Despite the pandemic wreaking havoc in so many ways, including forcing most watch brands to shutter doors for a few weeks or months, certain watch brands managed to release some pretty intriguing timepieces this year. From unexpected colorful presentations to high-tech materials, creative functions and extreme complications, top watch brands pulled out all the stops when it comes to ingenuity. Here we take a look at five top watches – one each in five different categories – that rocked the watch collecting world in 2021 so far.
When it comes to color, Swiss watch brand Oris may take the top spot this year. The brand released its Divers Sixty-Five Cotton Candy series of watches that wowed the world with its bronze cases and cotton-candy colored dials. Offered with pale green, sky blue and lipsitck pink dial options, the watch is a tour-de-force that brings together an automatic movement, 100 meters of water resistance and the beloved bronze case and bracelet. The 38mm watches are definitively unisex, and the hands and indices are filled with Super-LumiNova for easy nighttime and underwater reading. Best of all, they are an incredible value proposition – coming in at just over $2,000 each.
This year, Corum decked out its beloved water watch, the Admiral, in all new high-tech materials. The Corum Admiral 45 Automatic Openworked Flying Tourbillon Carbon & Gold watch is crafted in a specially made carbon case that incorporates gold flecks. As the materials heat and bond, the flecks fall into different places, making each case unique. The watch depicts the nautical pennants in black to complement the look. The automatic movement, developed in house by the brand, features a flying tourbillon at 6:00. The approximately $60,000 watch is finished with a rubber and synthetic textile strap with genuine gold stitching finishes the high-tech/high-mech timepiece.
The new IWC Big Pilot’s Watch Shock Absorber XPL watch is a deft blend of creativity, high-tech materials and pure function. The watch houses several important developments, including IWC’s patented Sprin-g shock absorber system that was eight years in the making. Its cantilever spring protects the movement against g-forces up to 30,000 gauss and is made of Bulk Metallic Glass (BMG). The case of the XPL is made of the IWC’s proprietary Ceratanium® alloy with the same hardness and scratch resistance as ceramic. The manufacture-made caliber 32115 also uses light-weight components such as aluminium alloys. Just 10 pieces a year will be made of the approximately $84,000 watch.
This year Jaeger-LeCoultre pulled out all the stops with its newest Reverso, made in honor of the 90th anniversary of the legendary reversible watch. The brand’s new Reverso Hybris Mechanica Quadriptyque is the result of six years of work. Its Caliber 185 movement holds three patents, and the watch is a world’s first: it boasts four functioning display faces. Retailing for $1.35 million, the timepiece boasts 11 different complications, such as minute repeater and perpetual calendar, as well as astronomical displays, complex celestial indications and more.
For its newest Tonda Reine de Mai women’s watch, Parmigiani Fleurier combines a host of métiers d’ arts techniques that transform the dial into a meticulously beautiful floral motif. It combines the art of stone carving and sculpture, as well as gem setting and layering. The floral motif, crafted of mother of pearl, recalls the flowers in the mountains surrounding the Swiss manufacture. Additional flowers are craved of 18-karat pink and white gold, with the white versions set with diamonds. In total, 23 different marquetry elements come together to form the finished work of art. Inside the approximately $118,000 watch, resides an automatic in-house-made movement.
This article by Roberta Naas first appeared in the summer issue of The Jewelry Journal (TJJ).