2019 is coming to an end. For watchmaking it has been, as always, a year full of news and surprises and, waiting for what it will reserve for us next year – starting from the announced increases of Rolex already from January 2020 to those of Audemars Piguet and Patek Philippe scheduled instead for February -, we relive with a special ranking what happened from January to today.
What we propose to you below, is our personal top ten models introduced in 2019, without taking into account prices, economic possibilities and dreams.
Opening ProPilot 10 Caliber 115
On the lowest step of our clssific, the new Big Crown ProPilot X Calibre 115, a timepiece where the watchmakers of Mouth they took their cue from Caliber 110 and they imagined an entirely skeletonized Oris movement. Traditionally, skeletonizing allowed watchmakers to prove their talents, but this caliber has higher ambitions. Its mission is to reconnect people to objects and how they work.
The Big Crown ProPilot X Calibre 115 lays bare its internal mechanisms. Nothing is hidden. The barrel at 12 is skeletonized so that the oversized spring is also visible. By turning the crown, you can see how the spring wraps... ever tighter... until it is completely rolled up and ready to provide 10 days of uninterrupted charging. Price 6,900 EURO the version with titanium bracelet and 6,400 the version with leather strap.
TUDOR BLACK BAY P01
In the third place the "prototype 01". In 1967 TUDOR, which since the late 1950s provided watches to the US Navy, began to develop a new watch that had to meet a number of requirements set by the U.S. government and incorporated the results of cutting-edge research conducted by brand technicians. This led to the production of several prototypes, as well as the registration of a patent for a function that had until then been completely unpublished. But the ambitious project, code name "Commando", it never came to fruition. In 2019, the model TUDOR Black Bay P01, which stands for Prototype 1, is inspired by the version created as part of that project and preserved in the archives of the Brand.
Today, 50 years later, TUDOR revives its unique aesthetic. The Black Bay P01 reflects the exploratory nature of the initial design: a watch designed for both immersion and navigation. The Black Bay P01 is waterproof up to 200 meters and indicates hours, minutes, seconds and the date. It features a matte black, rounded dial with hour indices coated with a luminescent material.
True to the functional aesthetics of the prototype that inspired it, its case is entirely satin, for a matte finish. The strap developed for the Black Bay P01 model has a rubber base with a "Snowflake" pattern on the back and brown leather finish. In line with the vintage prototype, it is fixed to the case of the watch by mobile attached elements in satin steel. Price 3,760 EURO.
Ulysse Nardin HOURSTRIKER PHANTOM DEVIALET
Devialet, the French company that revolutionized the highest definition audio with its luxurious oval-shaped speakers, and the famous Maison Ulysse Nardin collaborated on the creation of a limited edition of 85 watches equipped with a ringtone: an audio experience worn on the wrist. With a classic ringtone system, a hammer hits a timbre generating sound frequencies, which when emitted, beat time on command.
In Hourstriker Phantom, the stamp hammer is fixed by a system of torsion arms that change the direction of the action forces induced by the vibration of the timbre. In a classic system, the forces produced are mainly in the movement of the watch that generates a small amount of air that is then dispersed by the various components of the watch.
In Hourstriker Phantom, the forces of action created by the stamp find the way and the way out of the clock itself. These forces are transmitted vigorously using a transmission arm to a fine membrane, which is located at the bottom of the watch. From the moment the membrane has an extended surface, a high amount of air is released, and results in a high-level sound. It can be compared to a megaphone with its cone and membrane.
At an announced price of CHF 72,500, the Hourstriker Phantom has become the most convenient ringtone watch on the market. The model stands out thanks to a black alligator strap and will be sold in a limited edition of 85 pieces, which evoke the 85 decibels it majestically reaches.
HISTORICAL VACHERON CONSTANTIN COW HORNS 1955
In seventh place a milestone of classical watchmaking. Born in 1955, in the post-war effervescence, the model called ʺCow hornsʺ, a name due to the characteristic shape of its horn-shaped anse, quickly established as one of the emblematic chronographs of its time, becoming, today, one of the most sought after models by collectors. In keeping with the vintage spirit of his collection Historical, Vacheron Constantin proposes a steel re-version of this creation, between tradition and stylistic originality.
This re-version, aesthetically faithful to the original, respects the standards of contemporary watchmaking. The diameter of the waterproof case at 30 meters has been increased to 38.5 mm and accommodates the chronograph caliber 1142 hand-wound, with a frequency of 21,600 vibrations / hour for a power reserve of 48 hours.
The mechanism of measurement of short times is controlled by a column wheel, according to the great watchmaking tradition, decorated with a screw head whose shape is inspired by the Maltese Cross, emblem of Vacheron Constantin. Price 42,300 EUROS.
Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra Ultra Light
Designed for maximum comfort during sports, the new SEAMASTER Aqua Terra "Ultra Light" by OMEGA it is the ideal watch for athletes. Lightweight, discreet and charming, this ergonomic timepiece adapts to any look without hindering the fluidity of movements.
The dial, the result of in-depth research, has a much thinner profile than usual, with a striped texture reminiscent of the classic design of theAqua Terra, while sporting a distinctive sporty look. Another novelty introduced with the Seamaster Ultra Light is the crown that when not used is hidden inside the case. Inside theAqua Terra Ultra Light contains the first movement Omega titanium.
In fact, the bridges and the main plate are made of ceramized titanium to decrease friction between the elements and, this particular material and its finish give the movement an unusual gray color. The expected price of about 45,000 Euros will make its innovative sports peculiarities even more exclusive.
RICHARD MILLE RM 62-01 TOURBILLON VIBRATING ALARM AIRBUS CORPORATE JETS
At the top of our ranking, he couldn't miss it Richard Mille that with Airbus Corporate Jets (ACJ) launches a new travel watch, inspired by Airbus Corporate Jets' flight experience and the exclusivity it offers.
A watch characterized by an unprecedented great complication, a watch designed for both daily and functional use, theRM 62-01 Tourbillon with vibrating alarm ACJ summarizes the whole philosophy of Richard Mille – bring functionality and performance to new limits. Due to its complexity, materials, complications and ergonomics, the result is a work of fine watchmaking.
TheRM 62-01 it comes with a number of complications useful to professional travelers, with the traditional look of the travel watch. It has the function UTC for a second time zone, indicated by the green hand in the center. At 9 o'clock, under the transparent sapphire dial, the tourbillon has a variable inertia barbell oscillating at the frequency of 21,600 alternations/hour (3 Hz).
The date is located at 12 o'm and is indicated in the dashed red frame typical of Richard Mille's design. The power reserve indication, of 70 hours, is positioned at 11 o'm. The new Richard Mille RM 62-01 Tourbillon Vibrating Alarm Airbus Corporate Jets it is a limited edition of only 30 pieces and will be available at the price of 1,292,700 EUROS.
MB&F Legacy Machine Thunderdome
Fourth place for MAXIMILIAN BÜSSER & FRIENDS. Rising from a blue guilloché sea, the spherical rotating mass shows itself in all its complexity with gears, pinions and cages. Somehow, this chaotic movement releases a certain order. The time is readable on a lacquery dial with an enamel and inclined effect finish, demonstrating that even the most violent vortexes of watchmaking can be harnessed in the logic of hours and minutes.
The new mechanism "TriAx" present in the Legacy Machine Thunderdome satisfies in an amazing way the indications given by MB&F in Coudray. The triple axis rotating escapement has a minimalist structure, capable of breaking all conventions, both traditional and modern. Instead of the rational (and cumbersome) system that associates a cage with each rotating axis, TriAx challenge logic with a three-axis configuration and two cages, able to clearly show the unprecedented swirl of the beating heart of the Thunderdome.
As difficult as it is to take your eyes off the spectacular dial, the opposite side of the LM Thunderdome it's just as satisfying. If the manual-loaded movement with triple barrel has been designed by Eric Coudray, the aesthetics are entirely due to Kari Voutilainen.
The LM Thunderdome it is launched in two limited editions: 33 platinum 950, with a blue guilloché dial and 10 tantalum specimens for the commemoration of the 40th anniversary of The Hour Glass, a retail group in the Asia Pacific region. Five pieces will feature a dark blue guilloché dial and five of an inverted adventure dial. The price is over 300,000 EURO taxes included.
JAEGER LECOULTRE: GRANDE TRADITION GYROTOURBILLON WESTMINSTER PERPETUEL
On the lowest step of the podium, Il Master Grande Tradition Gyrotourbillon Westminster Perpétuel by Jaeger-LeCoultre, which features a Gyrotourbillon, perpetual calendar and a minute repeater that mimics the Big Ben chime system.
Despite all these complications, the watch measures only 43 mm in diameter and is little thicker than 14 mm, being so surprisingly comfortable to wear, always for those who can afford it given its price of 800,000 EUROS.
FP JOURNE ASTRONOMIC SOVEREIGN
Silver for F.P. JOURNE. After the success of the sale of the beaten prototype at auction Only Watch, F.P. Journe presents the final version: Astronomic Sovereign. A great timepiece with countless functions and complications made on a steel case, with tourbillon and minute repeater, whose vocation is to remember a gesture long forgotten: that of getting lost among the stars to find a way on Earth.
At 3 o'clock we find the main time dial (or civil time), with a blue hand indicating a second time zone. At 9 a.m., the dial of the sidereal time, which allows star-watching. Next to it, the seconds are displayed on a disk.
Between the two functions are i central minutes and thepower reserve indication, which remains optimal for up to 40 hours. Also at 12 o'm a blue opening indicates thesunrise and sunset with the help of metal "shutters" that lengthen or shorten the days.
On the back is theequation of time it's a complete annual calendar surrounded by the signs of the zodiac.
Also from the back you can admire the dance of the whirlwind. In all, this watch, which is able to mark even hours, quarters and minutes, has 18 functions and complications. It consists of 758 components, in addition to the case that has a diameter of only 44 mm and a thickness of 13.80 mm. Watch lovers will have to be patient, as only a few pieces will be produced each year at the price of about 1,000,000 euros.
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin e VACHERON CONSTANTIN TRADITIONELLE TWIN BEAT CALENDARIO PERPETUO
Ex fair! Since we did not know how to choose, in the first place of our annual top ten, we do not find a watch, but two really unique timepieces that marked the year that is about to end.
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin
Triumphant at the last edition of the GPHG and just one year after the presentation of the prototype RD#2, Audemars Piguet introduced the new Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar Extra-Flat Automatic. A refined timepiece, embellished with the nobility of materials and a movement that marks an important milestone for the Maison of Les Brassus.
The in-house caliber 5133 is only 2.89mm thick, visible thanks to the sapphire glass caseback with anti-glare treatment. The bezel and the intermediate meshes are in 950 platinum. The latest arrival from the Audemars house represents the last important stage in the long history of the Manufacture, famous not only for creating iconic watches, but also for its mastery in developing watches with calendar and extra-flat mechanisms.
The new Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar Extra-Flat Automatic it will be on sale at a price of about 130,000 Euros and will be available at Audemars Piguet boutiques.
VACHERON CONSTANTIN TRADITIONAL TWIN BEAT PERPETUAL CALENDAR
The new calendar Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Twin Beat Perpetuale with a "normal" 4-day power reserve, it presents a revolutionary novelty: the "Standby Mode". The movement changes to a lower frequency and the power reserve reaches up to 65 days!
Those who have a perpetual manual calendar know how many and what problems there are to set the calendar indications after the calendar has been stopped some time. The solution of Vacheron Constantin to this problem is simply brilliant, equipping this perpetual calendar with a large main spring, two gear trains, each with its own oscillator that "ticks" at a different frequency, 5Hz or 1.2Hz. The watch, presented in a very wearable size, has a 950 platinum case measuring 42 mm in diameter and 12.3 mm in height.
The new Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Twin Beat Perpetual Calendar is a truly spectacular watch, which includes many more technical feats than we can describe. The price will be EUR 210,000. Production will remain quite low, since five pieces are expected in 2019.