The second in our two-part series on the best grand complication watches released in 2017.
CHOPARD L.U.C FULL STRIKE
Chopard’s first ever minute repeater is the result of six years of R&D, and comes in a 42.5 mm Fairmined rose gold case with an open-worked dial. It chimes the hours, quarters and minutes with the help of uniquely transparent sapphire gongs. The gongs and watch glass are machined together from a single sapphire block, which also gives it the crystal clear sound. The crown serves to wind the movement in one direction, and the striking mechanism in the other. It is equipped with twin power reserves, composed of two coaxially fitted hands. The gilded one indicates the movement power reserve, while the blue one shows the number of chimes that can be activated. The mechanically hand-wound movement has a power reserve of 60 hours and is a limited edition of 20 pieces.
PIAGET ALTIPLANO TOURBILLON HIGH JEWELLERY
This high jewellery version of the Altiplano tourbillon comes in a 41 mm, 18K white gold case that is set with 48 baguette-cut diamonds (around 2.51 ct) and 265 brilliant-cut diamonds (around 2.42 ct). The crown is also set with a brilliant-cut diamond (around 0.09 ct). The gold dial is coated with translucent blue-grey enamel. The mechanical hand-wound tourbillon movement is just 4.6 mm thick. It has a power reserve of 48 hours.
ROGER DUBUIS EXCALIBUR QUATUOR COBALT MICROMELT
The four spring balances and the five differentials of the RD101 Calibre movement of this watch achieve instantaneously what a tourbillon takes a full minute to accomplish — compensate for the effects of gravity in indicating the time. But the most innovative part of this watch is the use of cobalt chrome, a high-performance alloy that has been used in the making of the massive 48 mm-diameter case, bezel, case back and crown. This has been done using the unique Micromelt technology, which involves melting the alloy and atomising it into powder using a high-pressure stream of gas, then blending and pressing it to achieve high density, and finally hot-working it into bars. The dial is coated with blue PVD, with red and white printed minute track, blue PVD coated flange, rhodium plated indexes and hands in white gold with red tips. It has a power reserve of 40 hours, the indicator for which is at 9 o’clock, and is a limited edition of 8 pieces.
ZENITH DEFY EL PRIMERO 21
The latest iteration of the legendary chronograph can record elapsed time in one hundredth of a second, by means of a central hand which performs a full turn of the dial in one second. To avoid any risk of the chronograph interfering with the smooth running of the watch, the two functions are driven by two independent `gear boxes’. There is a small seconds hand at 9 o’clock, a 30-minute counter at 3 o’clock, seconds and tenths of a second at 6 o’clock and a percentage indication of the chronograph power reserve at 12 o’clock. The manual winding crown works in both directions: clockwise for the chronograph, counter clockwise for the watch. It comes in a 44 mm titanium case, with the inner bezel ring featuring a graduated scale running from 0 to 100 for measuring seconds in decimals. The power reserve is 50 hours.
VACHERON CONSTANTIN TRADITIONNELLE CHRONOGRAPH PERPETUAL CALENDAR
The 43 mm case of this new version of the iconic timepiece, with a chronograph with perpetual calendar, comes in platinum and pink gold versions. The Caliber 1142 QP movement drives the perpetual calendar functions — with indications of the days, date, months, leap years and moon phases – as well as the chronograph functions, with a direct-drive seconds hand and the 30-minute counter at 3 o’clock, positioned opposite the small seconds at 9 o’clock. The calendar won’t need adjustment until March 1, 2100. The power reserve is 48 hours.
HARRY WINSTON HISTOIRE DE TOURBILLON 8
The dial of this uniquely designed watch features two large, superimposed, biaxial tourbillons that mirror one another. On the right are two off-centre cones that indicate time — one the hour, and the other the minutes. Every 75 seconds, each tourbillon completes a rotation on a 30-degree inclined axis. The net effect is the kind of precision in timekeeping that has rarely been achieved before. The power reserve indicator, in the form of a grooved scroll, is positioned at 6 o’clock. The 51 mm white gold case features alternating polished mirror and satin finishes. It’s available in two colour variations, anthracite and dark grey with red accents. Each version is limited to 10 pieces. The manual winding movement has a power reserve of around 55 hours.
SLIM D’HERMÈS QUANTIÈME PERPÉTUEL PLATINE
This perpetual calendar stands out for its slim, minimalist look. While the date, month, dual-time and leap-year indications are displayed on various counters, a mother-of-pearl moon phase graces an aventurine sky backdrop at 3 o’clock. The ‘mechanical memory’ of its ultra-thin movement (4 mm thick), ensures that the dates of months with 30 and 31 days are automatically adjusted, while taking account of leap years by indicating February 29 every four years without any need for corrections. It comes in a 39.5 mm platinum case, and the power reserve is 42 hours.
IWC DA VINCI TOURBILLON RETROGRADE CHRONOGRAPH
This elegant watch, in a 44 mm, 18K red gold case, features a flying tourbillon at 6 o’clock, a chronograph at 12 o’clock and a retrograde date at the left-hand side of the dial. The hand shows the date from the 1st to the 31st of the month, as it moves across an arc and then, at the end of the scale, reverts to its starting point. In months with fewer than 31 days, or when the watch has not been used for a while, the date display can be advanced using the crown. The self-winding mechanical chronograph movement has a power reserve of 68 hours.
MONTBLANC HERITAGE CHRONOMETRIE EXOTOURBILLON RATTRAPANTE LIMITED EDITION 8
This watch combines a mono-pusher split-second (or rattrapante) chronograph with its renowned Exo Tourbillon, developed by the company in 2010. A split-second chronograph is one where you can measure elapsed time of multiple events because of the additional hand. Unlike the conventional tourbillon, the Exotourbillon features a smaller cage that is free of the weight of the balance wheel and takes about four times more time to rotate, which leads to a huge energy saving. On the dial, the local time is indicated in the centre (the hour and minute hands) with the small seconds in a sub-dial at 9 o’clock. Home time is shown (in hours) in the sub-dial at 6 o’clock and is linked to the day/night indication displayed between 4 and 5 o’clock. A further sub-dial at 3 o’clock displays the 30-minute chronograph counter, while the chronograph’s seconds and split-second times are recorded via the chronograph hands in the centre. When travelling, the new local time can easily be set by pressing on the corrector at 8 o’clock. It comes in a 47 mm, 18K red gold case and is a limited edition of 8 pieces.
BREITLING NAVITIMER RATTRAPANTE
This watch features the ultimate innovation in a chronograph, the split-second or rattrapante function, which allows for the measurement of two separate events with its two superimposed chronograph hands. It comes in a 45 mm steel case, and is a 250-piece red gold limited edition. Both come with bronze-coloured dials. The Breitling logo with its anchor symbol is divided between the two seconds hands: with the B on the red chronograph hand and the anchor on the split-seconds hand. The split-seconds pusher is housed in the 3 o’clock crown. The power reserve is around 70 hours.
DE GRISOGONO NEW RETRO SKELETON TOURBILLON
This watch is a new variation of the New Retro collection launched two years ago, that featured an innovative case composed of two cambered and perfectly matched sapphire crystals, held together by a slender ribbon of gold. In the new version, the tourbillon is placed at 3 o’clock, as if it is suspended inside the case, and held by bridges with an architecture evoking the grilles of vintage cars. The skeletonised movement is elegantly framed by a sapphire crystal. The black rhodium-plated and gold-decorated upper and lower bridges of the tourbillon carriage, holding the entire movement, are graced with alternating sandblasted and horizontal satin finishing. Issued in a limited edition of 25-pieces, housed in pink or white gold cases, the watch has a power reserve of 72 hours.
The first hydro-mechanical watch brand in history, HYT has for its new collection pared the watch down to the essentials. Only a fraction of the bellows is revealed through drop-shape openings in the surface of the dial. The minutes are read via a hand positioned at 12 o’clock, and the seconds via a small counter at 9 o’clock. The practical cutaway at 2 o’clock enables the power reserve level to be viewed. This finely balanced assembly is magnified by a sapphire crystal, which offers a completely new perspective, that of a side-on display. It comes in a 48.8 mm titanium case and has a 65-hour power reserve.
BELL & ROSS BR-X1 TOURBILLON SAPPHIRE
This transparent watch, housed in a 45 mm sapphire case, is built around a flying tourbillon to which has been added a monopusher chronograph. The chronograph complication is visible under the dial and the power reserve indicator is at 9 o’clock. The 30-minute counter is at 10 o’clock and the 60-second counter is at 2 o’clock. They are engaged by the mono-pusher rocker at 2 o’clock. It has a 100-hour power reserve.