2019 is about to end. For watchmaking it has been, as always, a year full of news and surprises and, waiting for what next year has in store - starting with the increases announced by Rolex as early as January 2020 to those of Audemars Piguet and Patek Philippe. instead scheduled for February -, we relive with a special ranking what has happened from January to today.
What we propose below is our personal one top ten of the models introduced in 2019, without taking into account prices, economic possibilities and dreams.
Oris ProPilot X Caliber 115
On the lowest rung of our classification, the new Big Crown ProPilot X Caliber 115, a timepiece where the watchmakers of Oris they took their cue from 110 caliber and they imagined an entirely skeletonized Oris movement. Traditionally, skeletonization allowed watchmakers to demonstrate their talent, but this caliber has higher ambitions. Its mission is to reconnect people to objects and how they work.
Il Big Crown ProPilot X Caliber 115 it lays bare its internal mechanisms. Nothing is hidden. The barrel at 12 is skeletonized so that the oversized spring is also visible. By turning the crown, you can see how the spring coils… tighter and tighter… until it is fully wound and ready to provide 10 days of uninterrupted winding. Price 6.900 EURO for the version with a titanium bracelet and 6.400 for the version with a leather strap.
TUDOR BLACK BAY P01
In ninth place the "01 prototype". In 1967 YOU SLEEP, which since the late 50s had been supplying watches to US Navy, began to develop a new watch that had to meet a series of requirements set by the American government and that incorporated the results of cutting-edge research conducted by the brand's engineers. This led to the production of several prototypes, as well as to the registration of a patent for a function that had previously been completely new. But the ambitious project, codenamed "Commando", it never came to fruition. In 2019, the model TUDOR Black Bay P01, which stands for Prototype 1, is inspired by the version created as part of that project and kept in the archives of the brand.
Today, 50 years later, TUDOR revives its unique aesthetic. The Black Bay P01 reflects the exploratory nature of the initial project: a watch conceived for both diving and navigation. The Black Bay P01 is water resistant to 200 meters and displays hours, minutes, seconds and the date. It features a domed matte black dial with hour markers coated with a luminescent material.
Faithful to the functional aesthetics of the prototype that inspired it, its case is entirely satin-finished, for a matte finish. The strap developed for the Black Bay P01 model has a rubber base with a “Snowflake” motif on the back and a brown leather finish. In line with the prototype of the era, it is fixed to the watch case by means of mobile junction elements in brushed steel. Price 3.760 EURO.
Ulysse Nardin HOURSTRIKER PHANTOM DEVIALET
Devialet, the French company that revolutionized ultra-high definition audio with its luxurious oval-shaped speakers, and the famous Maison Ulysse Nardin collaborated on a limited edition of 85 watches with a ring tone - an audio experience worn on the wrist. With a classic chime system, a hammer strikes a timbre generating sound frequencies, which when emitted, beat time on command.
In ' Hourstriker Phantom, the hammer of the stamp is fixed by a system of torsion arms that change the direction of the forces of action induced by the vibration of the stamp. In a classical system, the forces produced are mainly in the movement of the watch which generates a small amount of air which is then dispersed by the various components of the watch.
In ' Hourstriker Phantom, the forces of action created by the stamp find the way and the way to escape from the watch itself. These forces are forcefully transmitted using a transmission arm to a fine diaphragm, which is located at the bottom of the watch. Since the membrane has an extended surface, a high amount of air is released, resulting in a high level sound. It can be compared to a megaphone with its cone and membrane.
At an announced price of CHF 72,500, the Hourstriker Phantom has become the most affordable alarm clock on the market. The model stands out thanks to a black alligator strap and will be sold in a limited edition of 85 pieces, evoking the 85 decibels it majestically reaches.
VACHERON CONSTANTIN HISTORIQUES CORNES DE VACHE 1955
In seventh place a milestone in classic watchmaking. Born in 1955, in the post-war effervescence, the model called ʺCornes de vacheʺ, a name due to the characteristic shape of its horn-shaped lugs, quickly established itself as one of the emblematic chronographs of its era, becoming one of the most sought-after models by collectors today. In line with the vintage spirit of his collection History, Vacheron Constantin proposes a steel re-edition of this creation, between tradition and stylistic originality.
This re-edition, aesthetically faithful to the original, respects the standards of contemporary watchmaking. The diameter of the waterproof case to 30 meters has been raised to 38.5 mm and accommodates the chronograph caliber 1142 hand-wound, with a frequency of 21.600 vibrations / hour for a power reserve of 48 hours.
The mechanism for measuring short times is controlled by a column wheel, according to the great watchmaking tradition, decorated with a screw head whose shape is inspired by the Maltese cross, the emblem of Vacheron Constantin. Price 42.300 EURO.
Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra Ultra Light
Designed for maximum comfort during sports, the new OMEGA's Seamaster Aqua Terra “Ultra Light” is the ideal watch for athletes. Light, discreet and charming, this ergonomic timepiece adapts to any look without hindering the fluidity of movements.
The dial, the result of extensive research, has a much thinner profile than usual, with a striped texture reminiscent of the classic design of theAqua terrawhile sporting a distinctive sporty look. Another novelty introduced with the Seamaster Ultra Light it is the crown that when not in use is hidden inside the case. Inside theAqua Terra Ultra Light contains the first movement Omega titanium.
In fact, the bridges and the main plate are made of ceramic-coated titanium to decrease the friction between the elements and, this particular material and its finish give the movement an unusual gray color. The expected price of approximately 45.000 euros will make its innovative sporting features even more exclusive.
RICHARD MILLE RM 62-01 TOURBILLON VIBRATING ALARM AIRBUS CORPORATE JETS
At the top of our ranking, he couldn't miss it Richard Mille that with Airbus Corporate Jets (ACJ) launches a new travel watch, inspired by the flying experience of Airbus Corporate Jets and the exclusivity it offers.
A watch characterized by an unprecedented grand complication, a watch designed for both daily and functional use, theRM 62-01 Tourbillon with vibrating alarm ACJ summarizes the entire philosophy of Richard Mille - bring functionality and performance to new limits. Due to its complexity, the materials, the complications, its ergonomics, the result is a totally high watchmaking work.
THERM 62-01 It features a number of complications useful to professional travelers, with the traditional travel watch look. It has the function UTC for a second time zone, indicated by the green hand in the center. At 9 o'clock, under the transparent sapphire dial, the tourbillon has a variable inertia balance wheel oscillating at a frequency of 21,600 vibrations / hour (3 Hz).
The date is at 12 o'clock and is indicated in the red dotted frame typical of Richard Mille's design. The 70-hour power reserve indication is positioned at 11 o'clock. The new Richard Mille RM 62-01 Tourbillon Vibrating Alarm Airbus Corporate Jets is a limited edition of only 30 pieces and will be available at a price of 1.292.700 EURO.
MB&F Legacy Machine Thunderdome
Fourth place for MAXIMILIAN BÜSSER & FRIENDS. Rising from a blue guilloche sea, the spherical rotating mass shows itself in all its complexity with gears, pinions and cages. Somehow, this chaotic movement gives off a certain order. The time can be read on a lacquered dial with an enamel and inclined finish, demonstrating that even the most violent whirlwinds of watchmaking can be harnessed to the logic of hours and minutes.
The new mechanism "TriAx"Present in the Legacy Machine Thunderdome satisfies in an amazing way the indications given by MB&F in Coudray. The triple axis rotating escapement has a minimalist structure, capable of breaking all conventions, both traditional and modern. Instead of the rational (and cumbersome) system that associates a cage with each rotating axis, TriAx defies logic with a three-axis, two-cage configuration that clearly shows the unprecedented whirlwind of the beating heart of the Thunderdome.
As difficult as it is to take your eyes off the spectacular dial, the opposite side of the LM Thunderdome it is just as fulfilling. If the manual winding movement with triple barrel was designed by Eric Coudray, aesthetics is entirely due to Kari Voutilainen.
La LM Thunderdome is launched in two limited editions: 33 pieces in 950 platinum, with a blue guilloché dial and 10 pieces in tantalum for the commemoration of the 40th anniversary of The Hour Glass, a retail group from the Asia Pacific region. Five examples will feature a dark blue guilloché dial and five with an inlaid aventurine dial. The price is over 300.000 EURO including taxes.
JAEGER LECOULTRE: GRANDE TRADITION GYROTOURBILLON WESTMINSTER PERPETUEL
On the lowest step of the podium, Il Master Grande Tradition Gyrotourbillon Westminster Perpétuel by Jaeger-LeCoultre, which features a Gyrotourbillon, perpetual calendar and a minute repeater that mimics the Big Ben chime system.
Despite all these complications, the watch measures only 43 mm in diameter and is just a little thicker than 14 mm, making it surprisingly comfortable to wear, again for those who can afford it given its price of 800.000 EURO.
FP JOURNE ASTRONOMIC SOUVERAINE
Silver for FP JOURNE. After the successful sale of the prototype auctioned Only Watch, FP Journe presents the final version: Astronomical Souveraine. A great timepiece with countless functions and complications made on a steel case, with tourbillon and minute repeater, whose vocation is to remember a long-forgotten gesture: that of getting lost among the stars to find a way on Earth.
At 3 o'clock we find the main time dial (or calendar time), with a blue hand indicating a second time zone. At 9 o'clock the dial of the sidereal time, which allows for stargazing. Next to it, the seconds are displayed on a disc.
Between the two functions are i central minutes andpower reserve indication, which remains optimal for up to 40 hours. Also at 12 o'clock a blue aperture indicates thesunrise and sunset with the help of metal "shutters" that lengthen or shorten the days.
On the back is theequation of time it's a complete annual calendar surrounded by the signs of the zodiac.
Also from the back you can admire the dance of the tourbillon. In all, this watch, which can also strike the hours, quarters and minutes, has 18 functions and complications. It is made up of 758 components, plus the case which is only 44mm in diameter and 13.80mm thick. Watch lovers will have to be patient, as only a few pieces will be produced each year at a price of approximately EUR 1.000.0000.
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin and VACHERON CONSTANTIN TRADITIONELLE TWIN BEAT PERPETUAL CALENDAR
Ex fair! Since we did not know how to choose, in the first place of our annual top ten, we do not find a watch, but two truly unique timepieces that have marked the year that is about to end.
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin
Winner at the last edition of the GPHG and only one year after the prototype was presented RD # 2, Audemars Piguet introduced the new Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar Extra-Flat Automatic. A refined timepiece, embellished by the nobility of the materials and a movement that marks an important milestone for the Les Brassus maison.
The in-house caliber 5133 is only 2,89mm thick, visible thanks to the sapphire crystal case back with anti-reflective treatment. The bezel and intermediate links are in 950 platinum. The latest addition to Audemars represents the last important step in the long history of the Manufacture, famous not only for creating iconic watches, but also for its mastery in developing watches with calendar and extra-flat mechanisms.
The new Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar Extra-Flat Automatic will go on sale at a price of around 130.000 Euros and will be available in Audemars Piguet boutiques.
VACHERON CONSTANTIN TRADITIONELLE TWIN BEAT PERPETUAL CALENDAR
The new calendar Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Twin Beat Perpetual with a "normal" power reserve of 4 days, it presents a revolutionary novelty: the "Standby Mode". The movement shifts to a lower frequency and the power reserve goes up to 65 days!
Anyone who owns a hand-wound perpetual calendar knows how many and what problems there are in setting the calendar indications after it has been stopped for some time. The solution of Vacheron Constantin this problem is simply brilliant, equipping this perpetual calendar with a large mainspring, two gear trains, each with its own oscillator that “ticks” at a different frequency, 5Hz or 1.2Hz. Presented in a very wearable size, the watch has a 950 platinum case measuring 42mm in diameter and 12,3mm in height.
The new Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Twin Beat Perpetual Calendar is a truly spectacular timepiece, encompassing far more technical feats than we can describe. The price will be EUR 210.000. Production will remain quite low, as five pieces are expected in 2019.