SS17 MEN'S LUXURY WATCH EDIT
22nd May 2017
The definitive directory of what you should be wearing on your wrist right now. Words by Alex Doak.
ROYAL OAK CHRONOGRAPH
The Chronograph version of AP’s octagonal sports classic – the first luxury watch to be made of steel, way back in 1972 – is enjoying its platinum, or more traditionally, china anniversary this year. The mechanics inside remain unchanged, which purists will be pleased about, as it’s one of the Swiss industry’s finest fully integrated automatic chronographs. But meanwhile the original two-tone dial configurations have returned and a big push towards improved legibility has been wrought, from the larger counters to the larger hour indices containing more luminescent paint.
67334 | £47,800
L.U.C XPS TWIST QF FAIRMINED
A pioneer in the development of sustainable luxury, thanks to its involvement with Livia Firth and her Eco Age agency, Chopard is launching a new limited-series L.U.C watch crafted in ethical rose gold, sourced from South American mines run by properly paid, co-op workers who get a fairer cut of their spoils’ on-sale. The L.U.C XPS Twist QF Fairmined is an ultrathin model that has successfully undergone the watch industry’s most demanding certification protocol: the Fleurier Quality Foundation label. Not only does the test check visually for hand-finished perfection, but even has a robot that simulates brushing your teeth vigorously, while the watch keeps precise time.
67955 | £14,500
BIG BANG UNICO GMT
Once was a time when Hublot’s Big Bang was simply written off as a chunky contender to the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore’s crown. So wrong, and unfair we were. For, as Hublot’s state of the art facility on the banks of Lake Geneva has expanded, the technical wizardry has followed suit – from out-there material science (they have an in-house “Magic Gold” foundry, no less) to genuinely relevant mechanical innovation, as in the case of this new second-time-zone indication. Your “home time” indicated by the arrow hand is, for once, easily adjusted forward and back in hour increments, using chronograph-style pushbuttons.
67318 | £19,100
BELL & ROSS
The term “Bauhaus” is usually reserved for minimalist, modernist masters of watchmaking like Nomos Glashütte, Junghans and Mondaine. Well, prepare to add a fourth to that list, in the guise of Bell & Ross, a brand that has always done pared-back and modernist, yes, but more “utilitarian” than “designer”. Taking inspiration from another sort of public clock, this time from an airport, the BR03-92 Horograph squares the circle with its cockpit instrument brutalism in considerable style, softening the overall impression by bead-blasting the steel case to a smooth matte finish.
67911 | £2,400
ARNOLD & SON
John Arnold was one of the more exceptional watchmakers in London during the 18th century, he created a minor storm in precision timekeeping with the Arnold No. 36. This was the first-ever watch referred to as a ‘chronometer’, a term used to denote a supremely accurate timepiece – what London was famous for in those days. The TB88 is compelling proof that the modern-day incarnation of Arnold’s brand has lost none of its appetite for innovative technology or precision timekeeping. The inner mechanics are showcased by a contemporary take on ye olde era’s love of a utilitarian, almost brutalist bridge, treated here with stealthy black ruthenium.
64217 | £26,800
AIRCO MACH 1 NATO
The first Bremont offering comprised a three-model line-up of pilot chronographs, followed by numerous designs linked viscerally to legendary aircraft; even a limited edition containing actual wing fabric from the Wright Brother’s historic plane. It is this aviation DNA that has prompted Bremont to go back to the roots and create its first, 40mm, classically styled three-hand pilot watch, named after one of the first British military aircraft manufacturers, the “Aircraft Manufacturing Company Limited”. We love the crisp nostalgic vibe, paired nattily with the military-style fabric strap.
67852 | £2,895
BAUME & MERCIER
CLIFTON CLUB 10339
This year’s reliably opulent SIHH watch fair in Geneva was a curious affair, typified by polar extremes: a shifted emphasis back to solid, entry-level sports collections, countered by a bloom in super complicated collector’s pieces. Fair to say Baume & Mercier owned the former, even coining its own demographic: the “gentlesportsman”. The super-slick Clifton Club collection perfectly encapsulates that new breed of metrosexual athlete – less in favour of Wednesday night five-a-side-and-a-pint, more about a Saturday afternoon tennis knockabout or a track day at Silverstone. Fresh, accessible, and versatile.
67329 | £1,900
Building a watch collection is a lifelong journey with big brand milestones along the way. However, there comes a time when your watch just isn’t cutting it and it’s time to invest in something new.
Watchmaking has in recent years seen some fairly significant changes. Enthusiasts craved some bright and bold colour to break up the monochrome monotony, and watchmakers – like Audemars Piguet – duly responded.
From the sporty chic of Chopard’s new Happy Ocean to the elegant majesty of the Millenary from Audemars Piguet, there’s plenty to get excited about with this selection of new-season watches.