Glashütte Original Senator Observer
The German’s are renowned for producing quality watches at almost every price point, with A. Lange & Söhne being the most recognisable. Glashütte Original are often overlooked and as such their prominence in the forever cluttered watch market is hard pressed to say the least. Glashütte’s latest piece is yet another reason why more light needs to be shun on their products. Very similar to the styling prowess of Lange, it goes to show that the German watchmaking institutions all share a very similar design ethos. Spacious dials, prominent numbers, large sub-dial registers and an easy-to-read date window. Hands that are both beautiful and functional. A streamlined case design with blended lugs and a small crown make this piece highly wearable from suit and tie to t-shirt and jeans. The automatic calibre 100-14 ensures the piece continues to tell the time for around 55 hours which can be observed at the sub-dial at 3 o’clock. Pricing is high though, and for the same amount you can purchase a supremely better made watch from a more recognisable brand.
Maurice Lacroix Masterpiece Gravity Harrods Exclusive
Maurice Lacroix would have to be one of the most interesting micro-brands around. They make pieces that cater for sub-entry level purchases, all the way up to magnificent contemporary pieces like this one. Their more inexpensive pieces, albeit, are nothing too fancy, but for someone who has just sparked in interest in watches then one of Lacroix’s pieces would suit their needs just fine. The face of the watch brings an almost crystal ball-like feel. Is this the route that future watches will take, design wise? If so, great, because this thing is unbelievable. Exposed balance wheel and bridge on the dial face, awesome. Deep blue sub-dials, stunning. Brushed metal and and ‘Vague du Jura’ finishing, eye-watering. The textural differences on the face alone make this piece so damn pleasing to look at. Through the sapphire case back reveals the in-house calibre ML230, with its rhodium plated plates, cocks and bridges. Priced well for a very limited run of three pieces.
Arnold & Son Constant Force Tourbillon
A brand that tops the list of ‘Haute Horlogerie’ coming out of England, Arnold & Son continue to produced jaw dropped pieces that stay true to their incredibly rich heritage. The technical aspects of this piece far exceed my understanding of constant force complications, and as such I won’t delve too far into their complexities. Instead, let us just pay tribute to the aesthetics of the piece. Someone purchasing this piece will do so for one of two reasons; because they know exactly what this piece represents, or because they can. Either way, good purchase. Deliberately, Arnold & Son have displayed the complex nature of their constant force complication on the face of the dial. Sometimes this doesn’t work and makes the dial look cluttered and ineligible, but due to the symmetrical placement of the four, lets say “sub-dial registers” (even though the only one telling us any information is at 7 o’clock), the dial looks organised. Not an easy feat when trying to cram in all of these technical bits and pieces, which only proves that the process of design must have been long and arduous. Black on rose gold works, we all know that. From the lugs, to the case, to the hands and the crown, it all looks good against the black dial. The A&S5119 is the chosen calibre to power the piece, and it is simply captivating. Priced without reservation and limited to only 28 pieces, a surefire way to prove your worth in the forever growing “watch-fam” community.
Roger Dubuis Excalibur Automatic Skeleton Carbon
The Roger Dubuis watchmaking namesake is one of only a very few parts of the contemporary “haute horlogerie” consortium that includes Richard Mille and MB&F, to name a few. Their productions reflect the true madness that lies within their research and development departments, yet they continue to make watches the defy traditional watchmaking. And I absolutely love their work. Their Excalibur Skeleton Carbon is yet another reason as to why they are one of the best in the business. If there could be a perfect carbon watch, then this may very well be it. Incredible workmanship went into detailing the carbon case to make sure all the crevices, lines and points are shown from every angle. The textured look of the case matches the “dial” perfectly, from the red-black colour scheme, to the beautiful micro-rotor and the incredible skeletonised star-shaped bridge, it all works. My only reservation is the gold balance wheel at 8 o’clock. It seems to throw the colour balance off a bit. The skeletonised RD820SQ is the calibre of choice, powering the watch for at least 60 hours. The Seal of Geneva is the cherry on top, making this piece highly decorated both for its design architecture but its technical prowess.
Chopard L.U.C XP Skeletec
Not the most beautiful piece Chopard have ever released, and with that let me subjectively skim over the aesthetics. The dial looks off, and it’s a damn shame. A massive window right in the centre of the black dial reveals the less decorated side of the movement, despite it being on the dial side. Sure, everything is brushed uniformly and angled fairly decently, but that’s it. It is a total mismatch. Turn the piece over and you would be forgiven for wearing it. I said it before and I will say it again. This is a total mismatch. Chopard have concealed an exceptionally beautiful movement in such an unappealing case and dial design. I feel like all they did was cut a great big hole in the middle of the dial to show off the movement. The piece would look fine without it. If I were focusing purely on the movement finishing and design, then yes this piece is incredible. The in-house calibre L.U.C 96.17-S automatic micro-rotor movement is one of the finest movements I have seen, from a visual stand point. But I cannot just forgo the dial and case. I honestly feel that Chopard have wrapped a movement in an ill-fitting case and punched a hole in the middle. A damn shame for a piece that had so much more potential.