In the luxury watch industry, there is no shortage of designers, engineers and artisans who like to think outside of the box. Whether it’s exploring innovative new materials, creating unusual designs, or simply doing something unexpected, these are the watches that never fail to capture our attention.
At Watches of Switzerland, we like to think we occasionally play a small role in this process, which is why we were pleased to join with our partner Breitling in presenting the exclusive Watches of Switzerland 20th Anniversary Avenger Hurricane 12H earlier this year. Limited to just 20 pieces, this new version of the superlative-charged chronograph is offered in Breitling’s XXL 50mm case and crafted from Breitlight® – an exclusive high-tech material 3.3 times lighter than titanium and 5.8 times lighter than steel, yet significantly harder. The volcano black 12-hour dial features unique orange aviation numerals exclusive to this limited series. In addition, an engraved caseback showcases the Watches of Switzerland logo along with the limited-edition number for the piece. An exclusive anthracite Military strap with orange stitching combines comfort and sturdiness, using ultra- sturdy high-tech Military fabric. Inside is the Manufacture Breitling Caliber 01, a chronometer-certified by the COSC (Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute). This high-performance self-winding chronograph ‘engine’ is entirely developed and produced in the Breitling workshops.
Following the incredible success of the steel version of the Rolex Daytona with Cerachrom bezel that was released in 2016, additional models in precious metals were hotly anticipated this year and Rolex did not disappoint. For 2017, the Cosmograph Daytona is now available in your choice of 18 kt yellow, white, or Everose gold ( Rolex’s patented alloy which guarantees stability of the rose colour). Measuring 40mm in diameter, the watch features a virtually-scratchproof and UV-resistant black monobloc Cerachrom bezel and matching black sub-dials on the watch face. Powered by the fabled Manufacture Rolex Calibre 4130, the chronograph offers the functions of a 30-minute counter, a 12-hour counter, and a central seconds hand. In an amphibious twist, however, all three versions are offered on Rolex’s patented Oysterflex bracelet, which provides the comfort and sporty style of a rubber strap but with the robustness and longevity of a metal bracelet.
Inspired by the Ferrari Formula One car, Hublot’s LaFerrari collection demonstrates the Manufacture’s extraordinary understanding of inner mechanics and design. The newest part of the MP (MasterPiece) Collection, encased entirely in a polished smoked sapphire crystal, the MP-05 LaFerrari Aperta (reference 905.JN.0001.RX) holds the manual-winding HUB9005.H1.PN.1 Manufacture Calibre, a movement that includes an astonishing eleven, series-coupled mainspring barrels and a suspended vertical tourbillon. This remarkable machine enables the watch to achieve an incredible 50-day (1,200 hours) power reserve, which is visible – in addition to hour, minute, and seconds indications – on the transparent cylinders. Winding the watch requires a specialised tool, thankfully provided with the watch, which resembles F1 pit stop equipment. Fitted on a smooth black rubber strap that takes its design cues from the inner case, the LaFerrari Aperta (Italian for “Open”) is a real showstopper. Whether more car engine or more timepiece, this is a watch for race car enthusiasts as much as it is for the haute horology cognoscenti.
Built from a revolutionary new material, BMG-TECH, the Panerai Luminor Submersible 1950 BMG-Tech 3 Days Automatic – PAM 00692 – is a professional dive watch that’s virtually life resistant. Sized at 47mm, the case material and unidirectional rotating bezel consist of a special alloy that combines copper, aluminium, titanium, nickel, and zirconium, hence why BMG stands for “Bulk Metallic Glass”. This material boasts such properties as being stronger yet lighter than steel, in addition to extreme resistance to corrosion, shocks, and magnetic fields. Driven by Panerai’s Calibre P.9010, this automatic movement includes central hour and minute hands, a small seconds sub-dial at 9 o’clock, and a date window at 3 o’clock. With a dark blue dial and simple luminous hour markers, however, this Panerai is more elegant looking than one would expect considering its robust nature.
Rounding out the automotive theme, Baume & Mercier brings us the Clifton Club Shelby Cobra, a tribute to the Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe, the famed GT racer created by American race-car designer Peter Brock. Brock paired up with Baume & Mercier’s design & product Director, Alexandre Peraldi, to devise this chronograph that celebrates the aerodynamic lines of the Daytona Coupe while exhibiting vintage driver watch traits. Sized at a substantial 44mm in diameter, this steel watch features a dial divided in half into white and blue with highlights of red, in keeping with the design of the original car. Limited to just 196 pieces, it is powered by the automatic La Joux-Perret 8147-2 movement and includes a flyback chronograph, a tachymeter indicator, and day and date functions. Paired with a blue “all roads” calfskin embossed strap with a carbon-like pattern, this is a watch designed to move you.
Tudor’s solution for the perfect tool watch, the Pelagos LHD, is positioned as one of the most complete traditional mechanical diver watches in today’s market. Boasting a titanium and steel case measuring 42mm in diameter, this watch features a titanium unidirectional rotating bezel with a ceramic matt black disc and beige luminescent coating. This black and beige combination is carried on to the watch face, which features the same colour combination. Ideal for left-handed people (thus the LHD for “Left Hand Drive”), the watch offers a crown at 9 o’clock so that it can be worn comfortably on the right wrist. This is a nod to Tudor’s past as a brand that has always created watches for left-handed professional divers. Housing the Manufacture Calibre MT5612, this movement offers a 70-hour power reserve, superb precision with COSC certification, and is guaranteed waterproof to 500m.