To start 2022, watches with ‘Wow’
The watch industry had prepared to restart in-person events this year. But as cases of the Covid-19 Omicron variant surged, LVMH Watch Week in Geneva, which was due to start on Monday, was rescheduled as an online program – and the rest of the early 2022 schedule became uncertain.
Not that the pandemic is affecting industry performance: Exports now exceed 2019 levels, according to the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry, and in November Switzerland recorded its biggest monthly export figures since October 2014. As a result, brands continue to introduce new models. Here are 14 pieces, freshly put on the market.
It’s too early in the year to tell if any of the January releases will define watchmaking 2022, but here are four contenders from some of the world’s most in-demand brands.
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Jumbo Extra-Thin 39 mm Ref. 16202
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The story of the Royal Oak Jumbo is part of world watch history. When Gerald Genta’s octagonal bezel design was introduced in 1972, it was the world’s first luxury stainless steel sports watch. Fifty years later, its anniversary begins with the Ref. 16202, which by most accounts replaces Ref. 15202. Its first version is this piece in 18-carat pink gold, which differs from the old model only in its movement, the new Caliber 7121. In an unexpected gesture, the new ultra-thin automatic generation from Audemars Piguet n It’s not thinner than its predecessor, but the new watch’s power reserve has increased from 40 to 55 hours, and the brand says it’s more accurate. As with all Royal Oak models slated for release this year, there is a special 50th anniversary rotor, visible here through the sapphire crystal case back.
TAG Heuer Autavia 60th Anniversary Flyback Chronograph
Combination product names have become so common – Netflix, Verizon, even Brexit – that the spirit of the 1930s Heuer invention “Autavia” barely registers now. Originally coined for a rally car dashboard stopwatch, the name brought together the “automotive” and “aviation” worlds. In 1962, it was adopted by rally enthusiast Jack Heuer for his first wristwatch as company boss. It would be the brand’s keystone model until 1985, when the company was reinvented as TAG Heuer. Sixty years after that first wristwatch, Autavia’s revival isn’t as familiar as TAG Heuer’s Carrera, but it retains a loyal following. Autavia’s trio of anniversary models includes this 42-millimeter silver-dial piece, the first with the new Heuer 02 COSC Flyback movement, which features a chronograph that can be reset and restarted with the push of a button. button. The anniversary set also includes a black DLC, or diamond-like overlay, a variation, and a GMT model.
Louis Vuitton Tambour Horizon Luminous
The Parisian luxury house returned for the third time to its connected watch concept at the beginning of the month with the Tambour Horizon Light Up. Its bespoke operating system offers a range of always-on customization options, some of which trigger the 24 LED lights that sit behind the watch’s Monogram ring into a kind of mini-colored disco ball (hence the name). Equally singular is Louis Vuitton’s decision not to market the device as a health and fitness gadget. Instead, it invites wearers to personalize their watch faces with their initials and swipe left for airline boarding passes and access to 30 world city guides. At 44 millimeters the model isn’t small, but the engineered curved sapphire crystal screen somehow makes it more portable than its size suggests.
Zenith Challenge Skyline
Zenith first used the name Defi for a pocket watch in 1902 and Defy for a wristwatch in 1969. And yet pieces such as this new Defy Skyline, with its decidedly industrial silhouette and 12-sided bezel , still feel slightly experimental – avant-garde, even. The Skyline models are defined by the repeating four-pointed star motif that punctuates their dials, and by the small seconds at 9 o’clock. It rotates 360 degrees every 10 seconds, powered by a new version of Zenith’s high-frequency El Primero movement, originally designed as a chronograph. Even though it beats quickly, the automatic has a 60-hour power reserve. The watch comes on a faceted strap and with a spare rubber strap featuring a starry sky pattern.
Grouping luxury watches by trend can be tricky because most are built to last. Even so, it’s clear that sports watches on metal straps remain popular, as does the liberal use of color. Yet there is still room for pieces showcasing the zodiac or the lunar calendar, and for high-end complications and spectacular timepieces that are as much works of art as timepieces.
Hublot Big Bang Integral time only
Until two years ago, it was almost unnoticed that Hublot, a brand that has supercharged the sports watch category since the introduction of the Big Bang in 2005, had never made a wristwatch. But the 2020 introduction of the Big Bang Integral Chronograph changed all that and quickly proved Hublot was missing a trick. Now it offers this Time Only iteration, seen here in yellow gold, a 40-millimeter three-hand sports watch, with a date. Although new, it looks like it could have been part of the Hublot collection years ago.
Bulgari Serpenti Misteriosi High Jewelery
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The Italian and Swiss minds at work in Bulgari’s watch division have delivered a record stream of ultra-thin watches in the Octo Finissimo line. And now the brand has condensed 105 components into a mechanical movement just 12.3 millimeters wide and 2.5 millimeters thick, and which weighs just 1.3 grams, roughly the same as a half penny. Called Piccolissimo, Caliber BVL100 has been concealed in the head of the Serpenti Misteriosi secret watch, here adorned with turquoises, rubellites and 724 diamonds.
Dior Grand Bal Toile de Jouy
Dior’s watchmaking efforts have long focused on low-volume collections related to couture and fine jewelry. This 36mm steel, rose gold and diamond watch is inspired by the brand’s signature toile de Jouy motif, which visitors to Monsieur Dior’s apartments and the brand’s boutique at 30, avenue Montaigne, Paris, will recognize with tapestry decorations. As before, the watch features an inverted automatic movement, so the oscillating rotor, here an intricate string of flowers, leaves and branches, swings nonchalantly across the dial. Only 88 will be made.
Omega Speedmaster Caliber 321 Canopus Gold
A fun fact about the Speedmaster is that it was never meant to go into space. Released 12 years before Buzz Aldrin set foot on the moon wearing one, it was designed as a driver’s watch, with a sturdy hand-wound chronograph movement called Caliber 321. Omega recreated this movement three years ago. years and now, for the watch. 65th Anniversary, put it in a 38.6 millimeter Speedmaster case of its in-house ultra-shiny Canopus white gold.
Chopard LUC XP Urushi Year of the Tiger
The Lunar New Year, which falls on a Tuesday, marks the Year of the Tiger. To inaugurate the event, Chopard produced a limited edition ultra-thin dress watch decorated with the meticulous Japanese process of urushi lacquer. The 88 dials of the edition were made by Minori Koizumi, a master lacquerer, and feature a tiger motif, believed to symbolize fortune, wisdom, intelligence and creativity. They’re framed in 39.5 millimeters of what the brand calls “ethical 18-karat gold.”
Oris Sun Wukong Artist Edition
For the first time, Oris, an independent known for its $2,000-$3,000 watches, has made a watch with a cloisonné enamel dial, a technique more common among high-end (read: very expensive) watch brands. The design features the Dragon King’s underwater palace, taken from a 1961 Chinese animation featuring Sun Wukong, the literary character also known as The Monkey King, which appears on the back of the case. The 72-piece edition is powered by Oris’ five-day automatic caliber 400.
Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Full Calendar Openface
Switzerland make fewer watches these days, but with no drop in revenue thanks to the popularity of high-end pieces like Vacheron’s latest complete calendar, a modern take on a classic complication. Its openworked sapphire dial reveals some of its mechanical secrets, which power a complete calendar and a moon phase indication. It’s available in white (pictured) or rose gold, and it’s not a limited edition.
Ulysse Nardin Blast Moonstruck
Ulysse Nardin’s quirky new watch is slated for Tuesday, the start of the Lunar New Year. While the watch’s aesthetic is straight out of the brand’s extreme contemporary design playbook, its astronomical complication was taken from a movement designed 40 years ago. The model indicates what the brand calls “the visible path of the sun” and the lunar cycle, and has a tide table and a world time function, which in this extraordinary piece become almost afterthoughts.
Carl F. Bucherer Manero BigDate Device
Whisper it, but the family-owned Carl F. Bucherer watch company is on a silent and intensely understated march. The brand claims to sell more than 30,000 watches a year these days, more than five times its 2010 sales. Brand. This steel version with a blue dial displays the small seconds, the power reserve, the indications of the day of the week and the “big” date, and comes on a beige fabric strap.
Hermes Heuer H
It says a lot about the success of the Hermès watch collection that it has no signature design – any of its many forms could wear this coat. One would certainly be Philippe Mouquet’s 1996 Heuer H, the H-shaped piece. For the first time, Hermès dresses it with colored stone dials: one in obsidian, another in aventurine and this version in gold pink into green malachite. The 21 millimeter jewel case and dial are set with 180 diamonds.