an additional black fabric strap.

Reproduced with permission from Mansworldindia.com

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