Pirates have had appalling press recently, but what's causing the tide to turn? Is it the Somali pirates causing chaos off the coast of Africa or is it the awful Pirates of the Caribbean 4?
The number of people dressing up as pirates this Halloween also seemed to be down on previous years, which suggests it's high time class and grace reclaimed the high seas and consigned the Johnny Depp boho-hobo pirate look to the dustbin of history.
There may be no better way to heave anchor and venture forth into the big blue in style than wearing an IWC Portuguese Perpetual Calendar (right). Dripping with the maritime heritage of the Portuguese collection, the watch presents a delightful confluence of dials and complications that would stir the soul of the hardiest of old sea dogs. The large 44.2mm case houses dials indicating the day, date, month and even year alongside a moon-phase indicator and a power reserve indicator.
The back of the watch is also see-through, meaning you can sneak a look at the calibre 51613 movement. The Portuguese Perpetual Calendar is water resistant to three bar, and the power reserve is a ludicrous seven days when fully wound. The platinum version comes with a black alligator leather strap, is limited 250 pieces and costs more than HK$438,000.
Another brand synonymous with seafaring is Ulysse Nardin, which has a long history of making marine chronometers and emphasises its maritime credentials with an anchor for a logo. This year, Ulysse Nardin released the limited-edition Monaco 2011 Executive Dual Time (below right), a collection of 100 watches tied to the watchmaker's sponsorship of the annual Monaco Yacht Show.
The Monaco watch has classy styling mixed with more conceptual modernist influences such as warped roman numerals against a blue dial, a 43mm stainless-steel case and blue alligator leather strap. But the standout feature is its dual-time function, with a small window indicator at nine o'clock which can be set quickly and conveniently with buttons on the ceramic bezel. Water resistance for this watch is a healthy 100 metres and the power reserve clocks in at about 42 hours. Prices for the limited-edition watch are available on request.
Rounding out our review of maritime watches is the Alpina Sailing Collection Chronograph (below left). We admit it's strange that a company called Alpina from landlocked Switzerland can make a decent sailing watch, but the brand has overcome these obstacles in this new collection. The huge 44mm stainless-steel case features an arresting face dominated by a colour-coded yacht timer function. Competition sailers will immediately recognise the importance of the timer function. While other features include a unidirectional bezel, large and luminous hour index markers and water resistance to 200 metres. The Alpina Sailing Collection Chronograph comes with three bracelet options, with the rubber-strapped version retailing for HK$26,000 and the metal and mesh metal versions for HK$27,000.