The Crown’s 2021 novelties include refreshments to the Oyster Perpetual Explorer range, some utterly over-the-top bejewelled additions to the Day-Date 36 and Lady-Datejust collections, as well as a number of new dial designs for the Datejust 36 and Day-Date 36.
The latter line, which now includes a stunning version with a diamond-set bezel and Eisenkiesel (a quartz variety) 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 really catching our eye this year are the trio of Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytonas, each with an utterly 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 rather discreet Oysterflex bracelet; with a yellow gold case, bezel and Oyster bracelet; or with a case, bezel and Oyster 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 boasts a 72-hour power reserve and an accuracy of +2/-2 seconds a day.
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 Calibre 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 the 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.
They are further complemented by 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. The watch is produced in a numbered and limited edition of just 12 pieces.
Limited to 250 pieces, Audemars Piguet’s Royal Oak Concept “Black Panther” Flying Tourbillon kicks off the Swiss manufacturer’s new long-term partnership with Marvel Entertainment. This first iteration of the Marvel heroes watch series is the result of the watchmaker’s desire to pay tribute to a new generation of inspirational heroes – a celebration of the family values and seamless blend of traditions and technology embodied by Marvel’s Black Panther hero.
Fusing craftsmanship and futuristic technology, the 42mm Royal Oak Concept “Black Panther” Flying Tourbillon also speaks to Audemars Piguet’s long history of design experimentation and connection to the larger cultural world – notably in the realms of pop culture and the entertainment industry.
Made from titanium, the rounded case is topped off with a black ceramic octagonal-shaped bezel and crown. The black ceramic bezel has been decorated with the brand’s trademark alternation of satin-brushing and polished chamfers. Satin-brushed steel hexagonal screws, brazenly securing the bezel on the case, further enhance the watch’s two-tone aesthetics, while the visible purple gasket adds a brilliant touch of colour.
A titanium sapphire caseback reveals part of the micro-mechanics ticking within, the Calibre 2965 with a 72-hour power reserve that was first released in 2018 in the Royal Oak Concept collection. The dial brings together the pulsating flying tourbillon at 6 o’clock with a hand-painted rendition of Marvel’s Black Panther, comprised of white gold.
From the raft of newcomers presented by Le Locle-based Montblanc, we’ve decided to focus on a theme first presented at the final SIHH in 2019. Housed in a 40mm rose gold case, the Heritage Manufacture Perpetual Calendar Limited Edition 100 is a handsome timepiece that effortlessly straddles classic and contemporary, features an especially eye-catching dial coloured in a burnt caramel with sunray finish and – given the complexity of the complication – is a paragon of elegant simplicity. In addition to time, day, date, month, moonphase and leap-year functions, the self-winding movement also powers a second time-zone hour hand and a 24-hour display.
Since levers have been eliminated from the mechanism (they’re replaced by wheels and cams), the time can be adjusted in either direction. Aside from the colour, this is no different from the white-dial model presented two years ago. However, the warm and rich new tone lifts it to a new level of desirability.
The 77-jewel, 378-component Calibre MB 29.22, which is based around a Richemont three-hand movement, oscillates at 4Hz and provides a reserve of around two days. The watch is supplied on a brown alligator sfumato strap with rose gold buckle and comes in a limited edition of 100 pieces.
(Main and featured image: Rolex)