Athleisure: Dressing Down is the New Dressing Up

Athleisure: Dressing Down is the New Dressing Up

Dressing down is the new dressing up. Or so they say. Busy and varied schedules, increased health consciousness and relaxed dress codes have got us all thinking about the clothes we wear to take on life’s daily adventures. We desire comfort and versatility but without compromising on style. This has given rise to the athleisure movement, a more relaxed way of dressing that blends sportswear with ready-to-wear, blurring the lines between the clothes you’d wear to the gym and those you’d wear to your favourite bar. It’s only natural than that this would extend to your choice of wrist wear. Fortunately, luxury watch brands have been decades ahead of the curve when it comes to creating timepieces that are both sporty and sophisticated. The need for a watch that can go anywhere you do and look good doing it has long been understood and as the models below amply demonstrate, the Swiss have about perfected the formula. Just don’t tell the fashion crowd they’re late to the party.

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Chronograph Flyback Green
It might be hard to believe today, but the iconic Blanpain Fifty Fathoms actually started life as a tool watch for French naval frogmen in the 1950s. In homage to its military heritage, the latest Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscape Chronograph Flyback features an eye-catching green dial with sunburst finish, framed by a satin-brushed green ceramic bezel with beige Liquidmetal markings. Twin chronograph registers appear at 3 and 9 o’clock, with running seconds shown on a small sub-dial above 6 o’clock. Rated water resistant to 300m, a generous application of SuperLumiNova® on the dial, hands and bezel means the watch remains legible even at depth. All this is paired with a robust yet lightweight black ceramic case with satin-brushed finishes, measuring 43.6mm in diameter and worn on a sail canvas strap. Turning the watch over reveals Blancpain’s calibre F385, visible through the sapphire glass on the case back. A high-frequency automatic chronograph movement – 5Hz (36,000vph) – it is capable of measuring elapsed times of up to 1/10th of a second. It also offers flyback functionality, which means the chronograph hands can be stopped, reset and started with just one press of the pusher at 4 o’clock.

Breitling Endurance Pro
Blending high precision and innovative technology with a stylish and vibrant aesthetic, the Breitling Endurance Pro might just be the ultimate athleisure watch. Crafted from ultra-light Breitlight®, a proprietary carbon composite that is 3.3 times lighter than titanium and 5.8 times lighter than stainless steel, the 44mm case weighs a mere 64.6 grams (without the strap). It’s also non-magnetic, thermally stable and hypoallergenic, not to mention highly resistant to scratches, traction and corrosion. All of which make it ideally suited for the active lifestyle for which it was intended. An attractive black dial displays the time centrally, along with the chronograph counters and is framed by a bidirectional rotating bezel that can be used as a solar compass. Adding a bold splash of colour, the dial flange – complete with pulsometer scale for measuring your heartrate – comes in your choice of blue, orange, red, yellow or white. These are complemented by matching rubber straps closed by a Breitlight® double tang-type buckle. You can also pair the Endurance Pro with one of Breitling’s colourful Outerknown ECONYL® yarn NATO straps, made from nylon waste extracted from oceans around the world.

IWC Yacht Club Moon & Tide
Best known as a high-performance chronograph capable of precisely timing sailing races, the Yacht Club shows its versatility this year with a new Moon & Tide variation. As the sportier member of the elegant, nautically-inspired Portugieser family, the Yacht Club is distinguished by its 44.6mm round case – offered here exclusively in 18k rose gold – and thin polished bezel opening onto a large dial complete with classic leaf-shaped Portugieser hands and signature Arabic numerals. In addition to the central time display and the date aperture at 3 o’clock, two sub-counters adorn the dial at 6 and 12 o’clock. The former provides an easy to read indication of the expected times for the next high and low tide.  The latter features an enhanced double moon phase display (with both hemispheres indicated) showing spring and neap tides, enabling the wearer to assess the likely strength of the current tide. This is made possible by the new manufacture calibre 82835, an automatic movement equipped with IWC’s Pellaton winding system and delivering a 60-hour power reserve. The IWC Portugieser Yacht Club Moon & Tide is worn on a water-ready blue rubber strap with a sailcloth-like textile insert.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Mariner Memovox
A new high-performance timepiece joins the Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris collection this year in the form of the Polaris Mariner Memovox. Inspired by the original Memovox watches from the 1960s its 42mm case features a distinctive three-crown configuration, with inner rotating bezel and mechanical alarm function. The star of the show however is the rich gradient-blue dial comprised of three concentric circles finished in different textures. The central disc is sunray-brushed, complementing the subtle graining of the middle ring and the opaline finish of the outer ring, which serves as the unidirectional rotating bezel. SuperLumiNova®-filled hands ensure excellent legibility in low light, with the hour and minute hands glowing different colours for easy differentiation between the two. Bold trapezoid-shaped indexes and three Arabic numerals complete the classic Jaeger-LeCoultre dive watch aesthetic, with the date shown via an aperture at 3 o’clock. In keeping with its stated purpose as a high-performance diving watch, the Memovox Polaris is rated water-resistant to 300 metres (30 bar). It’s worn on a superbly constructed integrated steel bracelets, showing a dynamic mix of brushed and polished surfaces.

Hublot Big Bang Unico Yellow Sapphire
Not for the faint of heart, the Hublot Big Bang Unico Yellow Sapphire is guaranteed to make an impression wherever you wear it. Its 42mm case is made entirely from sapphire crystal, a transparent material which reveals the innermost workings of the watch, and yet is robust enough to effectively protect the mechanism. A notoriously difficult material to machine, Hublot’s engineers and chemists can rightfully claim mastery of synthetic sapphire after years of research and development. In keeping with the theme of transparency, the Big Bang Unico Yellow Sapphire features an open-worked dial complete with matching yellow hands, Arabic numerals and indices. Just beneath sits the new Unico 2 caliber, designed specifically to equip smaller chronographs. It retains the unique design of its former version with a double coupling system visible from the dial side as well as a 72-hour power reserve. But thanks to various technical optimizations, including the introduction of a new, flatter automatic winding system, it has been reduced by 1.3 mm in thickness. Completing the look is a transparent, yellow structured lined strap.

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