Gift guide: 5 timepieces for the watch connoisseur
Because there is nothing as precious as the gift of time – but not all watches are created equal.
01 SPORTY AND VERSATILE:
TUDOR BLACK BAY FIFTY-EIGHT IN STEEL
Even the most monied watch nerds go gaga for the accessibly priced tool watches by Tudor. One of our favourite releases this year, the Black Bay Fifty-Eight is a vintage- inspired dive watch that’s smaller (39mm instead of 41mm) and slimmer (11.9mm, down from 15mm) than the other members of the much-loved Black Bay family. It features gilt (pink gold-coloured) accents on the bezel and the dial, which gives it a retro and slightly dressier touch. Aside from wearing really well, it is also powered by an in-house automatic movement. Not bad at all for a watch that will run you less than $5,000.
02 TRACKING THE DAYS:
VACHERON CONSTANTIN OVERSEAS ULTRA-THIN PERPETUAL CALENDAR IN PINK GOLD
A perpetual-calendar watch might house a complex mechanism, but this doesn’t mean it must be as thick as a leather-bound journal. This is evinced by the ultra-thin editions that popped up this year. Frankly, we would not
say “no” to seeing any of these three models in our Christmas stocking: The Patek Philippe Nautilus Ref. 5740G, the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak RD#2 (still at concept stage), or Vacheron Constantin’s version shown on this page. What we like about the Vacheron Constantin edition is how its sporty stylings – such as the notched bezel and rubber strap (although it is also sold with a leather strap and a bracelet) – are balanced out by dressy pink gold and its slim, 8.1mm profile. This svelteness is made possible by the Geneva Seal-certified 1120 QP/1 automatic movement.
03 INDIE ON THE UP:
AKRIVIA CHRONOMETRE CONTEMPORAIN IN GOLD OR PLATINUM
The founder of Akrivia, Rexhep Rexhepi, has been winning the approval of his most fastidious peers since starting his company six years ago. This is especially so with Akrivia’s 2018 Baselworld release, the Chronometre Contemporain, a three-hand watch that’s all about accurate timekeeping and expertly executed finishes. For instance, for the red gold or platinum edition, the dial is available in black and white grand feu enamel, respectively – a notoriously tricky material. Recently named best men’s watch at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Geneve, the classically sized 38mm chronometer features stop seconds and zero-reset functions, which means that the seconds hand stops and automatically jumps back to zero when the time is being set.
04 NOT FOR STICKLERS:
AUDEMARS PIGUET ROYAL OAK ‘JUMBO’ EXTRA-THIN IN TITANIUM AND PLATINUM
One of the icons of modern horology, the Royal Oak Jumbo – so called because a 39mm diameter was considered large, back in the 1970s – now comes in a new finish. This self-winding watch is not for fussy wearers who go mad at the sight of a single nick on their timepieces – the highly polished platinum bezel that tops this brushed-titanium Royal Oak attracts scratches as easily as wooden furniture in a cat-filled home, but, if you can handle it, you’ll appreciate the different spin this mix of materials puts on the sought-after 15202 model, which is typically available in steel, or rose or yellow gold.
05 HIS & HERS:
PATEK PHILIPPE CALATRAVA PILOT TRAVEL TIME (REF. 5524R AND REF. 7234R) IN ROSE GOLD
There’s a reason you do not see many specifically made his-and-hers watches these days: They can be a tad cheesy in their matchy-matchiness, which is why brands tend to market watches with slightly differing designs and of different sizes to couples. This year, however, Patek Philippe has released a pair of watches any cool couple would be proud to wear: aviation-inspired watches with a useful dual-time function, in two sizes – 42mm (Ref. 5524R) and 37.5mm (Ref. 7234R). Featuring warm-brown dials, rose-gold cases and the same automatic movement, this pair of timepieces is the follow-up to Patek Philippe’s controversial – who knew the brand’s history included aviation links? – white-gold pilot’s watch launched in 2015.