Element of style

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 21 August, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 21 August, 2011, 12:00am


Is it possible to attain perfection? Five-star hotels are so pass?- now it's all about six and seven stars. Even Nigel Tufnel, the heavy-metal guitarist in the film This is Spinal Tap, went that little bit further with an amplifier that went all the way to 11.

Now gold and silver, generally considered amply precious enough as precious metals go, have been usurped by the even-rarer platinum in the hearts and minds of wealthy consumers. As ever, crafty watchmakers have been quick to catch on, stepping up production of platinum watches as limited editions.

Omega is the master of turning things up to 11 and it's done it again with the Omega Skeleton Central Tourbillon Co-Axial Platinum Limited Edition (right). It's quite a mouthful and is limited to 18 numbered pieces handcrafted at Omega's Cellule Haut de Gamme workshop in Bienne, Switzerland.

The platinum case and bezel house a stunning dial that is elegance incarnate with black titanium, sapphire and polished platinum. Its hands are also unique in that they are etched on a pair of sapphire crystals. The skeletonised front and back reveal why the tourbillion takes 540 hours to make. It's housed in titanium and located in the centre of the watch, making this the only central tourbillon watch in the world. Prices are available on request, but considering the craftsmanship and limited production run, expect a figure with lots of zeros.

At the more affordable end - if you consider HK$350,000 affordable, that is - is the Officine Panerai Radiomir 3 Days Platino 47mm (below left). As with all Panerai watches, it's big and brash, and demands to be seen. The signature case is made of polished platinum and is water resistant to 100 metres - a nod to the Radiomirs of old. The simple brown dial is another tribute to Radiomirs from the 1930s, and the retro design works well with the use of platinum and the brown alligator strap. Only 199 are being made, so get yours before rap stars and Premier League footballers bag the lot.

Given its high cost, platinum is a rather showy metal and adds extra bling to already eye-catching watches. The Chaumet Dandy Enamel Chronographe XL in platinum (below right) is perhaps the showiest watch released in the past year or so. Priced at HK$634,000, the limited-edition Dandy Chronographe XL has a large 40mm dial with Chaumet's signature blue enamel dominating the face. It's water resistant to 30 metres with a hefty 50-hour power reserve. Just be quick: it's limited to 12 numbered pieces and comes with a choice of two straps: black calf or matte alligator leather with blue lining.