Our Favourite New Release Watches for 2021
A. Lange & Söhne
A Lange & Söhne reconceptualises a perennial favourite this year with the unveiling the stunning Lange 1 Perpetual Calendar, the first of its kind. In the collection since the very beginning, the Lange 1 has proven itself to be one of the brand’s most versatile and enduring timepieces. Two versions are offered, the first in pink gold with a grey solid silver dial, and the second, a limited edition in white gold with a solid pink gold dial. Both house Lange’s 67th manufacture calibre with automatic winding.
The Lange 1 Perpetual Calendar is joined by a new version of the legendary Triple Split – introduced in 2018 – featuring an alternative colour pallet. An eye-catching pink gold case is now matched with a sublime deep blue dial with silver sub-dials, in keeping with the brand’s distinct design language. Last but not least is a new version of the Little Lange 1 Moonphase, with an absolutely gorgeous dark blue “gold flux” dial. Perfectly capturing the sentiment of the night sky, it features delicately crafted stars for the hour markers. A diamond-set bezel version is also available.
Breitling – Premier Collection
Breitling continues its deep dive into the archives this year with a slew of new, vintage-inspired models that are sure to turn the head of even the most ardent purist. In all, three new model families have been unveiled, all of which belong to the newly created Premier Heritage collection. First up is the Premier Heritage B09 Chronograph, featuring a round 40mm case with a horizontal, two-register dial layout framed by a tachymeter scale. Two versions of the highly legible dial – complete with Arabic numeral hour markers and Super-LumiNova on the hour and minute hands – are available. One a classic silver with gold highlights, the other a playful pistachio green that somehow maintains the vintage vibe. Inside both is the manually wound Breitling Manufacture Caliber B09.
Next up is the answer to the prayers of many a dedicated Breitling collector; a re-issue of sorts of Breitling’s highly sought-after 1940s Duograph split-seconds chronograph. Presented in a 42mm case, it’s available in your choice of steel paired with a sunburst blue dial, or 18k red gold with a gorgeous black dial. Neither model is a limited edition but both are sure to be in hot demand. Rounding out the releases is the Heritage Premier B25 Datora, a modern-day take on Breitling’s original hybrid triple calendar chronograph model from the 1940s. The day and month are shown via apertures below 12 o’clock, while the date is indicated on a sub-dial at 6 o’clock that also contains a moonphase. It’s a throwback to a different era and one we just can’t get enough of. Again two versions are available, one in steel and the other in 18k rose gold.
One of Cartier’s most popular unveilings this year has also been one of its more unexpected. The French Maison has debuted a new version of its iconic Tank watch (in the collection since 1917), equipped with a solar-powered quartz movement. Not only is this the first model in the Tank collection to feature solar power, it’s the first solar-powered Cartier watch ever and is very much in keeping with the forward-thinking ethos of the brand. Presented in a stainless steel case, two sizes are available: 33mm x 25.5mm for the large model, and 29.5 x 22mm for the small model. These are offered on non-animal leather straps – in black, blue, or light green – produced from scraps of apples grown for the food industry.
The light for the photovoltaic charging system reaches the movement through the Roman numerals on the dial. Cartier estimates an average running time of around 16 years before the watch will require a service. What is perhaps most impressive is that the company was able to overcome the issue of allowing a sufficient amount of light into the watch, without compromising on the legendary proportions of the dial. This model looks like exactly any other Cartier Tank with a quartz movement, except you don’t have to concern yourself with periodic battery changes. Sure to be a hit with those looking for a hassle-free, daily wear watch that one can set and forget but without compromising on style or sophistication.
If there is one brand you can always rely on to get jaws dropping, it’s Hublot. Demonstrating its unparalleled expertise in working with sapphire, the brand has unveiled a full-sapphire version of the Big Bang Integral Tourbillon. And when we say full-sapphire, we mean full-sapphire! Limited to just 30 pieces, even the integrated bracelet is made from the clear material. Of course, this wasn’t the only model from the Swiss watch house to turn heads. Hublot also debuted a 250-piece limited edition version of its signature Big Bang Chronograph in a playful yellow. The 42mm ceramic case is paired with the in-house Unico movement with its column-wheel visible dial side and features yellow highlights across the dial. The bright colour scheme even carries through to its lined and structured yellow rubber strap.
There were also some familiar faces in the form of three new ceramic additions to the Sang Bleu II collection. Created in collaboration with the London-based tattoo studio, the multifaceted 45mmm cases are now offered in blue, grey and white, in addition to the all-black version that made its debut last year. Each is offered as a limited edition of 200 pieces and features Hublot’s automatic HUB1240.MXM movement, complete with fly-back column wheel chronograph and 72-hour power reserve.
IWCLegendary amongst aviation watches, IWC’s Big Pilot has always held a special place in the collection. Its impressive 46mm case is not suited to all wrists though, which is why this year the brand has made the bold move of introducing a refined – and yes, smaller – version. Measuring a more versatile 43mm x 13.6mm high, the origins of the new Big Pilot 43 are unmistakable, thanks in no small part to its iconic diamond-shaped, screw-down crown. Likewise, the dial aesthetic – fonts, layout, etc – are all inspired directly by its famed elder sibling. Inside is a self-winding manufacture movement, visible through a sapphire caseback.
In keeping with the theme of refinement, IWC also introduces this year its new Pilot’s Watch Chronograph 41. Although virtually identical to the current generation IW3777 introduced in 2016, its 41mm stainless steel case is actually 2mm smaller and 1mm thinner. And its water resistance rating has increased from 60m to a more robust 100m. What really has fans of the brand excited though is what’s inside the smaller case; IWC’s in-house calibre 69385. Featuring an integrated column-wheel chronograph, it boasts a bi-directional pawl winding system and can store up to 46 hours of power reserve.
Jaeger-LeCoultreJaeger-LeCoultre is widely regarded as one of the modern-day masters of haute horologerie, and this year the brand has delivered a mind-blowing reminder of just how worthy it is of that title. The newly unveiled Hybris Mechanica Calibre 185 Quadriptyque is the most complicated Reverso Jaeger-LeCoultre has ever made. In fact, it’s one of the most complicated timepieces the brand has ever made, period. And if you know Jaeger-LeCoultre, you know that’s saying something. A total of 11 complications are in play across four distinct faces, and yet the piece remains eminently wearable and functional. A noteworthy achievement in and of itself.
The first face features a central hours and minutes display, replete with flying 1-minute tourbillion visible through an aperture in the bottom left-half of the dial. There’s also an instantaneous perpetual calendar, with big date and indications for the day, month, year, and leap year, day/night indication. Reversing the case reveals the second face, which also displays the time but with a digital jumping hour instead of traditional hands. Also visible are the components of the minute repeater, which chimes the time “on-demand,” ringing the hours, quarter hours, and minutes when the slide in the case is pressed. Importantly this is the first repeater from the brand in which there are no delays between the chiming of the various time intervals. The remaining two “dials” are on the inside and back of the case cradle. The former features three different versions of the lunar month; the Synodic cycle, Draconic cycle, and Anomalistic cycle. The latter – on the caseback – shows the moon-phase as seen from the Southern Hemisphere. Truly an astonishing work of art.
This year Panerai unveils its new Luminor Chronograph line, featuring the brand’s new automatic chronograph calibre, the P.9200. Housed in prominent steel cases measuring 44mm by 15.65mm, three different versions are available in the main collection, with your choice of a black, white, or blue sandwich dial. The latter also features a steel bracelet with links inspired by the Luminor safety clasp. Balancing the case nicely, the chronograph pushers (for start, stop and reset) are located on the left-hand side, opposite the crown and its trademark protective bridge. Time is displayed centrally, as are chronograph seconds. Elapsed chronograph minutes are captured on the sub-dial at 3 o’clock, while running seconds are shown opposite at 9 o’clock. A tachymetre runs the periphery of the dial, adding some subtle motor racing flavour to this marine-inspired timekeeper.
There’s also a limited-edition model that celebrates the audacity of the Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli sailing team. The deep blue sandwich dial with its red highlights evokes the team’s racing colours and is complemented by a matching rubber strap. Like its non-limited siblings, it’s powered by the new, self-winding P.9200 calibre, which delivers a 42-hour power reserve. All four models are rated water resistance to 100m and are primed for adventure on land or sea.
TAG Heuer’s Aquaracer 300 series has been a fixture in the brand’s line-up since the early 1980’s. Styled as serious yet sporty dive watch, it has seen its share of revamps over the years. And this latest version may just be the best yet. Two case sizes are available, 43mm and 36mm, both offered in stainless steel. The new cases display brushed finishing on the top and sides in keeping with the professional tool watch mandate, although polished chamfers add a touch of elegance. The bezel edge is also polished, contrasting nicely against the case. Three different dial colours are offered: blue, black and silver, all with a sunray-brushed finish. The blue and black dials feature a matching ceramic bezel insert, while the silver dial is framed by a black insert. Fans of the Aquaracer will recognise the distinctive 12-sided bezel the model is known for but gone are the claws on top. Instead it now boasts a fluted edge for a better grip and a more understated appearance.
Other subtle updates include the relocation of the date window to the 6 o’clock position – with the cyclops now placed on the underside of the crystal instead of on top – new octagonal-shaped applied hour markers filled with Super-LumiNova and redesigned sword shape hands with a single luminous insert. In addition to the stainless steel models, TAG Heuer has also debuted a special edition of the Aquaracer 300 in sandblasted matte titanium. It’s paired with a green sunray-brushed dial and a radial-brushed ceramic bezel insert complete with contrasting orange triangle top marker and orange inscriptions on the dial. Inside all models is the tried and trusted Calibre 5 self-winding movement, protected by a solid case back with a diving helmet and a honeycomb motif. All versions are rated water resistant to 300m.
Tudor has unveiled stylish evolutions of three of its most popular models this year, and the response – not surprisingly – has been overwhelmingly positive. This year marks 50 years since Tudor began manufacturing mechanical chronographs, and so first up is a relaunch of the Black Bay Chrono, which came to market in 2017. Two dial configurations are available: black with white sub-dials, or white with black sub-dials. Each one has the signature red text for the depth rating as well as a red arrow on the chronograph seconds hand (a feature carried over from the two-tone Black Bay Chrono). The 41mm steel case has also been redesigned and is now slimmer than its predecessor, despite housing the same Tudor MT5813 movement.
Joining the new Black Bay Chronos are two very special versions of the highly coveted Black Bay 58, both in precious metal cases. The Black Bay Fifty-Eight 18K boasts a solid yellow-gold case, olive green dial with matching bezel insert, and an alligator strap with yellow-gold buckle. The Black Bay Fifty-Eight 925 meanwhile features a silver case (the first dive watch from Tudor to do so), paired with a warm taupe dial and bezel and worn on a brown grain leather strap. In another first, both models feature sapphire case backs, allowing for up closing viewing of the MT5400 manufacture movement inside. Water resistance remains a healthy 200m and the case size is unchanged at 39mm (although it is slightly thicker to accommodate the sapphire case back).
Vacheron Constantin’s Historiques inimitable Americaine 1921 collection marks the centenary of its inspiration this year with a new trio of precious-metal models. Two are offered in white gold cases measuring 36.5mm and 40mm respectively and feature painted numerals on a grained silver-tone dials emphasising the collections vintage aesthetic. Immediately recognisable on the wrist thanks to its distinctive cushion-shaped case and the placement of the crown at 2 o’clock, these models evoke a bygone era that seamlessly blends sophistication with a touch of whimsy. Inside is Vacheron’s hand-wound calibre 4400 AS, offering a 65 hour of power reserve. Beautifully finished it and carries the Hallmark of Geneva and is visible through a sapphire case back.
The third model is a special limited-edition platinum 40mm version of which only 100 pieces will be produced. It’s also part of Vacheron Constantin’s Collection Excellence Platine, an exclusive series that includes select models from across the Vacheron range built to very specific, platinum-heavy criteria. The polished 950 platinum case is paired with a sandblasted platinum dial and white-gold applied hour markers, while seconds hand on the sub-dial is flame-blued steel. A subtle complement to the dark blue alligator strap that completes the package. Inside is the same hand-wound calibre 4400 AS manufacture movement.
We hope you have enjoyed this very brief overview of some of our favourite new releases for this year. Over the coming weeks and months we will continue to dive into some of these models in far greater detail in separate dedicated articles. In the meantime if you would like to learn more about any of the models discussed above, or make a request to reserve a specific piece, please contact your nearest Watches of Switzerland Australia boutique today.