De Bethune last week launched the DB Kind of Two Tourbillon, a two-sided watch with a contemporary tourbillon dial that the wearer can flip to show a classical time-only dial.
Like other two-sided watches, the new De Bethune watch means the wearer can choose to expose one of two different dials on his or her wrist.
One side of the 42.8mm titanium watch displays the contemporary design with multi-level elements and delta-shaped bridge for which De Bethune is identified. This dial features the brand’s distinctive central hours and minutes hands and its high-speed tourbillon and a thirty-second indication. Here however, De Bethune altered its deltoid-shaped bridge just a bit to make it perfectly symmetrical, a design meant to create a stark sense of harmony.
On the other side of the DB Kind of Two De Bethune offers a more classical three-hand, time-only hand-guilloché dial, complete with Arabic numerals collectors might recognize from the brand’s DB8 and DB10. Note that the seconds indication on this side is centrally based, unlike the tourbillon-based seconds indication at the 6 o’clock position on the other side.
De Bethune notes that two-dial watches and clocks have a long history, starting with multi-face tower clocks and extending to similarly equipped table clocks. More recently, we’re familiar with the famed dual-dial Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso. Serious collectors also wear certain two-faced watches from Bovet, Cartier and others.
To devise the new dual-dial watch, De Bethune had to re-design its famed floating lug case to allow the flip-over case to pivot easily, rotate on its central axis and then to click into place securely. This operation is a simple one because the brand equipped each side of the case with a clever rotating mechanism made up of twenty-eight steel and titanium components.
Equally important is the case’s middle section, which swivels naturally and frames the case and the crown. That crown lands gracefully at either 6 o’clock or 12 o’clock, depending on which side of the DB Kind of Two Tourbillon the wearer chooses to view.
Inside the watch De Bethune’s Caliber DB2579 features patented technical flourishes well known to De Bethune devotees. These include a titanium balance with white gold inserts (optimized for temperature differences and air penetration) and a self-regulating twin barrel. For the tourbillon, De Bethune utilizes the ultra-light, 30-second titanium design it first debuted in 2008.
Specifications: De Bethune DB Kind of Two Tourbillon
Movement: Manual-wind Caliber DB2579 with five-day power reserve, self-regulating twin barrel (De Bethune Innovation, 2004), titanium balance wheel with white gold inserts, optimized for temperature differences and air penetration (De Bethune Patent, 2016), balance-spring with flat terminal curve (De Bethune Patent, 2006), silicon escape wheel, and ultra-light tourbillon in titanium. 36,000 vibrations per hour. Finishing includes polished and chamfered barrel bridge with shot-blasted stages, polished and chamfered titanium minute bridge with microlight decoration and hand-snailed barrels.
Contemporary single-sided display: hand-polished and blued titanium for hours and minutes with polished inserts, ultra-light De Bethune 30’’ tourbillon in titanium. Hour ring and 30” polished titanium dial with shot-blasted stages, blued polished titanium hour-markers, silvered and relief minute dial.
Classic reverse side display: Hand-polished and blued titanium for hours, minutes and seconds. Dial silvered and relief, with convex levels and guilloché central part.
Case: 42.8mm by 9.5mm titanium with crown at noon on the front, at 6 o’clock on the back, and integrated into the case. Polished grade 5 titanium floating lugs (De Bethune Patent, 2006). Case turning mechanism that can be clearly positioned on the front or back. Water resistance to 30 meters.
If the design of this watch feels somehow familiar, you won’t be surprised to learn that Detroit Watch co-designers Patrick and Amy Ayoub have once again applied their classical blueprint to their American-based brand.
Two variations of the brand’s new stand-alone Pontchartrain collection are housed in an elegantly stepped 42mm stainless steel case. Both feature automatic ETA Swiss-made movements, one with a sub-second and the other with a choice of silver or gold moon-phase complication.
All the qualities you’d expect in a high-quality, high-value watch are here, including sapphire crystal, exhibition back, superior decoration on the Swiss movement and a calfskin strap, which all come together to make a fine watch. Under the loupe the hands are as superb as the dials, and even the crown looks, feels and functions beautifully.
Those outside the Detroit area might ask why “Pontchartrain” for a Detroit-based brand? The Ayoubs chose this name to recall the historic fort that was built in 1701 and actually ended up applying its name to the city. France’s King Louis XIV commissioned Fort Pontchartrain du Détroit as the first permanent French settlement in the area and as a center for the fur trade and French military power in 1701.
Built along the Detroit River in order to protect the French trade from the British, the fort was named in honor of Louis XIV’s minister of marine and colonies, Louis Phélypeaux de Pontchartrain. Le Detroit, French for ‘the strait’ eventually came to identify Fort Pontchartrain du Détroit and the surrounding area and after 1751, was known simply as Fort Detroit.
Porsche Design applies the principles behind the Porsche car configurator to its wristwatches.
Few topics rev up collectors as much as watches and automobiles. Porsche Design has known this ever since Ferdinand Alexander Porsche designed the first Porsche Chronograph 1 in 1972. It was the first-ever all-matte-black watch, and it set the stage for five decades of cutting-edge wristwatch creativity from his then-new studio, Porsche Design.
This year, Porsche Design has launched a program meant to inspire budding F. A. Porsches who, like Professor Porsche, want to design and wear a wristwatch inspired by –and infused with – Porsche’s automotive legacy.
Watch collectors and Porsche owners can now create a customized Porsche Design chronograph that perfectly matches the Porsche 992 or Porsche 911 of their dreams – or the one in their garage.
With the new Porsche Design Custom Built Timepieces program, fans can combine an almost endless array of colors, materials, fonts and displays using the new Porsche Design online watch configurator. The configurator, found directly on the Porsche Design website, offers options and operations far exceeding any other online watch customization program, effectively placing the Porsche enthusiast directly behind the leather-covered wheel, with a clear roadmap toward designing a truly individualized watch.
Porsche Design released the streamlined online configurator this September after six years of development. The process itself echoes the customization process that Porsche has offered buyers of its famed 911 for years, but expands the type and breadth of options from which a buyer can choose when creating a dream chronograph.
For more than thirty years, Porsche customers have been able to enhance their personal dream car with many individual details through Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur, even to the point of designing a one-off vehicle.
This experience has now been expanded with the ability to design a Porsche Design chronograph based on an individual’s personal taste or Porsche 992 vehicle configurations. It’s an experience that ultimately ends with the customer taking ownership of a Porsche they designed themselves.
“As with the online car-design process, the watch is digitally visualized down to the smallest details and customizations are shown to the customer in real time. The customer begins by selecting the case of the watch and then continues choosing from more than 1.5 million configuration possibilities,” explains Gerhard J. Novak, General Manager Timepieces, Porsche Design Group.
“Once the customer has finished designing the chronograph, an individualized configuration code is created, and from there it is sent, or brought in, to any authorized U.S. Porsche dealer where the order is placed. Delivery takes between eight to twelve weeks.”
The rendering of the watch is based on CAD data from the designers at Studio F. A. Porsche in Zell am See, Austria, and the Porsche Design engineers in Solothurn, Switzerland.
“It quickly became clear that these custom components had to be interchangeable without the need to develop a new watch each time,” explains Rolf Bergmann, Managing Director, Porsche Design Timepieces AG. “Offering a wide range of options while manufacturing small quantities of custom-built timepieces is possible thanks to the sequential production process transferred from Porsche sports car production. The principle of zero-defect tolerance was a necessary prerequisite for the implementation of a watch concept like this.”
A New Engine
Key among the components of the customer-designed watch is an entirely new engine.
Porsche Design developed a new movement to serve as the engine for the online-designed timepiece. The new Caliber WERK 01.100 is a COSC- certified chronograph movement that now enters serial production for the program.
But the WERK 01.100 offers Porsche Design customers more than simply its novelty.
“For the first time customers can individualize a part of a Porsche Design COSC-certified movement by choosing the winding rotor that features the various wheel designs of the latest-generation Porsche 911,” Bergmann says. “The color on the rotor edge can also be customized to match the color on the outer edge of the wheels of the 992,” he adds.
Customers select their choice of rotor design after choosing which case to place it into. Porsche Design offers a 42mm case based on the one it used in Chronotimer Series 1. The user can opt for a glass-bead blasted natural titanium or a black titanium case coated in titanium carbide via a PVD-process.
Next, the customer chooses his or her strap.
Bands can be titanium or leather and are offered in three sizes with up to 300 different configurations. All leather straps (with butterfly clasp) are crafted from the same hides Porsche uses for its car interiors and come in the fourteen official interior colors of the current Porsche 911 series. Leather wristband stitching is offered in the nineteen different colors of genuine Porsche yarn.
Porsche Design has created dial options for the program that start with the matte black look of the current Chronotimer Series 1, with its minutes counter at the top of the dial, hour counter at the 6 o’clock position and running seconds at 9 o’clock.
But the user can add color using one of many colorful inlaid ring options, with colors based on those used on the current Porsche 911, to frame the black dial to either complement or contrast the choice of strap.
More dramatically, the watch collector then opts for either a brushed bezel or a black tachymeter bezel set with minute markers in the style of the design-defining classic speedometer developed by F. A. Porsche.
Each custom-built timepiece can be further individualized with a laser engraving on the back of the case as well as on the exclusive watch box, according to Bergmann.
“If desired, the corresponding car visuals, a graphic logo or the fonts and lettering featured on the rear of the customer’s car can also be applied to the watch box,” he adds.
Porsche and Porsche Design
While watch collectors have long heard about buying “a racecar for the wrist,” from makers of auto-influenced watches, Porsche Design is confident that its new online configurator comes closest to the truth of that metaphor.
“Customers who order their own custom-built Porsche Design chronograph will take a piece of the Porsche sports car lifestyle with them when not behind the wheel,” notes Novak.
The direct relationship between the watch and the car is undeniable, he adds.
“The experience of designing a Porsche Design masterpiece based on the current 992 generation is one-of-a-kind – from the rotor and bezel to the genuine Porsche leather straps,” he adds. The program will be expanded to include additional Porsche models in the near future.
The six-year project required a deep restructuring of Porsche Design watchmaking and development, he explains.
“The greatest challenges certainly were in regards to the order and production processes; after all, this had never been done before. The idea of a “sports car on the wrist” was different for every customer, and it required us to rethink our entire process. Everything from engineering, sourcing and production had to be adjusted. To do so we tapped into the brand’s heritage and pulled key learnings from Porsche’s unique automotive production expertise.”
North American Launch
Thus far, with only a few months of processing orders, Porsche Design says reactions to the program have been very positive.
“The very first order we received after the program launched in the United States was actually from a Canadian customer,” Novak reports. “He had heard about the custom-built timepieces program and reached out to see if he could design a watch to match his 992 and place an order in the U.S. He will actually be picking up his “sports car for the wrist” at an East Coast dealership in the coming days.”
“We are looking forward to continuing to introduce the program to new Porsche Design and Porsche customers alike,” says Novak.
Indeed, customization has been a buzzword among high-end watchmaking for the past few years, and several watchmakers have embraced the possibilities of made-to-order watches, mostly with very limited color or material options.
Novak points out that as Porsche itself has enjoyed a positive customer experience with personalized automobiles, Porsche Design’s careful development of the process with timepieces makes perfect sense. “Introducing this unprecedented level of personalization in the luxury watch segment was a natural next step for us,” he says.
“The timepieces business unit is extremely important for Porsche Design globally and in the United States, and we believe we are keeping pace with the general desire for more individualization in watches.”
For Porsche, that customization perfectly unites its automotive realm with the burgeoning watch division of Porsche Design, as supported by its German engineering and Swiss manufacturing facilities.
“Not only does the program highlight the connection between Porsche sports cars and Porsche Design timepieces,” says Novak, “it embodies the premium aesthetic, attention to detail and optimal performance expected of all things associated with the name Porsche.”
Porsche Design Custom-built timepieces are priced starting at $5,150 and, depending on the selections made, can range up to $11,600.
Tutima has launched the Flieger Friday Edition, a limited edition that echoes the German brand’s famed pilot watch from 1941. In place of the original’s brass case, Tutima cases the new model in satin-finished steel as it did with its vintage-inspired Ref. 783-01 Flieger model from the early 1990s. The case size of the new watch is the same as the 1941 model however, measuring 38.5 mm in diameter.
Just as importantly, however, to collectors of vintage pilot watches, Tutima retained all the original model’s significant tactile features. Thus, here we find a bi-directional, fluted, rotating bezel with red reference marker. In addition, Tutima has designed the watch’s large cathedral hands to match the original. The dial features the Tutima logo and numerals in the watch’s original fonts.
Equally impressive to purists is the movement, which, like the 1941 edition, is built from a Valjoux 7760 chronograph caliber that Tutima enhances with a flyback function.In its original run, the movement was known as Caliber 59 and was the first German-made two-pusher flyback chronograph wristwatch. Today, Tutima refers to it simply by its base manual-wind caliber, now made to modern specifications by ETA, and again enhances it with a flyback function.
Tutima has also updated other features on the watch, including the illumination of hands and markers. All are now treated with a bright SuperLuminova compound. Similarly, Tutima has coated the domed sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating for maximum legibility.
Also new, the caseback is fitted with a sapphire crystal to better showcase the gold-plated bridge Tutima has placed in the ETA Valjoux 7760 caliber. The clear back also exposes the Tutima engraving. The 1941 original was housed in a nickel-plated brass case with screw-down caseback.
The limited-edition new member of Tutima’s Flieger collection comes with a vintage pilot style leather strap. Each of the 25 editions are individually numbered and engraved, and all arrive with a printed certificate of authenticity.
For most collectors, there’s always one coveted piece that stands above the rest—the so-called grail, if you will. And in the world of vintage watches, most would agree that the Patek Philippe Reference 2499 holds that honor.
Widely regarded as one of the greatest timepieces designed by the renowned Swiss watchmaker, Reference 2499, a manual-winding Perpetual Calendar Chronograph with Moonphase produced in very low quantities, is the quintessential Patek.
Few have had the privilege to see a Reference 2499 in real life, let alone touch one. Watch experts recognize this very special timepiece as one that perfectly combines incredible exterior design with a masterful internal movement.
Given the rarity and collective fascination with the Patek Philippe ref. 2499, when one comes up to the auction block, the vintage watch world pays attention. Collectors won’t want to miss the chance to see it, study it, and most importantly, share a room with other fellow enthusiasts whilst witnessing the inevitable bidding battle that will ensue to claim this watch as his or her own.
Sotheby’s New York on December 15th will be hosting a holiday season watch auction with a magnificent example of the revered Patek Philippe Reference 2499 as the star of the event.
Few were made
Succeeding Reference 1518 and preceding Reference 3970, Patek Philippe produced Reference 2499 from 1950 until 1985. Despite only 349 pieces ever made, there are four distinct series of the ref. 2499 to note.
The first series was in production from 1950 until the mid-1950s and features square chronograph pushers, applied Arabic numerals, and a tachymeter scale on the dial. There are less than four-dozen of these ref. 2499 watches in existence. The second series, manufactured from 1955 until 1966, include round chronograph pushers, applied baton or Arabic numerals, and a tachymeter scale on the dial.
Next in line was the third series, made from 1960 until 1978, with round chronograph pushers, applied baton indexes, and no tachymeter scale on the dial.
Finally, the fourth and last series of the Reference 2499 is dated from 1978 to 1985 (with later examples taking on the reference 2499/100) and the watches have round chronograph pushers, applied baton numerals, no tachymeter scale, and sapphire crystals shielding the dials.
Fourth series star
The Patek Philippe Reference 2499/100 coming up for sale on December 15 in New York at Sotheby’s belongs to the fourth series family. And it is simply a magnificent piece manufactured in 1981. While the creamy dial is in very good condition it is not perfect.
The dial does have some discoloration owing to the humid conditions of the Southern United States, where its owner resides. The customary applied gold batons mark out the hours while the three subsidiary dials for minutes, date/moonphase, and running seconds sit at 3, 6, and 9 o’clock, respectively. The double windows displaying the day and month are placed at 12 o’clock while the gold hands at the center are in the “Dauphine” style.
A closer look at the dial reveals the coveted “Tiffany” branding, which makes this example of the Reference 2499 even more exceptional and rare. Sotheby’s consulted with Patek Philippe to see how many Tiffany marked examples were made but there are no records in-house.
The winding crown is furnished with the Patek Philippe logo and of course, the chronograph pushers are round in shape. The interior of the yellow gold case back is engraved with Patek Philippe Co – Genève – Swiss – 2499 – 100 – 2.779.174.” Housed inside the yellow gold case is the manual-winding Caliber 13-130, featuring 23 jewels and numbered 869.425. Potential bidders will be happy to know that the watch keeps very good time.
This Patek 2499 is fitted with a brown lizard Patek Philippe strap with a gold Patek Philippe buckle. The width in between the lugs is 20mm and 14mm at the buckle end. The interior of the buckle is engraved with “To AIL – Love – BKL – 7-5-96” and both the case and buckle include all the required poinçons or hallmarks.
Under the sofa
The watch was first appraised 20 years ago but it was lost for some time inside the estate. After a long period of searching, this superb Patek Philippe 2499 was finally found inside the house, underneath the sofa. No one knows quite how long it had been lying there, hidden from the world.
As a one-owner Patek Philippe Reference 2499, this is the first time this watch comes to auction. The estimated price is between $500,000 and $800,000, even though I think it is a conservative figure.
For any inquiries about the watch, please contact Richard Lopez, SVP, Senior Specialist, and Head of Online Sales at Sotheby’s at [ Richard.Lopez@sothebys.com ]
Wishing you a safe, happy, and joyful season.
Laurent Martinez is the proprietor of Laurent Fine Watches, Greenwich, Connecticut. Read more by him at blog.laurentfinewatches.com or visit his store’s site at www.laurentfinewatches.com
With Anywhere, the second debut from independent Swiss watchmaker Krayon, the wearer can see sunset and sunrise times for any single location indicated on the dial.
The watch, with its all-new C030 manual-wind caliber, streamlines the functions of the earlier Krayon Everywhere, on which (you guessed it) the wearer can see sunset and sunrise times across the globe. That watch was awarded the Innovation Prize at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG) in 2018.
Like the dial, the back of the newer celestial complication is also less encumbered, with large, expertly polished plates that hide the gears below. Watch engineer Rémi Maillat, who worked on so many of Cartier’s superb, complicated calibers prior to founding Krayon in 2017, places the hours, minutes and seconds beneath this larger plate.
A portion of the sunset and sunrise complication dominates the lower section of the movement. Framing a threaded and adjustable transverse screw is a dramatic two-level cam that rotates, pushing two racks to continuously transmit the information required to activate the dial’s sunset and sunrise displays.
The cam, which the watchmaker can customize according to the owner’s chosen latitude, rotates fully once each year. Krayon will adjust two screws (visible within a set of rubies at each side of the cam) to account for longitudinal differences in sunset (left side) and sunrise (right side).
Maillat’s wavy bridge décor is not simply eye-catching. It’s also personal. The manually beveled edges of the larger bridge echo the shape of one of the rivers that empties into Lake Neuchâtel, near Maillat’s home in Switzerland. The bridge’s waves trace the position of the watch’s cam during a Neuchâtel sunset, according to Krayon. All the bridges, and even the cam, feature perfectly mirror-polished anglage.
Thanks to a thin (5mm) movement, Krayon has managed to maintain a 9mm thick case for the Anywhere despite all this complexity. And at only 39mm in diameter the Krayon Anywhere may be among the smaller high-end designs offering a sunrise/sunset display. And with the obvious attention paid to its back view, it is certainly among the most beautiful.
Movement: Manual-winding Cal. C030 showing (on dial) hours and minutes, sunrise and sunset times, 24-hour display, simple calendar, month. Wave-décor on bridges with hand-polished beveling throughout. and Power reserve is 86 hours, 3 Hz frequency, 55 jewels,432 components.
Case: 39mm by 9.5mm white gold or rose gold with alligator strap and matching gold buckle. Price: 116,000 Swiss Francs (about $127,000)
Nomos celebrates Beethoven’s 250th birthday with a square-cased Tetra Divine Spark watch made with a copper-hued dial. The color is meant to elevate the wearer’s mood and to recall Schiller’s “Ode to Joy,” which Beethoven set to music in his 9th Symphony.
The watch is one of four Tetra designs within the Nomos Tetra Symphony collection. While another of the collection’s models is actually called the Tetra Ode to Joy, it’s this copper-dialed version that Nomos says will ignite a ‘spark to the wrist.”
The full Nomos Tetra Symphony series.
Nomos extends the Tetra Divine Spark’s upbeat metallic tone by utilizing three gold hands to indicate hours, minutes and seconds. All three play nicely with the 29.5mm by 29.5mm polished steel case.
Tetra has long been among Nomos’ most elegant offerings, whether with its original manual-wind Alpha caliber inside (like with this new model) or set with an automatic caliber. Note the perfectly executed overlapping lugs, slim dial font and, for this model, the subtle grey velour strap. All in all, a tuneful composition.
Patek Philippe this week launches a platinum-cased Grand Complication, the Ref. 6301P Grande and Petite Sonnerie, Minute Repeater with Jumping Seconds, the Geneva watchmaker’s primary technical watch debut for 2020.
With its black grand feu enamel dial, slanted Breguet numerals and relatively unadorned time and power reserve indications, the new watch understates its impressive and complex chiming mechanism. While eyeing a classically presented time display, a wearer can also place an ear to the 44.8mm case and enjoy a rarely orchestrated symphony of three gongs: a grande sonnerie (full strike), petite sonnerie (small strike) and an on-demand minute repeater.
Patek Philippe has also added an unexpected layer of complexity to the new watch by incorporating a jumping seconds indicator, prominently displayed at the 6 o’clock position on the dial. Patek Philippe looked to its Reference 5275 from 2014 for inspiration on this complication, as that chiming model boasted jumping hours, minutes and seconds.
Patek Philippe watchmakers, well-versed in designing and building the brand’s highly regarded and extensive range of chiming watches, developed the new caliber GS 36-750 PS IRM movement directly inspired by Caliber 300 used in the Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime Ref. 6300 from 2014.
Unlike most chiming watches from Patek Philippe and elsewhere, the new watch’s chime control center is located below the 6 o’clock position rather than on the left side of the case. On this watch, the selector can be adjusted to petite sonnerie mode (left side), grande sonnerie (center) and silence (right). The user activates the minute repeater on request with the pusher in the winding crown.
Because Patek Philippe opted to place that strike mode selector at 6 o’clock on the case, the watchmaker needed to move its traditional small-diamond platinum case indicator to the side of the case at the 12 o’clock position.
Two series-connected twin mainspring barrels power the new caliber GS 36-750 PS IRM movement. One assures a power reserve of 24 hours for the striking mechanism while the second ensures a 72-hour power reserve for the movement.
All this chiming and timing occurs within a platinum case that may look familiar. Inspired by the Ref. 5370 split-seconds chronograph Patek Philippe presented in 2015, the case features rounded contours, a concave bezel and a slightly cambered sapphire crystal.
In summary, the new Patek Philippe Ref. 6301P Grande Sonnerie includes these six complications:
Movement power-reserve indicator
Strikework power-reserve indicator
In addition, the new watch offers unique technical achievements that have resulted in the Geneva watchmaker earning three patents, which Patek Philippe describes below:
Isolation of the grande sonnerie in the silence mode (Patent CH 704 950 B1). In the silence mode, this mechanism totally isolates the grande sonnerie from the power flow and eliminates energy consumption.
Selection of the strike work mode (Patent CH 706 080 B1). This mechanism enables the selection of the strike work mode (petite sonnerie, grande sonnerie, silence) with a single lever and a single slide switch. Two slide switches were formerly required for this operation.
Jumping display with a jumping seconds wheel (Patent CH 707 181 A2). This innovative mechanism for jumping displays does not require springs and levers but instead uses wheels and a release lever that instantaneously unblocks the wheel train every second, and features a coiled return spring as the only power element. The advantage of this system is that it makes energy consumption easier to regulate and control.
Patek Philippe will offer the new Ref. 6301P Grande Sonnerie on a shiny black, hand-stitched alligator leather strap with square scales, secured with a fold-over clasp. The price for the limited production watch is available upon request.
Specifications: Patek Philippe Ref. 6310P Grande and Petite Sonnerie, Minute Repeater with Jumping Seconds
Movement: Patek Philippe Caliber GS 36-750 PS IRM, manual winding, minute repeater with 3 classic gongs, grande sonnerie, petite sonnerie, jumping small seconds at 6 o’clock, power reserve indicators for the movement (72h) and for the strike work (24h), frequency of 25,200 bph (3.5 Hz), power reserve of 72 hours, strike work power reserve of 24 hours.
Dial: Grand Feu black enamel with glazed finish, gold applied Breguet numerals, 18-karat gold dial plate, white gold leaf-shaped hands with luminescent coating.
Case: 44.8 mm by 12mm platinum, humidity-and dust-protected only (not water-resistant), interchangeable solid and sapphire crystal case backs.
Watch companies have been collaborating with artists and designers for years, producing animated timekeepers with distinctive, non-traditional dials, eye-catching engravings and even unusual case finishes.
Brands as diverse as Hermès and G-Shock tout their artistic connections with special editions that typically offer playful, aesthetic variations to well-known collections. The partnerships take many forms, from one-off fund-raisers for charities to long-term collaborations that morph into full-fledged new collections.
Let’s take a look at a few of the latest watch-artist collaborations we’ve seen.
Hublot and Orlinski
This artistic collaboration represents one of Hublot’s most successful, with multiple editions of Hublot’s Classic Fusion Orlinski reaching collectors of both Hublot watches and Pop Art, Orlinski’s domain.
Casual and serious art observers are aware of Richard Orlinski’s brightly colored beasts, including his “Wild Kong” gorilla sculpture in Cannes and his crocodiles in Miami. He and Hublot have teamed on their successful series of angular designs with light-reflecting faceted sapphire crystals for several years.
Just recently, Hublot released a new white-themed Classic Fusion Orlinski series – with gold and diamonds – just in time for the holiday season.
These are 40mm King gold or titanium models, with and without diamond pave bezels and lugs, all attached to a white rubber strap. Prices start at $11,500.
Movado and Lubomirski
Movado has teamed with Alexi Lubomirski for its newest Artist Series dials. The photographer provided Movado with four photographs (Light, Water, Illumination and City Scenes) that will grace the dials of the Movado Museum dial with vegan straps in dark grey, yellow and navy blue.
Each steel 40mm watch ($595) also comes with a vegan reusable watch pouch and packaging made from recyclable materials.
A portion of proceeds from all watches sold (at Movado.com) will be donated to Alexi’s preferred charities Concern Worldwide and the Humane Society of America. Another collection with Lubomirski is expected for Spring 2021.
Rado Designer Series
Rado has released special designer watches for 2020, the latest releases from an annual tradition for the high-tech watchmaker known for its ceramic cases and bracelets and its contemporary design focus.
Rado is working within its True Square collection to offer three models designed in collaboration with the Italian duo FormaFantasma, the British designer Tej Chauhan and Japanese duo YOY. All three have used the automatic True Square Collection as their Swiss watch canvas.
The Rado True Square Formafantasma brings us a partially enclosed dial that refers to pocket watches with protective cases.
The Japanese design duo YOY offers a contemporary interpretation with the True Square Undigital. YOY shows only analog hands within the shape of a typical digital, possibly smart dial.
Award-winning British industrial designer Tej Chauhan brings us flowing shapes, high-tech ceramic and bold colors to evoke “futuristic visions of pop culture.”
Prices for the Rado True Square design collaborations: $1,800 (TrueSquareTejChauhan), $2,550 (True SquareFormaFantasma) and $2,350 (True Square YOY).
Ateliers deMonaco and Luca Stradivari
Produced in partnership with the architect and designer Luca Stradivari, a direct descendant of famed luthier Antonio Stradivari, Atelier deMonaco launches its Admiral Chronographe Flyback Stradivari, available in four limited editions of eighty-eight pieces (steel, rose gold, white gold and yellow gold).
The 42mm flyback chronograph displays a dreamlike dial where elegant hands pass over matching markers and the autograph of the architect and designer.The caseback shows the in-house dMc-760 Calibre, an eye-catching movement beautifully finished with intricate circular satin finishing, perlage, Côtes de Genève and chamfering. Price: CHF 18,000 (approximately $19,600.)
Junghans toughens its Meister collection with the new Meister S Chronoscope, a sportier version of the best-selling retro-inspired chronograph.
Known for its convex day-date dial and concave subdials, the Meister Chronoscope here arrives with a larger case (45mm), stronger water resistance (200 meters), a screw-down crown, screwed steel caseback and a thickened thick sapphire crystal doubly coated for serious anti-reflection properties.
The new Junghans Meister S Chronoscope boasts a new case that cuts a contemporary profile. The case’s new, enhanced crown protection and beveled bezel set it apart from the earlier, retro-styled Chronoscope designs.
Junghans offers two dial options. One of the two steel-bracelet models takes its sportier designation most seriously with a tachymeter scale framing an anthracite (grey) dial set with raised and numbered markers.
A second steel-bracelet model offers a tachymeter-free visage on a green-black dial with un-numbered, raised markers. Even without the tachymeter scale and with its dressier matte/polish case finish, this model asserts a hint of sportiness through its red chronograph hands.
The third design, the only Meister S Chronoscope made in limited production (of 888 units), also offers red accents, but arrives on black PVD, brushed steel case attached to a red-stitched synthetic black rubber strap. This model features the same grey dial with tachymeter as offered on one of the two bracelet watches, but with red-accented hands and two red markers.
Junghans has emblazoned its name in raised letters to the underside of the strap. This feature, according to the brand, will provide “an elaborate solution for airing of the synthetic rubber strap, guaranteeing optimum wear comfort.”
Prices: $2,595 (either model on steel bracelet) and $2,795 (black PVD case with rubber strap, an 888-piece limited edition.)
Movement: Automatic ETA-7750-based caliber J880.1 with a power reserve of up to 48 hours, date and weekday (also available in English), chronograph.
Case: 45mm x 15.9mm steel or black PVD-coated, convex sapphire crystal with anti-reflection coating on both sides, 7-times screwed stainless steel back with Junghans star artwork, screwed crown and tube, 200 meters of water resistance.
Dial: Matte anthracite, model 027/4023.44 with green-black-effect lacquer, model 027/4024.44 with tachymeter scale, hands and indices with SuperLuminova. Hands coated with luminous substance in red and/or white.
Strap: Stainless steel bracelet with safety folding clasp and fine adjustment, synthetic rubber strap with leather inlay and stainless steel folding clasp in black PVD-coating (on model 027/4025.44 with red accent strap, limited to 888 watches).
Prices: $2,595 (either model on steel bracelet) and $2,795 (black PVD case with rubber strap, an 888-piece limited edition.)