Watch lovers know every timepiece has its own distinct personality. So which one best embodies yours? Take our watch personality quiz to find out.
Watch lovers know every timepiece has its own distinct personality. So which one best embodies yours? Take our watch personality quiz to find out.
It’s Chinese New Year once again, and with the start of the year comes a slew of special edition watches. This year’s zodiac sign is the Pig, and while that may carry some negative connotations in the West, the Chinese take a very different view: pigs are seen as fun-loving, generous, sincere, hard-working, loyal, and intelligent. So if you were born in the Year of the Pig, go ahead and wear your zodiac sign with pride. Here are some of our favorite Year of the Pig watches.
We love Vacheron Constantin’s penchant for creating animals who look like they’re about to walk off the dial, and their Year of the Pig watch is no exception. Available in platinum or pink gold, its hands-free time display allows your porcine friend to take center stage.
The pig is hand-engraved and delicately applied to the dial, which features a foliage motif based on classic Chinese iconography. This pattern is etched directly onto the gold base to make it appear as if the vegetation is floating over the dial, and its blue or bronze tone is achieved through Grand Feu enamelling. Its self-winding Calibre 2460 G4 bears the Hallmark of Geneva, and has approximately 40 hours of power reserve.
For a sportier alternative, check out the Luminor Sealand. Unlike other Chinese New Year editions, Panerai places their zodiac design on a special cover. The pig and surrounding decorations are depicted in a style inspired by traditional Chinese iconography and engraved by master craftsmen using an ancient Italian technique called sparsello.
Underneath the cover is a grey dial with Arabic numerals, linear hour markers, and luminous dots. It has a small seconds dial at 9 o’clock and displays the date at 3 o’clock. Its P.9010 automatic movement has a power reserve of 3 days.
Chopard continues their tradition of celebrating Chinese New Year with the ancient Japanese art of urushi. Over the past few years, Chopard has collaborated with Japanese Living National Treasure Master Kiichiro Masamura and Yamada Heiando Company’s Urushi grand master Minori Koizumi to produce their Chinese zodiac timepieces. If that isn’t impressive enough, Yamada Heiando is the official purveyor to the Japanese imperial family as well.
The dial of this year’s timepiece is imbued with auspicious symbols: the pig is rendered in gold to represent abundance, with a protruding stomach as a sign of joviality. Its case is made from ethical 18-carat rose gold, and houses an ultra-thin self-winding L.U.C 9.6.17-L calibre, which can be viewed through a sapphire crystal caseback.
If you weren’t born in the Year of the Pig, or just want to go for something more subtle, check out this one-of-a-kind timepiece. It depicts all 12 signs of the Chinese zodiac on the sides of its 18-carat ethical rose gold case and lugs using the champlevé engraving technique. For example, you’ll find the tiger’s head on the crown, and the dragon and snake in the spaces between the lugs. It took one of Chopard’s artisans 210 hours to decorate the case alone.
The solid gold dial and bezel are hand-engraved with traditional ornamental motifs found in Chinese temples. Its complications include a perpetual calendar and tourbillon powered by a hand-wound L.U.C 02.15-L calibre with a 9-day power reserve. It’s both C.O.S.C and Poinçon de Genève-certified to boot. Better hurry if you want this particular watch—it’s limited to one piece, and exclusively available in Chopard boutiques.
Panerai sails through this year’s SIHH with new takes on its iconic Submersible model. This year, the Italian watch manufacturer best known for creating military-grade timepieces contrasts a subdued color story with playing with various materials for its best-selling dive watch.
Here are some of the highlights unveiled at Geneva:
Bigger doesn’t always mean better: The PAM 00959 stands out from the group thanks to its being a 42mm in a collection full of 47mm diameters, with the decrease in size designed to be more wearable for smaller wrists. The blue ceramic bezel, complemented by a blue rubber dial, pops against the brushed steel case, with a dial inspired by shark skin. Powered by the OP XXXIV calibre, this piece—water resistant to 300m—may be diminutive, but performs just as well as the big boys. Sick of blue? The PAM00959 also comes in sleek black.
How does one actually make a Submersible better? Here’s one way: integrate a brand-new, patented material. One of the many products of Panerai’s spirit of innovation, BMG-TECH™ is a bulk metallic glass, made to withstand the elements with its heightened resistance to corrosion, external shock, and magnetic fields, making it an ideal case material for watches made for an active Paneristi lifestyle. Inside, this sleek stunner features an automatic P.9010 Panerai-made calibre, a rubber strap, three-day power reserve, and is, of course, water resistant to 300m.
After becoming the official sponsor of Luna Rossa Challenge, Panerai created a watch inspired by materials used on the Italian sailing team’s boat. The carbotech case, which houses a P.9010 calibre, echoes the material used on the hull of the Luna Rossa’s AC75. The caseback showcases the yacht, along with the team’s logo and the America’s Cup profile. Another wonderful detail is in the textured dial, which features actual pieces of the Luna Rossa sail.
If you’re someone who loves free-diving, this edition might be calling your name. Inspired by free-diving champion and world record-breaker Guillaume Néry, this edition features a unique, commemorative engraving of Néry’s signature, along with his final record (126 meters). It’s also important to note that this particular black and turquoise model, of which only 15 pieces were made, boasts of a titanium case coated with a layer of Diamond-Like-Carbon—making it all the more resistant to scratches—a luminous blue dial, chronograph, and P.9100 calibre. Oh, and one more thing: each buyer will be given the exclusive opportunity to dive with Néry himself.
Inspired by legendary explorer, Panerai ambassador, and environmentalist Mike Horn, this Submersible was inspired by the adventurer’s own sense of sustainability and environmental responsibility. With the case made from EcoTitanium™—made from recycled titanium—and the strap made from recycled PET (polyethylene terephthalate), the manufacture strove to minimize its impact on the environment without compromising quality. Limited to 19 pieces, purchasing this piece also offers its owners the unique opportunity to train with Horn in the Arctic.
We’ll cut to the chase with this one. Like the two previous watches, this watch also gives its 33 owners a once-in-a-lifetime experience: Brushing shoulders with the Comsubin, the diving and commando group of the Italian Navy, during a unique and exclusive training session. As for the watch itself? It’s as tough as the unit that inspired it: a carbotech case houses an automatic P.9010 calibre, while an engraved titanium caseback displays the unit’s emblem. A beautiful camouflage-inspired dial complements the army green strap.
Watch brands are proud of their heritage, and what better way to showcase that by creating new timepieces that take literal inspiration from history?
Named after Austrian watchmaker Josef Pallweber, who licensed his patented invention to IWC, this is one of the most iconic pocket watches the brand has ever produced. Although other Swiss manufacturers have the license to the invention, it is IWC’s take on it that is the most widely known.
For its 150th anniversary, IWC has revived the Pallweber pocket watch in the form of a wrist watch. The 45mm case, similar in size to its predecessor, caters to the modern appeal of large watches. Its most noticeable feature is the iconic digital display, whose jumping numerals’ smooth movements are made possible by the in-house caliber 94200.
The name says it all: The Longines Legend Diver is regarded as Longines’ best-selling heritage model, and for good reason. Based on the Longines Nautilus Skin Diver from the 1950s, both sport the iconic Super Compressor which features two crowns on the right side of the case, reminiscent of early divers’ watches.
Other familiar features include an internal bezel, and elongated minute and hour markers on the dial for increased legibility. Longines went as far as to put a faux patina on the luminous markers to recreate the look of a vintage Skin Diver. Not every feature was an aesthetic consideration, however; it now boasts of improved water resistance, rated up to 300 meters, and features a date window is added for functionality.
With the yellow to orange gradient on the dial, the first impression of this watch is usually a reaction to Panerai’s unusual choice of colors. Looking back at this history of this design, however, reveals a much more serious, somewhat dark subject: the use of radium in watches in the 1920s. A highly radioactive and toxic material that can be fatal to whoever comes in contact with it, it was embedded into now-defunct Panerai-patented luminous paint, which was subsequently applied onto the original Radiomir dials by so-called Radium Girls. After the discovery of the element’s effects on health, Panerai stopped the use of radium.
The current iteration of the Radiomir replicates the aesthetic qualities provided by radium—such as the gradual discoloration caused by radiation on the originally black dial—albeit in a much safer way.
Zenith has nearly a century of experience making pilot’s watches—the first in 1909—and clearly has a firm grasp of what they should be, even manufacturing one for Louis Bleriot when he became the first man to fly across the English Channel. The idea of the pilot’s watch as we know it today, in fact, draws much of its looks and functions from Zenith’s original iterations.
The oversized case and dial, bold Arabic numerals, cathedral hands, and onion crown were all featured in the watch created for Bleriot, inspired by the onboard instruments also manufactured by Zenith. The current Extra Special is an ode to this iconic design that started it all.
Have you ever wondered how the different parts and functions of your watch came to be? Here are some notable brands and figures that have pushed the boundaries of watchmaking.
An external feature you can identify from afar, the crown bridge is a signature Panerai design feature, and is still regarded as one of the most ingenious inventions in watchmaking. Mostly seen on divers’ and pilots’ watches, Panerai’s patented crown bridge has inspired and been reimagined by other companies, which pay homage to the functionality and design of the iconic original.
Only a few watch brands have this interesting, quirky function in their designs. Of these, Vulcain is the least popular, but this watch brand boasts a number of historical and noteworthy novelties—for example, the Presidents watch with the cricket alarm calibre. Though not the first to introduce the concept, Vulcain is credited for being the first to have a fully functional alarm strong and loud enough to wake its wearer.
George Daniels has created some of the most extraordinary and technically advanced watches ever, and the Co-Axial escapement is a testament to his mastery of watchmaking. Daniels redesigned the Swiss lever by adding another escape wheel, resulting in its increased efficiency. It creates less friction, meaning the life of the movement is prolonged due to the absence of wear and tear.
For years, Nicolas Rieussec was considered the inventor of the chronograph… until 2013 when the Louis Moinet pocket chronograph was discovered and history was rewritten. According to historians, Moinet created the modern chronograph in 1816, seven years before Rieussec famously created a chronograph for King Louis XVIII. Today, Rieussec is credited with developing the first commercialized chronograph and for coining the term.
Some of the most thought provoking creations in horology came from Abraham-Louis Breguet, and the most exquisite of all is arguably the tourbillon, which acts as a deterrent against the effects of the Earth’s gravitational pull. Since the tourbillon was invented for pocket watches, it ensured that while in a upright position, most likely inside the pocket, the escapement rotates to counteract the positional errors caused by being stuck in the same position. Now that wristwatches are de rigeur, we are the tourbillon, thanks to our constant movements, making the complication a beautiful, albeit less than practical, feature in watches.
Because of all their technical innovations in watchmaking, many of which are still widely used today, Rolex’s reputation is held in high esteem by many watch aficionados. From improving on John Harwood’s original invention of the automatic winding movement which, admittedly, had limitations, to the water/dust proof case, embodied most prominently by the brand’s Oyster. Many features now taken for granted trace their early days back to the Swiss manufacture, thanks to Rolex’ spirit of ingenuity and ability to implement beautiful but practical features in their watches that have made them the most popular watch brand in the world today.
No matter your age, a watch will always be a part of your life: telling time with an (analog) clock is one of the first lessons you were taught in kindergarten, peppered through lessons about the ABCs and 123s; children’s book series always have that one title called “What Time is It?” or something equally charming; and we all remember having that one (probably plastic) watch with our favorite cartoon character emblazoned on the dial.
In this day and age of the smartwatch and the inescapable mobile phone, however, the number of people who live their days by the hour and minute hands on their wrists is slowly getting smaller and smaller.
Admittedly, a working knowledge and fondness for watches is slowly becoming less and less common, but there is a growing group of young watch enthusiasts who have embraced the joys of this art. For their part, watch brands are studying and riding the wave of trends to remain relevant, and this resurgence amongst a younger audience is something we’re ardently championing.
Here’s a selection of timepieces that are up to par with the trends of the new generation.
With its sleek design and larger cases, Panerai is undoubtedly king of the oversize watch trend. The brand offers timepieces that are more accessible for the young watch enthusiast, so If you’re an aspiring Paneristi, you can’t go wrong with the Luminor Base Logo. It embodies all of brand’s iconic aesthetics: the cushion case, crown bridge and dial all scream Panerai.
This flieger style watch has a long-running history, with the first iteration of this watch developed in 1948 for the British Royal Air Force. Aesthetically, the design didn’t go through too many drastic changes, a testament to its timelesness. The IWC Pilot’s Watch Mark XVIII is perfect for the wearer who appreciates a sleek take on a historically inspired timepiece from a world renowned brand.
Tudor is probably the first brand to be introduced for the purpose of being more accessible to a wider market, positioned as a more affordable option to its sister brand, Rolex. Tudor’s vintage styling, however, allows the brand to step out of its parent company’s shadow. Their most recent release is the Black Bay GMT. Although similar to a vintage Rolex GMT Master, it still features original design cues, like the split bezel color inspired by two iconic Black Bay models from the past.
Founded in 1832, Longines is one of the world’s oldest watch brands. Since its acquisition by the The Swatch Group, pioneers in promoting watches to literal children, Longines’ approach has evolved from merely targeting an older, more established audience to creating watches specially designed for young professionals. Their Master Collection, for example, embodies the manufacture’s technical prowess while aesthetically catering to a more youthful market.
When you think of Jaeger LeCoultre, the first thing that comes to mind are the classic Reverso watches, more associated with the the older, polo-playing set—or vintage design enthusiasts. With the release of the new Polaris line, however, Jaeger-LeCoultre has rounded out its offerings with a collection ideal for the modern lifestyles. Equal parts sporty and elegant, the Polaris line also has the distinction of being inspired by original designs from 1968.
Understanding innovation in luxury watch materials first requires knowing what properties these materials bring to the table. Their properties are the starting point that innovations spring from. These are generally concerns of lightness, durability, resistance to corrosion or scratching, and aesthetics. Watch materials fall under five categories: metals, ceramics, polymers, composites, and metalloids.
The Panerai Luminor Marina 1950 3 days Automatic Titanio uses a titanium case, which is half the weight of stainless steel, is corrosion-resistant, and anti-magnetic, and skin-friendly.
For general engineering purposes and in watchmaking, metals are used for their strength, hardness, toughness, lightness, and durability. Metals bear heavy loads, resist high temperatures and pressures, endure a lot of wear and tear in cyclic loads, but where timepieces are concerned, these stresses and demands take place on a smaller, more human level. For example, Jacques Cousteau’s Rolex Submariner and Buzz Aldrin’s Omega Speedmaster only needed to be durable enough to undergo the pressures of undersea diving and the intense g-forces of space travel. As they are, metals and their properties already bring a lot to the watchmaking table.
Stainless steel is the workhorse of watchmaking metals. Alloyed with chromium, stainless steel forms a thin film, invisible to the human eye, that retards oxidation while maintaining a smooth finish on the surface. The material is likewise durable enough to accept a number of finishes: brushed, satin, matte, reflective, mirror, and so on. Lastly, stainless steel can endure the wear and tear of human use, lasting entire lifetimes.
Titanium offers additional improvements over stainless steel. First, it can bear up to five times the load ordinary steels can bear. Second, titanium weighs around half the weight of steel at the same volume. Thus a titanium watch case would offer the same durability as a stainless steel case but at a lighter weight. There are, however, certain stainless steel alloys that are more durable than titanium, but these are used for industrial purposes and hardly in watchmaking. Like stainless steel, titanium has an oxide layer that forms on its surface, making it both corrosion resistant and hypoallergenic—ideal for accessories.
Flipping over a A. Lange & Sohne Saxonia, for example, would readily illustrate how metallic properties come into play in horology. The hand-polished, chamfered, or beveled parts all attest to the various metals malleability and ductility. The Glashutte waves and the circular, sunburst, and brushed finishes show how metals can, with expert skill, display a number of finishing touches that come together in one aesthetic effect.
Precious metals like gold, platinum, or sterling silver gain added hardness when electroplated with rhodium. By itself a precious metal with a high melting point and low malleability, rhodium is usually alloyed with nickel, palladium, and gold to become the white gold seen on many luxury timepieces. With sterling silver, it adds tarnish resistance and added shine. If used to set diamonds, its reflective qualities make them appear larger and to advantage.
Meanwhile, blued steel—seen on timepieces mostly as watch hands or screws—partially protects steel from oxidation by applying a surface layer of magnetite, the black oxide of iron. Chemical bluing creates a homogenous shade of blue throughout the metal’s surface; because horology requires some nuance from its materials, the preferred method is thermal bluing by hand. This involves laying the screws or watch hands on a tray, which is lined with brass filings to keep the temperature relatively constant, and heating the tray to around 220° C. The components acquire the blue shade to varying degrees—thinner areas acquire the blue shade more readily than thicker areas, resulting in several subtle shades of blues and purples.
A. Lange & Söhne is known for its use of precious materials and the degree of finishing it gives all parts of the watch—including the parts that won’t be normally seen, such as in this 1815 Annual Calendar.
A few years ago, tantalum was a dark horse in the watch case materials category. It is now generating a fair degree of interest, with its appearance on several timepieces: Hublot’s Big Bang Tantalum Mat, Audemars Piguet’s Royal Oak Leo Messi Edition, and the Panerai Luminor Marina series, among others. As a rare and hard metal, highly corrosion resistant and bioinert, tantalum lends itself well to haute horology. Aesthetically, a timepiece with a tantalum case or bezel would eschew the usual shine of other precious metals and convey a stealthy, matte-gray instead.
While this category includes non-metal inorganic compounds like glass, diamond & sapphire crystals, and graphite, this also includes engineering ceramics that have been used in watch cases and other watch components. Ceramics are the hardest class of materials known. They are around three to four times stronger than stainless steel. Ceramics resist wear and tear easily, maintaining a smooth surface and low friction for a long time. They are also lighter than stainless steel or titanium. With their low density—as low as that of aluminum—and their high hardness, ceramics are an ideal material for watchmaking.
However, ceramics are prone to breaking when hit with a strong enough impact. Ceramics are strong when they come under compression, but their strength is reduced by up to 15 times when under tension; ceramics are not as flexible and ductile as metals. All the same, timepieces with ceramic cases or components are less likely to encounter high-force impacts as say, ceramic aerospace components or industrial tools. Used in a timepiece, ceramics are guaranteed to last several lifetimes, maintaining their smooth finish and low-friction operations.
The Rolex Submariner uses a ceramic insert, called Cerachrom, for its unidirectional rotating bezel. The material is extremely hard, corrosion-resistant, scratch proof, and its color is unaffected by ultraviolet rays.
Rado set the precedent by being the first to use engineered ceramics for its timepieces. This blends oxides, carbides, nitrates, and zirconium to create a durable, scratch-resistant material that can be shaped into watch cases.
It is for these properties that ceramics find use in many luxury watch bezels, as seen on several Rolex lines, Hublot’s Big Bang, Panerai’s Luminor 1950 series, Omega’s Dark Side of the Moon—all timepieces that require the durability and resistance of ceramics to keep up with their wearer’s active lifestyles.
The Roger Dubuis Excalibur Aventador S is a perfect example of what can be done using forged carbon. It possesses shapes that cannot be molded into place using traditional methods.
Carbon fiber was a big hit when it was first used in watches. It was high-tech and advanced, lightweight and strong, and the depth of the checkerboard pattern was mesmerizing to look at. But manufacturing processes have changed. Now, we have forged carbon, a material that looks similar to granite because of its manufacturing process. Instead of layering carbon sheets on top of a mold and injecting resin like a traditional carbon weave, forged carbon is made out of fiber paste mixed with resin squeezed to produce any shape or form possible. It is strong all around but may not be as strong at a specific direction like traditional carbon; the carbon weave can be tuned to be strong at a specific direction. However, forged carbon is easier and cheaper to produce.
The Patek Philippe Aquanaut Travel Time Advanced Research is a special release of Patek Philippe to showcase their craftsmanship using different materials, including Silicon, which is used on the escape wheel and pallet fork.
The latest innovation in watchmaking is the use of a metalloid called, Silicon. Not to be confused with Silicone, which is a liquid or rubber-like synthetic material. Silicon, on the other hand, is a natural element that has both metallic and non-metallic properties. It’s the 2nd most abundant element in the Earth’s crust and it is used in bricks, glass, & in electronic devices. So you might be wondering what use does Silicon have in watches. Well, it plays an integral part in the movement, specifically the balance spring, lever and anchor wheel. It’s anti-magnetic, corrosion resistant, unaffected by temperature changes, generates very little friction, and can be shaped into any form.
This piece was originally published in the print version of Lucerne Luxe Magazine, and condensed for brevity.
Fighting words, to be sure, but we’re calling it: These are the watches that are guaranteed to elevate your look, no matter your personal aesthetic.
For those events that require the wearing of a suit. Usually classic in design, thin, and elegant, it’s worn on occasions when you need to tuck the watch into your sleeve (e.g. a black tie event). Black leather straps are ideal, and since most men consider the watch their only accessory or form of jewelry, is preferably in gold or platinum.
There are more than 7,000 islands in the Philippines, so a diver’s watch is a must for the beach lover. After all, wearing a dress watch to a resort makes just about as much sense as wearing a pair of black leather oxfords with boardshorts. This watch needs to have a rotating bezel, a screw down crown, and a helium escape valve. Other features are big, luminous markers, and preferably a rubber strap.
It’s a cliché because it’s true: Men who love watches are (usually) just as crazy about cars. It comes as no surprise, then, that auto-themed watches are some of the most popular in the market. These typically feature chronographs that can measure elapses time, and have design features inspired by supercars. Bonus points if you get your hands on a brand collaboration.
Yes, everyone should have one, but the watch you choose depends on the job you have, and, realistically, correlates to the size of your paycheck. It should reflect your lifestyle and your daily activities: Are you in surgery all the time? Are you always on the field? Are you always at client meetings? Every industry will have different preferences in brand, style and function, but it should always be automatic and have calendar functionalities.
Whether you’re travelling for work or leisure, going from one time zone to another is unavoidable at some point, and you don’t want to (or can’t) miss that important flight or appointment. There are three choices for the jetsetter: GMT, Dual Time, or Worldtime. Take your pick.
There are many occasions being tasteful and discreet is necessary. This is the watch you wear when subtlety is the name of the game and you’d rather not make too extravagant a statement.
We’ve covered beach weekends, or the weekends that involve taking the Ferrari out with your friends. This watch is the go-to when you’re hitting the clubs or the bars. This is the watch to wear when you’re channeling a laid-back sort of cool, perhaps in the company of people who actually care about what the Met Gala theme this year was. This is the watch that guarantees you’ll get numbers.
Every collection deserves—no, demands—a Rolex. Due to its popularity, it’s quite rare to find someone who doesn’t know about these classic models. A Rolex is also a great conversation starter, and history has proven that these conversations lead to a good many deals being made. If you already own one, you know what we mean.
The apex of every collection. Basically, a jaw-dropping watch that probably has a price tag with seven or more figures. From a perpetual calendar and tourbillions to minute repeaters, this is the type of watch that gets the attention only of those who are in the know. Honestly, this watch alone is enough to get you VIP treatment in a Michelin-starred restaurant, nightlong bottle service at a club with an impossible guest list, or the benefit of being bumped up a waitlist for a highly coveted, well, anything, really.
Preferably one from your father or grandfather, whom you saw wearing the watch while you were growing up. Nostalgia plays a big part in determining the value of this watch: it’s special because it triggers memories of the person who used to own it. Now that it’s yours, it turns you into a custodian of tradition, of a legacy, so start paying more attention to what wisdom you’ll be passing on to the next generation. And take care of that watch, yeah?