This month, 38 of the world’s most prestigious fine watches brands exhibited their new releases at Watches and Wonders, Geneva. Contributing watches editor Robin Swithinbank reveals the pieces that everyone was talking about.
Functional design defines pilot’s watches. Numerals, markings, and case diameter are larger for legibility when airborne, while GMT and time zone complications are commonplace. IWC Schaffhausen’s Big Pilot’s watch exemplifies the genre, with oversized crowns to improve dexterity for those wearing gloves and pressure-proof glass for sudden drops in air pressure.
A true diver’s watch can handle underwater depths of 100m or more. Tudor’s Pelagos FXD edition is a blueprint of the style – designed with luminescent hour markers and hands for legibility in dark conditions. Scuba features such as helium-escape valves and sustainable innovations including straps made from ocean waste are regular fixtures.
Sports watches arose as the gentleman-at-leisure’s timepieces of choice. Circular dials are signature to the category. Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Polaris Chronograph, for one, is rendered in sapphire crystal and showcases features such as a tachymeter to measure the wearer’s speed over a fixed period. You’ll find further complications such as integrated second and minute dials to be regular tropes across the board.
Envisioned as companions to tailoring, dress watches eschew complications in favour of considered elegance. Subtle on the wrist. Precious metals are par for the course – Vacheron Constantin chooses 18-karat rose gold for its self-winding Patrimony watch, inspired by 1950s design.
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