Breitling – Navitimer 8 Automatic 41
In 1938, Breitling’s Huit Aviation department was producing cockpit instruments and pilot watches for military and civil aviation, many with an eight-day power reserve (hence “Huit” meaning “eight” in French). This “8” is now the name of a collection of five pilot’s watches inspired by Reference 768. A steel case, rotating bezel, triangular marker and luminescent hands on a black dial celebrate this 1940s heritage. Power for the hours, minutes, seconds and date indications comes courtesy of the Breitling 17 automatic calibre. For timing short intervals, Breitling has come up with a simple and efficient alternative to the chronograph: just align the marker on the bezel, which has 60 positions, with the minute hand to show the remaining duration of an event.
Bulgari – Serpenti
Like a snake shedding its skin, the much-feted Serpenti is a watch of many faces, coiling itself around the wrist in gold or ceramic, on a Tubogas bracelet or a leather strap. The recently released Twist is the most diminutive version yet, with infinite personalisation options. A gold or steel case, with or without diamonds, a choice of dial colours and single-, double- or triple-wrap interchangeable straps allow for multiple guises, always with the sophisticated sensuality for which the Serpenti is renowned.
Cartier – Drive de Cartier Extra-Flat
Subtle elegance is the defining feature of this steel watch, that slips unobtrusively under the sleeve of your tux. At less than 7mm in height, the cushion-shaped case of the Drive de Cartier Extra-Flat is 40% thinner than that of the original, which Cartier released in 2016. Sealing the deal is the manual-wind 430 MC mechanical movement.
Chanel – Première Chaîne
Introduced in 1987, Chanel’s first watch, the aptly-named Première, catapulted the brand onto the watchmaking stage. Its octagonal silhouette with sloping corners brings together two of Chanel’s signature traits: the outline of Place Vendôme and the shape of the N°5 bottle stopper. The name also makes reference to the “première d’atelier”, the most senior seamstress who plays an indispensable behind-the-scenes role in Haute Couture. Offered as multiple variations over the past three decades, it returns as the Première Chaîne in steel with a black lacquered dial and an allure not unlike that of the iconic 2.55 bag.
Hermès – Cape Cod TGM lacquered dial
A square inside a rectangle, who would have thought it! Designer Henri d’Origny, that’s who, in 1991. Close to three decades later, the Cape Cod hasn’t aged a day. In fact each new iteration gives it a new lease on life. This Très Grand Modèle (Very Large Model) in steel (33x33mm) sports a lacquered dial in graded red and, beneath it, a quartz movement. Advocates of the old adage that the devil is in the detail will notice the care Hermès has afforded to the interchangeable calfskin strap in Rouge H red.
Longines – Conquest V.H.P.
The quest for absolute precision cannot ignore the benefits of a good quartz calibre, and so it’s with no qualms whatsoever that Longines continues its endeavours in the field with the new V.H.P. (Very High Precision) movement, which is accurate to ± 5 seconds a year. The “smart crown” makes this chronograph version simplicity itself to use. The watch’s capacity to reset the hands in the event of an impact or exposure to a magnetic field constitutes a further advantage.
Louis Vuitton – Tambour Horizon Monogram White
Why leave one wrist bare when there’s room for a connected watch? In which case, why not the Tambour Horizon, presented in three unisex versions with a 24-hour ring? Louis Vuitton celebrates travel with a GMT function that displays the name of a major city with the corresponding time. Globetrotters will also appreciate the City Guides application and its selection of the best addresses and unmissable sights in 29 world destinations. Not to mention the added luxury of personalisation, as Louis Vuitton invites you to choose your favourite dial and swap straps to suit the mood of wherever in the world you happen to be.
TAG Heuer – Aquaracer Lady Calibre 9 Automatic
Promise, we won’t “crack under pressure” but we have given in to this stylish sports watch. A twelve-sided unidirectional rotating bezel and white SuperLuminova-coated hands ensure optimal legibility even in deep water — which is why this Aquaracer Lady is also water-resistant to 300 metres. Not forgetting a touch of subaquatic glamour thanks to the striated white mother-of-pearl dial set with 11 diamond hour markers. Marking time inside the 32mm steel case is the Calibre 9 automatic movement.
Tudor – Black Bay GMT
With its two-tone burgundy and blue bezel, Tudor’s Black Bay aims to please; not least for this nod to a certain iconic watch from the brand with the coronet. Much-loved for its dive-watch qualities, this year the Black Bay collection extends to a GMT function, driven by a new automatic movement. Nor has it relinquished the signature features that have made the Black Bay so very popular, including the Snowflake hand for the second time zone; a thinner version, in red, of the hour hand. Legibility is de rigueur, thanks to a coating of SuperLuminova on the hands and markers. Last, and not least, the 41mm steel case is water-resistant to a depth of 200 metres.
Zenith – Pilot Type 20 Extra Special
Ideally proportioned for women and for men’s slim wrists, the Pilot Type 20 overcomes gender issues with a flick of its 40mm diameter case. A reminder that good things come in small(er) packages — in this instance an aged steel case with vintage accents — it has all the desirable features one would expect: an in-house movement, a fluted ball crown, large, luminescent Arabic numerals and water-resistance to 100 metres. The very best from a pilot’s watch, in the delicious retro colours of a burgundy, slate grey, khaki or blue grained dial.
Prices are all recommended retail prices.