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About time: Anniversary watches

Abid Rahman

 

Rise to the occasion It's easy to be cynical about anniversaries - after all, they are a pretty expensive business for those of us with large extended families. And when one considers commercial anniversaries, which, let's be frank, are a great opportunity to knock out some commemorative product or other, such cynicism can go through the roof.

Some cynics may sneer but, in watchmaking, it almost seems as if some brands save up their best designs, movements and innovations for that special anniversary. This week, we look at three watches tied to three very different anniversaries but all special in their own way.

First up we have the Hublot Big Bang Ferrari Hong Kong Limited Edition (above left), which marks a double celebration. This special Big Bang Ferrari has been created to mark not only 30 years of Ferrari in the city but also 30 years of Hublot in Hong Kong. So what's so special about this watch? Well, aside from the commemorative markings on the case back and the limited run of 30 pieces, the real highlight is the bright Ferrari-red ceramic bezel, a Hublot-patented invention that really makes the watch stand out - and should act as catnip to Ferrari enthusiasts looking to show off their allegiance. The black ceramic case is sized at 45.5mm and houses the robust 1241 Unico movement, which pumps out 72 hours rather than horse power. Features include a date window at the three o'clock position and a small seconds counter. The dial design is partially skeletonised so it hampers legibility a little, but this watch is all about looks and attracting attention, much like a Ferrari. Prices for the Hublot Big Bang Ferrari Hong Kong Limited Edition are available upon request.

Another brand celebrating a 30-year anniversary is FP Journe, in this instance 30 years of existence. Francois-Paul Journe is one of the mavericks of watchmaking, a rule breaker and a true one-off. Journe's eponymous brand began life in 1983, when the talented young watchmaker decided to make a pocket watch tourbillon entirely by his own hand, an act of bravado or folly, or both. To celebrate that seminal moment, FP Journe has released the Historic Anniversary Tourbillon (right), a limited-edition watch that evokes many of the elements of that first pocket watch. A 40mm gold and silver case houses the Calibre 1412 in-house movement, whose subtle nods to the 1983 pocket watch collectors will love. The design maintains the famed classic and slightly quirky features for which FP Journe is famous, with the Breguet-style dial and blue-steel hands slightly off centre and a small seconds at the six o'clock position, resting over the unseen tourbillon. A real collector's piece, the FP Journe Historic Anniversary Tourbillon is priced at HK$800,000 and limited to 99 pieces.

Finally, we have a gem of a watch to celebrate 125 years of Certina. The DS Limited Edition (top right), is an attempt to encapsulate Certina's journey from classic watchmaker to innovative and contemporary brand, and, for the most part, that mash-up succeeds. The design of the watch has its roots in the past, with a black dial and simple configuration subtle enough to make this a more than worthy dress watch. The new ETA Powermatic 80 movement gives a very impressive 80 hours of power reserve, while the case is sized at 40mm and comes in stainless steel with brushed lugs and a polished bezel. The case back is transparent, which is always a bonus in more accessibly priced watches, and there are nice touches such as the black rotor inscribed with "125th Anniversary" and the old Certina logo making an appearance on the top of the crown. Prices for the DS Limited Edition, which is limited to 5,000 pieces, are available upon request.

 

 

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