The first quarter of 2021 heralds a renewed confidence in the world of horology, with brands flexing their versatility through a wide range of novelties that span accessible favourites to signature complications. Feast your eyes on the new releases.
The Crown’s 2021 novelties include refreshments to the Oyster Perpetual Explorer range, some over-the-top bejewelled additions to the Day-Date 36 and Lady-Datejust collections as well as a number of striking new dial designs for the Datejust 36 and the ever-expanding Day-Date 36.
The latter line, which now includes a stunning version with a diamond-set bezel and Eisenkiesel dial on a President bracelet, really does seem to be shaping up as the watch for all seasons and reasons.
However, the Rolexes that are catching our eye this year are the trio of Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytonas, each with a unique dial that’s been sliced from a chunk of meteorite. The new 40mm models are available with a white- gold case, monobloc Cerachrom bezel in black ceramic and a super-comfy and rather discreet Oysterflex bracelet; with a yellow-gold case, bezel and bracelet; or with a case, bezel and bracelet in Everose gold.
Aside from the dials (which also feature contrasting black subdials), the new references are little changed from existing models: the Superlative Chronometer Certified automatic calibre 4130 beats at 4Hz for a power reserve of 72 hours and claims an accuracy of +2/-2 seconds a day.
As to which of these Rolexes we’d actually chose for ourselves (were we, of course, chummy enough with our local Rolex dealer to elbow our way to the front of a very long queue), that’s tough. The meteorite looks especially cool against the Cerachrom bezel, but we reckon the contrast between the grained rock surface and yellow-gold case and markers is so fabulous that we might just go for that one.
While the Ref. 5711/1A Nautilus in stainless steel will soon be discontinued, watch connoisseurs can look forward to a new addition to the cult range. Patek Philippe presented the Ref. 5711/1A-014 Nautilus featuring a ridged sunburst dial in an elegant olive green – a brand new hue for the collection.
There’s no doubt that the new colourway suits the Gérald Genta-designed Nautilus perfectly. There is also a unisex bejewelled version, Ref 5711/1300A-001, which features a bezel set with baguette-cut diamonds. In almost all other respects, though, this is familiar territory for the 5711: the 4Hz 26-330 S C automatic calibre with Gyromax balance and Spiromax silicon balance spring – offering 35 to 45 hours of power – is a spin-off of the calibre 324 S C that has been in use since 2019. The 12-bar water resistance, applied hour markers and hands in white gold, and an eminently wearable 40mm by 8.3mm case size are equally par for the course.
Aside from the dial colour, nothing has really changed with the “entry-level” Nautilus. As discreetly classy as the 5711 ever was, it will also be impossibly difficult to get hold of. Back in 2019, The New York Times reported an eight-year wait – that is, if you could even get on the list. We can only assume that you’ll have alternative ways of checking the time between now and 2029.
The manufacture commemorates its 25th anniversary by debuting into the world of jumping hours with the understated L.U.C Quattro Spirit 25, featuring a 40mm ethical rose gold case and the prestigious Poinçon de Genève hallmark.
A jumping hour watch is unique in the way it indicates time. By eschewing a customary hour hand, it features a digital display with an hour disc that works with the minute hand. When the minute hand passes the 60th minute mark, it triggers the disc to leap forward to the next hour.
As this motion consumes more energy than a traditional display, Chopard makes the sensible move by equipping the timepiece with an L.U.C 98.06-L manual-wound movement fitted with four barrels. Based on the exclusive Chopard Quattro technology, this provides the watch with a power reserve of up to eight days – more generous than many contemporary jumping hour models – despite the movement still beating at a brisk 4Hz frequency.
One of very few maisons who has mastered the centuries- old art of enamelling, Chopard endows the watch with a gorgeous white grand feu enamel dial in ethical rose gold, crafted by an enamelling artisan from the Chopard Manufacture in Fleurier. Only 100 pieces of the L.U.C Quattro Spirit 25 will be produced.
The Cloche de Cartier watch is the fifth creation under the Cartier’s Privé Collection, which revives the maison’s historical models through limited editions. Named after the cloche or bell shape because its outline resembles that of a service bell found at counters when placed horizontally, the first Cartier timepiece to incorporate the quirky silhouette was a 1920 brooch-watch with diamonds and onyx.
Although it has been in Cartier’s repertoire for decades, it has only been produced in small quantities, with the last relaunch being in 2007. It still flaunts a dial that is rotated 90o clockwise from the conventional position, so the wearer can read the time by extending the arm, instead of bringing the wrist towards him/her.
Another unexpected feature of the watch is its ability to be read like a clock when placed upright on a nightstand or table. The rail track and hour markings are adapted to the dial’s asymmetrical shape and the crown is set with a cabochon gem. Two new calibres were made at the Cartier Manufacture at La Chaux-de-Fonds to adapt to the unique case shape.
There are six 37.15mm by 28.75mm references for the Cloche de Cartier. Each a numbered limited edition of 100 pieces, the two-handed model is offered in yellow or pink gold, and platinum, and is equipped with the hand-wound 1917 MC movement. Driven by the 9626 MC movement, the Cloche de Cartier Skeleton is available in pink gold and platinum (each a numbered limited edition of 50 pieces). Lastly, a platinum diamond-set openworked version is offered in a limited edition of only 20 pieces.
The Admiral collection debuted more than 60 years ago, and over the course of its existence the watch has been reinterpreted multiple times. This year is no different. Visually stunning, the Admiral 45 Automatic Openworked Flying Tourbillon Carbon & Gold marks the introduction of an all-new case material by Corum.
Although the watch is limited to 48 pieces, no two pieces are aesthetically identical, thanks to a composite of carbon and 18k gold glitter that makes up the dynamic case. As gold flakes seesaw within the carbon/resin mix during the manufacturing process, they begin to settle in organically in a random distribution, resulting in a one-
Corum Admiral 45 Automatic Openworked Flying Tourbillon Carbon & Gold in carbon and gold, with a gold-threaded strap in rubber and synthetic textiles of-a-kind appearance. As the material is lighter than steel and titanium, the large 45mm timepiece still feels very comfortable on the wrist.
At the heart of the watch lies CO 298, an extravagant open-worked automatic flying tourbillon movement offering 72 hours of power reserve. Developed in-house and accented with gold, the 3Hz movement pairs well with the gold- flecked case and its black PVD-coated components can be seen from the front and back of the case. Function-wise, a power reserve indicator is positioned at 9 o’clock, while a felicitous three-minute counter appears at 3 o’clock as a nod to the house emblem – a key with three petals.
Melding brilliant gem-setting techniques and a beautifully crafted skeletonised movement, Chanel’s 2021 interpretation of the J12 X-Ray watch plays with a rainbow of colours. The J12 X-Ray Electro Caliber 3.1 builds upon the same foundation that made the collection a must-have for high jewellery watch lovers.
As indicated in its name, the watch is powered by Calibre 3.1, a manufacture hand- wound movement with 55 hours of power reserve whose moving parts are all secured by sapphire bridges, including the minute counter bridge, baseplate and cogwheel bridge. As a result, the dial exhibits incredible transparency where it is also punctuated by 12 baguette-cut rainbow sapphire hour markers of almost 0.48 carats.
They are further complemented another 46 baguette-cut rainbow sapphires weighing approximately 6.46 carats and set on the white gold bezel, while the white gold non-screw-down crown flaunts a brilliant-cut diamond.
Transparency flows onto the watch’s unique bracelet, where each link is made of sapphires bound together by white gold pins. The devil is in the details – and although this picture doesn’t show it, two links on the bracelet are set with an additional 34 baguette-cut diamonds totalling about 1.96 carats. The watch is produced in a numbered and limited edition of only 12 pieces.
Louis Vuitton’s contribution to high watchmaking this year is a flying tourbillon- fitted GMT creation peppered with house motifs and the glorious initial “V” – a tribute to Gaston Vuitton. Developed by the maison’s own manufacture La Fabrique du Temps Louis Vuitton, the Tambour Curve GMT Flying Tourbillon features a case whose shape is an extrapolation of those of the Tambour Curve Flying Tourbillon Poinçon de Genève, launched last year.
Made of shot-blasted grade 5 titanium, the 46mm case middle of this dynamic model draws inspiration from the Möbius strip. Stretched and elongated, it catches the eye with the convex curve of its bezel and crystal.
The watch has two push pieces on its right side of the case in order to simplify the setting of the GMT function. This enables the dedicated indicator, positioned within the open counter at 3 o’clock, to move forward or backward.
At the same time, it also allows Louis Vuitton to maintain the symmetry of the watch and further highlight the case’s soft proportions.
Powered by the in-house calibre LV82, the Tambour Curve GMT Flying Tourbillon is available entirely in titanium; with lugs, push pieces and winding crown in pink gold; or in a full titanium version with a dial carved from the Gibeon meteorite that landed in Namibia and hour markers set with baguette-cut diamonds.
It’s undeniable that Bvlgari’s Octo Finissimo range has made an indelible mark in the world of haute horlogerie. The maison has racked up seven world records in a short seven years with the latest for the Octo Finissimo Perpetual Calendar – the slimmest in the world. Reinterpreting a classical horological complication in a resolutely contemporary manner, the 40mm timepiece spotlights Bvlgari’s finesse in rewriting traditional watchmaking codes.
No less than 408 components interact within the extremely tight space provided
by the ultra-slender 5.8mm case of the sleek model. The development of the 2.75mm calibre BVL 305 required the manufacture’s movement design engineers to devise new solutions, such as the use of a micro-rotor and the optimal use of the space between the components without reducing their dimensions.
A testament to true genius in the realm of miniaturisation, this development powers the hours and minutes hands along with all the perpetual calendar functions: retrograde- display date, day, month and retrograde-display leap years.
They are adjusted by means of three correctors: one for the date at 2 o’clock, another for the month at 4 o’clock and a third for the day between 8 and 9 o’clock.
The owner will be able to read the time without having to adjust the indications before February 2100, a leap year that will require the adjustment of the functions. The timepiece is offered in titanium with a matching bracelet, as well as in platinum with a blue lacquered dial and accompanied with an alligator leather strap.
(Main image: Rolex Oyster Perpetual Explorer 36mm in yellow Rolesor)
This story was first published Prestige Malaysia’s April 2021 issue. To read the latest issue, pick up a copy from the nearest newsstand or subscribe on Magzter.
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