8 Stunning Luxury Watches That Marry Art and Science
In part two of three of our luxury watches roundup, we explore wearable works of art that wouldn't be out of place in a museum
Meticulously designed and painstakingly fine-tuned, luxury watches are doubtlessly things of beauty. Here in part two of our luxury watches roundup, we highlight eight watches that exemplify both fine craftsmanship and technological know-how.
Chopard took its first steps to becoming a vertically integrated manufacture 25 years ago, and the brand is celebrating this milestone with a slew of watch releases this year. The LUC Quattro Spirit 25 is one of them. It showcases various hallmarks that have long identified the LUC line, from its distinctive case design to the brand’s Quattro system, which uses four barrels to give the timepiece an 8-day power reserve. What’s different this time is its jumping hours complication, which is a first for the brand. This timepiece will be produced in a limited run of 100 pieces, all in ethically-sourced rose gold.
2. Franck Muller
The tourbillon has long been one of Franck Muller’s specialities, and the brand has unveiled yet another take on this mechanism in 2021. Meet the Grand Central Cintrée Curvex, which displays its tourbillon in the middle of the dial. To retain the traditional format of time display, the hour and minute hands have been redesigned to sweep around the tourbillon’s circumference instead. This keeps the signature codes of the Cintrée Curvex untouched. Tweaks have been made elsewhere though, like how the crystal now extends to the straps for an even more open view, and the offset micro-rotor that makes this watch self-winding.
3. Harry Winston
Harry Winston has extended its Ocean collection this year with two new Biretrograde references dressed in warm summery hues. The timepieces feature yellow sapphires and orange spessartines respectively. Rather than use these gems as accents, however, the brand has opted to go all out with them. The results are stunning, with the colours leaping out from a mother-of-pearl background. Meanwhile, diamonds provide an additional sparkle to the mix. The Ocean Biretrograde’s technical side lends a counterpoint to this dazzling celebration of watchmaking with a high jewellery slant, with its signature retrograde displays at four and eight o’clock. Each watch comes complete, naturally, with a matching alligator strap.
In case you missed it: Harry Winston's Emerald Watch Gets Upsized To 33mm
Despite being relatively new to the world of high watchmaking, Hermès has quickly distinguished itself as a creative disruptor with a quirky, irreverent approach. Case in point: the Slim d’Hermès C’est la fête. It reinterprets the artwork featured on the brand’s C’est la fête silk scarf as a work of metiers d’art, and showcases the depth of expression that can be achieved on the dial with just engraving and paillonné enamelling. Only eight of these timepieces will be available worldwide.
Hublot’s penchant for bold statements is epitomised by its new Big Bang Integral Tourbillon Rainbow. This high jewellery timepiece comes set with baguette-cut gems in all seven colours of the rainbow, with the stones paving its case, inner flange and bracelet. To create the seamless gradient of colours, invisible setting was used for its 484 stones, which total nearly 34 carats. The result is a bright, bold, and dazzling presence on the wrist. Make no mistake: this is an exercise in excess, but a stunning, beautifully executed one. Two references are available, in either white gold or the brand’s proprietary gold alloy, King Gold.
6. IWC Schaffhausen
IWC Schaffhausen has continued its practice of updating its collections sequentially, and this year’s focus is back on its Pilot’s Watches. Much has been worked on. For a start, the Big Pilot’s Watch has been downsized, and now comes in a 43-millimetre case with a simple, supremely legible dial design that purists will appreciate. Meanwhile, various aspects of the Pilot’s Watch Chronograph have been refreshed. Versions are available in both green and blue with a new in-house movement and quick-change strap system. There’s also the the futuristic Big Pilot’s Watch Shock Absorber XPL, which claims shock protection for the movement of up to 30,000G.
The Reverso celebrates its 90th anniversary, and Jaeger-LeCoultre has unveiled a wide range of models to mark this milestone. This year’s technical highlight is the Reverso Hybris Mechanica Calibre 185, the brand’s most complicated timepiece yet. The Reverso One timepieces on the other hand spotlight metiers d’art, while the Reverso Tribute Nonantième offers an alternative perspective of watchmaking. Classics have not been overlooked—the Reverso Tribute Small Seconds is now available with a green dial.
As always, Longines’s novelties this year span a broad spectrum across the brand’s collections. The highlight among them is the Avigation BigEye, which reimagines a 1930s design for the contemporary market. The new watch comes upgraded with a column wheel-actuated chronograph movement that’s fitted with a silicon balance spring, as well as a light yet robust titanium case. The oversized chronograph minutes totaliser at three o’clock that gives this model its name, however, remains untouched.