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Watches & Wonders 2020: classics revisited
Watches & Wonders

Watches & Wonders 2020: classics revisited

Tuesday, 28 April 2020
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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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4 min read

Refinement, elegance and timeless appeal define these new men’s watches, presented at Watches & Wonders 2020. No fuss, no frills, just pure, classic goodness.

Baume & Mercier Clifton Baumatic

While it may be love at first sight for the studied minimalism of the 40mm steel case framing a gradient grey lacquer dial, the Clifton Baumatic has other assets which, though not immediately visible, are just as important to the serious watch enthusiast. The Baumatic BM13 1975A automatic movement, on show through the sapphire back, not only provides COSC-certified precision, it also delivers a full five days of power reserve. A winning combination for this quintessentially classic watch, with the added luxury of an interchangeable strap system that makes switching styles simplicity itself.

Clifton Baumatic date COSC © Baume & Mercier
Clifton Baumatic date COSC © Baume & Mercier
Cartier Santos-Dumont XL Watch

In 2019 Cartier launched a successful revival of the model Louis Cartier designed in 1904 for the dashing aviation pioneer, Alberto Santos-Dumont. Sealing the deal for watch connoisseurs, the Santos-Dumont’s stylishly retro forms now house a mechanical heart: the manual-winding 430MC calibre. The taut lines of the pink gold case retain the same elegant temperament and harmonious proportions of the original, in a substantially larger 46.6 x 33.9mm size. The back of the case is engraved S=D, the signature of Alberto Santos-Dumont and a hallmark of style.

Santos-Dumont XL Watch © Cartier
Santos-Dumont XL Watch © Cartier
Slim d’Hermès GMT

At Hermès, a classic watch is never entirely that. Rigorously simple with balanced proportions, the Slim d’Hermès GMT makes light of time zones by means of a GMT subdial whose numerals have broken rank from the conventional circular display. This visual twist on tradition lends an original note to a watch whose keynote is refinement. The refinement of a 39.5mm pink gold case. The refinement of an extra-thin (2.6mm high) H1950 calibre. The refinement of Philippe Apeloig’s typeface… A host of carefully studied details in a watch that makes the urge to travel even greater.

Slim d’Hermès GMT © Joël Von Allmen
Slim d’Hermès GMT © Joël Von Allmen
IWC Portugieser Automatic 42

A 42mm diameter in red gold, a deep blue dial coordinating with a Santoni alligator strap: the Portugieser Automatic 42 is the epitome of the classic watch, with nothing to add, nothing to take away from its elegant design. However, the beauty of this Boutique Edition also lies with its movement. The IWC-manufactured 52010 calibre incorporates a Pellaton winding system with components made from virtually wear-free zirconium oxide ceramic. Slightly larger dimensions make room for two barrels that store an entire seven days of power reserve.

Portugieser Automatic 42 © IWC
Portugieser Automatic 42 © IWC
Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Control Calendar

One of Jaeger-LeCoultre’s many claims to fame are the triple calendar moon-phase watches it produced in the 1940s and 1950s; a speciality brought up-to-date in the Master Control Calendar. Housed inside a 40mm steel case, the Jaeger-LeCoultre 866 automatic calibre introduces a novel complication: every month, the date hand makes a 90° leap from the 15th to the 16th for a perfectly unobstructed view of the moon-phase display.

Master Control Calendar © Jaeger-LeCoultre
Master Control Calendar © Jaeger-LeCoultre
Montblanc 1858 Split Second Chronograph

This contemporary interpretation of a 1930s Minerva military chronograph is a textbook example of how to reinterpret a classic. Cased in titanium with a 44mm diameter, its dial is a fine illustration of the Grand Feu enamel technique. Executed in blue, it combines a telemeter scale on the periphery with a spiral tachymeter scale in the centre. Originality meets legibility in this monopusher chronograph that gets its power from the MB M16.31 mechanical movement with manual winding.

1858 Split Second Chronograph © Montblanc
1858 Split Second Chronograph © Montblanc
Panerai Luminor Marina Goldtech™ 44mm

Introducing Goldtech™, an alloy whose high percentage of copper (24%) alongside a small quantity of platinum (0.4%) give Panerai’s red gold its intense colour and make it more resistant to shocks and oxidation. This warm-toned precious metal enters the Italian brand’s permanent collection on the robust 44mm case of the Luminor Marina. Keeping the beat is the automatic P.9010 calibre which Panerai developed at its Manufacture in Neuchâtel, Switzerland. Twin barrels keep it ticking for three days.

Panerai Luminor Marina Goldtech™ 44mm © Panerai
Panerai Luminor Marina Goldtech™ 44mm © Panerai
Vacheron Constantin Fiftysix self-winding

Debuted in 2018, the Fiftysix line welcomes a new execution of the automatic model. A sepia-toned dial makes the ideal match for this modern interpretation of a vintage style. Carrying the mid-century influence through to the box crystal, the 40mm case in pink gold riffs on Reference 6073, a 1956 style that was also the first water-resistant automatic watch by Vacheron Constantin. Part of its distinctive design, reprised on this new interpretation, are lugs that mirror the arms of the brand’s Maltese Cross symbol. Turning the watch over reveals the movement; a chance to enjoy, through a sapphire caseback, the Côtes de Genève finishing and the openworked design of the 22k pink gold rotor, it too in the shape of a Maltese Cross.

Fiftysix self-winding © Vacheron Constantin
Fiftysix self-winding © Vacheron Constantin
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