With Valentine’s Day marked in bold in the calendar, it's inevitable to start thinking about the best possible gifts. Whether for a loved one or for yourself, a watch holds a timeless significance. In this day and age, when time is ubiquitous, displayed by a multitude of devices, a watch embodies pure pleasure. Furthermore, certain timepieces transcend mere function, evolving into exquisite works of art and jewelry. This sentiment perfectly encapsulates the watches I've selected for this article – two examples of artisanal craftsmanship and two more accessible yet equally stunning beauties for the wrist.
As a watch enthusiast and journalist, I am often asked: “Which one is your favorite?“. With my face blushing at the sight of the pieces that I love the most, my heart pounding at the sight of horological complications, and my mouth drooling over exceptional finishes, it is hard to pinpoint my favorite every year. As a (sometimes) pragmatist, I understand why certain watches are loved, desired or bought more than others. It is like asking the mom or dad of a family with several children which is their favorite child – in theory, all of them are, but they might still recognize that they have a favorite.
Year after year, BOVET 1822 continues to amaze with technical pieces of exceptional craftsmanship. And because the independent brand never disappoints but rather surprises, this year’s main piece, the Virtuoso XI, is yet another example of a contemporary tribute to pocket watches executed at the highest level of craftsmanship – now an expected characteristic of the 200-year-old brand.
Sports watches – two interpretations: Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tribute Chronograph and LAURENT FERRIER Sport Auto 40
It is rather difficult for a watch lover to select their favorite watches. A clash of opinions and facts is inevitable when several watch enthusiasts get together. When passion takes over, the discussions can become heated. In the watch world, this usually means a lot of fun, laughter, and positive vibes. The Lifetime Awards Gala 2023 watch selection process was no different. I was honored to be part of the jury with a select group of nice people. For me, the struggle was not about fighting for my favorite piece but about the selection process. A fight is easy, but the reasons behind it are complicated… And we all know this from the world around us.
At the end of August and the beginning of September the watchmaking world was in the spotlight for a new edition of the Geneva Watch Days. Born in the midst of the pandemic as an alternative to the former SIHH (now Watches & Wonders), which was cancelled due to the obvious problems associated with the terrible disease, the GWD has grown strong as an independent event. This year’s edition gathered nearly forty brands, offering both exhibitors and journalists/collectors the chance to enjoy a much more relaxed environment.
In 1915, the Radiomir, derived from “radio mire”, which is Italian for “radium sights”, was born in the hands of Guido Panerai. He invented gun sights that were illuminated by a radium-226/zinc sulphide powder enclosed in small, hermetically sealed containers. Radiomir was officially patented in 1916. Twenty years later, a 47mm prototype bearing the name Radiomir was designed to meet the need for excellent readability in muddy waters. The later sandwich dial is an improvement of the original models, driven by the military requirements for better legibility and luminosity.
This year Panerai continues an almost century-old story. The classic collection has received a lovely modern interpretation, with a brand-new finish where each timepiece has a unique character. Let’s dive into the details of the Panerai Radiomir Otto Giorni PAM01347 & PAM01348.
Ever since the early days of time measurement, humankind has felt the need to embellish time measuring devices. From the sundials of ancient Egypt and the water clocks of the New Kingdom (1500 BC) to the sandglasses (hourglasses - used to measure intervals) and the first mechanical devices that could be mounted in towers, the marine chronometers for ships and the smaller pocket watches, art and craftsmanship have embellished and even highlighted the display and reading of time.
And I am not talking about art objects that have the display of time as a secondary “function”. I am strictly referring to “classic” watches that were used as canvases to express images, ideas and concepts. That is why I chose as examples three pieces that are very different in style and price, the most affordable being the Maurice Lacroix AIKON #tide Benzilla, the most spectacular – the Corum Bubble X Aiiroh, and the most shining (and expensive of all three) – the Bulgari Octo Finissimo Sejima Edition.
When it comes to elegance in sports watches, the Overseas collection from Vacheron Constantin stands out. With clean and precise lines inspired by historical models, the Overseas is the go-to choice for both ladies and gentlemen collectors. Easily recognizable from afar for those in the know, it still remains fairly neutral for the large masses accustomed to more mainstream brands and models. This year, the Grande Maison has released two new, more delicate sizes: a 34.5mm version, available in steel and gold with a blue dial, and a gem-set 35mm version available in a pink gold case with a blue dial, and in a steel case with a pink dial.
How are legends born? When does one know the “legend” status was achieved? Some timepieces achieve that status after years and years of presence or absence – depending on the case, while others are instant legends. This is the case with the new MB&F HM8 Mark 2 – a fine and worthy successor of the HM8, HMX and HM5. If you are even remotely interested in the automotive world, you will definitely fall for this model first time round. And since this Mark 2 model is not just a small variant but a complete redesign, let us have a look at what makes it so special.
A sixty-year anniversary is an important milestone, regardless of the subject. But when it comes to a legendary watch, the shroud of history and mystery intertwines with dreams and aspirations. The TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph is a milestone in the history of sports watches and the model just released at Watches & Wonders is a worthy successor.