We are hurtling towards the end of the year and, let’s be honest, despite Nintendo’s Super NES Classic, Arsenal’s FA Cup win (its third in four years, dontcha know) and Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk, 2017 has been pretty terrible. Still, mustn’t grumble. There have been some bright spots this year and, if you are a fan of Swiss watches, well, 2017, especially in the past few months, has taken a positive turn after years of bad news.
It seems the good times are back, with Asian consumers buying high-end watches again. This bodes well for the first big watch event of next year, the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH), which takes place in Geneva, Switzerland, in January, and will feature 34 brands (up from 18 in 2015). Watchmakers are already teasing us with their annual pre-SIHH press blitz, and here are three watches that caught my eye.
First up is the Rotonde de Cartier Mysterious Day & Night. Cartier buffs will know this watch is a nod to the mystery clocks that made the company world famous in the 1920s and 30s (I still have no idea how they work).
The design of the watch leans heavily on an early-20th-century aesthetic (which is a Cartier strength). The use of pink gold for the 40mm case goes against current market trends but works here, providing an attractive contrast to the signature sapphire that tops the crown.
The dial is cleverly divided, with the top half displaying the hour and a day/night indicator, and the lower half showing minutes with a retrograde blued-steel minute hand.
Inside the watch is a Calibre 9982 MC in-house movement, which is visible from the back, with 48 hours of power reserve.
The Rotonde de Cartier Mysterious Day & Night is priced at €60,000 (US$71,500).
Next up is the reissue of a classic in time for its 25th anniversary. The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph Re-edition 25th Anniversary invites comparison with the groundbreaking 1993 original.
There isn’t too much difference, to be honest, with the same 42mm steel case, design and polished finish, and Audemars Piguet has given this watch a rubber crown guard and pusher buttons like the original rather than the ceramic parts used for recent Royal Oak Offshore models. The only major difference is the movement, which is an in-house 3126/3840 with a 50-hour power reserve, as opposed to the 2226/2840 in the 1993 watch.
The 2018 reissue is priced at 25,000 Swiss francs (US$25,440).
Finally, we have an absolute peach from Vacheron Constantin that will appeal to well-to-do fashionistas. The Overseas Dual Time is undeniably handsome, featuring an on-trend midnight blue dial (or a silver alternative), a classic dial layout, a handy dual-time feature and a proprietary quick strap change system that allows you to swap out the bracelet for leather and rubber alternatives.
The dual-time system is easy to use and the dial also features am/pm and date indicators. The watch is powered by a 5110 DT movement with a 60-hour power reserve.
The case is sized at 41mm and comes in either steel (US$24,700) or white gold (US$39,500).