As Australia’s temperature slowly drops and we approach the cooler months of the year, one would be forgiven if they instead opted to crawl into a hole and wait out the cold. But before you do, have a look at this week’s Wind Up and see if any of these timepieces will help you through the season of eugh!
Breitling Navitimer 1884
Brand new from Breitling is the Navitimer 1884, which pays homage to their rich history in aviation. Featuring the famous 1952 aviation slide rule calendar, the timepiece’s dial looks super busy and downright complicated, but if you can wrap your head around its complexities then you’ll be able to understand the true functionality of the watch and its actual purpose. The all black dial is made using the “par épargne” technique, applied to a solid silver background, which gives the piece an added dimension of sophistication and brawn. Powered by the no-nonsense automatic calibre Breitling 21, the Navitimer will operate at about 28,800 vibrations per minute. Sized at a large 46mm, but with the amount of dial text it won’t seem as large due to the limited dial real estate. It comes on either a rubber strap or steel bracelet and is priced from $11,390.
Budget restricted? Entering the market as a prospective buyer? Want a decent daily beater that won’t break the bank? Then this may be your idea purchase. The Audaz Sprinter combines contemporary aesthetics with functional design to create a piece that will stand out amongst the crowd of modern sub-$1000 chronographs. Its dial is highly legible and features a textured white inner dial which also contains the chronograph sub registers. The hour numerals are large and prominent, and the hands are visible enough to differentiate them against the cluttered space behind them. My only issue is that its powered by a quartz movement. Remove the battery, add a Miyota-powered mechanical movement, push the price up accordingly and you’d have a winner. Otherwise, for the price you honestly can’t go wrong.
Breguet Type XXI 3817
A beautiful combination of new-age watchmaking technologies with old school pilot’s watch charm, the Type XXI is a testament to Breguet’s varied spectrum of timepieces. Not nearly as popular as their more classic and refined collections, the XXI is a nod to yesteryear’s watchmaking architecture, but at the same time plays on the pallets of the newer generations of watch lovers (myself included!). The dial is typical of a pilot’s watch: oversized hour numerals, easily identifiable chronograph functions and large elongated luminescent hands. Now I know I don’t have to tell you of Breguet’s importance to the world of haute horlogerie, nor do I have to tell you of their beautiful timepieces (of which I truly believe are somewhat undervalued and overlooked), but I truly believe this watch brings together the best of what Breguet represents. You get a watch that can be worn everday, with a wonderfully decorated movement – something that defines watches that are far more expensive than this one. The automatic calibre 548Q/2 is supremely finished and features a gold rotor that has beautiful texture applied to it. A truly superb timepiece from one of my favourite watchmaking brands.
Greubel Forsey Art Piece 2, Edition 1
The latest rendition of the Art Piece collection from Geubel Forsey, the Art Piece 2, Edition 1, is both a feat of watchmaking engineering and a play on the aesthetics of typical watchmaking design. From the floating tourbillon to the textured bronze dial, what we have is a watch that is far from normal. In fact, to tell the time takes more than a simple glance at your wrist. You have to press the pusher located at 4 o’clock, which in turn activates a fan that reveals the hours and minutes. Very cool and very pointless. Beyond that, everything is typical Greubel Forsey. An overabundance of beautifully finished parts adorn the watch, and while the dial is somewhat confusing and busy-looking, the caseback is nice and simple, and features the backside of the tourbillon and its bridges, as well as some beautiful jewels. They’ve even gone a step further in individualising the watch by adding their signatures to the caseback: Robert Greubel and Stephen Forsey. Its not going to be cheap, and you probably won’t ever see one in real life, but heres to true haute horlogerie.
HYT H1 Ghost
HYT isn’t a brand that many people will think of when it comes to watchmaking. They’re a small niche brand that are known really only to people who are in the “know” of horology. And I’m not saying that in a detrimental way. It takes a lot of digging to find a brand this different and true to its roots. If you don’t know much about the brand, I suggest you take some time to read up on their ethos and direction in the link below. Otherwise, let me introduce you to the H1 Ghost. A blacked out version of their H1 fluid-based complicated watch that is taking the horological world by storm. The design is focused on black everything. Black fluid that doesn’t reflect light, black DLC titanium case, black bridges and mainplates. Literally black everything. I’m not going to delve into the mechanics of the piece because I could fill an articles worth just talking about the way it tells the time, but from an aesthetic stand point, it is weirdly beautiful. It looks more like the engine of a Lamborghini than a watch, and the unstructured architecture plays perfectly on the steampunk-type design that HYT are pushing for. Limited to only 50 pieces worldwide and priced at over $80,000, its not going to be everyone’s cup of tea, but for your absurdly rich friend that wants a hardcore piece of haute horlogiere, point them in the direction of the Ghost (And yes, I said hardcore).
MB&F LM1 M.A.D. Dubai Limited Edition
I absolutely love MB&F. If there was one company in the world that truly has the ability to take it to the traditionalists of the watchmaking world, it would be MB&F. I’m not entirely certain that I can swear, but if I could I would have added the f-word a few times in that statement. I’m not paid by brands to given a skewed view on what I think, I tell it like it is. And that’s the truth, I really do love MB&F. What they do, what they represent, and how the present themselves through their timepieces align perfectly. There is no crap, there is no blurring of the lines, and more importantly the consumer will always get what they pay for: supreme watchmaking of the highest calibre. The LM1 Dubai Limited Edition, produced in partnership with Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons, is a beautiful rendition of the already incredible LM1. Produced in titanium and with a CVD-treated green dial, it includes Arabic-Hindi numerals as the hour markers on the right sub-dial; a tribute to Dubai as well as the respected surrounding Arabic nations I’m sure. Movement wise, it is still stupidly perfect, so I won’t get into that too much. All I have to say is that when you can combine movement perfection with aesthetic captivation, then you have an absolute winner. Retail pricing is high, close to the $100,000AUD mark and only available at the MB&F M.A.D Gallery in Dubai, but it is truly a beautiful piece.
Vacheron Constantin Quai de I’Île 4500S
Brand new from Vacheron is the stainless steel Quai de I’Île, reference number 4500S. It is the first stainless steel Quai de I’Île and incorporates the new automatic calibre 5100. It will be available with either a white or black dial, where the white is more formal looking, and the black dial looks a tad more casual. The case, as mentioned, is in stainless steel and follows a cushion-case type construct design. The elongated lugs and small crown make the watch look slim and almost rectangular. But the rounded off dial with thin bezel makes the actual dial pop, similar to the of a 3D effect. Intentional of Vacheron or not, I’m not entirely sure, but it does add another dimension of clarity and interest to the piece. The date function follows that of a modular construction, where it is represented by an inner chapter ring, while the date is specifically identified by a rotating triangular indicator. The hour numerals only show the even numbers, while the odd numbers are represented by applied stainless steel batons which simply offsets an otherwise busy looking dial. The calibre 5100 is powered by a stainless steel rotor made of tungsten, and provides the piece with about 60 hours of power. Predicted retail pricing puts the 4500S at around the $20,000 mark, which is very fair considering the pedigree that Vacheron’s timepieces carry.
Victorinox Swiss Army Airboss 241720
I featured this watch on my Instagram page (@haulogerie) a week or so ago, and it was pretty well received. The only issue I found that it had from the comments was that is was priced a tad high. It looks very similar to that of a Seiko 5, but for a few exceptions. The 42mm case carries with it the overall theme of deep and dark blacks. The case itself granular grind-like finish applied to it, which is offset beautifully but the almost glossy look of the inner dial. The outer dial has circular engraving and is a darkened texture of grey. The applied hour numerals stand out from the dark dial, and the inner chapter ring showing the 24-hour time is marked red and actually printed on the back of the sapphire crystal. The red seconds hand looks great amongst all the darkness and makes for easy time-telling along with the sword-shaped hours and minutes hands. The red stitching on the black fabric strap carries on the theme of the watch nicely, and the exhibition caseback lets you see the decent Swiss ETA 2892 automatic movement. Like I mentioned, its priced a bit higher than I would have expected (and liked for that matter), but all in all it’s a pretty versatile daily beater.
A. Lange & Söhne Saxonia Moon Phase
I’ve come to a conclusion with Lange. I think the best way to subjectively analyse their watches is to take a two step approach. One is to review the overall aesthetics of the watch, and the other is to look at the mechanics of the watch. Okay, so beginning the aesthetics, and really there isn’t much to complain about. The dial is clean and crispy white, the hour indices are nice and slim, the small seconds sub-dial is subtle and legible, the moonphase is beautiful, and the sword-like hands are beautifully finished. The case is proportioned well at 40mm and only 9.8mm thick, the lugs are pronounced, and the crown is small and unobtrusive. My only grievance is the oversized date window. If it were a couple of millimetres smaller then I think the dimensions of the piece would be borderline perfect, but Lange typically employ large date windows in the majority of their date-capable pieces. Mechanically, my only complaint would be having the rotor obscuring the view of the beautifully finished movement, but Lange have opted to use a cut-out rotor that doesn’t completely block the movement from view. The hand-engraving on the balance cock is beautiful, the mainplate is beautiful, the balance jewels are beautiful. Hell, even the rotor is beautiful. No complaints about the in-house automatic calibre L086.5. Available in either white gold or pink gold, Lange continue to showcase their prowess with the Saxonia Moon Phase. A definite winner for me.
Patek Philippe Grand Complications 5204R
The 5204R is Patek’s latest rendition on their acclaimed “Grand Complications” line. It combines a rattrapante complication with a perpetual calendar to entice and enthral its lucky owner. The rose gold version of the 5204 looks slightly more classical and sophisticated than its platinum brother. The dial proportions are pretty much perfect, where nothing is really out of place or not meant to be there. Everything serves a function and has been applied in the most unobtrusive of manners. My only annoyance is that the numbers on the three sub-dial registers are not all oriented in the same direction. For example, with the sub-dial at 9 o’clock (indicating the seconds), the 10-second numeral markers are not all aligned in the same way. The 50, 60 and 10 markers face a different way to the 40, 30 and 20 markers. Now while that may seem borderline OCD, if you’re preparing to spend a small fortune to acquire this piece, then everything needs to be taken into consideration. I myself wouldn’t be able to look beyond that, and as such for me I would have to pass on this otherwise perfect piece (if I had the money, of course!). A real bummer, and something I hope Patek can rectify in the future. Look at Journe’s Chronométre Bleu. The numbers all face the same direction and are applied in the same orientation. But anyway, beyond the small (and probably inconsequential issue), the 5204R is a really beauty and something I would love to get my hands on.