IN A YEAR WHEN WATCHMAKERS PLAYED IT SAFE WITH LINE EXTENSIONS OF THEIR MOST BANKABLE COLLECTIONS, THESE BRANDS REVIVED STRIKING HISTORIC PIECES OR CREATED FUTURE CLASSICS FROM SCRATCH.
WATCHES OF THE YEAR WINNER
OYSTER PERPETUAL 41MM
Rolex’s Oyster Perpetual is the lowest cost entry point to the Swiss watchmaker’s seductive world and often bypassed in the rush to score a first Submariner. This year Rolex has given the collection a starring role with a larger sized 41mm style with a range of bold dial colours that recall the Stella dials of the 1970s. There are also 36mm models, which are likely to be favoured by female customers, but could also be in the increasingly commercial gender-neutral camp.
Both the 41mm and 36mm collections use the new chronometer-rated calibre 3230, giving you all of the accuracy and dependability of a Submariner at a significant saving. The automatic movement has a power reserve of around 70 hours. The only compromise, from a technical standpoint, is that the Submariner is rated waterproof to 300 metres while the Oyster Perpetual is rated to 100 metres.
Retailers absolutely love the bold colours, which make the watches collectable and eye-catching if any make it into windows should supply catches up with early demand. Shortages have already driven prices on the secondary market to almost double recommended retail prices.
STATEMENT STYLE WATCHES OF THE YEAR
DE VILLE CENTRAL TOURBILLON
This is a watch that is hard to pigeonhole, but we were desperate to include in our Watches of the Year because it shows the breadth and depth of Omega’s watchmaking and design talent. The watch is not limited, but each uniquely numbered piece is handmade at Omega’s Atelier Tourbillon and take around one month to make.
An edge-to-edge sapphire caseback gives the perfect view into Omega’s Co-Axial Master Chronometer Calibre 2640, which has been upgraded with hand-finished 18ct Sedana gold bridges and mainplate and displays its 3-day power reserve from the back. The sun-brushed dial of the 43mm watch is also in 18ct Sedna red gold, but has been turned black with a PVD treatment. Its central tourbillon incorporates a seconds hand and drives the hours and minutes hands, all of which are in the same 18ct Sedna gold.
Rado’s True Square watches have always been more of a cult classic than a mainstream release, but this year’s clean and simple automatics should make them a break-through success.
The genius is that, while square, these timepieces feel more rounded and tactile than most circular watches.
Rado’s signature high-tech ceramic is engineered into a softer sheen that usual, which adds to the subtlety of the 2020 collection. True Squares come with beautifully finished green, black and blue sunray dials in 38mm monobloc cases.
It is 60 years since Accutron invented and produced its original Spaceview, the world’s first electronic watch, and this year the watch is back under the ownership of Citizen Watch Company, which spent the past 10 years working on a modern day reissue that captures the moonshot spirit of the 1960s space race in a contemporary collection capable of attracting a new generation of fans.
The resulting Spaceview 2020 uses electrostatic energy in a watch that is inspired by the past but uses the very latest watchmaking tools and techniques. It has the same open dial design and signature green accents as the 1960s original but, more importantly, uses electrostatic energy in an all-new movement that has also been adopted by a fresh collection called Accutron DNA. The new Spaceview watch comes in a stainless steel case and bezel on a black leather strap.
FREEDOM JUMPING HOUR GMT
Norqain is shaping up to become the breakthrough watch brand of this year. A partnership with the National Hockey League Players’s Association has given the business instant traction in the United States, and it followed up with the launch of a vintage-style 3-hander and a jumping hour GMT that we greatly admire.
Both use movements from Kenissi, which counts Tudor and Chanel among its co-owners and partners, and is growing in stature as a quality supplier to rival ETA and Sellita.
Norqain has pulled off the trick of looking like a brand that has been around for centuries with its retro vibe and classical choices of colours and materials, including bronze for a 300-piece limited edition of the GMT that we picture here. Focusing on a universally wearable 40mm case size is also smart business.