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Ten watches for Christmas (for good boys and girls)
Lifestyle

Ten watches for Christmas (for good boys and girls)

Friday, 20 December 2019
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Marie de Pimodan-Bugnon
Freelance journalist

“One must be absolutely modern.”

Arthur Rimbaud

It takes passion, a healthy dose of curiosity and a sense of wonderment to convey the innumerable facets of watchmaking…

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8 min read

Tick-tock, tick-tock, the countdown has begun. Only a few more days to go until Christmas. This year, Santa has swapped his red suit for a watchmaker’s white coat, and filled his sack with mechanical treasures that will reawaken the child in us all.

The tooth fairy, the Easter bunny, Father Christmas… the truth had to come out one day: they aren’t real. But at this special time of year, why not slip back into childhood mode and accept that sometimes, magic happens. The guardians of time have worked harder than Santa’s elves to bring you a sackful of mechanical marvels that should convince you the jolly old man really does exist. Whirring gears for (grown-up) boys, romantic charms, superheroes and sweet treats, comic books and magic tricks… if you’ve been good all year, there is no reason why the magic of Christmas shouldn’t wrap itself around your wrist with ten timepieces that will add sparkle to any horophile’s holidays.

RJ Arraw Spider-Man – Show off your superpowers

Carrying on its collaboration with Marvel Studios, RJ’s latest offering, the Arraw Spider-Man, succeeds in capturing the Spidey magic in a 45mm black carbon case. And what’s that I spy? An arachnid-inspired mechanical movement, aka the web-shaped RJ-3005 calibre which is manufactured and skeletonised in-house. Red lacquer accents match the spider that doubles up as small seconds. This 100-piece limited edition is definitely one that Marvel fans will want to net.

Arraw Spider-Man © RJ
Arraw Spider-Man © RJ
Omega Seamaster Diver 300M Edition 007 – Smooth operator

Daniel Craig returns to our screens in April 2020 for the latest adventures of James Bond in No Time to Die, the 25th outing for Her Majesty’s most debonair secret agent. Fans needn’t wait so long to enjoy the Omega Seamaster Diver 300M Edition 007. Designed with input from the filmmakers and Craig himself, it has more desirable features than Q has gadgets. A 42mm case and bracelet in titanium guarantee a barely-there feel on the wrist, compounded by a “tropical” brown dial in aluminium that matches the bezel. Precision and performance are guaranteed by the Omega Co-Axial Master Chronometer 8806 calibre. A Super-LumiNova patina on the dive scale, hands and black indexes adds a vintage touch to these classic good looks. In a final flourish, the caseback is inscribed with a series of numbers: “0552” corresponds to a naval serial number, “923 7697” for a military-issue dive watch, “007” for James Bond’s agent number, and “62” which is the year the first Bond film was released.

Seamaster Diver 300M Edition 007 © Omega
Seamaster Diver 300M Edition 007 © Omega
MB&F T-Rex – Dinosaur delight

Recognisable by its long, jointed legs and sharp talons, T-Rex is the eleventh instalment in the prolific collaboration between MB&F and clockmaker L’Epée – and once again, this fantasy object is an impressive, not to mention astonishing, piece of mechanics. Beyond any physical similarities, T-Rex shares the imposing presence of the king of dinosaurs. Its hollowed-out, spherical body is an allusion to fossilised bones of a prehistoric era. For maximum realism, the limbs were modelled on an actual Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton. When it comes to the mechanism, however, we’re a long way from Jurassic. Hours and minutes, on a Murano glass dial, tick by with the precision of a mechanical movement. Assembled from 138 components, it provides eight days of power reserve. Longer than it would take you to add this horological artwork to your collection of dinosaur figures?

T-Rex © MB&F
T-Rex © MB&F
De Bethune DW5 Armilia – Voyage into the future

Let’s be brutally honest: you have very little hope of ever setting eyes (or wrists) on the recently revealed DW5 Armilia, for the simple reason there is only one in the entire world. Which doesn’t mean we can’t let our imagination take us away from humdrum reality and step into the fantasy world of comic-book artist and set designer François Schuiten, author of The Obscure Cities whose fans include De Bethune co-founder and master watchmaker, Denis Flageollet. He took inspiration from Armilia, a submerged city in the farthest northern reaches of an imaginary continent, to conjure up this extraordinary, retro-futuristic sculpture in pink gold, brought to life by the talented master engraver, Michelle Roten. Truly a work of art.

DW5 Armilia © De Bethune
DW5 Armilia © De Bethune
Ulysse Nardin Classico Manara – A love story

Do you believe in the Sirens? After escaping Circe, Homer’s Ulysses almost succumbed to the lure of their song. Ulysse Nardin was unable to resist. The imagination and talent of Italian erotic comic-book artist Milo Manara inspired the watchmaker for a series of ten watches, each depicting an amorous encounter between a woman and a mermaid. The miniature-painted dials of these ten sensual watches are to be read like chapters in a story. Take note: these 40mm Classico Manara are a long way from Andersen’s fairy-tale Little Mermaid – viewer discretion is advised!

Classico Manara © Ulysse Nardin
Classico Manara © Ulysse Nardin
Jaquet Droz Magic Lotus Automaton – Christmas every day

Who can honestly say they have never been enthralled by the animated puppets that bring store windows to life each Christmas. Jaquet Droz makes the magic last all year, with its Magic Lotus Automaton. The scene is a Zen garden, scattered with lotus blossom and leaves in mother-of-pearl, gold, Grand Feu enamel, diamonds and coloured gemstones. Swimming its way through this majestic composition, which changes to depict the four seasons, is a Koi carp. This delicate automaton performs two movements, flicking its tail to create the impression of moving through the water, and moving vertically up and down. The result is a fascinating spectacle to be enjoyed for four full minutes.

Magic Lotus Automaton © Jaquet Droz
Magic Lotus Automaton © Jaquet Droz
Cartier Révélation d’une Panthère – Now you see me...

Cartier has donned its magician’s hat to create yet another stunning illusion. Having captivated its audience in 2018 with Révélation d’une Panthère, where tiny gold beads trickle across the dial at each flick of the wrist to form the face of a panther, which vanishes at the next tilt of the watch, it now offers a repeat performance. This time, however, 650 diminutive round diamonds take the place of the gold beads, against a black lacquer dial. A fleeting and no less precious tableau, framed by a diamond-set bezel and mounted on a diamond-paved bracelet.

Révélation d’une panthère © Cartier
Révélation d’une panthère © Cartier
Van Cleef & Arpels Lady Arpels Pont des Amoureux – Kiss or dare

Past ten years old, playing Ken and Barbie will get you laughed out of the playground. Past 20, well, what can we say. We suggest taking boy-meets-girl to a much higher level by orchestrating an encounter between two lovebirds on a Parisian bridge. The principle is this: Mademoiselle advances slowly to mark the hours while Monsieur reaches the centre of the bridge in 60 minutes. Brought to life by an automatic retrograde movement, developed for Van Cleef & Arpels, they meet in the middle at midday and again at midnight. The brand has completed this charming manoeuvre with an on-demand animation, thanks to which the wearer can have the two lovers kiss at any time of day or night. You’re a romantic at heart? This watch is for you.

Montre Lady Arpels Pont des Amoureux © Van Cleef & Arpels
Montre Lady Arpels Pont des Amoureux © Van Cleef & Arpels
Hermès Arceau Ronde des Heures – Playing hide and seek with the Moon

This new Arceau Ronde des Heures, limited to 300 pieces, is the grown-up version of the endless games of hide and seek we played as kids, with the Moon, hours and minutes in the starring roles. Once again, Hermès has given a clever twist to how we read the time. Earth’s nearest neighbour shows us the hour by way of numerals that turn and turn in the moonlight, while the minute hand points to the distant stars of a constellation. A playful creation.

Arceau Ronde des Heures © Hermès
Arceau Ronde des Heures © Hermès
Richard Mille Bonbon – Candy Crush

Marshmallow, lollipop, liquorice or cupcake? Richard Mille has taken the lid off the candy jar, and there is something for all tastes. A delicious, dare we say tongue-in-cheek, concoction, the Bonbon collection unwraps ten different designs, each one an invitation to relive our sweetest childhood memories, and a recipe for success, thanks to a perfect mastery of ingredients such as Carbon TPT, Quartz TPT, ceramic and Grand Feu enamel, along with a delicate smattering of coloured stones. An explosion of rainbow hues as well as textures suggesting sensations of fizziness, crunchiness or velvety softness, these watches are made to make the mouth water. It’s Christmas, so go ahead and enjoy. Diets can start in the New Year!

Bonbon © Richard Mille
Bonbon © Richard Mille
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