Around this time last year we had the first edition of The Rahmans, my awards for the (convenient for the structure of this column) top three watches of the year. As a quick reminder, the winners of the 2016 Rahmans were the Breguet Tradition 7087 Minute Repeater Tourbillon, the Swatch Sistem 51 Soul and the Omega Speedmaster CK2998 Limited Edition. Why? Read the column!
Before I get into the 2017 winners, honourable mentions must go to the Girard-Perregaux 1966 WW.TC, the Vacheron Constantin Overseas Chronograph Steel, the Tudor Heritage Black Bay Bronze and the whole Montblanc 1858 collection, which I love for lots of reasons but if anything they are too good in a conventional sense and I’m all for eccentricity.
Anyway, on to the big three, the holy trinity, the triumphant trifecta, the gleesome threesome, the brio trio … OK, I’ll stop. There’s no particular order here, but let’s begin with the H. Moser Venturer XL Stoletniy Krasniy Centennial Red. Well, where to begin? Just look at it – it is bizarre but alluring, classy but iconoclastic. I’ve picked this as one of my watches of the year because it looks so bizarre and current – Russian influence being so pervasive in politics and culture at the moment. This watch is, in fact, a tribute to H. Moser’s history: the now-Swiss brand was founded in the Russian city of St Petersburg, in 1828 but, in 1917, after the October Revolution, it was nationalised by the government, so this watch is a nod to that tumultuous time. The striking thing here is the company’s Cyrillic logo on the dial, which is painfully cool on top of the smoke-effect communist red dial that makes you want to shout, “Da!” Just to add to the weirdness, H. Moser has given the watch a canvas Nato strap, a utilitarian touch to what is essentially a luxury watch. Inside the movement is top notch, an HMC 327 in-house calibre with three days of power reserve, and the 43mm case is steel. This beauty is priced at HK$169,000 and limited to 17 pieces.
Also in my top three is the Grand Seiko Hi-Beat 36000 Professional 600m Diver’s watch. Seiko makes the best dive watches and this one comes with the premium good looks of the Grand Seiko collection. It’s a beast of a piece, coming in a 47mm titanium case that’s scratch proof and pretty much everything else proof, and with 600 metres of water resistance, it’s a professional tool, too. But the Hi-Beat is all about the looks, with the robust bezel and manly case adding flair along with the lattice-pattern dial and, of course, the iconic Grand Seiko logo. Inside is a gem of a movement, the 9S85, which has 55 hours of power reserve and drums out 10 beats per second (making it incredibly accurate). There are two versions: the blue-dialled SBGH257, limited to 500 pieces and priced at €12,300 (HK$113,600) and the not-limited green-dialled SBGH255, priced at €12,100.
Rounding out The Rahmans is a watch that might seem boring but is something that’s taken me a year or so to come around to. The Omega Globemaster was reintroduced last year with a “pie pan” dial that evoked a 1952 Constellation watch. My initial reaction was “meh” – it looked odd rather than charmingly retro. The problems I had were the pie pan style itself, the fluted bezel and the use of cursive fonts on the dial. But Omega introduced a new iteration this year, the red-gold bezel and brown strap Globemaster Annual Calendar Master Chronometer, and I’ve changed my mind – it’s actually an eye-catching dress watch with a bit of oomph. This oomph comes from the cutting edge 8922 co-axial movement and the busy design is actually a plus, now that I’ve seen it in person. Essentially, if you want a statement dress watch, this is one of the strongest pieces out there. It looks a bit weird and has a bit of class so is an obvious contender for The Rahmans. The Globemaster is priced at HK$86,800.