The world is full of gorgeous watches. Given that few can afford them, do you know which the most excellent luxury timepieces are? Although this year, the World Watches & Wonders (ex SIHH) and Baselworld watch shows have been skipped. However, at the moment, I am writing the Geneva Watch Days still resists which if all goes well, high-end watchmaking with Watches and Wonders. In the meantime, it has reorganized itself digitally, has begun to unveil the usual rain of precious and complicated watches. So, it is not easy to keep in mind the watchmaking excellence from the most prestigious brands. Let’s follow the Watch Pages analysis for the beautiful luxury watches for men.
Beautiful luxury watches for men
Audemars Piguet [Re] master 01
Many incredible luxury men’s watches bear the Le Brassus manufacture’s signature: Royal Oak, Jules Audemars, and last season the new Code 11.59 collection. In March 2020, Audemars Piguet amazed fans with the [Re] master01, the perfect re-execution of the reference 1533, a famous 1943 chronograph. It offers a steel case but with a wide bezel, winding crown and pushers in rose gold.
The gold dial also sports different scales like the clocks that were experiencing their best period at 1533. You have distinguished what you have in front of your eyes by the singular indication “45” inside the 30-minute counter to mark the times of a football match wanted by Jacques-Louis Audemars, a great fan.
Breitling Navitimer B03 Chronograph Rattrapante 45
Unveiled in January 2020 with its new Navitimer B03 Chronograph Rattrapante 45 that interprets one of the finest complications of watchmaking in the best way, Breitling continues to reaffirm its leadership among luxury sports chronographs. It features an 18-karat red gold case and is equipped with the Breitling In-house Caliber B03, an in-house split-function movement protected by two patents.
The watch features a bidirectional rotating bezel with a circular slide rule, a detail usually associated with Breitling Navitimer watches. From 1952 onwards were used by pilots as true navigational tools. It is the most exclusive of the collection.
Chanel J12 Paradoxe
The Paradoxe is the latest timepiece in the successful J12 line, which celebrates 20 years this year. The particularity of this splendid women’s watch like no other is emphasized by a ceramic case obtained from two parts, the first white and the other black cut vertically and joined so perfectly as to appear as one.
The singular operation, not as easy as the precise final result, involves cutting the two parts and then mounting them on metal support with a sapphire crystal case back. The dial is first completely white lacquered and then black for the right side. The same goes for the bezel.
It is moved by a Chanel calibre made in 2019 by the Kenissi manufacture, of which Chanel owns some shares. Chanel J12 Paradoxe also exists in a luxurious Diamonds version largely set with brilliant and baguette-cut diamonds.
FP Journe Chronometre a Resonance
Always in the elite of Swiss luxury watches and one of my favorites, in 2020, the Chronometre a Resonance was completely redone by Master François-Paul Journe who revisited it by raising his classy approach to chronometry. The movement is completely new and, by Journe’s signature, it is as in all of his watches completely in 18k gold. In addition to the two balance wheels, which, upon entering into resonance, guarantee better isochronism, the new caliber now features a single barrel. The force supplied is doubled to two parallel time trains.
Another signal of superfine mechanical watchmaking, we have a remontoir d’egalite at one second, or rather one for each train, which gives a constant force for the entire power reserve marked by the hours. 12, in addition to the suggestive dead seconds, in this case – unique in watchmaking – double and parallel. A differential allows you to benefit from the double movement corrections, which, entering into resonance, corrects the oscillations from errors generated by postures and accidental impacts. The case can be in 6N rose gold or very precious platinum.
Glashutte Original Senator Cosmopolite Midnight Blue
Since 2015 it has been the highest mechanical expression of the world’s hour complication and in 2020, he is dressed in a new midnight blue dial obtained with a galvanic process and finished with sun rays. It is the watch for globetrotters and those who love the genuineness of complicated mechanics, which in this specific case is capable of working miracles.
The four hundred elements can show hours, minutes, seconds and the Grand Date as well as 35 time zones with differences of 1⁄2 hour and 3⁄4 of an hour and, lastly, taking into account for each position also the summertime and not just telling you like others if it’s just going on right now. The finely decorated movement shows an off-centered micro-rotor oscillating weight and the hand filigree balance wheel double gooseneck bridge.
IWC Portuguese Perpetual Calendar 42
To afford a perpetual calendar in rose gold like this new Portuguese is a real luxury, but what a piece! Much of IWC’s image is tied to perpetual calendars. What distinguishes the Portuguese Perpetual Calendar 42 of 2020 from previous models is the introduction of the 82000 caliber family.
The moon phases, which, if you could verify in person, have a deviation of one day every 577.5 years, are shown at the month display’s interior just above 6 o’clock. The leap year cycle’s four-step scale appears from a small porthole in the weekday dial at 9 o’clock. Extremely clean and classy, it is also available with a silver dial.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Control Memovox Timer
Apart from the 1960s when they reigned, today, many do not take alarm clocks seriously, thanks to the usual smartphone intruders, but the alarm clock is the oldest complication of a watch. Let’s just think of the “monastic alarm clocks,” which appeared even before the tower clocks at the beginning of the first millennium which reminded the friars when it was time to pray. Returning to the point, Jaeger-LeCoultre created the Memovox in the 1950s and is perhaps one of the most expert Maison in this function. For 2020 the brand presented two new models: I chose the Master Control Memovox Timer in a limited edition of 250 pieces.
The idea was to make a simple to use an alarm clock. The multi-level blue dial is delightful and features a countdown scale. I’m not a fan of 3 o’clock date displays among vintage-looking watches, and this is the only small detail that – personally – I find useless in a vintage-looking watch like this Memovox. When the sapphire crystal is turned upside down, the refined in-house movement is exposed. Elegant and very original.
Panerai Luminor Marina Fibratech 44 mm
2020 is the 70th anniversary of the Panerai Luminor. After the Radiomir, the second professional diving watch in history, it is only natural that an avalanche of references will be released this year and will still be released.
With a matte gray look, the Fibratech PAM01663 is 60% lighter than steel and much more resistant to corrosion. Waterproof up to 30 bar (about 300 meters deep), the new Luminor Marina Fibratech is a high-profile diving watch with an elegant blue dial with a degradé effect and the usual luminescent material positioned in the sandwich structure. A gorgeous diver who looks good even out of the water, where he will spend most of his time.
Patek Philippe Calatrava Ref.6007A-001
Patek Philippe is the luxury watch par excellence: owned by the Stern family since 1932, it is one of the few remaining independent Haute Horlogerie manufacturers. In 2020, the pandemic certainly upset the secret plans of the Maison, which, like Rolex, is unlikely to present any news. However, the Calatrava Calatrava Ref. 6007A-001 presented in June 2020 is still a new entry, albeit a bit particular. It is a very special Calatrava. First of all, it was created in a limited edition of 1,000 pieces to celebrate a new building of the manufacture, then because it is made of steel.
This metal rarely uses outside the Nautilus and Aquamatic Patek. Therefore highly sought after by collectors. The color of the blue-gray dial is another gem, as is the guilloche with a carbon-weave pattern in the internal sector. The white of the indications fades into the white gold hands. From the case back, the delightfully decorated movement is visible in the most genuine and fine vision faithful to Genevan Haute Horlogerie. I bet that in less than a month, all the units will have already been sold.
Vacheron Constantin Overseas Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin Skeleton
In 2020 Watches & Wonders virtually unveiled the references at the top of the overseas line, the sports collection of the Maison that has been in business continuously since 1755. Last year it was the turn of the blue dial version. This year here is the skeletonized version. The difference lies in the open dial and the meticulously engraved, lightened and polished movement.
It is true that since its first appearance in 1996, and completely revised in 2016, the Overseas line belongs to the category of luxury sports watches born from the pen of Gérald Genta and materialized first with the Royal Oak and then with the Nautilus, but if it’s always about sport Overseas Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin Skeleton is made to practice it in space. Offered with the Maltese Cross-shaped rose gold bracelet and a rubber strap that makes it a bit snobbish and one in leather, all interchangeable on the fly, here we are far beyond that on the Moon. It is not released in a limited edition, but very few will be built.
The true meaning of “luxury watchmaking” is not to identify a category of expensive timepieces but the most artistic part of a watch. This is why whatever happens, economic conjunctions or extraordinary events such as the 2020 pandemic, or even together, all this may also affect production and sales data but never on quality and creativity.
There is always a lot to discover on this happy island, also because, unlike technology, the art of watchmaking never runs the risk of becoming obsolete: a high-end timepiece can go out of fashion due to its size or style, but there will always be those who will wear it or collect it with love.