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Author: Gaby Ignacio

Founded in 1868, IWC Schaffhausen has always been driven by a combination of American innovation and Swiss precision. A century and a half later, the brand has decided to look back at its long and storied history to find inspiration for its newest and most exciting releases to date, the Jubilee Collection.

Twenty-nine limited edition models from the Portofino, Portuguiser, Da Vinci, and Pilot’s Watch families are joined by the company’s ode to the historic Pallweber pocket watches, first launched in 1884, which provide the aesthetic lodestone on which the collection rests.

Here, we’re running down five of our favorite models—that we’re already considering future icons—from this milestone collection.

  • Portuguiser Perpetual Calendar Tourbillon Edition
  • Portofino Hand-Wound Moon Phase Edition
  • Da Vinci Automatic Moon Phase 36 Edition
  • Big Pilot's Watch Annual Calendar Edition
  • IWC Tribute to Pallweber Edition
  • Portuguiser Perpetual Calendar Tourbillon Edition "150 Years"

    Literally the first of its kind for IWC, as it combines a perpetual calendar and a tourbillon on a single dial, it also features a see-through sapphire case back, an automatic 51950 calibre, and a seven-day power reserve. Only 50 of this watch will be made.

  • Portofino Hand-Wound Moon Phase Edition "150 Years"

    Rendered in red gold, black leather, and stunning deep blue enamel, this embodies the Portofino watch family’s elegance. It features a 59800 calibre—the winding of which will make for a wonderful weekly ritual—as well as moon phase, date, and power reserve displays. Production will be globally limited to 150 pieces.

  • Da Vinci Automatic Moon Phase 36 Edition "150 Years"

    IWC isn’t a brand typically associated with gemstones and embellishments, but this model, studded with over 2 carats of white diamonds, reminds us of their expertise in the tradition of bejeweled watches. The style was popular during the 1980s and 1990s, and this couples that elegant vintage aesthetic with technical excellence. Fifty pieces of this model will be produced.

  • Big Pilot's Watch Annual Calendar Edition "150 Years"

    Functionality and style are the bywords for this model, which features an annual calendar, extra-secure glass (to protect against drops in air pressure) a screw-on crown, see-through sapphire case back, and a powerful 52850 calibre movement. Luxurious alligator straps add a final, subtle, but sophisticated flourish to this take on the fan favorite. Production will be limited to 150 pieces.

  • IWC Tribute to Pallweber Edition "150 Years"

    Undoubtedly the hero of this collection, the IWC Tribute to Pallweber Edition “150 Years” isn’t only available as a wristwatch in a plethora of materials, from steel to gold and platinum, but also as—surprise, surprise—a pocket watch. The iconic digital display is its signature, but every touch made to each piece, from its case’s clean lines and beautifully enameled dials, to the manually-wound 94200 calibre movement melds modern minimalism and timeless refinement. Only 25 pieces of the platinum case—our inarguable favorite—will be produced.

Less is More: Watches for the Minimalist

Nothing in the world is more divisive than an internet trend, and right now, nothing is trendier than minimalism.

Between capsule wardrobes and the Konmari method, there’s a lot to be said about the minimalism movement. Is it an aesthetic? Is it all about material things (or the lack thereof)? Is it a lifestyle choice that transcends the physical?

Of course, we had to jump in, but it wasn’t easy. We mean, we’re known for our love of something called “complications,” so going in the opposite direction was nothing if not a challenge. We soon discovered, though, that even some brands notorious for releasing intricate pieces have a minimalist side.

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  • Panerai Luminor 1950
    It’s big, it’s bold, and, like the name suggests, glows. But it also has clean, sporty lines and barely any embellishment.
  • Breguet Classique 7147
    We love Breguet’s choice to simply sink the subdial into the face, keeping the look of this watch clean and simple—with a twist.
  • Vacheron Constantin Traditionelle
    How it manages to make an alligator strap look subdued is beyond us, but even with gold hands (contrasting against either a black or white dial), the Traditionelle stays true to its name as the definition of a wristwatch.
  • Patek Philippe Ellipse D’Or
    Inspired by mathematical principles and proportion, the watch house translated literally millenia-old ideas of beauty to create one of the brand’s most elegant pieces.
  • A. Lange & Sohne Saxonia Thin
    Juxtaposing the impeccable engineering of its movement with a bare-bones, albeit elegant, exterior, this is the flattest Lange watch to date.
  • Jaeger LeCoultre Reverso Thin
    A true minimalist would hold off on personalization because, really, the watch doesn’t need any more embellishment to look good.
  • Ferdinand Berthoud FB 1R.6-1
    Negative space is an integral part of minimalist design and this niche brand plays with the idea of it unlike any other watch house.
  • Longines Record
    A low-contrast choice for the person who wants something that goes with literally every single piece in their capsule wardrobe.
  • Rolex Oyster Perpetual
    Clean, simple, sophisticated: it’s one of the brand’s best-selling pieces for a reason.
  • Omega Seamaster Edizione Venezia
    Hear us out: While many of the Seamaster collection are dripping in jewels or decked out in the colors of the rainbow or showcasing hardware of the highest degree, the Edizione Venezia is a throwback to a simpler time—and available exclusively in, you guessed it, Venice.

Questions are, contrary to popular belief, rarely a bad thing. Certain questions, however, are clear tells that you might not know what you’re talking about.

This is especially true in the watch world where, to be perfectly frank, one factor for even purchasing a luxury timepiece is to show it off—so asking a question that hints at your lack of knowledge pretty much defeats the purpose of having that gorgeous timepiece on your arm, if your purpose was to come off as a connoisseur,  doesn’t it?

To be clear, we’re not here to judge. In fact, we’re here to acknowledge that, yes, before we knew what chronometers and bezels were, we asked some of these questions too. Out loud, in some cases. And because we’ve asked them, they’ve been answered.

Question 1: “What’s the best watch in the world?”

Many people automatically equate “best” with “most expensive”, “best-selling”, or “most sought-after”, and that often really isn’t the case. The question just can’t be answered without going into the minutiae of watchmaking, or into the inquirer’s preferences. Determining what the best watch in the world is depends on a variety of factors: quality, aesthetics, functionality, complication, rarity, collectibility, as well as a person’s tastes. One brand might do one thing better than another brand. A watch someone considers great might be missing functionalities that are important to you. A limited edition watch owned by your favorite celebrity might not be a fit for what you need.  Trying to narrow the literally hundreds of thousands timepieces available in the world down to one is fighting a losing battle.

Question 2: “Is this watch accurate?”

To answer this demands that one become slightly philosophical, because, in truth, no watch is 100 percent accurate, and yet, some come close. Getting to that point is the horological world’s Olympic gold medal, Peace Prize, Pulitzer, and EGOT, all rolled into one.

There’s no getting around the fact that even the most accurate watch in the world (a designation that changes with each passing day), will lose a few seconds every year due to wear, magnetism, the drying of oils, and just simple aging. Typically, even the best mechanical watches might lose a few seconds a day, because even the greatest group of engineers in the world (again with the superlatives) cannot create a piece that syncs perfectly with universal time.

It’s a matter then, of how close a watch can get, at any given point, to complete and total precision. If accuracy is your biggest consideration, you can rely on the various certifications that have been established to show that a watch is well built, namely the Chronometer Certification, the Geneva Seal, the Patek Philippe Seal, and the Master Chronometer certification.

Question 3: “Which is better: a square watch or a round watch?”

You’ll have noticed by now that we’re not the biggest fans of the word “best” and its iterations when doing watch comparisons. Again, it all depends on certain factors; there simply is no single answer.

In this case, it all boils down to aesthetics, and aesthetics are a very personal thing. Round watches are more commercially popular, and most experts chalk it up to a combination of association (pocket watches are round, wall clocks are round… you get the idea), and simple ergonomics (the hands’ circular motion). This isn’t to say that rectangular watches have no place in a serious collection; watch lovers with an eye towards a vintage style that most explicitly harks back to the golden age of Hollywood are vocal in their love for the quadrilateral shape, as do those whose tastes are more inclined to the super-modern.

Question 4: “Why would anyone still, in this day and age, buy a hand-winding watch?”

You mean aside from the feeling of getting up in the morning, winding your watch, and feeling every bit like a modern day Don Draper, Clark Gable, Cary Grant, or any one of those stylish icons of yesteryear? Because that’s enough of a reason for us.

A hand-wound also has several practical aspects to it,  namely the options of slimming down the watch, and the possibility of design minimalism, thanks to the lack of the mechanisms that make an automatic watch, having fewer parts, making it easier to service and less susceptible to defects. A smaller production number also means that hand-wound watches are generally rarer and more collectible. Chances are, though, it’s the ritual of it that is so enjoyable that for some that to completely forego it is almost unimaginable. Sure, the convenience of an automatic watch might save you a few minutes every day, but the hand-wound piece brings emotional satisfaction and pleasure that an automatic model might not offer.

Allow us to make a sweeping generalization: at every watch fair, it’s the blinged-out pieces that get the most attention.

Of course there’s nothing bad about the ultra-embellished, diamond-studded watches that are half jewelry, half timepiece. After all, we have a massive soft spot for gems ourselves—it’s just that because people are magpies, we’re just naturally drawn to the shiniest thing in the bunch, and sometimes, the less extravagant pieces are pushed to the sidelines.

So, for this roundup, we’re putting the spotlight on the less blinding but, in our humble opinion, equally stunning pieces from one of our favorite brands, Rolex. You’ve already seen the colorful, iced iterations. These are definitely more wearable, timeless, and gorgeous in their own right. Get them and you’re pretty much set for any and everything that life might throw at you.

That is, until next year.

GMT-Master II in Oystersteel

Rolex GMT-Master II in Oystersteel rolex baselworld 2018
Rolex GMT-Master II in Oystersteel rolex baselworld 2018
Rolex GMT-Master II in Oystersteel rolex baselworld 2018

Pilot? Frequent traveler? Fan of the beloved dual-color bezel? This needs to go on your wish list, not just because it’ll, as fashion writers love to say, pop, but also because of its black dial, Jubilee bracelet, and a brand new movement, the caliber 3285, it’s all at once functional, comfortable, and even more resilient and reliable than its predecessors.

Datejust 36 in Everose Rolesor

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Rolex Datejust 36 Everose Gold rolex baselworld 2018
Rolex Datejust 36 Everose Gold rolex baselworld 2018

They’ve combined Oystersteel and 18 carat Everose gold in an update of this classic, which makes this equal parts trendy and timeless. This is the watch you’re tempted to get in every color, and this new iteration is as convincing as it gets.

Deepsea in Oystersteel

Rolex Deepsea Oystersteel
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Rolex Deepsea Oystersteel rolex baselworld 2018

The Titanic connection is enough of a reason for some people to want this revamp of the original. But if you’re a diver, chances are you pay close attention to more than face value. At the heart of the new Deepsea is the calibre 3235 movement—which, with its Chonergy escapement, increased insensitivity to magnetism, heightened precision, and improved multi-position regularity—makes a very persuasive argument for a new addition to your collection.

Datejust 31 in White Gold

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Rolex Datejust 31 White Gold
Rolex Datejust 31 White Gold

We couldn’t help it—it toes the line of extravagance, but holds back just enough. We did say we liked shiny things.

We’ll be the first to admit that we have a soft spot for a good, centuries-old brand story. While one of the many reasons we love Patek Philippe is how the brand and the idea of heritage go hand in hand, we also relish in how this nearly 200-year-old watch house always has something new up its proverbial sleeve.

From the droolworthy Rare Handcrafts to, er, more practical pieces, we’ve rounded up our favorite pieces this iconic brand unveiled at Baselworld 2018.

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  • Aquanaut Luce in Misty Blue
    Rubber and diamonds? Why not? You’ve seen it in black, brown and white, and this year, Patek Philippe asks you to add a pop of color to your watch wardrobe with the grey-blue version of the 2004 original. Staying true to its Italian name, meaning “light”—thanks to the 46 diamonds circling the bezel—it’s perfect for the fabulously sporty woman.

  • 5270/1R-001 Perpetual Calendar Chronograph
    In 2011, Patek Philippe introduced its first manufacture-made chronograph movement with a perpetual calendar, which they’ve (finally!) paired with a rose gold bracelet, dubbed “Goutte” because of its heraldry-inspired, droplet-shaped links. Gone is the opaline dial, and in its stead is an ebony sunburst, which contrasts beautifully with rose gold markers and hands, creating an effect that manages to bring together traditional embellishment with an almost modern minimalism. Bravo.

  • Calatrava Pilot Time
    Available in ladies’ and gentlemen’s sizes. Yes, some his-and-hers novelties are a little…cheesy. We can’t judge anyone for wanting these to match, though: they’re a warmer take on the 2015 iteration, rendered in rose gold and featuring a brown dial with black gradation, and with a vintage calfskin strap reminiscent of pilots’ harnesses. If you’re one-half of a jet-setting couple, put these on your wish list.

  • 5205G-013 Annual Calendar
    Say goodbye to your old two-tone dial…seriously, because they’ve discontinued the original 2010 release. In its place is something just as, if not more, beautiful in the form of the Ref. 5205 in white gold. It features a literal new face, with a smooth blue to black gradation in lieu of the more straightforward two-tone grey and black (or grey and…grey).

  • 5207G-001 Minute Repeater Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar
    It’s out with the old and in with the new as Patek Philippe discontinues all older iterations of the brand’s only watch that features a minute repeater, a tourbillon, and an instantaneous perpetual calendar with aperture displays. We foresee a short, albeit intense, mourning period however, since the brand has replaced it with a stunning piece in white gold you won’t be able to keep from admiring, on or off your wrist.

  • 5270P-001 Chronograph Perpetual Calendar
    This got collective oooooohs not because of the fact that it’s the first of this model rendered in platinum. Absolutely not. It isn’t even because it has a beautiful chocolate brown alligator strap, or that its subtle vintage look hides a stunning complication. It got collective ooooohs because it has a salmon face. End of story.

It was a big year for Omega. From celebrating the Seamaster’s original launch in 1948 and the Diver 300M’s 25th anniversary to the unveiling of much-awaited, exquisitely feminine pieces, and even a dark, beautiful ode to the cosmos, the brand’s offerings at this year’s fair has us wanting to get our hands on them, ASAP.

Here, we round up our favorites.

Speedmaster "Dark Side of the Moon" Apollo 8 omega baselword 2018

Commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 8 mission, which allowed human eyes to see the dark side of the moon for the first time, this new take on the Moonwatch is gorgeous for a variety of reasons: a stunning ceramic exterior, a skeletonized dial that reveals lunar-inspired laser ablating, and a transparent caseback that greets you with astronaut Jim Lovell’s eternal words to mission control: “We’ll see you on the other side.” Indeed.

Seamaster Diver 300M Co-Axial Master Chronomete omega baselworld 2018

Even classics need an update, and in this respect, Omega managed to deliver, with the revamp of its iconic diving watch. It was a makeover, both inside and out, as the watch now not only comes with a smaller, 42mm face, but also a reintroduced laser-engraved signature wave pattersn, raised (and much more luminous) indexes, a new and improved helium escape valve, and—a walk on the wild side, this—a crystal caseback.

Omega De Ville Trésor omega baselworld 2018

Classic and elegant but young and modern—a difficult combination to master that would be a disaster is lesser hands, but Omega’s Trésor collection for women both draws inspiration from decades past while looking forward with a sleek, sophisticated aesthetic that’s all at once simple and luxurious.

Omega Seamaster 1948 Small Seconds and Central Second omega baselworld 2018

Happy 70th, Seamaster. We’re going to justify our deep desire for these limited edition tributes to the original with the fact that modern life is lived in a proverbial battlefield all its own. A stretch, we know, but how can you not want these two stunning watches that just might make you feel like you could lead armies—or, at the very least, take them on? Grandpa would be proud.

  • Shop the best vintage watches
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