Hublot, Zenith And Bulgari Unveil 25 New Watches

Take a look at the newest releases from LMVH Watch Week.

By Paige Reddinger, Bryan Hood, Rachel Cormack 26/01/2021

Once again, LVMH is ahead of the pack. Last year, the luxury conglomerate released its new watches for 2020 with a splashy January event in Dubai, just weeks before Covid-19 became a global pandemic. The timing was certainly fortuitous for HublotZenithBulgari and Tag Heuer. It gave the brands a chance to be seen in-person by both retailers, press and VIP clients before the business would nearly come to a standstill. This year, the watch division made sure to be first out of the gate again. On Monday, Hublot, Zenith and Bulgari released their new novelties for 2021 during a virtual LVMH watch week. Tag Heuer did not participate, but in a recorded video during a press conference for LVMH Watch Week this morning, Frédéric Arnault, Tag Heuer’s newly minted CEO as of June 2020, said, “The reason for which we are not participating is that on the 4th of February, we will host a digital event announcing the biggest partnership ever for the brand.”

From the rest of the pack, the new offering mostly updates existing models in new colourways and materials. Brands are playing it safe as they regain their footing after manufactures were forced to close for months last spring. But that’s not to say there weren’t a few highlights, such as Bulgari’s Octo Roma Carillon Tourbillon, Hublot’s Spirit of Big Bang Tourbillon 5-Day Power Reserve Carbon White, or a vivid new forest-green Defy 21 from Zenith.

Here is a look at every new release. Stay tuned for more in-depth coverage.

HUBLOT

Hublot Big Bang Integral Ceramic

Hublot Big Bang Integral Ceramic

Hublot Big Bang Integral Ceramic Courtesy of Hublot

For a certain type of Hublot lover, nothing beats a ceramic—which makes the new Big Integral Ceramic a particularly exciting proposition. What differentiates this version from others is its monobloc architecture, meaning that the first link of its bracelet is fused to its 42mm by 13.45mm case. Because of this, the entire outer structure, with the exception of the bezel lugs and the rubber elements on the crown and pushers, is made from ceramic. Inside its svelte case, you’ll find the V2 incarnation of Unico HUB1280 movement, which has a 72-hour power reserve. Previously only available in black, the single-colour, single-material Big Bang Integral Ceramic now comes in white, blue and grey hues and costs approx. $30,000.

Hublot Big Bang Tourbillon Automatic Orange Sapphire

Hublot Big Bang Tourbillon Automatic Orange Sapphire

Hublot Big Bang Tourbillon Automatic Orange Sapphire Courtesy of Hublot

Hublot has proven itself adept at creating and machining different-coloured sapphire cases. Still, the amber-hue on the Big Bang Tourbillon Automatic Orange Sapphire is a world first. But as striking as that through-tinted 45mm by 15.30mm sapphire case may be, it’s not the only noteworthy thing about this piece. That’s because it’s powered by an entirely new tourbillon movement that features self-winding, a new architecture and three sapphire bridges. It’s limited to 50 examples and costs approx. $219,000.

Hublot Classic Fusion Orlinski

Hublot Classic Fusion Orlinski 40 mm

Hublot Classic Fusion Orlinski 40mm Courtesy of Hublot

Bold angles and sharp edges have been a trademark of Richard Orlinski’s Hublot timepieces since he started at the watchmaker back in 2017. These new, monochromatic versions of the Classic Fusion Orlinski are clad entirely in ceramic with the exception of the crown and strap. But there’s so much more to this show piece than its elegant, geometric shape. Inside its thin, 40 mm by 11.10 mm case is a HUB1100 Self-Winding movement that consists of 63 components and 25 jewels. The latest iteration of the approx. $17,600 watch comes in flashy blue and gloss black, both of which call to mind the colour codes used in Orlinksi’s XXL bestiary.

Hublot Big Bang MP-11 in Magic Gold and Blue Sapphire

Hublot Big Bang MP-11 Magic Gold Blue Sapphire

Hublot Big Bang MP-11 Magic Gold Blue Sapphire Courtesy of Hublot

The Big Bang MP-11 has the sort of high-tech movement that serves as the visual centrepiece. The calibre HUB9011 manual-winding skeletonized movement features an entirely original architecture that integrates seven series-coupled barrels that give it a 14-day power reserve. Yes, 14 days. Just as stunning are the two new colourways for its 45mm by 15.30mm case. One is made from the brand’s proprietary scratch-resistant 18-carat Magic gold and costs approx. $116,200, while the other is constructed from transparent blue sapphire and goes for around $171,000. Both are limited to 50 examples.

Hublot Big Bang One Click

Hublot Big Bang One Click

Hublot Big Bang One Click rs.solutions


The latest Big Bang One Click, is a shapeshifting timepiece that offers versatility in spades. Available in satin-finished stainless steel or 18-carat “King Gold,” the chronograph features a 33mm by 10.55mm case that’s been refined for slender wrists and a bezel set with 36 diamonds. The dial is available in black or white and houses the HUB1120 self-winding movement. The standout feature, however, is the interchangeable strap which can be switched in mere seconds thanks to the patented and easy to use “One Click” fastening system. Crafted from natural rubber, the strap is available in an array of colours—electric blue, raspberry pink or terracotta orange, to name just a few, meaning you can coordinate your watch with your outfit, should you so desire. The steel white diamond design is priced at approx. $16,200, while the King Gold white diamond costs around  $30,000.

Hublot Spirit of Big Bang Beige

Hublot Spirit of Big Bang Beige 39 MM

Hublot Spirit of Big Bang Beige 39 MM Courtesy of Hublot

On the heels of pastel pink and blue, Hublot has unveiled a new Big Bang in beige and proved that neutrals are in no way boring. The new timepiece features a satin-finished beige ceramic case that measures 39mm by 12.6mm and a matching sand-coloured sunray dial. The alligator strap is finished in a similar subtle hue and is fitted with a deployant buckle. The bezel, available in polished titanium or 18-carat “King Gold” (Hublot’s new gold colour, containing mainly platinum, that is a shade warmer than 5N 18-carat gold), is set with no less than 50 diamonds and adds a touch of sparkle to the decidedly monochrome design. The King Gold model is priced at around $31,200 while the titanium edition will set you back $25,800.

Hublot Spirit of Big Bang Tourbillon 5-Day Power Reserve Carbon White

Hublot Spirit of Big Bang Tourbillon 5-Day Power Reserve Carbon White

Hublot Spirit of Big Bang Tourbillon 5-Day Power Reserve Carbon White Courtesy of Hublot

While all Hublot watches are built to make a statement, the Spirit of Big Bang Tourbillon 5-Day Power Reserve Carbon White is one of the most striking designs of the new lineup. That is due in part to its skeletonized design that offers a full view, front and back, of its manufacture HUB6020 movement including a tourbillon, visible at 6 o’clock that completes one rotation per minute. The caliber’s architecture had to be specifically designed to fit into its tonneau-style, 42mm by 13.25mm carbon fibre case. The material was specially crafted to reveal its white composite inclusions, which are formed from glass microfibers created as non-woven pieces which are then blended with the carbon fibres using tinted epoxy resin to create the marbled look of its sandwich construction, held together by 6 h-shaped screws. Going the extra mile, the company equipped the handwound caliber with 115 hours of power reserve, displayed in a 5-day segment indicator at 8 o’clock. It comes with a black ceramic and black-plated titanium deployant “One-Click” buckle clasp and retails for $94,700.

ZENITH

Zenith Defy 21 Urban Jungle

Zenith Defy 21 Urban Jungle

Zenith Defy 21 Urban Jungle Courtesy of Zenith

Green watches have become increasingly popular. Whether military-inspired or not, they make a nice style statement for increasingly casual wardrobes. Zenith hopped on the bandwagon with its latest Defy 21, aptly called the “Urban Jungle,” both for its striking leafy hue and its modern construction. It marks the first time the Swiss watchmaker has dressed the model in green ceramic and it comes with a matching rubber insert, with grey edges, that uses a cordura-effect to create the look of a Nato strap without using fabric.

The colour carries through to its El Primero 9004 automatic chronograph movement, which can measure 1/100th of a second for exceptionally close timing, with the main plate and star-shaped oscillating rotor also created in the rich hue. Incredibly precise, it has an escapement operating at 36,000 VpH or 5Hz, while the chronograph functions at an incredible 360,000 VpH or 50 Hz. It comes with approximately 50 hours of power reserve and retails for $18,800.

Zenith Pilot Type 20 Silver Chronograph

Zenith Pilot Type 20 Silver Chronograph

Zenith Pilot Type 20 Silver Chronograph Courtesy of Zenith

Two years ago, Zenith released its first Pilot Type 20 in a sterling silver case on a time-only special edition that was limited to just 200 pieces at $10,000 each. This year, it updated the model in a chronograph version, more true to its aviation roots. Like its predecessor, it also comes in a sterling silver case with a nuanced dial meant to reflect the striations and rivets of the metal panels found on the fuselage of an aircraft. The time around, the case also features two pushers to activate the chronograph, both situated on either side of its unmistakable oversized onion-shaped crown (historically pilots needed larger crowns to help adjust the time while wearing flight gloves).

Other than its chronograph function, the piece has not strayed in design from the 2019 version. It remains 45 mm and has the same extra-large Arabic numerals and cathedral hands topped off in SuperLuminova for legibility. Like its predecessor, this silver chrono is limited to just 250 models, but the extra complication will add a couple of K to the price of the 2019 model, with a retail figure of around $12,600.

It is powered by the El Primero 4069 Automatic movement with 50 hours of power reserve and a frequency of 36,000 VpH.

Fun fact: Zenith’s Type 20 Pilot is inspired by early 20th-century aviator Louis Bleriot, who undertook the first flight across the English Channel in 1909, with a Zenith on his wrist. The historic moment took place just five years after Zenith founder, George Favre-Jacot, completed the second trademark on the Pilot timepiece in 1904.

Editor’s Note: Zenith also released a new Chronomaster Sport and a Chronomaster Revival A385 earlier this month.

BULGARI

Octo Roma

Bulgari Octo Roma Carillon Tourbillon

Bulgari Octo Roma Carillon Tourbillon Courtesy of Bulgari

After all the fanfare and focus on the technical expertise and groundbreaking design of the Octo Finissimo collection, Bulgari turned its attention to the Octo Roma line this year. The showpiece of its 2021 releases is this new Carillon Tourbillon. The 44mm piece employs three hammers fixed directly to the titanium body of the case. They are folded and formed by an expert craftsman before they are hardened at a temperature of 900 degrees. After, they are cleaned and then ironed in an oven at 500 degrees to give the metal a crystalline resonance. They are then lengthened with a file to refine the chords of the ringing. Yes, all of that for the thin and tiny wire-like gongs you see encircling the interior of the case.

The melody sounds three tones in the note of C for the hours, a sequence of mid-range-C notes for the quarters and a mid-note for the minutes. Beyond the positioning of the hammers, sound was maximized and refined with hollowing constructions in the middle case to reduce the amount of metal inside and outside, and three openings were added to the three chimes to allow sound to exit from the chamber. The back has also been hollowed in a titanium grid that protects the resonance and allows sound to be further transmitted to the exterior.

The Caliber BVL428 also comes with cut-out bridges and a unique arrangement of the components to better reveal the mechanism to the wearer (and its spectators). The hammers, gongs and tourbillon cage come in alternating polished steels for depth of presentation, while the mainplate and bridges are treated in PVD.

Unlike other watchmakers attempting to modernize, Bulgari has found a unique design formula that is overtly contemporary while still being sophisticated, and that strategy is hitting all the right notes.

Limited to just 15 pieces worldwide (price upon request), the Octa Roma Carillon Tourbillon will be numbered via an engraving on the crown and comes on a black alligator leather strap with a three-blade folding clasp in DLC titanium.

Bulgari Octo Finissimo

Bulgari Octo Finissimo GMT, Octo Finissimo S Chronograph GMT, Octo Finissimo S

Bulgari Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT, Octo Finissimo S Chronograph GMT, Octo Finissimo S Courtesy of Bulgari

It was all about small design tweaks on the three new Octo Finissimo releases. First up, the Chronograph GMT model received a new black opaline dial with a new sporty rubber strap designed to look like a fabric strap. The 42mm piece houses the ultra-thin BVL 318 caliber with a peripheral rotor that allows for a thinness of 6.9mm. Previous versions came in monochrome titanium. Next, the steel 43mm by 8.75mm S Chronograph GMT, also equipped with the BVL 318 caliber, was updated with a handsome new blue sunray dial paired with silver counters. The dial colour offers a slightly more traditional take on the otherwise minimalist aesthetic of the Octo. But, in our opinion, the best looking model of the bunch stays true to Bulgari’s pared-down aesthetic. The new 40mm by 6.40mm Octo Finissimo S, a follow up to 2020’s introduction of a stainless steel model, now comes with a new silver vertical-brushed dial, which pairs nicely against the radial-brushed bezel. Previously, the steel version was offered with a black dial, but the new silver dial steel model, powered by the BVL 138 caliber, allows for a sleeker look akin to last year’s ceramic introduction.

Bulgari Diva’s Dream

 

Bulgari Diva's Dream Watches

Bulgari Diva’s Dream Watches Courtesy of Bulgari

Bulgari’s Diva’s Dream collection consistently serves up high-end complication pieces for women as a tribute to history’s grandest dames. The latest offering is no exception. The new Peacock line, which comprises three timepieces, has that signature pop of colour and artfully combines diamonds and ancient techniques in an undeniably alluring way.

Each piece has a luxe 37mm 18-carat rose gold case and breathtaking dial that pays homage to the preening spirit of the peacock in a truly unique way. The first, the Peacock Dishi, features a striking marquetry dial set with 24 natural hand-cut feather elements that were painstakingly sourced from nearly 500 feathers. Limited to 50, it features a total of 440 diamonds and 25 sapphires, along with a deep blue alligator bracelet. Next, the Peacock Diamonds, sees a hand-painted peacock motif set against a mother-of-pearl backdrop and boasts a staggering 1,452 (7.56 carats) of brilliant-cut diamonds. Finally, the Peacock Tourbillon Lumière features a dial decorated with natural peacock feather marquetry and snow-set diamonds. Limited to just 10 pieces, this watch takes some six weeks to complete.

Bulagari Serpenti Spiga

Bulgari Serpenti Spiga Watches

Bulgari Serpenti Spiga Watches Courtesy of Bulgari

Bulgari’s snake-inspired timepieces have been slithering around wrists since the ’40s and the Serpenti range has become a distinct signifier of the brand. The latest collection, Serpenti Spiga, comprises three new serpent-themed timepieces that each feature the classic 33mm snake-shaped dial, Bulgari’s high-precision quartz movement, and a diamond-encrusted wrapping bracelet with an intricate matelassé pattern.

The most subdued of the trio is finished in 18-carat rose gold and sports a mother-of-pearl dial and double-row bracelet with a total of 281 brilliant-cut diamonds. For a little more pizzaz, there’s a second rose-gold timepiece with a triple-row bracelet, black lacquered dial and 461 rocks. And, finally, the piece de resistance, an 18-carat white-gold watch set with a single cabochon-cut blue sapphire. This blingy beauty features a triple-row bracelet with 421 stones, plus a dial that’s decorated with 257 snow pavé-set diamonds.

ADVERTISE WITH US

Subscribe to the Newsletter

Stay Connected

You may also like.

A Michael Jordan Logoman Patch Card Just Sold for a Record $2.9 Million at Auction

The one-of-one piece is now the most expensive Jordan card to ever cross the auction block.

By Tori Latham 06/06/2024

Michael Jordan was a record-breaking athlete—and the legendary hooper is continuing to set records more than two decades after his (final) retirement from the game.

A one-of-one signed and game-used Jordan Logoman patch card just sold for an eye-popping USD$2.9 million, making it the most expensive Jordan card ever sold at auction. The 2003 card was part of the Goldin 100 auction, where it received 38 bids before finally hammering down for that multimillion-dollar total.

Goldin

The rare card, which was included in an Upper Deck Ultimate Collection, is the very first signed Logoman patch card with Jordan in a Chicago Bulls jersey. The patch itself is from Jordan’s peak with the Bulls, a team he led to six NBA championships. The bold blue autograph on the bottom of the card, meanwhile, was graded PSA 10. It’s unclear where the card was before 2022, when it was submitted to PSA for grading, and this is the first time it’s been offered in a public auction. Altogether, it’s considered to be the most exclusive Jordan autographed Logoman card in the world.

While Jordan is perhaps most well known for what he’s done on the court, the baller is no stranger to making waves on the auction block, too. Earlier this year, a set of his NBA Finals–worn sneakers achieved a bonkers $8 million during a Sotheby’s auction. Even then, that’s not the most someone has paid for Jordan memorabilia: In 2022, the athlete’s game-worn “Last Dance” Finals jersey hammered down for a whopping USD$10.1 million.

The recent card sale may not match those numbers, but almost USD$3 million is still a hefty sum to pay for a relatively compact item. And the card easily swept the rest of the Goldin 100 auction. The highest following lot was a Kobe Bryant jersey that the late Los Angeles Laker wore during a 2013 game. That piece of sports history ended up going home with someone for USD$1.2 million.

As the richest basketball player ever, with a net worth of $3.5 billion as of a year ago, Jordan himself is far outearning his card’s value. But it’s unlikely that he would have ever made that much money without paving the sort of path that makes his memorabilia so desirable when it hits the auction block.

Buy the Magazine

Subscribe today

Stay Connected

You Can Now Buy and Sell Luxury Watches and Jewellery on eBay’s Consignment Service

The e-tailer is making inroads on being a major marketplace for high-end goods.

By Tori Latham 06/06/2024

eBay is continuing to make inroads into the luxury industry.

The website on Tuesday expanded its consignment service to include high-end watches, jewellery, and footwear. Among the brands being accepted by the program are Christian Louboutin, Jimmy Choo, and Louis Vuitton for shoes; Chanel, David Yurman, and Neil Lane for jewellery; and Breguet, Girard-Perregaux, and Jaeger-LeCoultre for timepieces.

eBay’s consignment program debuted at the end of last year for handbags, and it added apparel to the mix in March. The service is meant to make selling high-end goods easier for those looking to offload their pieces, and more trustworthy for those hoping to buy them. The e-tailer has partnered with the company Linda’s Stuff to streamline the process: A seller fills out a simple intake form, then receives a prepaid and insured shipping label to send in their items. eBay and Linda’s Stuff photograph, price, and list the item, with the seller receiving a commission based on the final sale price. If a piece sells for $5,000 or more, for example, the seller receives 80 percent.

Since launching its consignment service, eBay has seen that items listed that way are selling for more than similar pieces listed on the website in the more traditional way. In just one example, a small quilted Chanel 19 flap bag consigned in December hurdled past the average sales price for the same purses sold on eBay by 45 percent.

In recent years, eBay has been training its efforts on making high-end, pre-owned items easier to sell and buy on its platform. It has implemented programs like Certified by Brand and Authenticity Guarantee to ensure that users feel confident when buying and selling luxury items on the website. And those sorts of used and refurbished items now compose 40 percent of eBay’s gross merchandise volume.

While it may seem a bit strange to sell your luxury items on eBay rather than a designated site like the RealReal, the e-tailer might be breaking out as the next big luxury marketplace, especially when it comes to pre-owned pieces.

 

Buy the Magazine

Subscribe today

Stay Connected

Four Seasons’ Private Jet Trips Will Take You to Asia, Africa, and Beyond in 2026

The six 2026 itineraries range from 13 to 21 days and cost between USD$159,000 and $229,000 per person.

By Rachel Cormack 06/06/2024

It’s never too early to start planning a vacation. Just ask Four Seasons.

The hospitality giant just unveiled its private jet itineraries for 2026, giving travelers a chance to book their next adventure a good two years in advance. Designed by a team of experts, the six journeys allow jet-setters to explore far-flung destinations in five-star luxury. You’ll fly the globe in the fully customized Four Seasons Airbus A321neo and stay in lavish Four Seasons hotels along the way. More importantly, guests can partake in curated experiences a cut above the typical tour.

“Our goal is to create connections with travelers of this generation and the next, fostering a legacy of transformative experiences that extend far beyond the journey,” Marc Speichert, executive vice president and chief commercial officer of Four Seasons, said in a statement.

Dubai at Jumeirah Beach
Four Seasons

The itineraries cater to a wide range of travelers, with differing lengths and routes. The 16-day Asia Unveiled trip, for instance, takes guests on a deep dive into the East, with stops in Tokyo, Bali, Angkor Wat, Hoi An, Bhutan, the Maldives, and Bangkok. Other adventures, like the 21-day International Intrigue journey, cover many global destinations from the African savannah to the city of Paris.

Wellness enthusiasts can indulge at Four Seasons Resort Maldives.
Four Seasons

Similarly, the experiences on offer are designed to appeal to a myriad of personality types, from culture vultures and history nerds to thrillseekers and gourmands. On the African Wonders trip, fitness buffs can join a Maasai guide for a nature walk in the Serengeti and then chill out in a meditation session led by an expert yogi. During Timeless Encounters, explorers can take a submarine scooter to Bora Bora’s renowned diving spots. With International Intrigue and Asia Unveiled, wellness enthusiasts indulge in lavish treatments at the Island Spa within Four Seasons Resort Maldives. Asia Unveiled also allows foodies to embark on a sushi masterclass with a Michelin-starred chef in Tokyo, while International Intrigue gives gluttons the chance to craft six courses with celebrated chefs in Mexico City’s local markets. In addition, history connoisseurs can visit famous landmarks like the Taj Mahal on Timeless Encounters. That is just a taste of the experiences on offer, too.

The 2026 itineraries range from 13 to 21 days and cost between USD$159,000 and $229,000 per person. To start planning your trip, visit the Four Seasons website or email the team at fourseasonsjet@fourseasons.com.

Buy the Magazine

Subscribe today

Stay Connected

Audemars Piguet Just Dropped a Bevy of New Watches—Including a Mini Royal Oak

From the new Royal Oak Mini to skeletonised 37 mm versions and a wild asymmetrical reissue, AP just slayed the spring watch season.

By Nick Scott, Paige Reddinger, Allen Farmelo 06/06/2024

Audemars Piguet isn’t resting on its laurels and that’s likely just how former longtime CEO, François-Henri Bennhamias, intended. The colourful head honcho left his post at the helm this past December, but he certainly left his mark by taking the brand to USD$2.7 billion in sales by 2023 before handing over the reins to newly minted CEO, Ilaria Resta, who was hired from global perfumery company, Firmenich. (Resta is the latest female addition to AP’s top brass following the appointment of Ginny Wright, who came from L’Oreal, as the CEO of North America.)

Given the lead time of R&D in watchmaking, the latest watches are certainly the mark of Bennhamias’s direction, and the watches are anything but wallflowers. You have wildly innovative new materials like a Royal Oak prototype proposed in Chroma Gold—a new technique blending white gold, rose gold, and yellow gold into a camouflage pattern—and a funky new “Crystal Sand” finish on the Royal Oak Frosted Gold Selfwinding 34 mm model. Meanwhile, Code 11.59 gets decked in an extraordinarily challenging arrangement of sapphires and diamonds, and the latest [Re]Master02 comes in a funky 1960s tv-shaped case with beveled sapphire crystal glass.

Here’s a look at how Audemars Piguet is flexing its craftsmanship muscles with these daring new timepieces.

Audemars Piguet

At 23 mm across, these are not the smallest Royal Oaks ever produced: a 20mm iteration was launched in 1997, alongside a 44mm Royal Oak Grande Complication, to celebrate the model’s 25th anniversary. They’re also not the sparkliest Royal Oaks: any number of abundantly gem-set models are all vying for that crown.

But the frosted gold trio before you are definitely amongst the most attention-grabbing Royal Oaks to date, residing as they do in the intersection of two Goldilocks zones: they’re well suited to slender-wristed wearers, but not so small that they invoke outmoded notions of femininity; and they’re mischievously sparkly, but packing only carefully measured flamboyance.

Audemars Piguet

Built from 18 carat yellow, white or pink frosted gold, the new pieces’ shimmering diamond-dust effect contrasts beautifully with the polished bevels. The case, bezel and bracelet have been created using a Florentine jewelry technique first applied to a Royal Oak in 2016, and again in 2018 with the help of Carolina Bucci. The frosting involves hand-hammering the metal using a diamond-tipped tool, and the effect is uniquely elegant and understated.

The dials—like that on Gérald Genta’s original steel game-changer—are uncluttered bar the petite tapisserie pattern. Unlike Genta’s original (a major counter-offensive salvo from the mechanical watches camp during the quartz crises) the beating heart for this trio is calibre 2730, a quartz movement with a seven-year battery life and easy-to-use deactivation mode.

Audemars Piguet

The smallest selfwinding Royal Oaks ever made remain Calibre 2062, a 29mm piece – created by former head of Audemars Piguet’s design office Jacqueline Dimier – which retained the codes of Genta’s original model created in 1976, and the gem-set derivative released shortly afterwards.

“These mini creations pay tribute not only to Audemars Piguet’s long tradition of miniature and jewellery watches, but also to the women who have left their mark on the history of the brand, including Jacqueline Dimier to whom we owe the first Royal Oak for women, and Carolina Bucci, the mastermind behind the Frosted Gold finish,” said Ilaria Resta Audemars Piguet’s Chief Executive Officer, in a statement.

Audemars Piguet

Sébastian Vivas—the maker’s Heritage and Museum Director—added that the three pieces “demonstrate the extraordinary plasticity of the Royal Oak collection, which transcends decades, gender, trends and dimensions.”

Size: 27 mm
Material: white, yellow and rose gold
Price: $51,700

Audemars Piguet

AP’s frosted gold Royal Oaks have been a hit for the brand since it debuted as a collaboration with Italian jeweler, Carolina Bucci in 2016. There have been several versions, including one with a mirrored dial, and now the nouveau classic is sporting a “Crystal Sand” finish.

Audemars Piguet

The 34 mm model’s dial offers a magnified and dramatized interpretation of the hammered case and surface of the bracelet. Made from embossed ruthenium crystal, the dial is then adorned with a stamping die via electroforming, a process that forms or grows metal parts onto a model. The color is achieved through a galvanic bath of both rhodium and gold coating to accentuate its 3D form.

Audemars Piguet

Size: 34 mm
Material: frosted gold
Price: $93,250

Audemars Piguet

Since 2010, Audemars Piguet’s Openworked Royal Oak models have been offered in sizes ranging between 39 mm (e.g., reference 15305) and 41 mm (e.g., reference 15407). Something about skeletonizing watches seems to cause many brands to reach for its larger cases: Perhaps it’s the larger dial for skeletonizing, or perhaps it’s a tendency to assume that men who like big watches will also prefer openworked dials. To be honest, I’ve long shared the latter assumption, though I’ve never had much reason to examine it before now.

Audemars Piguet often challenges our assumptions (consider the Spider Man Royal Oak, for example), and this new Openworked Double Balance Wheel Royal Oak at 37 mm in white or rose gold disregards assumptions about gender and watches while also underlining the small watch trend for men.

Audemars Piguet

Thirty-seven mm is pretty much the perfect “unisex” size. Many brands (for example, Grand Seiko, Lange, Rolex, Zentih) offer 37 mm watches that serve as a bridge between their men’s and women’s collections, and sometimes these brands will point that out. However, in its typical avant garde manner, Audemars Piguet is way ahead of this shifting norm—especially when compared to its counterparts in the Horological Holy Trinity, Patek Philippe and Vacheron Constantin, both of which offer 37 mm watches steered more obviously toward men or women with gem setting, or the lack thereof. By offering the Openworked Royal Oak at 37 mm, Audemars Piguet cleverly sidesteps that old-school his/hers conundrum.

Audemars Piguet

This watch is going to resonate with men who are continuing to lean toward smaller watches, and it’s going to resonate with women who are looking for a larger and more daring timepiece that won’t overpower (or simply overhang) their wrists. And this Royal Oak does all that gender bending by simply shrinking its skeletonized watch. In this regard alone, I think it’s a brilliant offering—and I’m not a big fan of openworked dials.

The dual balance wheel mechanism of caliber 3132 helps stabilize the balance staff in its ruby mount, which improves precision.
Audemars Piguet

With all that said, what’s really driving this watch’s avant garde nature is the movement, known as caliber 3132. The dual balance wheel is a unique approach to minimizing the tilt of the balance staff (the axil on which the balance wheel oscillates). When the balance wheel swings back and forth (like a pendulum), there is a tendency, due to inertia, for it to slightly tilt within its ruby mount. When the balance staff tilts (however slightly) gravity has its way with it, causing timing discrepancies in different positions (known as positional variance). By adding a second balance wheel (not just a second spring, as found in some movements), Audemars Piguet has added stabilizing mass to the mechanism, as well as a counter-force that further stabilizes the balance staff as it changes direction. Theoretically, this reduces tilt of the balance staff and reduces positional variance.

It also looks very cool, and you’ll get a good view from both the front and the back of this watch.

Size: 37 mm
Material: pink and white gold
Price: $147,300

Audemars Piguet

If you’d told me a few years ago that brutalism—a minimalist, institutional architecture style of the mid-20th century rendered with massive concrete slabs—was going to be a catchphrase of watch design by 2024, I’d have declared you an iconoclastic crackpot. But, you’d have been right.

Audemars Piguet has picked up on the recent nostalgia for that strangely appealing architectural style. Reaching into their catalog from the 1960s, when brutalism was peaking globally, they’ve found a very cool watch to recreate—or, as AP insists, to “[RE]Master.” Audemars Piguet has borrowed the term from the recording arts: Remastering is generally a slight modernizing of a recording for current markets, so the analogy holds here, as this watch slightly modernizes vintage model.

Audemars Piguet

Crafted from Audemars Piguet’s proprietary sand gold, the case will shift between white and pink gold hues, depending on ambient lighting. Using the trusted time-only only caliber 7129, this auto-winding mechanical movement is on display through a circular window in the caseback.

Audemars Piguet

Sébastian Vivas, AP’s Heritage and Museum Director, states that “Between 1959 and 1963, Audemars Piguet created more than 30 asymmetrical models, most of which were produced in less than 10 pieces. [RE]Master02 is a fantastic opportunity to revive this forgotten golden age.”

Audemars Piguet

Despite the wildly brutalist case, it may be the dial that steals the show here. Created using a dark blue PVD treatment over beautifully brushed surfaces, the 12 individually crafted dial segments cleverly help time telling without relying on applied markers. These dial segments are separated by galvanized sand gold partitions, and each segment sits on miniscule legs attached to a brass dial plate beneath. All of this geometric precision is accentuated by the beveled sapphire crystal.

Size: 41 mm
Material: sand gold
Price: $70,900(limited to 250 pieces)

Audemars Piguet

The Code 11.59 is getting all dolled up this year in a splash of gem-set models. Two 38 mm iterations come in either 18-karat pink gold or white gold set with 533 brilliant-cut diamonds and colored sapphires.

Audemars Piguet

What is notable here is the pixelated-looking setting. The pink-gold version comes with an array of navy, baby blue and yellow sapphires on the dial, while the white-gold version comes in pink and purple sapphires. Both look as though the colors were shaken in a glass and poured onto the dial so that the pattern is haphazardly arranged. It’s a fun take on a gem-set dial, one which we can’t recall seeing before and is, no doubt, extraordinarily difficult to arrange to achieve the right balance of hues. Each piece is set with the three-hand selfwinding caliber 5909.

Audemars Piguet
Audemars Piguet

One of the coolest pieces in the new lineup is just a prototype for now, but it offers a glimpse of what’s to come in the future. Chroma Gold is a patented innovation blending yellow gold, white gold, and rose gold via Spark Plasma Sintering technology. Each gold variation is melted before droplets are atomized into powders. They are then combined in their respective pattern in a circular graphite mold which is then sintered via an electrical current. It is a first for the watch industry.

Audemars Piguet

Even in jewellery it is notoriously difficult to work with multiple types of metal in one piece due to the variations in consistency and that’s without trying to blend them together. The only time we have seen the blending of two different types of gold before is in American jeweler Adam Neeley’s proprietary SpectraGold, which is currently pending a patent. AP’s Chroma Gold follows the debut of a similar method with ceramic that debuted in a prototype earlier this year allowing the company to blend various hues of the material. Camo isn’t for everyone, but the multi-hued gold version certainly makes a compelling case for the machismo pattern. On the right hands it will be irresistibly cool.

 

Buy the Magazine

Subscribe today

Stay Connected

Watch of the Week: IWC Ceralume Pilot’s Chronograph

The concept watch hints at the future of IWC’s proprietary luminous ceramic technology.

By Josh Bozin 31/05/2024

Did you catch Lewis Hamilton rocking a new IWC Schaffhausen timepiece at the Monaco Grand Prix over the weekend? We did too, and as curious watch fanatics, we couldn’t help but speculate on what exactly this stark-white timepiece could be. A new iteration of the 2022 Pilot’s Watch Chronograph TOP GUN “Lake Tahoe” edition, perhaps?

Sort of.

Earlier this week, IWC took to Instagram to reveal what its experimental engineering division, XPL, has been working on over the last few years. Introducing the new IWC Ceralume Pilot’s Chronograph—a ceramic watch, albeit a prototype, that completely glows in the dark, from case to dial to strap!

IWC

Such wizardry is thanks to a proprietary luminous ceramic technology that IWC calls “Ceralume.” This technical feat has allowed IWC watchmakers to produce their very first fully luminous ceramic watch. Building on its 40-year journey as true pioneers of engineering ceramic material within watches—ceramic is notoriously difficult to work with, you see—IWC is no stranger to such technical feats.

Thanks to the homogeneous mixing of ceramic powders with high-grade Super-LumiNova pigments, IWC has fashioned a luminous material that acts like a battery for storing light energy. Utilising the new Ceralume technology, this fully luminous concept Pilot’s Chronograph emits a bright blueish light that lasts more than 24 hours.

“With the first fully luminous ceramic case rings, we underscore our role as a pioneer and innovator in ceramic watches. The development of Ceralume took several years. The main challenges we faced were producing watch cases with maximum homogeneity and meeting our exacting quality standards,” says Dr. Lorenz Brunner, Department Manager Research & Innovation at IWC Schaffhausen.

“To achieve these goals, we engineered a ground-breaking new manufacturing process – tailored to the unique combination of ceramic powders and Super-LumiNova pigments.”

If we’re to get extra technical, the ceramic material absorbs light energy from sunlight (or artificial light), stores it temporarily, and then emits the absorbed energy as visible light—the luminous “glow” that you see below. According to IWC, this cycle is infinite and will never cause the material to age or diminish its light storage capacity.

IWC

Developed completely in-house by IWC and its Experimental Engineering Division (XPL), the patent-pending Ceralume technology will undoubtedly form the foundation of future developments and releases, with a broader commercial release imminent.

To learn more, visit iwc.com

 

Buy the Magazine

Subscribe today

Stay Connected