Four of the best new luxury watches
A dose of retail therapy might help chase away the lockdown blues
James Bond’s timepiece transformed
The Omega Seamaster Diver 300M (above) “feels like it took 26 years to get right”, says Cole Pennington on Hodinkee. Past designs teetered back and forth between luxury watch and utilitarian tool and if it weren’t for the on-screen endorsement by Pierce Brosnan, “the suavest Bond of them all”, would the watch have hung around in Omega’s lineup for as long as it has? It’s a good thing it did, says Pennington.
The changes Omega has made in this latest incarnation have “truly transformed the watch”. The newest case is 13.5mm thick and 42mm wide. The Diver 300M Co-Axial Master Chronometer (pictured) is water resistant to up to 300 metres and the dial has been changed to highly polished ceramic from enamel, which “serves as a perfect canvas for a laser-etched wave pattern”. From £4,170, omegawatches.com
Breitling’s bohemian chic
It is fitting that Breitling, whose brand extols derring-do and pioneering adventuring in the face of adversity, has continued to plough on despite the challenges coronavirus has caused for the watch industry, says Johnny Davis in Esquire. The Breitling Superocean Heritage ’57 Capsule Collection – based on the brand’s original dive watch, the 1957 SuperOcean – is “a tribute to the laid-back lifestyle of the surfers of the 1950s and 1960s”.
The 42mm watch is available with a classic black dial on a black vintage-inspired strap, but also in a colourful limited version – only 250 are being made. It is the “embodiment of pure bohemian chic” and is “surely one of 2020’s most notable releases”. £3,990, breitling.com
A bespoke masterpiece
If you’re looking to stay away from mass-produced timepieces and instead want something unique, you’re not alone. The demand for customisable luxury watches is on the rise and, “when it comes to understanding the true meaning of luxury”, the world’s oldest diamond company is “a master”, says Tracey Llewellyn in The Daily Telegraph.
For watch and jewellery maker Backes & Strauss, founded in 1789, commissions from private clients are nothing new, but CEO Vartkess Knadjian has noticed an increase in demand for bespoke pieces. The client has the option to select the case material and gemstones, as well as their cuts and setting, and whether the dial is gem-set, enamelled or hand-painted. Prices range from £50,000 to well over £1m, backesandstrauss.com
The world’s thinnest mechanical watch
The historic master of the thin watch, Piaget, had its record for the thinnest mechanical watch broken by Jaeger-LeCoultre in 2015, says Tim Auld in the FT's How To Spend It. Jaeger LeCoultre’s Master Ultra-Thin Squelette’s case was just 3.6mm in depth, while Piaget’s Alitplano Ultimate 900P had previously set the mark at 3.65mm. “For the sake of 0.05mm, you might have thought they’d call it quits, but the quest to design watches ever closer to the airy thinness of gold leaf remains a compulsion to the world’s leading makers.”
Piaget’s 2mm-thick hand-wound Altiplano Ultimate Concept (pictured) has restored its title, “its 167 tiny parts, like a troupe of angels dancing on a pinhead, intricately whirring within a cobalt alloy case 2.3 times stronger than gold”. The collection comes in three finishes and a choice of ultra-thin alligator-skin or technical-textile straps. Customisation is also possible. Price on application, piaget.com
This article was originally published in MoneyWeek