Tracking Time: A (Watch) Year In Review
Tracking Time: A (Watch) Year In Review

From scoring high on the design aspect, to displaying outstanding craftsmanship and supreme technical precision; these timekeepers stole the limelight with their horological savoir-faire

A. Lange & Söhne Zeitwerk



First presented in 2009, the A. Lange & Söhne Zeitwerk stood out for its avant-garde time display featuring large jumping numerals for the hours and minutes as well as a constant-force escapement as a beat controller. And the German watchmaker has continued to build-up on this masterpiece, which consists of a patented mechanism with three jumping-numerals discs, where the hours and minutes are displayed from left to right by large-format numerals that are 2.9mm high and 2.3mm wide. The new model featured here comes in a 42mm case, crafted entirely in 18K pink gold with a black dial that stands out against this framework. Apart from the jumping numerals, it also showcases a power reserve indicator at 12 o’clock and the subsidiary seconds with a stop-seconds mechanism positioned at 6 o’clock within a sub-dial.



Thanks to the evolved Calibre L043.6 with seven patents, the timepiece now has a power reserve doubled to 72 hours, and when fully wound, the new Zeitwerk now has sufficient energy to perform 72 jumps with all three discs, 360 jumps with only two discs, and 3,888 jumps with only one disc. Another improvement versus the predecessor is the simplified setting of the hour. A pusher at 4 o’clock can now separately advance the display, which is particularly useful when the time zone changes. One simply has to press this and the display switches forward upon releasing it. However, the setting of the minute indication in both directions is still performed with the crown at 2 o’clock.



This 451-part movement is visible on turning the watch over, thanks to the exhibition caseback through which one can admire the hand-engraved balance and escape-wheel cocks, the solarised winding wheels, the 59 jewels, and the intricate, straight-grained bridge that accommodates two recessed, screwed gold chatons. The watch is presented on a black leather strap that complements its overall sophisticated design aesthetic.


Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar Blue Ceramic



One of the most iconic watches in the horology universe, the Royal Oak needs no introduction when one talks about haute horlogerie at its finest. Audemars Piguet has introduced a new version of its Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar — for the first time created entirely in blue ceramic. The signature Grande Tapisserie dial and sub-dials along with the ceramic bracelet are also in blue, displaying a monochromatic aesthetic that lends uniformity to this 41mm sporty timekeeper.



The manufacture has used ceramic — an ultralight material, resistant to wear and scratches, with a slender construction measuring 9.5mm in thickness. They have implemented precise manufacturing of this material and meticulous hand-decorations to create this piece where each ceramic component has been given the same meticulous hand-finishes as they would in the case of precious metals. The blue-toned dial also features 18K white gold applied hour-markers and facetted hands, filled with luminescent coating for optimum visibility in the dark. The three calendar sub-dials at 12, 3 and 9 o’clock, are balanced by the moon-phase aperture at 6 o’ clock, while granting optimum legibility of the hours, minutes, day, date, week, month, astronomical moon and leap year indication.


At the heart of this timepiece lies the self-winding Calibre 5134, which carries out all these complex functions. This mechanism automatically takes into account the number of days in the month and correctly displays the prevailing date, even in leap years. Assuming the watch is kept regularly wound, the date will not require manual adjustment until 2100. Quite a feat! The movement measures just 4.3mm in thickness and is equipped with a 22k gold open-worked oscillating weight. This is visible through the transparent caseback where the bulkiest part of the rotor has been positioned towards the outer edge which is recessed within a channel encircling the movement, thereby reducing the height. Also, the choice of a suspended barrel has contributed to reducing the movement’s thickness as well. Composed of 374 parts, it beats at a frequency of 19,800vph and offers a minimum power reserve of at least 40 hours.


Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Flyback Chronograph



Blancpain has also revamped its Bathyscaphe Flyback Chronograph, which is now available in a 43mm grade-23 titanium case with an anthracite dial. Recently introduced into its collections by Blancpain, grade-23 titanium — also known as grade 5 ELI (extra low interstitials) — is the purest type of titanium available. It notably contains less oxygen than the standard titanium used in watchmaking. This reduction in the amount of oxygen improves the metal’s resistance to breakage and corrosion.


The watch is equipped with the in-house self-winding Calibre F385, featuring a flyback chronograph function. It measures 13-lignes and beats at a frequency of 36,000vph, and is equipped with a column-wheel chronograph mechanism and a vertical clutch. The flyback function enables the wearer to reset and instantly restart the chronograph, simply by pressing the pusher at 4 o’clock. Water-resistant to 300m, this dive timer is presented on a canvas strap.


OMEGA Speedmaster Chrono Chime



Omega has introduced the Olympic 1932 Chrono Chime — a tribute to the brand’s glorious legacy of producing minute repeater wristwatches and pocket chronographs since 1892. Crafted entirely in 18K Sedna Gold, the watch has a grand feu enamel dial, graced with a silver hand made guilloche inner bezel and sub-dials. Another reason for crafting this watch in gold is because this precious metal is a good conductor of sound, imperative for a minute repeater. The central hour and minute hands, along with the sub-dial hands on the small seconds at 6 o’clock and 15-minute recorder at 12 o’clock — are all in gold with a blue PVD coating. It is powered by the brand’s most complex movement till date — the Co-Axial Master Chronometer Calibre 1932.


A fully-integrated chronograph and minute repeater, this movement has been produced not by layering, tinkering or fitting new parts to old, but by fusing both functions together in one powerhouse. Developed over six years, it operates at a standard frequency of 36,000vph to supply a power reserve of 60 hours, tracks 1/10th of a second, and is capable of withstanding external magnetic fields of 15,000 gauss, thanks to the use of 50 non-ferrous components. It’s also entirely handmade and consists of at least 46.44 grams of gold, and the wearer can get a glimpse of this resplendent powerhouse through the exhibition caseback.


Panerai Submersible QuarantaQuattro eSteel™ Grigio Roccia



The Panerai Submersible QuarantaQuattro eSteel recognises the importance of sustainability goals while maintaining the brand’s established design codes and technical finesse. Here, 72gm of the watch is made of recycled materials, corresponding to 52 percent of the total weight of the watch (137gm). The dial and bezel of the 44mm timepiece are in the same colour and are offered in three hues: blue, grey and green. They are all mounted on matching straps made from recycled material.


The grey version or Grigio Roccia looks elegant with its gradient dial with luminous hour markers and dots. There is a date window at 3 o’clock and a small seconds counter positioned at 9 o’clock. It is driven by Panerai’s in-house P.900 automatic movement with a mere thickness of 4.2mm and a power reserve of three days. With a solid caseback, the timepiece offers a water-resistance of up to 300m, making it a certified dive timer.


Tag Heuer Formula 1 Chronograph



The Swiss player has added three new colourful variants to its popular Formula 1 collection. These new TAG Heuer chronograph models come in vibrant hues that are evocative of the racetrack: green, yellow, and red. These statement quartz sports watches authentically capture the spirit of the first TAG Heuer Formula 1 pieces from the 1980s, which were celebrated for their cool colours and sporty character.


They come in 43mm stainless steel cases with pushers at 2 and 4 o’clock, and a black PVD steel tachymeter-scale bezel with numerals. The screw-down steel caseback reveals a checkered flag motif, offering a water-resistance of up to 200m. Only the sub-dials are in black with the seconds counter at 3 o’clock, the 1/10th second counter at 6 o’clock, and the minute counter positioned at 9 o’clock. The angled date window is at 4 o’clock and the contrasting hands and indexes are coated with white Super-LumiNova for excellent legibility at high speed. All three versions come with matching rubber straps, corresponding to the dial hues.


IWC Pilot’s Watch Mark XX



Known for their aviation watches, IWC has added stainless steel versions to complete their Mark XX line, which features models that hark back to the legendary Mark 11 — developed for the British Royal Air Force in 1948. The timepiece featured here comes with a green dial, framed by a robust and corrosion-resistant 40mm stainless steel case. The high-contrast dial with white numerals and indices displays the triangular index at 12 o’clock — a signature design detail of IWC’s Pilot’s watches.


Luminous elements on the dial and the rhodium-plated hands ensure great legibility in all lighting conditions. There is also a rectangular date window at 3 o’clock. It is equipped with the IWC-manufactured 32111 calibre — an automatic movement that uses a bidirectional pawl-winding system to build up a power reserve of 120 hours. In addition, the front glass of the watch is specially secured against sudden drops in air pressure. Water-resistant to 100m, the timepiece is presented on a brown leather strap with a patented quick-change system, which allows the wearer to change the strap or bracelet without requiring any additional tools.


Zenith Defy Extreme Felipe Pantone



Zenith has once again partnered with renowned Argentinian-Spanish artist, Felipe Pantone to create a chromatic Defy Extreme numbered edition. Crafted entirely in mirror-polished stainless steel, the faceted lines of the new Defy Extreme Felipe Pantone timepiece incorporate transparency and colour, where least expected. The 45mm watch features a dial with sapphire elements that appear translucent and metallic. Colour gradients and the interplay of light and patterns are also an important aspect of this creation. It offers functions such as: hours and minutes in the centre; small seconds at 9 o’clock; 30-minute counter at 3 o’clock; 60-second counter at 6 o’clock; power-reserve indication at 12 o’clock.


However, the 1/100th of a second chronograph function — where the central chronograph hand makes one turn each second — is the highlight here. This is enabled by Zenith’s in-house El Primero 9004 movement, which features an efficient construction of two independently driven regulating organs, beating at 360,000vph (chronograph functions) and 36,000vph (timekeeping functions), ensuring that the use of the chronograph has no effect on the timekeeping precision of the watch. The open star-shaped oscillating weight is finished in the same gradient rainbow colour scheme as found on the dial. Limited to 100 pieces only, the watch is water-resistant to 200m, and is presented on a blue rubber strap or a steel bracelet.


Breitling Chronomat Automatic GMT 40



The new Breitling Chronomat Automatic GMT 40 is ideal for avid travellers. With a case and bracelet crafted in stainless steel, the model featured here comes with an electric green dial that features a tone-on-tone 24-hour scale to let the red GMT hand stand out. It is powered by Breitling’s Calibre 32, a self-winding mechanical movement beating at 28,800vph, with a 42-hour power reserve, and its COSC-certification guarantees supreme precision. The 24-hour scale lets the user track a second time zone and know at a glance reserve, and its COSC-certification guarantees (a classic Chronomat feature with its fluted dome shape) provides easy grip. With a solid caseback that offers water-resistance up to 200m, this all-purpose sports watch is also highly versatile and can be worn for a casual outing or in a formal setting.


Seiko Prospex Speedtimer Solar Chronograph



First introduced in 1969, the Seiko Speedtimer was among the world’s first automatic chronographs that offered exceptional reliability and precision. The Japanese watchmaker has introduced three new variants, whose design embodies the spirit of the original series but offer the added accuracy of Seiko’s solar technology. The chronograph featured here comes in a 41.4mm stainless steel case and bracelet, and is water-resistant to 100m.


The blue dial has a sunray finish with contrasting ‘panda’ sub-dials that feature a 24-hour counter at 3 o’clock, the 60-minute counter with power reserve indication at 6 o’clock, and the 60-second indication at 9 o’clock. It is topped by a bezel with a tachymeter scale. The date window is placed between the indexes so that the exact time can be read with ease. It is powered by Seiko’s solar Calibre V192, which when fully charged, operates for up to six months. The combination of hairline and smooth finishes on the bracelet and the curved sapphire glass gives the timepiece a classic yet sporty look.


Images: A. Lange & Söhne, Audemars Piguet, Blancpain, OMEGA, Panerai, Tag Heuer, IWC, Zenith, Breitling, Seiko

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