We’re hurtling towards the end of the year and, let’s be honest, the sooner it’s over the better. No, I’m not talking about all the politics, disaster and death but the fact that Arsenal mugged themselves off and finished behind Leicester City in the Premier League. Leicester! Come on! The worst. Anyway, December in the watch industry is usually when the anticipation builds for the next year’s first big show, the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie, which is held in Geneva every January. The drip, drip of pre-event releases has started and although the blockbuster watches are held back till the show itself, we’ve already been given a glimpse of some choice pieces. So this week we’ll look at three gems before the main event begins.

Three watches that watchmakers loved in 2016

Greubel Forsey is one of those small manufacturers that only watch nerds and billionaires would know about, but that’s a bit of a shame; the brand doesn’t set out to be elitist, rather the movements and execution of its products are so complex that the sticker price inevitably has a lot of zeros.

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One of the brand’s big launches for 2017 is the Tourbillon 24 Secondes Vision in platinum with a “salmon” dial. What’s new here is the colour configuration. There’s been a welcome shift and focus on the colour of the dial and case material in recent years as brands have belatedly realised that guys like to coordinate their watches with their outfits or want something unique and/or striking. That’s what you get with this salmon-pink dial. Everything that made the original a winner is still here, including the beautifully finished tourbillon that sits off centre and the classic design layout. The case is 43.5mm in diameter and the movement inside is an in-house GF01r.

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For a company that is relatively new to watch­making, Montblanc is putting some of the stellar names in the Swiss industry to shame. Fresh from winning awards last month at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève, the watch-industry Oscars, Montblanc is going to unleash another strong contender next year. In fact, if one of the pieces from the 1858 bronze collection doesn’t get recognition in 2017, I’ll spend a month listening only to Phil Collins. The pick of the collection is the 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter Limited Edition. The striking thing about this watch, as with the Greubel Forsey, is the use of colour, here rendering the 44mm case in trendy bronze and pairing it with a champagne-white sunburst dial and tan leather strap. Besides the chronograph feature, aficionados will also appreciate the MB M16.29 in-house movement.

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Finally, we have something that’s pretty simple from a brand that could really do with keeping it simple more often. Ulysse Nardin ordinarily makes watches that I find incredibly ugly and overblown but the Classico Manufacture “Grand Feu” is an under­stated but still on-trend piece. The centre­piece here is the grand feu enamel dial in luxurious deep blue. The steel case is sized at 40mm and inside is a UN-320 movement. The watch comes with a blue leather strap.

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The prices for all three watches will be released early next year.