THE LUXURY WATCH EDIT
4th November 2022
Here’s what Alex Doak and Laura McCreddie-Doak reckon your wrist needs to be rocking, right now, dusk till dawn.
There seems to be something of a vehicular theme to this issue’s Luxury Watch Edit. Red Bull Racing, Ducati, and now Lamborghini, the unbridled supercar manufacturer just down the road from Ducati, in fact, whose partnership with Roger Dubuis – Switzerland’s own unhinged practitioner of all things motive and outrageous – continues to bear fruit. Framed by black-carbon-coated titanium, the calibre structure is designed like a supercar engine with strut-bars forming a clear and visible visual signature. Rearside, the rotor spins as an alloy rim in miniature form.
Do not adjust your sets… even if this bombshell from Hublot does in fact look like a TV set, in a good way. Since 1980, we’ve known the Swiss disruptor to project its mixed-media ‘fusion’ of precious metal and rubber via the titular ‘porthole’ motif; but here, we have that bolted bezel rendered in oblong form. Disrupting its own disruption, with typical chutzpah. And all the more desirable for it – especially when housing the in-house Unico stopwatch movement, whose column-wheel array conducts proceedings front-of-house, at ‘6 o’clock’.
79150 | £35,600
While Bulgari flirts with fellow Latin lothario, Ducati, TAG Heuer is enjoying a purple patch with Red Bull Racing’s F1 team – back where the Swiss sportsman excelled in the Sixties, as go-to watchmaker for the talent tinkering away in the pitlane, or indeed driving away from the pitlane. A pedigree masterminded by Heuer’s third-generation scion, Jack, which inspired TAG’s most accessible, successful collection in the Eighties, the Formula 1. Max Verstappen is leading the championship, so this handsome beast places you pole-position in the horological stakes.
78904 | £1,800
watchmaking regains its mojo, post-Quartz-Crisis, with sapphire-crystal display casebacks becoming a fixture in this new era of deliberate and proud distinction from disposable electronic fodder. Trust Zenith to go one further and introduce the ‘Open’ in 2003, proudly framing its historic ‘El Primero’ movement’s frantic, 5Hz ticking regulator dial-side, through not so much the Round Window as a kidney-shaped one. This year’s revival, in original tricolore configuration, is long overdue.
79187 | £17,800
The Black Bay singlehandedly rebooted the fortunes of Tudor in 2012 – a potent cocktail of retro throwbacks so beguiling as to detract from Tudor’s surprisingly ambitious moves into autonomous, chronometer-grade movement manufacture. So praise be for the ‘Pro’, which in one fell swoop proves how those cherrypicked vintage details so beloved of the French Navy’s elite fragmen in the Sixties needn’t be all and end all: just £2,920 buys you mechanical precision, legit Swiss-madeness, full-on sub-aqua action, plus integrated ‘GMT’ 24-hour hand… nonchalantly, almost.
79153 | £2,920
The ‘St Moritz’ of the early Eighties was Chopard co-CEO, Karl-Friedrich Scheufele’s breakthrough brainchild: a cocktail of disco-glitz bracelet, blended seamless with robust case construct, aimed squarely at the wintering Jetset. Now reduxed as ‘Alpine Eagle’, its sport-luxe vibe has been beefed up (rather like the Royal Oak’s Offshore or the Big Bang did for Audemars Piguet and Hublot, respectively) and proves haute horlogerie is fit the slopes, being spiked with one the trickiest moves a watchmaker can pull off: a ‘flying’ tourbillon, whirring atop a single bridge.
79206 | £96,200
If not for the Italian racing red of the dial, petrolheads will surely thrill at the mere sight of the 10, 11 and 12 o’clock numerals here: a nod to the racy dashboards of Ducati motorbikes. Built since 1946 in Bologna while, over in Roma, fellow countryman Bulgari has ploughed its own furrow of equally high-performance jewellery, Ducati’s two-wheelers are the purest expression of high-octane passion. Apart from boyish excitement, the only other response to this automatic chronograph is surely, “what took the two Italians so long?”
79766 | £4,160
This gorgeous timepiece combines the delightful sight of dancing diamonds with the practical addition of a chronograph, the only complication, bar a date, that you actually use. The polished 18-ct rose gold case, which is ethically sourced, is complemented by the rich matte blue of the leather strap; a colour picked out in the faceted sapphire set into the crown. It’s a wonderful mix of whimsy and usefulness. And diamonds of course, lots of diamonds.
79171 | £28,100
With a colour fade that any 1990s teenager will recognise as a cover of an Ibiza chillout album, this new version of the Zenith Defy is summer in steel and diamond form. The original Defy was a bold design from 1969 with an octagonal case and 14-sided bezel, which, through the years has been softened to become this sleek, 1970s adjacent, Elite-powered design that feels so right for now.
78844 | £9,800
With a name inspired by creative director Alessandro Michele’s favourite number and powered by Gucci’s first in-house movement, the 25H announced Gucci’s intent to be taken seriously on the watch front. It helps that it looks incredible too. It has the Seventies louche vibe so beloved of Michele, with the steel bracelet keeping the all-gold bezel and dial from tipping into ostentation. Style with crushed velvet and a cocktail.
77696 | £1,510
Before watches and clocks there were sundials, which is where Bulgari found inspiration for LVCEA, a collection where timekeeping’s past become entwinned with its present. Everything is a blend with this design. The name a mix of Italian and Latin for “light” – “luce” and “lux”; the design combines the traditional sundial inspired dial with a contemporary linked bracelet. It is all steel and sinuousness, a mass of contradictions just like the modern woman for whom it was designed.
79086 | £6,400
It may have diamonds but there is nothing precious about this watch – it is a proper diving watch with a unidirectional bezel, 300m water resistance, and a robust 36mm steel case. The ocean-blue dial has the TAG Heuer Aquaracer’s signature wave pattern, with green SuperLuminova on the indices and hour hand, and contrasting blue on the minute and tip of the seconds hand. It’s a smart design that can be styled with any kind of suit, wet or otherwise.
76560 | £3,050
Richard Orlinski’s collaboration with Hublot hasn’t produced any off-the-wall designs but it has led to tactile, visually interesting timepieces that really require you to be hands on to appreciate the detail involved. The French sculptor’s trademark angles have been translated into a sculpted case, while the faceted dial refracts the light making it appear crystalline, as if hewn from ice. This is probably Hublot at its most restrained and most elegant.
76092 | £10,400
So many words are devoted to Tudor’s more masculine designs that people seem to forget it makes standout watches for women too. You could accuse it of doing a shrink and pink (making a man’s watch smaller, giving it a pink dial, and calling it a woman’s watch) but the downsized proportions actually work here. It transforms a 41mm sports watch into something altogether more elegant that effortlessly takes you from boardroom to bar.
79184 | £3,810
Long-time friend and early champion of the brand, Laura McCreddie-Doak on how ROX changed jewellery retail (for the better, mind).