Watch Designs Race Forward at Lightning Speed
By Roberta Naas:Just like the auto industry invests millions of dollars each year into research and development of new car designs and materials, so, too, does the watch world. In fact, in the past decade alone, more and more watch brands are partnering with automobile companies, aviation technology firms and even with scientific research labs in an effort to bring exciting and unusual watches to the forefront.
Thanks to Nano-technology and incredible research into creating new alloys and materials, watch brands are able to create timepieces that not only are as stealth and precise as the most advanced F1 racecar, but also that are as futuristic and cutting-edge as the most elaborate concept car.
While advances in technology (micro-technology, CNC machines that allow more precise cutting, laser etching and more) have helped to spur this new direction, the ideas for these watches are still the result of the human quest to be different, to be visionary. As such, the design of timepieces has come a long way both inside the watch, with skeletonized and stepped movement architecture, and outside, with 3D cases that look almost space age.
This new breed of multi-dimensional watch designs represents the pioneering spirit of a centuries-old craft that continues to re-invent itself. In these newest, sometimes revolutionary, timepieces, innovative belts, pulleys, and capillaries live inside a mechanical movement, side-by-side with classic gears, wheels, springs and barrels. A blend of past and future, the most cutting-edge designs are all about transcending borders and developing works of art, mechanics and precision for the wrist.
Interestingly enough, with these new designs, new materials also often emerge. Forged carbon, engineered ceramic, high-tech alloys borrowed from the aviation and automobile fields, or even developed expressly for certain brands are stealing the limelight in many of today’s fine watches. Additionally, watch brands are combining complications into their watches that are more relevant for today’s busy lifestyles. Such complications include calendars, chronographs, multi-time zone indications and more. Some are even developing new and unusual ways to display time, or to show off those added complications.
As you read through the pages of this watch guide, you will find some of the most exciting timepieces available on the market. Some are three-dimensional in scope; others take their design inspiration from the automotive, or even the space industries. Some offer a modern rendition of a classic, while others are quite simply, dramatically different. Just like the auto industry, the watch industry offers a size, shape and engine for everyone. Enjoy.
EXCALIBUR SPIDER PIRELLI SOTTOZERO DOUBLE FLYING TOURBILLON
This Roger Dubuis/Pirelli Sottozero watch has a big name, but that’s because it is a lot of watch. Inspired by its exclusive partnership with Pirelli, the sole supplier of premium tires to the world’s flagship motorsports competitions, Roger Dubuis unveils this Double Flying Tourbillon watch. While the movement and the famous Pirelli color codes are enticing all by themselves, the strap is also an eye-catcher. It is made using rubber inlays from certified Pirelli tires that competed in exhibition races on snow. It depicts the legendary tread motifs of the profile of a Pirelli CinturatoTM intermediate tire. Thanks to a sapphire caseback and crystal, the entire skeletonized RD105SQ hand-wound caliber with signature blue Astral Skeleton is visible. The double flying tourbillons at 5:00 and 7:00 are rimmed by speedometer-like seconds counters with automobile-inspired pointers. The multi-colored power-reserve indicator is a nod to racing-car cockpit fuel gauges.
EXCALIBUR SPIDER PIRELLI AUTOMATIC SKELETON
In addition to its partnership with Lamborghini Squadra Corse, Roger Dubuis has a special relationship with Pirelli and has created an entire series of watches dedicated to that alliance. This special edition Excalibur Spider Pirelli Automatic Skeleton watch is equipped with the skeletonized mechanical Caliber RD820SQ that is visible via the sapphire crystal and case back. The watch features a fluted titanium black DLC bezel with orange numerals, complemented by a color-coordinated crown over-molded with orange rubber. The Excalibur Spider Pirelli strap features rubber inlays from certified Pirelli winning tires that competed in (and won) real races. The strap is finished with orange stitching, and the back of the strap reproduces the profile of a Pirelli CinturatoTM intermediate tire.
U50 DIVER TOURBILLON
This incredible skeletonized Angelus U50 Diver Tourbillon watch is a true diver’s watch, water resistant to 300 meters. The brand’s first diver’s watch, this haute horlogerie watch was four years in the research and development stages. It is powered by the in-house-made, hand-wound skeletonized Angelus A-300 tourbillon with a one- minute flying tourbillon (that compensates for errors in timekeeping due to the effects of gravity on the wrist). The 45mm case is crafted of Grade 5 titanium. The crown at 4:00 is for winding and setting the watch; the crown at 2:00 is for rotating the unidirectional 60-minute flange. It is also equipped with a helium escape valve at 9:00.
Part of the brand’s Urban collection, the Angelus U21 Tourbillon is particularly avant-garde, thanks to its NPT carbon fiber main plate, that is a carryover from the carbon fiber on the case and offers an integrated look. The 42mm watch is devoid of a bezel and is crafted in 18-karat rose gold with a carbon fiber central case. Even the bridges, visible on the main plate are crafted in solid gold. Powered by the Angelus A-250 movement with one-minute flying tourbillon that is highly visible and open-worked to offer maximum viewing of the constantly turning escapement. The box-like domed sapphire-crystal also enhances the view of the open-worked movement. Just 18 pieces will be made.
Arnold & Son
Boldly reinterpreting the world-time function, Arnold & Son releases the Globetrotter watch. With a highly domed sapphire crystal and a sculptural bridge that stretches across the entire diameter of the dial, this 45mm stainless steel watch is a true attention- grabber. Housing the A&S6022 self-winding movement, entirely developed and manufactured by Arnold & Son, the watch offers a rotating three-dimensional world time display. The beautifully finished dial depicts a view of the Northern Hemisphere as seen from directly above the North Pole. The brass plate has been chemically etched and sandblasted to achieve the textures of the continents and the oceans, which is also lacquered by hand. A 24-hour sapphire disk fixed to the same bridge that holds the hemisphere surrounds the world-time display that makes one complete rotation every 24 hours.
TOURBILLON CHRONOMETER NO.36
Part of the Royal Collection, the 46mm Arnold & Son Tourbillon Chronometer No. 36 is crafted in gunmetal-colored gray and rose gold for dramatic appeal. The architecture of this complex skeletonized hand-wound movement, combined with the watchmaking feat of the one-minute flying tourbillon, make this a mechanical masterpiece. The movement offers double barrels for 90 hours of power reserve. The components are finished with haute horlogerie motifs. Topping it all off is the fact that the watch is a certified chronometer. It is finished with a sapphire caseback for viewing the in-house made movement. Just 28 pieces will be made.
ADMIRAL AC-ONE 45 SQUELETTE
One of the key pillars associated with Swiss watch brand Corum is the beloved Admiral collection. Typically classic yet elegant with pennant flags on the dial, this is the series that embraces the sailing lifestyle. With this new Corum Admiral AC-One Squelette watch, though, the brand goes thoroughly bold and modern. The automatic watch — powered by the totally skeletonized CO 082 caliber, is a transparent vision of mechanics and sophistication. The 45mm Titanium case features a sapphire crystal and caseback for viewing the movement. The sapphire crystal bears the numerals in bold yellow (achieved via electrical discharge machining) and the seconds hand is in matching yellow. There is also a middle case accent in yellow that wraps around and covers the crown guard. The watch is finished with a bright yellow textured rubber strap. There is a date indication at 6:00. The watch is water resistant to 300 meters. Just 288 pieces will be made.
BUBBLE 47 CENTRAL TOURBILLON
Fondly referred to by insiders as the Bubble 47 Swoosh, this beloved Corum Bubble watch marks the first time the brand offers a central tourbillon. The 47mm grade 5 titanium case features a highly domed sapphire crystal that is the signature of this series. The peak of the crystal acts as a magnifier for the central tourbillon below. The automatic watch, with 65 hours of power reserve, has an inline movement construction so that the constantly moving tourbillon escapement is in the center. The bridge of the tourbillon features Corum’s key logo. There are no hands to indicate the time. Instead, the hours and minutes are read off of the flange via two triangular markers. It is water resistant to 100 meters.
THE DEVON INTERSTELLAR
Still in pre-production development, Devon unveils its newest masterpiece: an epic desktop clock. The base of the clock uses electromagnetics to float the Devon clock — a crystal clear globe with timekeeping device in the center — without interfering with the power. In fact, the power to the clock within the pod is being delivered through the air in the pod. The clock, which uses Devon’s patented system of interwoven time belts to display the hours, minutes and seconds — then harvests the power thanks to high-tech inductive technology. The levitating clock actually defies gravity. The globe can be launched from the base and rotate left or right or move up and down. The Desk Clock uses the Devon Tread 1 watch’s onboard microprocessor to control all of the functions. It gathers data from a temperature-compensated crystal and a proprietary optical recognition system, which continuously monitors and verifies the position of the time belts for steadfast accuracy. The Clock is accurate to within one half of a second per day; it will be built in a very limited edition.
Price upon request.
GROUP 63 CUSTOM TREAD 1
Devon teams with Group 63, a premier AMG club, to create a totally exclusive Group 63 Custom Tread 1 watch. The new Group 63 watch features case parts that are made of black DLC coated 316L stainless steel and carbon fiber master links. The black movement uses red motor housings, indicator plate, hour and minute numerals and a red seconds indicator – all against pitch black. It is finished with a handmade custom black leather strap with red racing cross stitching. The Tread1 movement consists of an onboard microprocessor that controls the watch functions, as well as a proprietary optical recognition system, lubricant-free ruby bearings, and more. Power is provided by a lithium-polymer rechargeable cell which is repowered inductively and can run for up to two weeks on a single charge. Just 63 pieces will be made.
Eberhard & Co.
Inspired by the champion driver of the 1920’s to 1940’s, Tazio Nuvolari, Eberhard & Co. dedicated an entire collection to him nearly 30 years ago that remains a coveted signature to this day. The brand is even the main sponsor of the Nuvolari Grand Prix. Easily one of the most beautiful auto-inspired pieces is the Nuvolari Legend. It is available in both a 39.5mm stainless steel case, and in the 43mm “Grande Taille” version shown here with intricate chronograph dial. The black dial is accented with luminescent vintage-style beige-hued Arabic numerals. The black baton shape hands are also coated with luminescence. The dial features a minutes counter at 12:00, hours counter at 6:00, and a spiral tachometer scale (in km/hour) in the center. The automatic watch is finished with a vintage-looking rough-hewn brown leather strap.
SCAFOGRAF BLACK SHEEP GMT
The beloved Scafograf watch by Eberhard has the distinction of winning the Sports Watch Prize in the 2016 Grand Prix de Haute Horlogerie. Now the brand extends the collection by adding the Scafograf Black Sheep GMT in a limited edition. Housing an automatic movement with date and triple time zone function, the new version – of which just 500 pieces will be made – is totally clad in black. The 43mm steel case has a black DLC treatment and the bi-directional rotating bezel has a ceramic inset and lumines- cent indices. Even the dial is black, with white hands and numbers and a bold orange GMT hand. The screwed caseback has a stylized hemisphere engraving with time zones. Water resistant to 100 meters, the watch is finished with an integrated black DLC treated steel bracelet. Black Sheep have never looked so good.
BIG BANG UNICO RED MAGIC
Hublot is known for its pioneering work in new materials. This year the brand does not disappoint. Thanks to four years of research and development, Hublot unveils a new, patented material called Red Ceramic. The bright red ceramic material represents the first time a watch brand has been able to produce a vibrantly colored ceramic (most are black or white) that is also specially developed to be harder and much more dense than regular ceramic. The 45mm Hublot Big Bang Unico Red Magic watch is the first to be made of the high-tech material. The brand’s in-house-made Unico HUB1242 mechanical movement powers the watch. It will be made in a limited edition of just 500 pieces.
BIG BANG FERRARI MAGIC GOLD
New this year, Hublot brings its famed non-scratchable Magic Gold together with a highly complex in-house Unico HUB1241 flying chronograph movement for a redesigned Big Bang Ferrari watch. In fact, six years ago when the brand launched its first Ferrari watch, it used its patented Magic Gold alloy, so the new watch is a fitting tribute to the on-going collaboration. While standard gold has a scratch resistance of 400 Vickers, Magic Gold – produced internally at Hublot – fuses boron carbide with 24-karat gold to achieve the hardest gold in the world, resistant to almost 1000 Vickers. The 45mm Big Bang Ferrari Magic Gold watch features a tachymeter style minute counter, date aperture in gear selector mode, second chronograph counter emulating an air extractor, and displays the famed prancing horse.
This H2O watch is crafted in stainless steel with a black DLC coating and features a box-domed sapphire crystal with anti-glare treatment for better viewing of the electric green fluidic hours and phase shift minutes. This watch offers a thermal indicator and a crown-position indicator (hours, neutral, rewind). The manual-wind movement is equipped with HYT’s exclusive patented micro-fluidic module, a glass capillary with multi-layer bellows and two immiscible liquids so that the green emerges on demand to indicate the hour. A jumping minute hand is also added. There are two versions of this watch being made, each in editions of 25 numbered pieces.
H0 X EAU ROUGE
In a bold move, HYT unveils its newest fluid watch with bold red fluidic hours indication. Aptly named H0 X Eau Rouge, the watch indicates time via a patented micro-fluidic module (essentially a patented capillary) with red and clear liquids that indicate the hour. The watch is created using a large box-like sapphire crystal to give the wearer a better look at the intriguing time-indication function. The 48.8mm case is crafted using stainless steel and DLC anthracite stainless steel for a contrast in shades. The watch offers 65 hours of power reserve and is water resistant to 30 meters.
In an intriguing move perfect for watch lovers, Orbita Corporation unveils The Gerstner watch winder. For generations, the family owned and operated H. Gerstner & Sons has been building extraordinary wood tool chests. Now, Orbita, a family run company building only the finest watch
winders in the world has created a watchwinder expressly for Gerstner. The extraordinary chests can be purchased equipped with an Orbita double or triple winder that features a storage drawer for additional watches. Also made in the USA, the winders and the chests offer incomparable excellence.
Approx. $1,495 to $2,195.
For those who prefer to have their watches winding in a more modern mode, the elegant Milano 6 watch winder, with six spaces for Orbita’s acclaimed Rotorwind winders, is the perfect piece. Made of 10mm thick smoked and tempered glass (and 6mm thick tempered glass doors), the case sits on four feet. While the outer case is black, the buyer can select the faceplate. In this case, it is white for striking contrast. The case is finished with brushed nickel hinges and lock. Orbita’s unique winders gently swing watches according to pre-set times and lengths of time to mime the natural movement of the wrist.
A beloved rendition of Perrelet’s Turbine collection, the Pilot offers a true aviation aesthetic. Now interpreted in shades of black and midnight blue, the watch masterfully celebrates the brand’s Double Rotor technology. This watch is also equipped with a circular slide-rule on the bidirectional inner rotating ring, adjustable via the crown at 3:00. The turbine here is made of 12 black anodized aluminium blades that rotate at the slightest move of the wrist thanks to hidden tungsten counterweights beneath them. The numerals, indexes and hands are luminescent blue that contrasts with the black lower dial. It is equipped with the P-331 automatic movement with 42 hours of power reserve.
PERRELET TURBINE MONTE CARLO
In true Perrelet style, this limited edition 48mm Turbine Monte Carlo features the brand’s proprietary Double Rotor technology. As the wrist turns, the turbine rotates, revealing a red
and black lower dial inspired by casinos and reminiscent of a roulette wheel, rimmed in gold. On that dial are good luck symbols, including a horseshoe, a dollar sign, a four-leaf clover and the number 777 that not only reflects the jackpot on a slot machine, but also stands for the year Perrelet was founded: 1777. Arabic numerals on the outer flange depict the 10-minute increments. This watch also features a sandblasted glass arc that bears the word “automatic.” The watch is powered by the P-331 mechanical self-winding manufacture caliber. Limited edition of 100 pieces.
In the early 20th century, certain famed British auto brands settled in Longbridge, England, and subsequent car designs emerged that would forever pay homage to the town. Paying tribute to Longbridge, RESERVOIR offers a complete collection of bi-tonal colored urban chic watches. This Longbridge Club watch offers great vintage appeal with its highly masculine black dial with taupe accents and rich brown leather strap. Crafted in stainless steel, the dial is designed as a reminder of the original car gauges. Here, the hour is indicated via the jumping hours at 6:00, while the minutes are indicated via a retrograde hand using hand and font-style for the minutes that clearly harken back to the dashboard indications. A power reserve at the bottom recalls the fuel gauge, and a Sapphire and Tourmaline cabochon recalls the diodes of the meters.
GT TOUR CARBON
Taking its inspiration from the codes of the Classic car race, the RESERVOIR GT Tour Carbon is a stealth embracement of the automotive field. Crafted with a carbon steel case and a sandblast dial inspired by the coatings of the legendary automobile race tracks, this watch is designed to reflect the R.P.M. meter – supercharged. In order to really reflect the vintage gauges, the watch offers an incredibly different way to tell time: a jumping hour indicator that recalls mileage meters, a retrograde minute hand that recalls the R.P.M. counters and, beneath the jump hour at 6:00 is a power reserve indicator that resembles the readouts for fuel gauges. The automatic watch is finished with a perforated black leather strap inspired by steering wheel leathers. Just 200 pieces will be made.