The 2021 Luxury Watch Buyers Guide
A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 Time Zone
With its perfect proportions and well-balanced, intuitively easy to read display, the Lange 1 has become an icon of modern watchmaking. When updates are introduced therefore, you can be sure they have been carefully considered first. Such is the case with the new Lange 1 Time Zone, which showcases several subtle evolutions on its dial layout, such as a new Daylight Savings Time indicator and integrated circular Day/Night indicators for each of its two time displays. Behind the dial is a new, hand-wound manufacture movement in the form of the calibre L141.1. Constructed from 448 parts and using a lever escapement, its single barrel is capable of storing 72 hours of power reserve. On display through a sapphire case back, it features a classic three-quarter German silver plate decorated with ribbing; chamfered, bevelled and polished edges; a mirror-polished whiplash spring; polished internal angles; and an exquisite, engraved floral pattern on the balance cock. All of which is done painstakingly by hand. Its pink gold case measures 41.9mm Ø x 10.9mm H, and is paired with a red-brown hand-stitched alligator leather strap, closed by a prong buckle in the same metal as the case.
IWC Portugieser Yacht Club Chronograph Edition ‘Orlebar Brown’
Luxury watch maker IWC and British men’s clothing brand Orlebar Brown have teamed up to create a special edition of the IWC Portugieser Yacht Club Chronograph. Known for its stylish resort and leisurewear, Orlebar Brown is a natural pairing for the Yacht Club. Presented in a 44.6mm steel case, the watch features a dark navy-blue dial with contrasting colours for the two vertically aligned counters. The top counter (the chronograph totaliser) is in the same dark blue colour as the dial, with the number 12 and the area between 60 and 10 standing out in bright red. The bottom counter, housing the small seconds and date aperture, is white with blue markings. Inside the case is the IWC-manufactured 89361 calibre with flyback function, complete with a power reserve of 68 hours. The two partners have also collaborated on a special new navy-blue rubber strap that features a textile inlay on the surface that is woven to look like rope. The strap is secured by a co-branded side-fastener inspired by those found on OB’s swimsuits. The outer ring of the steel caseback is engraved with the name of the watch and the words “Edition Orlebar Brown”.
Inspired by a pocket watch from 1794 – the Breguet Perpetuelle N°5 – the Classique 7137 Moon and Power Reserve is a beloved and enduring reference in the Montres Breguet family. Its pink gold case, with finely fluted caseband, measures a discrete 39mm in diameter by 8.65mm high. The elegant silver-plated dial is made from a solid gold plate and showcases several new handcrafted, engine-turned “guilloché” decorations. In the top left-hand of the dial sits a fan-shaped power reserve display with an intricate basket-weave guilloché pattern. Across from it, the phases of the moon are shown through a crescent-shaped opening, with a rich blue background and a gold insert for the Moon. The bottom portion of the dial hosts a circular sub-dial for the date complete with striking chequerboard pattern. Framing the dial is a softly brushed metallic chapter ring, featuring Roman numerals, and a cartouche for the Breguet name and the watch’s individual number. On the other side a sapphire case back reveals the hand-finished automatic calibre 502.3, an in-house movement regulated by a free-sprung balance working in conjunction with a balance-spring and pallet horn in silicon. This reference is worn on a brown alligator strap with pink gold folding buckle in the shape of the Breguet ‘B’ logo.
Vacheron Constantin Overseas Perpetual Calendar Ultra Thin
Sporty yet elegant, and offering an exceptional level of complexity, the Overseas Perpetual Calendar Ultra Thin is a stunning example of the brand’s mechanical ingenuity. The tonneau-shaped case, available for the first time in full 18k 5N pink gold, measures 41.5mm in diameter and stands a svelte 8.10mm tall. These remarkable dimensions are made possible by the ultra-thin manufacture calibre 1120 QP/1 inside, comprised of 276 parts including a perpetual calendar module. Paired with a striking blue dial complete with pink gold hands and indexes, the Overseas Perpetual Calendar Ultra Thin shows the time centrally along with full calendar indications. These include the date, day of week, month and year shown on separate subsidiary dials, as well as a richly illustrated moon-phase display at 6 o’clock. Displaying an impressive amount of information simultaneously, the dial remains both legible and beautifully balanced, a credit to the brand’s talented designers. Available on an integrated bracelet in matching pink gold, this model features Vacheron Constantin’s quick-change system, allowing you to easily switch between the supplied additional rubber and leather straps without the need for tools.
Descended from a round, water-resistant wristwatch that first appeared in the Cartier collections in 1943, the Pasha series came of age in the 1980s with a sporty redesign by the renowned Gerald Genta. This year, Cartier revisits one of its treasured icons again, with a contemporary update to suit modern tastes. The 35mm round case – shown here in 18k rose gold – is refined and beautifully-shaped, its brushed finishing giving it an understated look on the wrist that contrasts superbly with the polished bezel set with 48 brilliant-cut diamonds totalling 1.15 carats. At either end extend the unique lug modules, complete with “Clous de Paris” decoration. The silvered flinqué dial features a stamped guilloché pattern with signature Pasha Arabic numerals and blued-steel diamond-shaped hands. The case is rated water resistant to 100m and includes the trademark chained-cap set with blue sapphire that unscrews to reveal the winding crown underneath. Worn on a matching 18K rose gold bracelet with “SmartLink” adjustment system, this reference comes with a second navy blue alligator-skin strap and interchangeable 18K rose gold folding buckle. Both are fitted with the “QuickSwitch” interchangeable system for easy strap changes without the need for tools.
Blancpain Quantieme Complet
At 38mm in diameter and 10.25mm thick, the steel case of the Quantième Complet makes a statement on the wrist without compromising on comfort or wearability. Imbued with the timeless aesthetic Blancpain is well known for, the white dial plays host to a variety of indicators whilst remaining uncluttered. The day and month are communicated by way of double apertures that appear below the 12 o’clock position, close to the dial centre. These are balanced by the moon phase display peeping through a crescent aperture on the lower half of the dial. A blued serpentine hand points to the date, shown on a chapter ring spanning the dial’s outer circumference. Large applied Roman numerals in Blancpain’s signature font are used for the hour indexes, interspersed by diamond set markers. Encircling the watch face is a classic Villeret double-stepped bezel set with a brilliant ring of diamonds. Inside is the manufacture calibre 6763, a manual-wind movement operating at a frequency of 3Hz and boasting a 100-hour power reserve. Completing the look is a black alligator leather strap.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso One
Almost 90 years ago, Jaeger-LeCoultre launched a wristwatch that was destined to become a classic of 20th-century design: the Reverso. Continuing to build on this legacy, the brand introduces a new aesthetic interpretation this year of one of its most popular models for women, the Reverso One. Distinguished by the strength and purity of line derived from the original Art Deco design, and immediately recognisable by the three straight-line gadroons that define both the upper and lower edges of the case, the new Reverso One introduces fresh colour and new refinement to the collection. Among these is the Reverso One Red-Wine, presented in a stainless steel case measuring 40mm x 20mm x 7.9mm. Its striking red lacquer guilloché dial, which is achieved through the application of multiple layers of lacquer on top of a subtle guilloché pattern, is a process that demands unwavering attention to detail. A row of diamonds is set across the top and bottom of the dial (0.3 carats) further accentuating the feminine appeal of this special model. A solid caseback – with ample space for a personalised engraving – protects the battery-operated Caliber 657, developed and manufactured in-house. This reference is worn on an alligator leather strap in a rich red matching the dial.
Piaget Limelight Gala
Glamorous and refined, the Piaget Limelight Gala diamond watch for women is devoted to sophistication and beauty. Blending art, design and jewellery, it sings the praises of a bold, vibrant femininity first honoured in the original versions of these elegant watches from the 1960s. A svelte 32 mm in diameter, elongated, asymmetrical lugs set with a total of 62 brilliant-cut diamonds (approx. 1.64 ct) wrap around the curved 18K rose gold case in dramatic fashion. This spiralling sense of fluidity carries through to the Roman numeral dial, which flows effortlessly in a clockwise direction. The view from the other side is no less impressive, with a sapphire case back revealing the inner workings of the Manufacture Piaget 501P self-winding mechanical movement. Expertly finished, it showcases a number of decorating techniques, including circular Côtes de Genève, bevelled bridges and blued screws. Seamlessly paired with a supple gold Milanese bracelet that closes via a buckle set with a brilliant-cut diamond, the Piaget Limelight Gala feels silky smooth against the skin.
Breitling Superocean Heritage 57
The Superocean Heritage ’57 Capsule collection pays tribute to the original 1957 SuperOcean and the cool, laid-back surfing lifestyle of the 1960s. Shown here in polished stainless steel, the 42 mm case features two signature elements of the original SuperOcean: a concave bidirectional ceramic bezel which extends over the diameter of the case and a dial featuring oversized indices. Both in matching blue. The central hands and indices are filled with white Super-LumiNova, delivering excellent legibility even when the lights go out. Rated water resistant to 100m, the Heritage 57 remains refreshingly slim on the wrist, thanks to its sleek 9.9mm profile. Pictured here on an integrated “mesh” Ocean Classic stainless steel bracelet with butterfly clasp, this model is also available with a brown calfskin leather strap. Or, if you prefer, you can match it with an Outerknown ECONYL® yarn NATO strap. The Superocean Heritage ‘57 is powered by the Breitling Caliber 10, a COSC-certified chronometer.
Hublot Big Bang Integral Titanium
Fifteen years on from the release of the inaugural Big Bang, Hublot has evolved its iconic watch once again, with the addition of a tailored integrated bracelet. Featuring a three-link construction – one central and two lateral – it offers a robust yet comfortable fit on the wrist. To seamlessly accommodate the new bracelet, the familiar 42mm case has been subtly redesigned, most noticeably the shape and curve of the lugs. Likewise, the pushers return to the codes of the first model from 2005. It is these pushers which inspired the style of the bracelet, with their interplay of angles and chamfers and alternating polished and satin finishes punctuating the watch, from the middle to the bracelet. The case of course maintains its trademark “sandwich” construction but is presented here without the composite resin insert. Instead the watch is crafted entirely from one material – Titanium. The only exceptions are the black composite resin lugs on its bezel and the crown over-moulded with rubber. Visible through the open-worked dial is the HUB1280 UNICO Manufacture self-winding movement, featuring a column wheel chronograph with flyback functionality and offering a 72-hour power reserve.
Panerai Luminor Marina
With its striking sun-brushed blue dial and distinctive cushion-shaped case, the Luminor Marina is immediately recognisable on the wrist. Encompassing the time-tested design codes of Officine Panerai, the robust, 44mm case is constructed from AISI 316L brushed steel – which is both highly resistant to corrosion and hypoallergenic. This includes the trademark crown protection bridge developed by Panerai in 1950. The dial’s unique sandwich-style construction comprises two separate discs. The lower disc is treated with a luminous substance, while the indexes and numerals have been cut out from the upper disc that sits on top. This ensures excellent legibility in all conditions. Framing the dial is a polished bezel in steel, adding a touch of formality, allowing the Luminor Marina to pair seamlessly with business or casual attire. A solid steel case back protects the self-winding P.9010 movement inside. Designed and manufactured in-house by Panerai, it delivers 3 days of power reserve when fully wound. This reference is worn on a dark blue Alligator leather strap with contrast beige stitching.
TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph Sport
Celebrating its 160th anniversary this year, TAG Heuer continues its pioneering relationship with the world of motorsport with the introduction of the new Carrera Chronograph Sport. At 44mm in diameter, the robust stainless-steel case is designed for action, both on and off the track. Shortened lugs ensure a snug fit against the wrist, while polished and brushed finishes catch the eye and help shape the profile of the case. As with the original Carrera from 1963, the lugs are faceted, the pushers are piston-style, and the crown is unprotected. Likewise, the layout of the green dial remains faithful to the original with an inner 60min/60sec track, faceted applied markers, baton hands and a tri-compax layout. Framing the dial is a fixed bezel in steel complete with tachymeter scale. Driving the watch is the performance oriented Heuer 02, an in-house chronograph movement that uses a column wheel and a vertical clutch combination to deliver smooth and accurate timekeeping. Beating at a 4Hz frequency, it can store up to 80 hours of power. Visible through the sapphire glass case back, its open-worked rotor is coated in dark grey.
Tudor Black Bay FIFTY-EIGHT
TUDOR’s Black Bay Fifty-Eight debuts a modern, blue-on-blue look this year. An important part of the brand’s identity, TUDOR has been making watches with blue dials and bezels for decades. Most notably its famed Submariner watches manufactured for the French Navy (Marine Nationale) in the 1960s and 70s. Presented in a 39mm Ø x 11.9mm H steel case showing polished and brushed finishes, the Black Bay Fifty-Eight is ideally sized for everyday wear. The domed, matte dial is a rich ‘Navy’ blue colour and features silver-coated applied indexes and TUDOR’s trademark Snowflake hands, all of which are filled with white luminous material for optimal contrast and legibility. Framing the dial is an anodized aluminium bezel insert in matching blue, complete with 60-minute track with silver gilded inscriptions and upside-down triangle in silver at 0/60. A large, screw-down crown ensures a robust water resistance rating of 200m. Beneath the solid case back is the self-winding manufacture movement, calibre MT5402. Certified as a chronometer by the COSC, it uses a silicon hairspring and delivers a 70-hour power reserve. A variety of different bracelet/strap combinations allow you to further customise the watch to your tastes.