The Best Watches Of 2020

A neatly held dive into the year’s ultimate releases.

By Christian Barker 20/08/2020

No Baselworld, an online and renamed SIHH, new rival ‘umbrella’ fairs and a firm push for direct-to-consumer marketing—it’s been difficult to truly be across the many new releases and updates that have so far landed this year. Allow us, then, to steer you towards that next purchase with 2020’s best so far. 

Chopard Alpine Eagle

Chopard Alpine Eagle
Chopard’s new piece meets the demands of the Swiss lifestyle—conservative business one day, active mountain sports the next, apres-ski chalet bacchanals by night. Taking its aesthetic cues from the eye of the high-flying creature its name references, proceeds from the watch’s sales go towards the Eagle Wings Foundation, supporting the preservation of the Alpine environment. Steel $19,900; duotone steel and rose gold $30,500; chopard.com

Richard Mille Yohan Blake RM 61-01 Ultimate Edition

Richard Mille Yohan Blake
Richard Mille’s first collaboration with sprinter Yohan Blake, the 59-01 Tourbillon, was a divisive creation, oriented to be worn on the right hand, and encased in a composite material resembling hardened kiwifruit, with yellow/green/black livery following the colourway of the Jamaican flag. This new limited edition, while still made for the lefthanded, presents a more subdued look, in high-tech black-and-white Quartz TPT and Carbon TPT. $261,000; richardmille.com

MB&F HM10 Bulldog

MB&F Bulldog
MB&F bring a healthy dose of whimsy to their creations. Max Busser and buddies’ latest combines next-level horological craftsmanship and engineering ingenuity with design inspired by Tom & Jerry’s canine companion, Spike—the ears formed by the crowns, the crystal domes the eyes, and the power reserve indication shaped like a toothsome jaw. The titanium or red gold caseback bears the jokey engraved legend: “Forget the dog, beware the owner.” Titanium $162,000; red gold $186,000; mbandf.com

Roger Dubuis Excalibur Twofold Double Flying Tourbillon

Roger Dubuis
Eagle-eyed viewers of the brilliant Netflix series The Last Dance may have spied Roger Dubuis watches on the wrists of basketball greats Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen. On the show, Pippen wears a Double Flying Tourbillon, valued at around $300K. We’d draw the attention of any similarly serious ballers to this new eight-piece limited edition in the line, innovative in its eye-catching use of lume across the movement, case and strap. $427,000; rogerdubuis.com

Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch 321 Steel

Omega Speedmaster
In 2019, Omega excited aficionados by issuing a new watch featuring the seminal calibre 321, the hand-wound movement used in the original Speedmasters worn by the Apollo astronauts. Last year’s iteration was a platinum-cased limited edition with onyx dial and meteorite sub-dials, which cost around $93,000. To the delight of more parsimonious ‘Speedy’ devotees, the new, open production steel rendition can be had for less than a quarter of that price. $21,800; omegawatches.com

Hublot Big Bang Integral

Hublot Big Bang Intergral
Integrated-bracelet timepieces aim to seamlessly meld case and bracelet into a cohesive whole. The category, which was pioneered by Audemars Piguet’s Royal Oak and the Patek Philippe Nautilus in the 1970s, is enormously popular today, and most major brands have something to meet the needs of integrated-bracelet fans. Hublot has only just now entered the fray, creating three integrated-bracelet iterations of the signature Big Bang model. Available in titanium, black ceramic, and King Gold (Hublot’s proprietary 18-karat red-gold alloy, which includes extra copper content and a touch of platinum to stabilise colour and neutralise oxidation), all three feature matte black skeleton dials. Titanium $32,500; gold $81,500; ceramic $35,800; hublot.com

IWC Portugieser Chronograph


IWC has anointed 2020 the year of the Portugieser, focusing on this key line—first introduced in 1939—and releasing a series of new iterations of their iconic marine chronometer-inspired model. We wager that the 2020 Portugieser chronographs will prove among the most popular of the new references. With sub-dials at 12 and 6, the latest are available in green, grey, burgundy, blue and white dials, in 41mm cases of steel or gold, providing something for all tastes. Chronographs from $13,500 (in steel) to $28,500 (in gold); iwc.com

Urwerk UR-111C TT

Urwerk
This 25-piece limited edition forms the latest part of a ‘family’ at Urwerk that pays tribute to a prototype timepiece Patek Philippe developed in the late 1950s, but never actually put into production. Its TT designation references the two-tone PVD and brushed stainless steel case finishes. Hours, minutes and seconds are shown across three windows on the piece’s side, while the display is slanted at 30 degrees, making this futuristic driver’s watch a cinch to read while at the wheel. $205,000; urwerk.com

Bulgari Octo Finissimo Automatic Satin-Polished Steel


Bulgari’s three-year-old Octo Finissimo model has previously been cast in avant-garde materials such as sandblasted titanium or carbon fibre. “The new satin-polished steel finishing is more suited for an everyday watch,” Bulgari Watches’ design boss Fabrizio Buonamassa Stigliani tells us. The thinnest time-only automatic watch available today, he calls it “a rare fusion of edgy Italian design and Swiss engineering.” $18,500; bulgari.com

Girard-Perregaux Quasar Light


Forgive the obvious pun, but the appeal of this 18-piece limited edition is clear. Its case is sculpted over the course of 200 man-hours from a solid piece of sapphire crystal, and the bridges hewn from the same notoriously tricky material, the skeletonised tourbillon movement, gem-effect ruthenium barrel and white-gold form a ghostly heart within this extraordinary creation. The price, of course, will leave you as wide-eyed as the aesthetic. $455,000; girard-perregaux.com

Breguet Classique 7337


An ultra-thin, elegant dress watch boasting day, date and moonphase displays, this is an update to an existing Breguet, rather than a completely new model. But when it ain’t broke, don’t fix it—remix it. The refreshed 7337 from watchmaking’s master classicists is now presented in a choice of either rose gold case with silvered dial, or white gold with blue dial. $66,500; breguet.com; watchswiss.com

H.Moser & Cie Streamliner


A spate of luxury steel sports watches have launched the past 12 months, vying to rival 1970s classics the Nautilus and Royal Oak. Edouard Meylan, Moser’s CEO, tells us, “The singularity of the Streamliner design stands out from the multiple other integrated-bracelet collections made in the ’70s and today.” And it’s true, thanks to its supreme ergonomics and near-seamless combination of case and bracelet. $62,000; h-moser.com

Grand Seiko Anniversary Recreations of 1960 Original

Grand Seiko
This year is the 60th anniversary of Seiko’s upmarket, craftsmanship-focused Grand Seiko The company is celebrating with a number of special editions, including these faithful reproductions of the first timepiece to carry the Grand Seiko name. Powered by a modern hand-wound movement— and at 38mm diameter, slightly larger than the original—they are available in titanium, yellow gold or platinum cases. Platinum $59,000; gold $40,000; titanium $12,500; grand-seiko.com

Breitling AVI Ref. 765 1953 Re-Edition


As its ‘Re-edition’ appellation and the 1953 dateline suggest, this vintage-styled aviator’s chronograph is a faithful recreation of a mid-20th-century pilot’s Breitling—including the 15-minute counter which helped pilots accurately time their final plane checks. Where the original 765 AVI chronograph was only produced in steel, its luxed-up modern-day counterpart can be had in steel, rose gold or platinum cases. Steel $12,500; rose gold $33,500; platinum $62,000; breitling.com

A. Lange & Söhne Odysseus

When ultra-formal A. Lange & Söhne introduced the sporty steel Odysseus last year, their goal was to give devotees a casual option. “Customers would say, ‘I love Lange, but the problem is, I can’t wear your watches during my holidays,’” says director of product development, Anthony de Haas. Now, Lange presents a white-gold iteration for those seeking both sportiness and the reassuring heft of precious metal. $63,000; alange-soehne.com; watchswiss.com

Cartier Privé Tank Asymétrique


Launched in 1919, the design of Cartier’s iconic Tank watch was based on the armoured vehicles of World War I. The Asymétrique variant that followed in 1936 was intended to help operators of another newfangled machine— the automobile—more easily read the time, thanks to the off-kilter numeral positioning. New limited editions in platinum, pink and yellow gold were launched this year, and drove demand (if not jalopies). Yellow or pink gold $40,900; platinum $46,500; cartier.com

Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Control Date


This year, Jaeger-LeCoultre introduced several novelties in the Master Control line, which launched in the early ’90s but owes a great deal style-wise to the mid-century. On the more complicated end of the spectrum, there was a Chronograph Calendar, an updated Geographic worldtimer, and a Calendar watch with moonphase, day, date and month displays. But for classicists, the fuss-free, beautifully utilitarian lines of the Master Control Date will hold the most appeal. $10,300; jaeger-lecoultre.com

Vacheron Constantin Overseas Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin


It’s difficult to pick between the two most recent iterations of the Overseas Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin from Vacheron Constantin. The choice comes down to whether one prefers their haute-horology graphic—in which case the Skeleton openworked version will tickle the fancy—or the more mysterious blue-dial edition. Either way, you’ll no doubt end up with a lust-worthy beauty. Blue dial $137,000; skeleton $178,000; vacheron-constantin.com

Piaget Altiplano Ultimate Concept


Two years ago, Piaget presented a prototype concept piece—so delicate, journalists weren’t allowed to touch it—demonstrating their ability to build a mechanical wristwatch a mere 2mm thick (or thin, more accurately). Now, this super-svelte record-breaker has gone into production. The thinnest mechanical watch ever created is available exclusively made-to-order with nearly limitless customisation options. From $650,000, depending on customisation; piaget.com

 

This piece is from our new Design Issue– on sale now. Get your copy or subscribe here, or stay up to speed with the Robb Report weekly newsletter.

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