automatic watch


Zenith unveils boutique editions of its existing Pilot Automatic and Pilot Big Date Flyback watches, both of which feature the brilliant blue dials we’ve seen on previous Zenith boutique-only launches.

The new Zenith Pilot Automatic, Boutique Edition

These latest models give a new look to two of Zenith’s top 2023 debuts. Each highlights the watchmaker’s signature sky blue hue as rendered on textured, grooved dials meant to recall the corrugated metal sheets of vintage aircraft. Both watches also sport the word Pilot on the dial, which Zenith notes is an especially significant detail. That’s because only Zenith holds the rights to mark its dials with the term.

Zenith makes one of the two new watches, the Pilot Automatic Boutique Edition, with a 40mm stainless steel case that features a distinctive flat-top round bezel, which complements the watch’s satin-brushed, rounded case. 

Above the date window you’ll see a luminescent hour marker in the form of a flat white line. This detail is meant to recall the artificial horizon instrument in plane’s cockpit.

The new 42.5mm Zenith Pilot Big Date Flyback, Boutique Edition.

As the second of the new boutique-only watches, the new 42.5mm Pilot Big Date Flyback Boutique Edition offers a monotone sky-blue big date wheels to match the dial. More complicated with its flyback function, the watch’s namesake display that, combined with its large crown, was originally made for pilots who wore thick sheepskin gloves.

The flyback function allows the chronograph to be reset to zero and restarted by a single push of a button, simplifying the pilot’s operations and offering the possibility to record consecutive times without having to stop and restart.

From the back of the Pilot Big Date Flyback the wearer can eye an El Primero 3652 chronograph caliber with its “artificial horizon” rotor visible. (See below for all technical specifications). 

Zenith fits the watch on a blue rubber strap and also provides a brown  calfskin strap. All the straps come with an integrated quick-release mechanism for easy swapping without tools.

Prices: $7,500 (Pilot Automatic) and $11,500 (Pilot Big Date Flyback), both available in Zenith physical and online boutiques. 



Zenith Pilot Automatic, Boutique Edition 

(Reference: 03.4000.3620/51.I003)

Key points: El Primero 3-hands watch. High-frequency movement (5Hz). Full interchangeable strap system. Boutiques Edition.

Movement: El Primero 3620 SC, automatic

Frequency: 36,000 VpH (5 Hz)

Power reserve: Approx. 60 hours

Functions: Hours and minutes in the centre. Central seconds hand. Date indication at 6 o’clock.

Finishes: Special “Pilot artificial horizon” black oscillating weight

Material: Stainless steel

Water resistance: 10 ATM

Case: 40mm

Dial: Blue with horizontal grooves

Hour markers: Applied Arabic numerals in SuperLuminova SLN C1

Hands: Blue & white with SLN C1

Bracelet & Buckle: Comes with 2 straps: Blue “Cordura” effect rubber and a brown calfskin leather with folding clasp.


Zenith Pilot Big Date Flyback, Boutique Edition

(Reference: 03.4000.3652/51.I003)

Key points: Automatic El Primero column-wheel chronograph with flyback function. Patented Big Date at 6 o’clock. Instantaneous Big Date jump in 0.007 sec (0.02 for discs jump & stabilization). Full Interchangeable strap system. Boutiques Edition.

Movement: El Primero 3652, automatic

Frequency: 36,000 VpH (5 Hz)

Power reserve: approx. 60 hours

Functions: Hours and minutes in the centre. Small seconds at 9 o’clock. Instantaneous Big Date at 6 o’clock. Flyback Chronograph. 30-minute counter at 3 o’clock.

Finishes: Special “Pilot artificial horizon” black oscillating weight

Material: Stainless steel 

Water resistance: 10 ATM

Case: 42.5mm

Dial: Blue with horizontal grooves

Hour markers: Applied arabic numerals in SuperLuminova SLN C1

Hands: Blue & white with SLN C1

Bracelet & Buckle: Comes with 2 straps: Blue “Cordura” effect rubber and a brown calfskin leather with folding clasp.

Chronoswiss adds two new dial hues to its Flying Regulator Night & Day collection.  Each steel-case limited edition offers its own artistic interpretation of the ongoing 41mm Chronoswiss regulator-dial collection, which emphasizes a large central minute hand set atop smaller hour and seconds indicators. The Night & Day editions add a specialized, artisanal day/night subdial at the 9 o’clock position. 

The new Chronoswiss Flying Regulator Night & Day Midnight.

One of the debuts, the Flying Regulator Night & Day Midnight, features a blue guilloché dial, a darkened version of the Chronoswiss specialty.


This dark blue version is meant to echo a dark night sky and is accented with a three-dimensional day/night display adorned with laser-cut stars.


These stars, created with a generous dollop of SuperLumiNova, shine with notable intensity in the evening.

The new Chronoswiss Flying Regulator Night & Day Whiteout.

On the other hand, or wrist in this case, the new Flying Regulator Night & Day Whiteout echoes a daytime scene, specifically a meteorological ‘whiteout’ where the horizon blends with the sky.

Chronoswiss has also crafted an artisanal guilloché dial for this watch, here meant to recall this natural whiteout phenomenon.

As noted, both new watches retain the quite distinctive Chronoswiss regulator dial layout with notably separate hour and seconds rings. The three-dimensional dials within this series show off the ETA-based  Chronoswiss caliber C.296 automatic movement via an opening in the small seconds subdial.

Of course, the movement is also visible through the sapphire caseback, a wristwatch feature Chronoswiss pioneered in the 1980s. 

Chronoswiss is offering each debut as a limited edition of fifty watches. 

Price: $11,200.


Frederique Constant celebrates its thirty-fifth anniversary and the fifteenth anniversary of its Manufacture tourbillon with a limited-edition version of its Manufacture Highlife Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar.

The new Frederique Constant Manufacture Highlife Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar.

The Geneva-based watchmaker will release thirty-five examples of the new 41mm by 12.65mm pink gold watch. 

With a contemporary design, the watch melds both of its namesake technical complications within a blue dial, carefully adapting the upper half the tourbillon aperture to fit alongside the calendar displays.

This shape differs from the classically round aperture found within the watchmaker’s existing tourbillon models. 

On the dial you’ll find the day, date and month indications at the 12 o’clock, 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock positions. Each shows its indication with a hand, though the month/years display (at the 12 o’clock position) requires two hands. In addition to the month hand, another hand indicates leap years.

Frederique Constant’s characteristic Highlife globe pattern subtly underpins the watch’s dial, complete with map-like meridians and parallels. Each dial sector is finished slightly differently in either satin or sunburst patterns to enhance readability.

Frederique Constant’s own tourbillon regulator is fit with the watch’s seconds hand, which rotates just above the balance wheel, a series of blued screws and a gold-finished baseplate. Artisans engrave each plate with the watch’s individual serial number.

The movement here is Frederique Constant’s own FC-975 Manufacture caliber, which the watchmaker decorates with circular grained and Côtes de Genève finishes. The movement boasts a 38-hour power reserve and water resistance to 30 meters. 

Frederique Constant supplies the watch with interchangeable leather and rubber straps, allowing its owner to easily switch between traditional and sportier  looks. 

Price: $48,995. 

Specifications: Frederique Constant Highlife Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar Manufacture 

(Limited to 35 pieces, available in January)

Movement: FC-975 in-house automatic caliber, perpetual calendar, tourbillon, 38-hour power reserve, 28,800 alt/h. 

Case: 41mm by 12.65mm brushed and polished rose gold three-part with
scratch-resistant and anti-reflective convex sapphire crystal. See-through case back. Water-resistant to 30 meters. 

Dial: Blue with matte finishing and globe pattern embossed in the center, rose gold plated applied indexes filled with white luminous treatment, rose-gold-plated hour and minute hands filled with white luminous treatment, date counter with rose-gold-plated hand. Heart Beat opening at 6 o’clock with 60-seconds tourbillon, rose-gold-plated seconds hand, day counter at 9 o’clock with rose-gold-plated hand. Month and (leap) year counter at 12 o’clock with rose gold plated hands. 

Strap: Navy blue alligator leather with nubuck finishing. Also included: additional navy blue rubber strap. 

Price: $48,995.

By Gary Girdvainis 

Throughout history watches and clocks have been designed to show the passage of time in a variety of ways beyond the current time. Think of the various functions for elapsed time, moon phase, sunrise, sunset, dual time, world time, countdown timers and tides. These movements and mechanisms have evolved to frenetically slice time into thinner and thinner segments striving for split-second accuracy.

With his own perspective, Israel-based Itay Noy uses modern mechanical technology to slow us down. With a longer view of the time continuum, Noy’s latest watch, Seven-Day Cycle, encourages us to visualize where each day resides in the longer scope of the week and in your own daily progression through time. Two companion models in the collection, Rest Day and Shabbat, fill out the full Seven-Day Cycle series with equally intriguing approaches to traditional timekeeping.    

Three watches in the Itay Noy Seven Day Cycle series. At top is Shabbat, with Seven-Day Cycle (left) and Rest Day (right).

I first met Itay Noy many years ago at the Basel Fair. His small and unassuming display at the back of Hall 5 was nothing impressive – merely a vitrine with his early models that looked nothing like watches I had seen before. 

I stopped and met with Itay and was as impressed by his enthusiasm and belief in his own vision as I was of his unusual take on timekeeping. While I’m typically skeptical of success for most new brands, his firm belief in himself and his designs led me to consider that Itay Noy had a better-than-average chance of surviving in the challenging and crowded field of watch brands.

More than twenty years later Itay Noy has not only survived but continues to thrive by evoking his own timekeeping designs hand-built in Israel in very small volumes – with dials and functions inspired by both secular and religious dogma.

The Seven-Day Cycle watch (below) reveals the weekdays on the dial with the seventh day as Sunday.


The Rest Day model.

“Instead of a single window revealing the traditional names of weekdays, I skeletonized all weekdays on the dial as numeric values (first day, second day and so on) and the seventh day as a rest day,” Itay Noy says of Rest Day.

“Each day will be highlighted in turn. Each watch can be personalized to the owner’s faith or preferences simply by choosing any day of the week as his (or her) rest day.”

The Shabbat watch from the Seven-Day Cycle series.

On the Shabbat watch, find the Hebrew weekdays on the dial and the seventh day is Shabbat. Each day will be highlighted in turn. In addition, each day a new Hebrew letter will appear in the small window at 6 o’clock and together complete the sentence: “God finished the work he has done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had; (Genesis 2:2).

Price: $4,900. 


SPECIFICATIONS: Ita Noy Seven-Day Cycle 

(A limited edition of 77, each numbered)

Movement: Automatic, INS200, Ø29mm, Height 5.05mm, 26 Jewels 28,800vph, power reserve 38 hours.            

Functions: hours, minutes, sweep seconds, quick-set date, and 7-day windows.

Case: 40mm by 8.4mm stainless steel 316L, sapphire crystal, screw-down case back, water-resistant to 50 meters. 

StrapHandmade leather.

Price:  $4,900.

Patek Philippe places a minute repeater within its contemporary Aquanaut Luce collection, launching it within two rose-gold-cased, highly gem-set models. One version on a strap is resplendent in a rainbow of multicolored baguette-cut sapphires while a second model offers an invisible-set baguette-cut-diamond dial and a gem-rich rose gold bracelet.

The new multi-colored Aquanaut Luce Rainbow Minute Repeater Haute Joaillerie (Reference 5260/355R-001).
The new Aquanaut Luce Rainbow Minute Repeater Haute Joaillerie Reference 5260/1455R-001.

While we’ve seen several complications within the Aquanaut since its debut in 1997, including the very recent Annual Calendar (Reference 5261), these debuts, each measuring 38.8mm by 42.5mm, mark the first time the watchmaker has added a minute repeater to the collection.

Patek Philippe has a history of debuting new complicated watches within its collections aimed at feminine watch fans. In 2009 the watchmaker debuted its caliber CH 29-535 PS manually wound chronograph movement in a Ladies First Chronograph model.

And for six years starting in 2011 the Reference 7000 Ladies First Minute Repeater (with the superb caliber R 27 PS) graced the watchmaker’s catalog. Even as far back as 1916, Patek Philippe debuted its first-ever chiming watch as a ladies’ five-minute repeater in a platinum case with a chain bracelet.


The new multi-colored Aquanaut Luce “Rainbow” Minute Repeater Haute Joaillerie (Reference 5260/355R-001) shows off the watchmaker’s artisanal prowess set with fifty-two multicolored baguette-cut sapphires, 112 baguette-cut diamonds and 160 brilliant-cut diamonds.


Those baguette gemstones are invisibly set, which means each stone is cut with lateral grooves embedded in tiny gold rails that will be invisible once the stone is set.


The bracelet model, Aquanaut Luce “Rainbow” Minute Repeater Haute Joaillerie Reference 5260/1455R-001, is set with 130 baguette-cut diamonds on the dial and the outer row of the bezel and 779 multicolored baguette-cut sapphires forming a rainbow on the inner row of the bezel, the flanks of the case, the minute repeater slide-piece and the rose-gold bracelet.


Aware that such intense high-carat settings can distract some wearers who deign to check the time, Patek Philippe has been careful to ensure a highly legible dial on each watch. On the bracelet model specifically, twelve multicolored baguette-cut sapphires distinctly mark the hours while the hour hand is set with three baguette rubies and the minute hand is easy to see thanks to five blue sapphires.

Inside both watches, the automatic Caliber R 27 movement chimes on demand on two classic gongs (the hour, quarters and minutes elapsed since the last quarter) when the side-piece is activated. The movement’s off-center 22-karat gold guilloche mini-rotor is visible through a sapphire crystal case back.

For each model, price is on request. 

New Nautilus Models

In addition to debuting the minute repeater in two Aquanaut Luce models, Patek Philippe also debuts three new Nautilus Haute Joaillerie models.

One is cased in white gold set with 1,500 brilliant-cut diamonds with 876 brilliant-cut blue sapphires (6.58 ct, Reference 7118/1451G-001),one offers rubies (Reference 7118/1452G-001) and the third is set with emeralds (Reference 7118/1453G-001) using the “snow setting” technique.


With each, the bracelet is equally eye-catching. Diamonds on the outer links of each model contrasts with colored gems on the inner links to better highlight the original construction of the bracelet. Prices on request.


And finally, Patek Philippe completes its late-2023 gem-set extravaganza with two new Ladies’ Nautilus models in rose gold with a purple decor.

The new Ladies’ Nautilus Reference 7010R-013.

One, the Ladies’ Nautilus Reference 7010R-013 ($39,624), offers a purple lacquered dial and a matching strap in a composite material, while the second, the Ladies’ Nautilus Reference 7010/1R-013 ($56,183), offers the purple lacquered dial with a rose gold bracelet.