It is exactly six more days before 2016 officially comes to an end. Over the last 11 months, we have seen many novelties, with the majority coming from either Salon International De La Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) or Baselworld.
There are definitely hits and misses as usual. But there are certainly some watches that stood out amongst the rest. For today’s article, we are looking at six watches that sums up the industry in 2016. These watches are either blockbusters that got the people in the industry talking, or they are simply unforgettable in terms of their aesthetics or movements.
What are pieces that we think deserves a spot in this list? Let’s find out!
Tudor Black Bay Bronze
If we have to choose a brand that has made a massive impact in the horological world over the last few years, then Tudor is easily one of the main contenders in the list. The Geneva-based watch manufacturer had consistently outperformed and surprised us, and 2016 was no exception either.
In fact, we had a hard time deciding the watch to select. This year, the brand had launched a few impressive pieces: the Pelagos LHD, the Black Bay Bronze, as well as the Black Bay Dark. But we feel that the Bronze edged out a little, with its lovely aesthetics and a bronze case that complemented the rustic looks of the timepiece. The fact that it’s dial layout is different, as well as the use of an in-house movement, adds more icing to the cake as well.
The Black Bay Bronze retails at S$5,800, and this is a timepiece that we reckon is hard to beat – in terms of its style, as well as its price point.
Montblanc 1858 Automatic Dual Time
Continuing with the Bronze watches, we have another contender who came in a little late to the party: the Montblanc 1858 Automatic Dual Time.
The Dual Time is part of a series of Bronze watches that was added into the 1858 collection, as a teaser for the upcoming SIHH 2017. The watch follows the vintage theme, more specifically with a hint of military influence. We particularly like how Montblanc had chosen to use cream-coloured indices and “Squelette-style” hands to accentuate the vintage looks. It is rather charming indeed, with the bronze bezel adding a nice touch to the timepiece. In addition, the aesthetics are rather clean, which makes it pleasing to the eye.
The watch is powered by the Calibre MB 29.19, which is a Selita SW200 base ebauche with an in-house module. The 44mm timepiece retails at €4,990 (approximately S$7,549).
Rolex Daytona Cosmograph
Whenever Baselworld is around the corner, practically everyone in the industry is excited about Rolex and its novelties. Well, they are after all one of the most popular luxury brands around the world, although their watches have not changed much over the years.
Besides the Air King, the Rolex Daytona Cosmograph is perhaps one of the hottest timepieces from Rolex this year. It is no surprise, considering that the watch is long overdue for a facelift. It had featured the same aesthetics over the last two decades, with very subtle differences between the Reference 1652X and 11652X series of watches. But in this year, Rolex had decided to replace the bezel for the Daytona with a ceramic one, which adds a refreshing touch to the timepiece. The dial and the case remains pretty much status quo though.
There are some changes in the movement as well, with the Calibre 4130 now featuring the in-house antimagnetic Parachrom Bleu hairspring. It is also tested with an accuracy of a staggering -2/+2 seconds per day. The retail price of the watch is CHF11,800 (approximately S$16,620), although we assume that many collectors are paying a premium to get their hands on this highly-demanded model.
Vacheron Constantin Overseas
The Overseas collection from Vacheron Constantin was revamped earlier this year in SIHH 2016. It was quite a success, in our opinion, with raving reviews from collectors and publications alike. We have to admit that we have a soft spot for this sports watch as well.
The latest iteration of the Overseas combines practicality, as well as stunning aesthetics and impeccable finishing. It is akin to a symphony, where each of the different aspects of the timepiece coming together brilliantly and combines seamlessly together. We particularly like the simple and elegant design of the piece, which makes it pretty versatile for different occasions. The fact that Vacheron Constantin had also incorporated an intuitive quick strap change mechanism (with three different strap options included) just makes it even more compelling.
The collection covers a variety of complication, ranging from the time-only “ultra-thin” model, to the chronograph and even the highly-complicated perpetual calendar. We are certainly blown away by this, and it is definitely a watch that is capable of beating its competitors from the “Holy Trinity”. Prices begin at S$30,800 for the basic Overseas 4500V.
Patek Philippe Nautilus 40th Anniversary Edition
The Patek Philippe Nautilus is no stranger to controversy. The unusual case design, as well as its sky-high price tag (for a stainless steel piece, no less), had attracted a fair share of critics and admirers alike. Over the years, it had slowly evolved into an icon. Some had even considered it as a realistic “grail watch”.
When the beloved watch manufacturer launched the 40th Anniversary Edition of the Nautilus this year, it was met with a big hoo-ha. A majority of the collectors thought that the piece was a little loud, and that the engravings on the dial was a little jarring and unnecessary. In fact, some of us here shared the same sentiments as well. Our fears and disappointment were however unfounded upon closer inspection of the watch. Yes, the timepiece has an incredible presence, with its baguette diamond indices and the massive platinum case. But it is definitely not vulgar. The dial is pretty nice (and the engravings are not that much of an eyesore actually), and we feel that the baguette diamonds add a luxurious touch which befits the 40th birthday of an icon. In short, we unknowingly fell in love with this Nautilus.
The 40th Anniversary Nautilus is still perhaps a controversial piece nonetheless. And it will always be, just like how it was when the watch was first introduced in 1976. But despite its hefty S$149,300 price tag and the controversy that surrounds it, we dare say that it will still be highly sought-after like all the other limited edition Patek Philippe watches.
We end the article with something from the independents: the extraordinary MB&F HM8.
Maximilian Büsser, the charismatic man behind MB&F, is a person who knows how to push the right buttons and get the collectors excited. And of course, he has got a portfolio of incredible ideas and products to match as well. Which is why the new HM8 is one of the most interesting novelties from 2016.
As usual, the HM8 features a contemporary and intriguing design. For this particular model, the inspiration came from the cars in the Can-AM series. The watch features a sleek and curved angular case, with an interesting time display that was first seen on the HM5. But the thing that really struck us is the aesthetics of this piece – we like the use of the transparent sapphire crystals around the watch, as well as the articulating lugs which gives the watch a rather ultra-modern feel to it.
However, in typical MB&F fashion, the watch is priced at the higher end of the spectrum. The HM8 retails at S$127,800, but it is definitely a timepiece that will make your heart skip a beat every time you see it.
In this article, we have selected six watches that we think are the best novelties of 2016. Interestingly, two of them are bronze watches – which is seemingly a fashionable thing to do. We attribute that to the high demand for such products, as they are rather fashionable these days. But we think that it is important not to use the material loosely. The choice of using bronze for both the Tudor and Montblanc are apt in this case, as they accentuate the vintage looks of the watches. And we hope that it remains this way. Over usage, or the misuse of such case materials, might be detrimental and may eventually dilute the appeal of bronze watches.
The list also features icons – such as the Daytona and the Nautilus. Interestingly, their aesthetics remain almost unchanged despite the passage of time. These are positive examples of timeless design, in which they will appear relevant many years from now, just like how it was a couple of decades back. And it just gets better over time, with maturation. Just like an excellent bottle of wine.
Well, what are some of your favourite novelties from 2016? Let us know, and may we wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!