There are many things that make a watch a great watch, whether it’s the quality of the in-house movement, or the skill shown in the level of finishing applied to the movement.
Here, we present just a few of our favourite watches of recent years and what makes them so special.
Elegantly practical: Panerai Luminor Due 42mm
There are three things that immediately strike me about this new Luminor Due 3 days 42mm titanium. For one thing, it’s not excessively large — 42mm is spot on for a sports watch. The case, crafted from titanium, is light, strong and corrosion-resistant, while the polished bezel offsets the brushed metal beautifully.
More than this, though, this Luminor is elegant. With its sunburst blue sandwich dial (that’s collector speak for the layered dial which shows off the numerals and baton markers), it marks a strikingly original evolution of the Luminor heritage. — JH
Panerai Luminor Due 42mm
Technically reserved: Breguet Classique 5157
The Classique 5157 demonstrates just how elegant and reserved the Parisian genius could be away from the horological fireworks. It also proves how capable his modern namesake remains, especially in light of one of Monsieur Breguet’s finest innovations: the ultra-thin mechanical movement.
One could happily spend hours gazing at this elegant dress watch’s wafer-thin works through the . But it’s the dial that wields the true visual magnetism here, thanks to that almost-holographic guilloché texture. — AD
Breguet Classique 5157
Historically stylish: Vacheron Constantin Cornes de Vache
The Historiques Cornes de Vache, a revival of the Fifties chronograph, which distilled everything the immediate post-war period represented, aims to find that sweet spot.
The Fifties was a time of effervescence, emancipation, technological flourish, and suaveness. The era was mad for a manual-wind stopwatch function, preferably combined with antimagnetism or water resistance — all the better to equip the boffins of the burgeoning space age.
But why sacrifice sartorial flair for the sake of field functionality? Enter Vacheron Constantin with a fit-for-purpose chronograph that sported some particularly outré strap attachments — voluptuous lugs that quickly earned the nickname “cow horns”. — AD
Vacheron Constantin Cornes de Vache
Delicately athletic: Chopard L.U.C. XP
What is immediately striking about the L.U.C XP is the model’s slimness (in fact, the XP derives from “extra flat” in French.) At just 7.2mm, it is thin, sleek and elegant without ever feeling overly delicate.
It’s also a less complicated jewel in the L.U.C collection, feeling athletic and dynamic — so less black tie (especially on the blue cashmere strap) and more bomber jacket and chinos. The brushed, 40mm stainless steel case is svelte and sexy on the wrist, the silver-toned vertical satin-brushed dial catches the light beautifully, and designer Guy Bové has done a sterling job with the minimalist dial. — JH
Chopard L.U.C. XP
Slimly sophisticated: Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight
The curiously named Black Bay Fifty-Eight is not just another Black Bay. In fact, it harks back to one of the best divers’ watches ever made — the ref. 7924 ; the small submariner which was adored by those that lived the life aquatic. Its sleek look and punchy 200-metre water resistance made it an instant winner when it launched in 1958 (the year that gives this new model its name).
Tudor know that it takes more than a namecheck to mark out the Fifty-Eight from previous models. The first thing to notice here is the change to the case size (from 41mm to 39mm) and overall proportions. The lug width has dropped from 22mm to 20mm, while the height has been shaved down from 15mm to just 11.9mm. This slimming down is extremely important, as it has transformed a heavy-set diving watch into a slim and sophisticated timepiece that easily slips under a cuff, working well for those with smaller wrists. — RS
Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight
Practically indestructible: Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Automatique
At first glance, the Fifty Fathoms hits several sweet spots. Set off by an elegant sunburst black dial, with applied Arabic markers at 12, 3, 6 and 9, the timepiece neatly sandwiches its red-tipped seconds hand and date window between the 4 and 5 markers.
A width of 45mm ensures that the case is large enough to be easily visible underwater, meaning the model can be used as a backup to dive computers in the wild. The Automatique is powered by the calibre 1315 — a self-winding, in-house movement with a 120-hour power reserve, three mainspring barrels and 227 parts. — AD
Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Automatique
Astronomically inspired: Omega Globemaster Annual Calendar
The Omega Globemaster Annual Calendar is a diamond in more ways than one: it is both strikingly good looking and impossibly tough, thanks to its ingenious design. The combination of a fluted bezel and angular pie-pan dial — inspired by the original Constellations series Omega made in 1952 — create an effect that most watchmakers only dream of.
But a diamond’s structure is not just cosmetic. It can withstand the most intense pressures and forces imaginable. Similarly, this Globemaster has been tested to greater extremes than any COSC certified movement. In fact, the movement in this watch has undergone 10 days of gruelling challenges to ensure that it is as tough as it could possible be. Equipped with both a silicon balance spring and twin mainsprings, this model is built to withstand 15,000 gauss of magnetic force and serve up to 55 hours of power. — RS
The full version of this was published in our Nov/Dec issue, click here to subscribe and get the latest issue sent straight to your door…