Watches & Wonders: Ten Faces You Need To Know

Whether it’s for their ingenious mechanics, sheer opulence or strapping aesthetics, these are our favourites from the digital edition of this year’s Watches and Wonders.

01 | A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 Perpetual Calendar

Dedicated to the perpetual calendar

It was 20 years ago that A. Lange & Söhne presented its first wristwatch featuring a perpetual calendar. Since the Langematik Perpetual, it has always been featured alongside other complications like tourbillons and chronographs. That is, until this year. The new Lange 1 Perpetual Calendar — in a limited edition of 150 watches — is offered in pink gold with a grey-silver dial or in white gold with a solid pink-gold dial. It has a dial layout that resembles that of the Lange 1 Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar from 2012, complete with a unique ring-shaped month display located at the periphery of the dial, a retrograde day and outsized date aperture on the left of the dial. 

The obvious difference would be the inclusion of the moon-phase display with an integrated day/night indicator. The watch is powered by the calibre L021.3, a self-winding movement based on the calibre L021.1 but equipped with a newly developed winding mechanism.

02 | Bvlgari Octo Finissimo Perpetual Calendar

Another record-breaking feat for thinness

This is Bvlgari’s seventh world record in the last seven years. Following in the footsteps of its earlier record-breaking releases — which includes 2017’s Octo Finissimo Automatic (the slimmest ultra-thin self-winding watch on the market) and 2019’s Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT Automatic (the world’s thinnest mechanical chronograph) — is the Octo Finissimo Perpetual Calendar, the slimmest perpetual calendar in the world. 

The newly developed BVL 305 movement measures a wafer thin 2.75mm, thanks to the use of a micro-rotor as well as its construction, which maximises the use of space between the various components. Measuring 40mm, it comes in two variations — in sandblasted titanium and platinum with a blue lacquered dial. 

03 | Chanel J12 Electro Star

Masterpiece set with more than 850 baguette-cut gemstones

“Women think of all colours except the absence of colour. I have said that black has it all. White too. Their beauty is absolute. It is the perfect harmony,” Gabrielle Chanel once said. Her preference for these colours explains why the brand’s iconic timepiece, the J12, has largely kept to its black or white colour scheme. 

In a surprising twist this year, Chanel introduced a collection of watches with rainbow-hued accents. The most extravagant is the J12 Electro Star, a scintillating design offered in two sizes featuring baguette-cut gemstones amounting to more than 36cts (33mm quartz version) and 45cts (38mm self-winding variant). Available in 12 pieces each, both variants are paved in white diamonds and show off a line of gradated sapphires along the sides of the watches. The 38mm variant is powered by the calibre 12.1 manufacture movement featuring a black oscillating weight set with 52 baguette-cut rainbow sapphires.

04 | Chopard L.U.C Quattro Spirit 25

Watchmaker’s first jumping-hour timepiece

The Chopard manufacture celebrated its 25th anniversary with the launch of its very first jumping-hour timepiece. It combines the treasured complication with a powerful L.U.C 98.06-L calibre, a four-barrelled manual-winding movement based on the exclusive Chopard Quattro technology that guarantees up to eight days of power reserve. Limited to 100 pieces, it features a pure white Grand Feu enamelled dial and is presented in an ethical rose gold case.

05 | Hublot Big Bang Integral Tourbillon High Jewellery

Set with more than 30cts of baguette diamonds

No stranger to high jewellery watches, Hublot unveils its 30th high jewellery ticker, a dazzling masterpiece that combines some of the brand’s signature characteristics. For starters, there’s the HUB6035 in-house manufactured automatic tourbillon calibre, complete with a micro-rotor and three transparent sapphire bridges — all visible from the dial side. 

With 14 years of experience in making million-dollar diamond-set watches, Hublot’s finesse in gem-setting shines through in this piece: it is set with some 484 invisibly set baguette-cut diamonds weighing 31cts. Finally, there’s the visually pleasing form of the integrated bracelet, a design that was introduced in 2020 with the launch of the Big Bang Integral.

06 | Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Hybris Mechanica Calibre 185

World’s first four-sided watch

Featuring 11 complications and a whopping 12 patents, this is the most complicated Reverso ever made by Jaeger-LeCoultre — it’s remarkable, considering the collection turns 90 this year. Not only is this the world’s first four-sided watch (yes, both sides of the iconic Reverso cradle are utilised), it is also the first watch to include three displays of lunar information: synodic, draconic and anomalistic cycles. 

The watch is further equipped with a flying tourbillon, a perpetual calendar with instantaneous indications and a minute repeater that chimes the hours, quarters and minutes without any pauses in between. This means there will be no silent gaps between the hours and minutes even without any intervening quarters. Housed in a very wearable 51mm by 31mm by 15mm case, the Reverso Hybris Mechanica Calibre 185 is presented in a special box equipped with a built-in mechanism that allows the wearer to correct all the calendar and astronomical displays of the watch quickly and safely after it has gone through a period of inactivity.

07 | Patek Philippe Ref 5711/1300A-001

First stainless steel Nautilus with diamonds

Just months after Patek Philippe announced the discontinuation of the legendary Ref 5711/1A-010, it unveiled Ref 5711/1A-014 with a brand new olive green dial, a first for the Nautilus collection. But that’s not all; the watchmaker also introduced a diamond-set version, Ref 5711/1300A-001, the first time a Nautilus in stainless steel is set with diamonds. With its iconic stainless steel structure, novel green dial and trapezoidal-shaped diamond-set bezel, Ref 5711/1300A-001 is highly sought after by collectors even if it may not be the priciest or most elaborate model unveiled by the watchmaker this year. Both iterations will be discontinued by end 2021, marking a glorious end to one of the most coveted watch models of all time. 

08 | Roger Dubuis Excalibur Single Flying Tourbillon “Glow Me Up”

Diamonds that glow in the dark

By utilising a patented technique that involves applying luminescent material onto the grooves located underneath the diamonds, Roger Dubuis has successfully created the world’s first watch to feature multi-coloured diamonds that glow in the dark. Enhancing the watch’s luminescence is another patented process that involves painting the calibre’s chamfers with lume so it lights up the iconic star-shaped bridge in the dark. Encased in Eon gold, a non-tarnishing alloy of pink gold, is the new RD512SQ calibre, a re-engineered calibre with improved power reserve of up to 72 hours and increased durability thanks to a new lube. 

09 | Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight 925

Diver’s watch with a tarnish-resistant 925 sterling silver case

Tudor’s popular Black Bay Fifty-Eight line adds a new sterling silver model to the family. This makes it the brand’s first ever dive watch made from this unusual material and one of the rare few in existence. Although sterling silver is notorious for its propensity to tarnish, Tudor has chosen a special (and secret) alloy that is tarnish resistant. Entirely satin-finished for a matt effect, it also shines with an incandescent brilliance. Pairing beautifully with the silver case is a taupe dial, bezel and fabric strap that can be interchanged with a brown grain leather strap. The watch is driven by the manufacture calibre MT5400 that can be admired via a sapphire case back — another first for this line.

10 | Vacheron Constantin Armillary tourbillon perpetual calendar – Planetaria

Powered by a super complicated 745-part movement

Vacheron Constantin’s latest Les Cabinotiers timepiece is inspired by our eternal fascination with the celestial system. It features a retrograde jumping perpetual calendar displaying dates, days and months, and offers a three-dimensional portrayal of the Northern and Southern hemispheres. Crafted from titanium, each globe features a day/night indication and makes one complete revolution every 24 hours. 

The watch is driven by the newly developed calibre 1991, a super complex 745-part movement that took four years to develop. It is regulated by a double-axis armillary tourbillon featuring a spherical hairspring and an aluminium carriage that makes one rotation every 60 seconds. Presented in a 46mm pink gold case, this unique creation is reserved for only the most discerning collector.

Digital imaging by Clementinus Liem; background images from Getty Images

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