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Watch trends 2019: Fine Tuning


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July 2019

Watch trends 2019: Fine Tuning

Progress happens in two ways: by radical ruptures, or just the opposite – tiny adjustments. But why on earth go for radical ruptures when you have iconic products, the popularity of which has scarcely waned for decades? Yet even an iconic product must be taken down and cleaned, from time to time, of the subtle dust that collects on all things. Rolex and Chanel cases.


Where fine-tuning is concerned, Rolex is the uncontested champion. The very first Yacht-Master dates back to the 1960s, and a project that never got off the ground (only two items are believed to have been produced between 1967 and 1969).

At the time, the idea was to give the Submariner a bit of a facelift. But with typically Rolexian caution, the actual launch of this new collection of “professional watches with the regatta spirit” did not occur until 1992. Since then, it has gone from strength to strength. In 1999 we saw the first platinum/steel model, then in 2005 a gold/steel version, and finally this first Yacht-Master II model, released in 2007, the ideal companion for the truly professional yachtmaster.

Watch trends 2019: Fine Tuning

The new Yacht-Master 42 mm has got it just right: the same old familiar watch but with a whole new look. And it’s already making a splash.

This year, fans and collectors alike breathlessly awaited the new iteration with an unprecedented diameter of 42 mm. Made in 18K white gold, it comes mounted on a rubber strap. It is equipped with the “avant-garde” 3235 calibre, a certified “Superlative Chronometer” displaying a black-lacquered dial encircled by a bi-directional rotating bezel fitted with a 60-minute graduated Cerachrom insert in matt black ceramic. The new Yacht-Master 42 mm has got it just right: the same old familiar watch but with a whole new look. And it’s already making a splash.

Price: CHF 26,500

Watch trends 2019: Fine Tuning


It turns 20 next year, the age at which “you change everything without changing a thing”. Created by Jacques Helleu, the J12 demonstrates both the extraordinary resilience of its design and its capacity to adopt a wide variety of different appearances while remaining totally true to itself.

So why change at all, if you don’t change a thing? “It’s paradoxical,” admits Arnaud Chastaingt, director of Chanel’s watchmaking design studio. “But it’s all wrapped up with the necessity of equipping it with a new automatic movement, the 12.1, COSC-certified calibre developed with the Kenissi manufacture, and with a determination to keep it desirable by gearing it more closely to our contemporary style.”

Watch trends 2019: Fine Tuning

Ultimately, 70% of the components have changed, but it’s the same watch: a surgical operation dictated by style, to which the technical aspects have to submit. The case, now a ceramic monobloc, has a softer, slightly rounded profile, while its re-architectured strap has elongated links that lend it a new finesse. The bezel is slimmer and the number of gouges has increased from 30 to 40. The typography of the numerals (now in applied ceramic) and indices has been redesigned, as have the markings, now stamped in the Chanel typeface. The hour and minute hands are of identical width, and on the black J12 the dial features black Super-LumiNova luminescent zones.

At the back, a sapphire crystal provides a view of the movement and its splendid oscillating weight in openworked tungsten, the architecture of which is in perfect stylistic harmony with the rest

Price: CHF 5,650

Watch trends 2019: Fine Tuning