12. time-keeper


Watch trends 2019: Architecture

WATCH SELECTION - EUROPA STAR

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August 2019


Watch trends 2019: Architecture

At a time when vintage is all the rage, watchmakers with a concern for architecture are proving that classicism doesn’t have to stray into nostalgia; it can be updated without betraying its own essence. It’s all a question of design. These shapes are capable of a whole new elegant simplicity, while remaining the same. Classics of today and of tomorrow.

BULGARI OCTO FINISSIMO CHRONOGRAPH GMT AUTOMATIC

For many people, this was THE watch of the last Baselworld. Yes, it marks the 5th world record in thinness for the Octo Finissimo. Yes, its automatic movement with a peripheral rotor just 3.3 mm thick, complete with built-in chronograph and GMT, is the thinnest that has ever existed – a feat made possible by the patiently acquired excellence of its built-in in-house movement (and the contribution of its complication workshops at Le Sentier, formerly Gérald Genta and Daniel Roth).

But perhaps that is not the most important thing. This Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT breaks other records. It sets new standards, not only in terms of its ultra-flatness, but also in the boldness of its design, the novelty of its layered Octo shape and the refinement of its typography, further reinforced by its rigorously uniform exterior: the case, dial and strap are made of sandblasted titanium in a deep, silky grey. Bold and unstoppable.

Price: CHF 16,500

HAJIME ASAOKA TSUNAMI DELUXE

It is thanks to his fascination with the vintage masterpieces produced from the 1940s to the 1960s that independent Japanese watchmaker Hajime Asaoka designed his Tsunami Deluxe series, incontestably some of the most beautiful three-hand watches in existence.

Watch trends 2019: Architecture

The Tsunami is by no means a copy of vintage watches; instead, it seeks to reproduce in a contemporary way the beautiful balance, simple perfection of form and aesthetic sophistication of a two-tone dial of absolute legibility. 37 mm steel case, a movement that beats at a tranquil 18,000 vph, and manic attention to detail. A magnificent achievement.

Price: € 33,000

AKRIVIA REXHEP REXHEPI CHRONOMÈTRE CONTEMPORAIN

By his own admission, it was the clear, elegant lines of officers’ watches, which required precision and legibility, that inspired the young Rexhep Rexhepi to build his Chronomètre Contemporain. And how brilliantly he has breathed into it that classic look – purity, symmetry, with functions pared down to the basics – yet totally contemporary, devoid of all artifice!

Watch trends 2019: Architecture

The watch stands out simply by being itself, and is resolutely of the present. Driving three hands, including a small dead-second hand as proof of its accuracy, its magnificently finished inhouse hand-wound movement is equipped with a stop seconds mechanism. Its accuracy is certified by Besançon Observatory.

It won the award of the men’s watch at GPHG 2018.

Price: CHF 59,940

LAURENT FERRIER TOURBILLON GRAND SPORT

In our view, this is one of the most beautiful watches of the season.

In 1979, Laurent Ferrier was still working for Patek Philippe. An avid motorsports fan, he won the Le Mans 24-hour race for the first time in 1977 in the 2-litre prototype category. In 1979, he came third overall at the wheel of a Porsche 935T with his friend François Servanin, to whom he offered the gift of a Nautilus for the occasion. In 2009, now at the wheel of his own brand, Laurent Ferrier created his first tourbillon.

As a tribute, in 2019 he is introducing a Tourbillon Grand Sport, inspired by his own outstanding watchmaking and design career. The 44 mm steel watch combines a cushion-shaped bezel with a tonneau case. It’s super sporty, but inside beats a calibre inspired by nineteenth-century chronometry and driven by a tourbillon which is only revealed when you turn the watch over. What class.

Price: US$ 185,000

GRAND SEIKO SPRING DRIVE MANUAL WINDING

Having for a long time reserved its most advanced mechanical creations solely for the Japanese market, Grand Seiko has decided to launch a major international offensive to demonstrate the excellence of its watches, in terms of both their chronometric performance and their design, which is evidently inspired by Japanese culture and nature.

A whole series of remarkable watches has emerged from this conjunction of avant-garde Spring Drive technology, born twenty years ago after several decades of development, and the delicate touch of its top-notch watchmakers and artisans of the Micro Artist Studio, who draw their inspiration from the natural environment.

Here, architectural sobriety and a beautifully finished handwound movement (sweep seconds hand, double barrel mainspring, accurate to +/- one second a day, power reserve of 84 hours) are combined with a finely hand-engraved platinum case that evokes the snows of the Shinshu region, whence come these remarkable timepieces.

Watch trends 2019: Architecture

Price: US$ 76,000

CZAPEK FAUBOURG DE CRACOVIE KING

Within a few short years, Czapek has succeeded in establishing a recognisable style. It’s a strictly classical style, certainly, offering nothing revolutionary. Nevertheless, Czapek stands out from the also-rans, and with 130 watches sold in 2018 has achieved equilibrium. Its timepieces display similar balance, as well as quality, visible in the deep, subtle guilloché pattern (requiring 23 stages), which prompts Xavier de Roquemaurel, the brand’s creator, to refer to this as their “dial signature”.

Watch trends 2019: Architecture

Witness this chronograph, for example, featuring the 5 Hz Czapek SXH3 integrated automatic movement, in steel with a diameter of 41 mm, beautifully worked with a salmon-coloured, hand-guilloché domed dial in an alloy of gold, silver, palladium and platinum.

Price: CHF 24,000

URBAN JÜRGENSEN JÜRGENSEN ONE COLLECTION REFERENCE 5541 GMT

In this new collection, Jürgensen One, Urban Jürgensen relies first and foremost on the harmony and absolute consistency of lines and forms to create an “organic sense of correct proportions”, on the premise that “nothing could be added or removed without destroying this impression of harmony.” They seem to have won the wager with a very fine collection of steel watches, including this 41 mm automatic GMT plus date model, with perfectly controlled architecture and exquisitely refined finishes. A way of being timeless.

Price: CHF 33,500

GLASHÜTTE ORIGINAL SIXTIES

With its Sixties Annual Edition, Glashütte Original offers a retrospective of 1960s watchmaking, but it also adds a touch of bright, rejuvenating colour. The domed surface of the dial, a golden yellow at the centre, turns to orange and then red before finishing with a fine black border. This is the result of hand-lacquering on dial blanks embossed using 1960s tools – such as a 60-tonne press, which is what gives the dial surface its texture. Automatic calibre 39-52, 39 mm steel case.

Watch trends 2019: Architecture

Price: € 6,300