2023 has, thus far, been another stellar year in the ever-ticking world of watches. From the giants of the timepiece industry launching bold new iterations to the onward marching revisiting of classics, there’s a dynamic market out there with pieces to suit every outfit, every taste, every moment.
As ever, we’ve flitted our way from expo to horology maison, our eyes peeled and our hearts open to the releases that set pulses racing. From eye-watering complications, dial details and design flourishes aplenty to the sleekly minimalist and deceptively understated, we give you our pick for the season.
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Nomos Glashütte / Tangente Neomatik
While there’s plenty to be said for the time-honoured watchmakers of Swiss valley villages, meticulously piecing together complications alongside lakes of glacial water, I’ve always had a soft spot for the concrete, the brutalist and the retrofuturist. Nomos Glashütte was founded in post-unification East Germany, and their timepieces revel in the minimalist and concise. Indeed, their watches celebrate Bauhaus design and are somehow reminiscent of Cold War graphic art – the new Tangente Neomatik being the finest example of this stark aesthetic of them all.
A bidirectional winding rotor, automatic movement and gorgeous set of dials result in a statement watch that’s the perfect finishing flourish to the sharpest suit in your wardrobe. Wunderbar.
Hermès H08 39×39
Moving even further away from Switzerland, the H08 39×39 from prestige fashion brand Hermès is a gorgeous encapsulation of what the maison does best; expressing Parisian chic with the faintest touch of eccentricity, exquisite design and accuracy standards, and no shortage of Gallic nonchalance.
The H08 39×39 is a masterstroke of aesthetic vision from creative director Véronique Nichanian, and brings a distinctive menswear angle to a timepiece that looks and feels flawless, and performs every bit as well as you’d expect. Ideal for formalwear as well as for sauntering between wine bars, you can’t help but admire its versatility and style.
Rado Captain Cook Bronze
There are watches that make you feel like a gentleman spy, those which make you feel like Steve McQueen, and those which conjure dreams of sitting in the Oval Office. However, I’ve a penchant for timepieces that unleash a spirit of adventure – of Jacques Cousteau beneath the waves and a golden age of discovery. Enter the Captain Cook watch by Rado, a 60’s classic inspired by the tall ships of yesteryear and reinvigorated to a bold new audience of intrepid voyagers and globetrotters.
While there are many iterations of this dashingly handsome watch available, the bronze release (very much the case metal of the moment) paired with the forest green dial has to be the best of the bunch. It’s a diver’s watch of considerable pedigree, and offers 300 metres of resistance alongside an 80 hour power reserve, as well as a visual appeal that’s sure to turn heads.
Frederique Constant, Monolithic Manufacture
We’ve had the Frederique Constant Monolithic Manufacture on our target list since the press release dropped into our respective inboxes in 2021. It’s showpiece, a a silicon oscillator beating at an unprecedented pace of 288,000 vibrations per hour.
The 3.0mm thin FC-810 caliber movement ensures a sleek profile, while the exhibition case back showcases the intricate workings within. The watch’s clean, classic design with its Clous de Paris guilloché dial and Breguet-style hands exudes sophistication. Limited to just 810 pieces, this exceptional timepiece is a must for the watch box.
Drawing inspiration from the esteemed Minerva timepieces of the 1940s and 1950s, Montblanc’s Heritage collection masterfully fuses the sophistication of a bygone era with contemporary design sensibilities and cutting-edge technology. The Montblanc Heritage Automatic presents itself in a refined 40mm stainless steel case, featuring a radiant silvery-white dial graced with rhodium-plated Arabic numerals and subtle dot indices. The timepiece’s hands are tastefully accentuated by Super-LumiNova* for optimal visibility.
Under the hood, the Montblanc Heritage Automatic is driven by the exquisite MB 24.27 automatic movement, a testament to Montblanc’s horological expertise. To complete the ensemble, the watch is elegantly paired with a steel mesh Milanese bracelet.