Retrograde displays bring bursts of energy to fresh watch faces
Indicators that continuously trace an arc before jumping back to the start give these timepieces a dynamic edge.
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01: LIVELY EXPRESSION
It’s not just a flying tourbillon that gives IWC’s Portugieser Tourbillon Mystere Retrograde a sense of dynamism: This 44.2mm platinum timepiece also features a retrograde date display on the bottom left of its dial, which jumps back to its starting position at the end of every month. (In shorter months, the date can be easily and quickly adjusted with its rapid-advance system.) Retrograde displays are typically energy-intensive because of the sudden bursts of power required to drive them – not a problem with this model’s mighty seven-day power reserve.
02: LOOK INTO THE MIRROR
When A. Lange & Sohne created the Lange 1 Daymatic, the company diff erentiated it from the regular Lange 1 by making it the latter’s mirror image. For example, the Daymatic’s hour-and-minute display is on the right of the dial, instead of the left. Similarly, the Daymatic’s retrograde day-of-the-week scale mirrors the position of the power reserve indicator on the Lange 1. We like the characteristic attention to detail that’s shown in this 39.5mm pink gold watch.
03: FINE LEGACY
Vacheron Constantin releases the latest iteration of its Patrimony Retrograde Day-Date, which features retrograde registers indicating the date of the month and day of the week. The improvements are both technical and cosmetic: The thickness of its rose gold case (which measures 42.5mm in diameter) has been slimmed down by 4mm to 9.7mm. This is made possible by the watch’s streamlined calibre, that also allows it to be more easily adjusted – instead of having to use a corrector pen, all adjustments can be done by the crown.
04: LEAPS OF IMAGINATION
Frankly, the Piaget Gouverneur is not the easiest to read. But we’re more than willing to trade a bit of legibility for this elegant and unusual-looking timepiece. Equipped with an ultra-thin perpetual calendar movement, this 43mm pink gold watch has two retrograde indicators – for the days of the week and the date. The days of the week are arranged horizontally stepped, while the days of the week are arranged in a vertical arc on the right of the dial.
05: FAST TRACK
Retrograde displays can be used to indicate various things: Seconds, minutes, hours, days, and so on. Typically, the seconds retrograde display is the fastest-moving, jumping back to the start every 60 seconds. But the retrograde seconds hand of Blancpain’s Villeret Retrograde Small Seconds (Ref. 6653Q-3462-55B) moves even faster than that, returning to the start every 30 seconds. This feature lends a fun, dynamic touch to the otherwise classically styled wristwatch, shown here in a 40mm red gold case.
06: ON THE MOVE
The dual-time watch is always our top pick for frequent travellers, and we like how Cartier has given this genre a different spin with the Drive de Cartier Second Time Zone Day/Night. Instead of using an additional hour hand on the central display to indicate a second time zone, the second time zone here is shown on a discrete retrograde scale at 10 o’clock. This cushion-shaped watch comes in a steel case measuring 40mm (length) by 41mm (width).
07: POWER OF FOUR
The dial of the Longines Master Collection Retrograde serves up quite the show of hands, with no fewer than four retrograde displays: There’s one for the day of the week, the date, the seconds and the second time zone. Despite the six hands sharing space on this space, this 41mm rose gold watch remains relatively legible, thanks to its clearly defined scales and the contrast of its blued steel hands against a silver dial.