ROX MAN 19/20 LUXURY WATCH EDIT
13th March 2020
The definitive directory of what you should be wearing on your wrist right now.
Words by Alex Doak.
This extraordinary HR Giger-esque cyborg of a watch is the latest result of Hublot and Ferrari’s hand-in-hand design approach that travels miles further than mere badge engineering. Like 2017’s extraordinary ‘Techframe’ celebrating Ferrari’s 70th anniversary, this chronograph looks to the sinuous forms of Maranello’s finest ‘Gran Turismo’ road cars for design inspo, suspending the ‘engine’ in a voluptuous, biomorphic chassis, just as Ferrari displays its mid-mounted V8s through a glass cowling.
72855 | £32,100
It says everything of Chopard’s elite ‘L.U.C.’ thinktank that its horological boffins have barely needed to tweak the Quattro movement in 19 years, so perfect is its concoction of dual twin-stacked barrels, affording nine whole, wind-free days of tick-tick-ticking autonomy. Its surprisingly slender mechanics are finished flawlessly by hand – always beautiful backstage, leaving Chopard’s draughtsmen with the constant challenge of reworking their modern classic, front-of-house. This year’s slate-blue redux is a particular tour de force.
Losing 3.2mm from your waistband is hardly troubling Weight Watchers’ annual awards ceremony, but when you consider things started at 9.5mm, and the diet has only been going a few years, that’s truly impressive. Not only is the new ‘5133’ perpetual calendar movement thinner, it is also cleverer, simplifying the components required to keep the precise date in spite of the Gergorian calendar’s erratic course from 374 to 256 – an engineering process Audemars Piguet alikes to collapsing a three-storey building into one, slightly broader single storey.
Top-end ‘manufacture’ chronograph movement from Breitling? Complete with instantaneous vertical clutch and column-wheel lever co-ordination? With that much yellow gold thrown into an already-baffling ‘steel’ of a bargain? For £4,030? It’s hard to understand quite how Rolex’s not-so-little brother Tudor does it, all packaged in a cocktail of such on-point design nous, too. Decades of satisfying the demands of budget-restricted military frogmen probably has something to do with it. But still: £4,030?
72976 | £4,030
The likes of this year’s Defy Inventor and the Defy Fusee Tourbillon may be vying for high-tech bragging rights in 2019 – and fair enough given El Primero’s 50th anniversary this year – but that’s not to detract from the cutting-edge engineering behind this stealthy bit of Bat-kit. Not only is the stopwatch function precise to 100th of a second, but it’s cased up in a ‘forged’ composite of randomly arranged carbon fibres, making it utility-belt shoe-in, so to speak. Shall we now prepare the Batmobile, sir?
72994 | £15,500
It’s a big year for watchmaking – a golden anniversary for no less than four watchmaking icons. There’s Seiko and its revolutionary quartz watch, Astron; Omega and its Speedmaster, which walked on the Moon in July of ’69; and then Zenith and TAG Heuer, who each launched their answer to Switzerland’s own Space Race: the self-winding chronograph. The latter had Calibre 11, first housed in the hip-to-be-square ‘Monaco’ made so famous by Steve McQueen. Only 169 examples of this racy, red-faced edition are being made, so best move fast.
74021 | £5,350
Back in 1955, Jaguar planned to build 100 of its curvaceous monoseater D-types. But, despite winning the Le Mans 24 Hours three times, at the hands of Scotland’s Ecurie Ecosse team, just 75 examples were completed. The British marque’s ‘Classic’ department is now fulfilling the chassis assignations with 25 period-correct creations, and Jaguar’s watch partner Bremont is celebrating the good news with 300 chronographs, rendered in EE’s iconic metallic blue hue, topped with heritage Jaguar logo in enamel. Bloody marvellous.
What began as an indie startup based solely on a nautical motif has, in four short decades, become the Hublot we now know: massive, in every sense of the word.
Precious-metal powerhouse Chopard is setting a shining example with its ongoing commitment to crafting watches (and jewellery) entirely from ethical gold.