The 15 Best New Watches Of 2021

In a year that saw soaring demand for high-end watches, these models stood out.

By Victoria Gomelsky 05/01/2022

From January to November of this year, demand for Swiss watches was nothing short of insatiable. (According to the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry, Switzerland exported the equivalent of 20.4 billion francs, or $22.2 billion, in that period, besting, by a couple of percentage points, the export figures for the same period in 2019.) The U.S. market drove much of that demand, reflecting the growing mania for high-end watches.

To satiate collectors and enthusiasts, watchmakers introduced countless models over the past 12 months — selecting the stand-out styles was no easy feat. The 15 watches listed below made the cut — a selection sure to intrigue, and perhaps provoke, watch fans.

Patek Philippe Ref. 5711/1A-018

Patek Philippe x Tiffany & Co. Ref. 5711

Patek Philippe x Tiffany & Co. Ref. 5711 Patek Philippe

It was the year’s best mic drop. In a move that shocked the watch world, Patek Philippe unveiled in early December the final final edition of its coveted Ref. 5711, aka the “Tiffany Blue” Nautilus, a 170-piece limited-edition featuring the Tiffany & Co. signature at 6 o’clock and a dial bathed in the retailer’s signature robin’s egg blue. And while it may not represent Patek Philippe’s finest example of watchmaking, the steel watch certainly will go down in history as one of the most polarizing timepieces of 2021. Few would deny the model serves as a poster child for the current era of skyrocketing demand for unobtainable steel sport models. (To wit: One example, put up for sale at Phillips’ New York watch auction in December, with proceeds going to benefit The Nature Conservancy, fetched US$6.5 million.) On the flip side, Jay-Z proved it looks pretty damn good on the wrist.

Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921

Vacheron Constantin Unique American 1921 Historical Remake

Vacheron Constantin Unique American 1921 Historical Remake romain levrault

Something about the off-centre dial of Vacheron Constantin’s supremely elegant Historiques American 1921 feels just right for this year of twists and unexpected turns. A faithful adaptation of one of the brand’s most legendary timepieces, a cushion-shaped “driver’s watch” released in 1921, the encore edition that the brand introduced earlier this year honours the model’s centennial. And it’s as close to the original as it gets, down to the logo on the dial and the strap, which, while not vintage stock, was sourced from a supplier who specializes in early 20th-century calfskin leather styles. Talk about a time machine!

Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tribute Nonantième

Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tribute Nonantième

Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tribute Nonantième Jaeger-LeCoultre

Jaeger-LeCoultre pulled out the stops for the 90th anniversary of its famed Reverso watch this year. Of all the novelties it introduced, including a four-faced model that blew our socks off, we’re partial to the Reverso Tribute Nonantième (meaning 90th in Swiss-French), an 18-karat pink-gold style with a silvered and sunray-brushed dial bearing a moon phase display at 6 o’clock and a date window at 12 o’clock. “It’s as classic and elegant as any traditional version of this model, but a turn of the dial reveals an entirely new expression,” we wrote upon its introduction in April, citing the model’s flip side, whose two round apertures, arranged like a figure-8, house a semi-jumping digital hour at 12 o’clock, among other enchanting details. Colour us bewitched!

Vianney Halter Deep Space Resonance

Vianney Halter Deep Space Resonance

Vianney Halter Deep Space Resonance Courtesy of Vianney Halter

Twenty-five years in the making, the Deep Space Resonance by Vianney Halter, one of the pioneers of contemporary, independent watchmaking, is a serious contender for the most philosophically advanced, horologically complex timepiece of the year, if not the decade. In short, the model is a triple-axis tourbillon equipped with an acoustic coupling mechanism incorporating two balance wheels. A tribute to undulatory physics, or the theory that light is transmitted as waves, the model is the product of an R&D effort Halter began in 1996, inspired by some of the 18th-century watchmaker Abraham-Louis Breguet’s early efforts to achieve resonance—a physical phenomenon in which an external force or a vibrating system forces another system around it to vibrate with greater amplitude at a specified frequency of operation. Watch lovers besotted with mechanical wizardry—this one’s for you.

Zenith Chronomaster Sport

Zenith El Primero Chromomaster Sport

Zenith El Primero Chromomaster Sport Allen Farmelo

The new Chronomaster Sport collection from Zenith strikes us as the fulfilment of a decades-old prophecy. Having introduced the El Primero calibre 400, the world’s first high frequency automatic chronograph movement, in 1969, the brand lays claim to one of the 20th century’s greatest horological legacies. That it’s now capitalised on that legacy with a handsome chronograph equipped with the zippy new calibre 3600 seems like a decision that was predestined. Many onlookers have pointed out the model’s resemblance to the steel Rolex Daytona—this one, however, may actually be available at retail.

Bulgari Octo Finissimo Titanium Perpetual Calendar

Bulgari Octo Finissimo Perpetual Calendar Titanium

Bulgari Octo Finissimo Perpetual Calendar Titanium Courtesy of Bulgari

The latest addition to Bulgari’s critically acclaimed Octo Finissimo series, a perpetual calendar housed in a sleek and ultra-lightweight titanium case, took home the “Aiguille d’Or” grand prize at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG) in November for its masterful take on micro-watchmaking. With a case that measures only 5.8mm thick, the model is the world’s slimmest perpetual calendar. As Bulgari CEO Jean-Christophe Babin said when accepting the award, “It is an example of Italian genius and obsession for details.” We couldn’t agree more.

Grand Seiko SLGH005 “White Birch”

Grand Seiko SLGH005 “White Birch”

Grand Seiko SLGH005 “White Birch” Grand Seiko

The SLGH005 “White Birch” from the Japanese watchmaker Grand Seiko rightfully tops myriad wish lists this year. Its most striking feature is its delicately textured dial, patterned to resemble the Shirakaba, the white birch tree of northern Japan, which thrives in the region surrounding the Grand Seiko Studio in Shizukuishi. But beneath that impeccable exterior ticks a technically accomplished movement, powered by a new Dual Impulse Escapement, a proprietary free-sprung balance and a horizontal gear train. In short, the timepiece—which, not surprisingly, won the best men’s watch prize at the GPHG—packs brains and beauty into one perfectly proportioned package.

MB&F x Bulgari LM FlyingT Allegra

MB&F and Bulgari LM FlyingT

MB&F and Bulgari LM FlyingT MB&F

Collaborations have become big business in the watch industry, but few are as interesting and unexpected as the co-creation that resulted from MB&F’s recent partnership with Bulgari. As we wrote in November, “the new 39 mm-by-20 mm LM FlyingT Allegra uses the same vertically built 3-D movement (it features a flying tourbillon on the upper end of the axis) and space-age domed case design as the original [FlyingT by MB&F], but now comes decked out in Italian opulence.” The colourful cabochon gems and diamonds that orbit the dial lend this serious piece of timekeeping a groovy, cosmic vibe—precisely, we suspect, the effect its creators were seeking.

Audemars Piguet Black Ceramic Royal Oak Selfwinding

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Selfwinding 34 mm

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Selfwinding 34mm Audemars Piguet

On the brink of the Royal Oak’s big 5-0 in 2022, Audemars Piguet didn’t shy away from expanding the collection this year. In July, the brand rolled out eight new Royal Oak styles for women, including the undisputed winner of the bunch, the Black Ceramic Royal Oak Selfwinding. Encased in a lightweight, scratchproof material that looks fantastic from virtually every angle, the sturdy yet graceful timepiece—which boasts 18-carat pink-gold hour markers, hands and screws—has a diameter of 34mm, a size that promises to entice plenty of men who are sure to covet its stealthy on-the-wrist appearance.

Panerai Submersible S Brabus Black Ops Edition

Panerai Submersible S Brabus Black Ops Edition

Panerai Submersible S Brabus Black Ops Edition Panerai

Another collaborative homerun this year was the Submersible edition that emerged from Panerai’s team-up with the German automotive aftermarket tuner Brabus. Inspired by the company’s Shadow Black Ops series of day boats, the watch is housed in a 47mm case made from Panerai’s matte finish Carbotech composite material, and features a colour scheme borrowed from Brabus’s signature palette of gunmetal grey, black and red. Panerai fans are bound to lust after the watch for its three years-in-the-making skeletonized automatic movement, the brand’s first-ever. But just about everyone will appreciate its stylish approach to functionality.

Rolex Explorer Ref. 124273

Rolex Explorer Ref. 124273 and Ref. 124270

Rolex Explorer Ref. 124273 and Ref. 124270 Rolex

In April, when Rolex unveiled the brand new Explorer—often described as the original tool watch, given its association with Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay’s historic ascent of Mt. Everest in 1953—the fact it came in a two-tone case in Rolesor (in Rolex-speak, this refers to the combination of the dual 18-karat yellow-gold and Oystersteel alloys) divided the watch community into lovers and haters. Count us squarely in the former camp (although, you can still opt for the full steel model, pictured right). Not only is the model’s 36mm case (a return to its original sizing) just right for unisex tastes, its lacquered black dial and Chromolight coating on the hour markers and hands give it a fetching, and fresh, new look.

De Bethune DB Kind of Two Tourbillon

DeBethune DB Kind of Two Tourbillon

DeBethune DB Kind of Two Tourbillon Diode SA – Denis Hayoun

Endowed with two distinct faces, the DB Kind of Two Tourbillon boasts two equally distinct vibes: Side “A” is in keeping with the boutique watchmaker’s more experimental, future-facing ethos, while side “B” represents a more refined and elegant take on horology. Toggling between the two requires nothing more than swivelling the case on its central axis, an action made simple by the titanium model’s floating lugs, each equipped with a rotating mechanism comprised of 28 components.

Cartier Cloche de Cartier

Cartier Cloche de Cartier

Cartier Cloche de Cartier Cartier

Famed for its unusually-shaped watches — the Tank, the Crash and the Baignoire, to name just a few—Cartier reintroduced a limited edition shaped style earlier this year in its Prive Collection called Cloche de Cartier, a 1920s model with a beguilingly quirky display (the Roman numerals are rotated 90 degrees from where you’d expect them to be). Named for a bell, the wristwatch works equally well as a mini table clock—and captures Cartier’s wonderfully inventive way with silhouettes.

Chopard L.U.C Full Strike

Chopard L.U.C. Full Strike

Chopard L.U.C. Full Strike Chopard

In anticipation of the 25th anniversary of the opening of its Fleurier and Geneva watch manufactures next year, Chopard released in November a new platinum version of its L.U.C Full Strike minute repeater, an acoustic timepiece that earned rave reviews for its innovation and elegant design when it was introduced in 2016. The model’s key differentiating detail is its one-piece crystal and gong component, machined from a single block of sapphire, that indicates the time through a combination of two notes, C# and F, with a crystal-clear, constant sound. “A platinum minute repeater would never otherwise resonate like this,” Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, Chopard’s co-president, told Robb Report. “The metal would just eat the sound. But the crystal system enhances the sound.” Each watch takes 160 hours to assemble—and it shows.

A. Lange & Söhne Langematik Perpetual

A. Lange & Söhne Langematik Perpetual

A. Lange & Söhne Langematik Perpetual A. Lange & Söhne

In July, A. Lange & Söhne celebrated the 20th anniversary of its Langematik Perpetual—the first mechanical wristwatch of its kind to combine a perpetual calendar with the brand’s signature outsize date—with two blue-dial updates, one cased in pink gold and the other in white gold. Endowed with a Zero-Rest mechanism and a main corrector that simultaneously advances all calendar displays, the new models are designed to simplify and speed up the time-setting process, proof that a watchmaking icon can always be enhanced with new tricks.

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The Tod’s SS25 Men’s Collection in Milan Was a Showcase of “Artisanal Intelligence”

It was also the debut men’s collection by creative director Matteo Tamburini.

By Josh Bozin 20/06/2024

Earlier this week, Tod’s presented its SS25 men’s collection at the Padiglione d’Arte Contemporanea (PAC) for Milan Fashion Week, where all eyes were fixed on Matteo Tamburini and his debut menswear collection as Tod’s newest creative director.

Striking “a balance between tradition and modernity”, was the former Bottega Veneta designer’s intention, and indeed his showcase offerered a spotlight on the quality, materials, and detailing that are central to the Tod’s wardrobe.

“The collection is more about subtraction rather than addition, highlighting the very elevated, timeless and relaxed materials,” says Tamburini via a statement.

Tod’s

In line with Tod’s restrained design codes, the garments presented were characterised by timelessness, unmistakable Italian flair, yet a casualness appropriate for everyday wear. Only the best leathers were used in the collection—thanks to the Pashmy project, which Tod’s unveiled in January to champion high-end Italian materials—used in creating garments like the Tod’s Bomber, the Gio Jacket, the Shirt Jacket, the Di Bag sack, as well as footwear staples, like the Tod’s T-Riviera.

Of course, the iconic Gommino driving shoe wasn’t without an update, too: you’ll find a new sabot interpretation, as well as the Bubble Gommino introduced in a new boat model with the T-bar accessory.

“Craftsmanship” was at the forefront of messaging, with chairman and chief executive officer of the Tod’s Group, Diego Della Valle, reiterating the message of honouring artisanal arts in an increasingly digital-first world.”[It’s] important to uphold artisanal intelligence, keeping under control artificial intelligence as it is now developing rapidly and powerfully,” he said via a statement.

“Individuals and artisanal intelligence at the centre, with its traditions and values, will contribute to keep artificial intelligence in check. Our Italian craftsmanship and supply chain can be an example of the combination of tradition and the new speed of artificial intelligence.”

tods.com

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Pitti Uomo’s Best-Dressed Men Cut Through the Noise With Personal Style

From vintage gems to tasteful tailoring, attendees of Florence’s biannual tradeshow brought their best sartorial selves.

By Naomi Rougeau, Lorenzo Sodi 20/06/2024

Whether or not you’re well versed in the ins and outs of Pitti Uomo, the biannual menswear tradeshow in Florence that brings together buyers, press—and, naturally, a vast ostentation of peacocks—the chances are that photos from the gathering are still making their way into your newsfeed. You might even smirk at the mention of it. To be sure, you’ll encounter plenty of “overdressing” strolling through the main venues but by and large, great personal style manages to cut through the noise.

Part of what makes the Pitti scene so exciting is that menswear moves relatively slowly. It’s less about seeing something earth shatteringly new but rather gradual shifts and discovering fresh ways to put things together. Menswear regulars such as Alessandro Squarzi, owner of a considerable vintage archive that influences his Milanese boutique Fortela, can be relied upon to provide inspiration on how to make tried and true staples and silhouettes feel modern.

Speaking of new old things, vintage fashions made their way into the chat in a big way this June, whether in terms of rare finds or sustainable efforts via upcycling, fabric development and natural dyes (Paris-based De Bonne Facture achieved an ideal medium brown using coffee, for instance). At the heart of the conversation was another bona fide vintage guru Maurizio Donadi who made a case for the timelessness and democratic nature of indigo with his centuries-spanning exhibit of antique garments from around the globe.

Below you’ll find a dozen of our favorite looks from Pitti Uomo 106, lensed by our eagle-eyed street-style photographer Lorenzo Sodi. We hope they inspire.

Lorenzo Sodi

A lesson in simplicity and the power of a classic palette—good quality vintage accents such as a turquoise embellished belt buckle add interest to timeless workwear. Ray-Ban’s universally-flattering Wayfarer sunglasses are the perfect finishing touch.

Lorenzo Sodi

Sans suit and shirt, the neckerchief (of which there were many at Pitti), adds a welcome dose of colour to a white tee and relaxed jacket and proves that sometimes one choice detail is all it takes. A well-loved, slightly-too-long belt and canvas Vans contribute to the casual harmony.

Lorenzo Sodi

Whatever the weather, you’ll find Douglas Cordeaux, from Fox Brothers, looking immaculate in shirt and tie… and a suit made of one of Fox’s many fabrics. British elegance, embodied.

Lorenzo Sodi

Relaxed elegance is the foundation of the Brunello Cuccinelli brand. Here, the maestro himself shows us how it’s done in a double-breasted linen ensemble featuring a few personal flourishes.

Lorenzo Sodi

Designer Alessandro Pirounis of Pirounis offers a masterclass on the rule of three with a contemporary twist, subbing the usual jacket with an overshirt of his own design.

Lorenzo Sodi

A renaissance man takes Florence. True to his roots, US Marine veteran, Savile Row-trained tailor and photographer Robert Spangle blazes a sartorial trail that’s all his own.

Lorenzo Sodi

Cream trousers are an essential element of elegant Italian summer style. Designer Nicola Radano of Spacca Neapolis channels one of the greats (Marcello Mastroianni) in a dark polo of his own design, collar spread wide across his jacket’s lapel for a welcome retro lean.

Lorenzo Sodi

Proof of the power of tonal dressing, that can create an impactful outfit just by sticking to the same colour family. A chic ensemble and in some ways an elevated version of the double-denim look, every element is working hard in service to the whole.

Lorenzo Sodi

UK-based stylist Tom Stubbs has long been a proponent of blousy pleats, lengthy db jackets, and statement-making neck scarves and here, in vintage Armani, he embodies the louche, oversize look that many designers are just now catching up on.

Lorenzo Sodi

A tailor splitting his time between Berlin and Cologne, Maximilian Mogg is known for his strong-shouldered, architectural suiting. Yet in Mogg’s hands, particularly with this non-traditional colour scheme, the effect is always modern and youthful.

Lorenzo Sodi

If Max Poglia’s relaxed Hawaiian shirt and suit combo is any indication, summer has truly arrived. But it’s an excellent example of how to wearing tailoring in more casual fashion. This cream db would look perfect with shirt and tie at a wedding in August and just as chic here with slippers and a laid-back shirt.

Lorenzo Sodi

Another example of how tailoring can be laid-back and breezy for summer, from a dude who looks no stranger to enjoying the best of the warmer months. Jaunty pocket square, sandals, untucked linen shirt…go forth and emulate.

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The 13 Best Watches From Pitti Uomo, From Rolex to Patek Philippe and Piaget

Each year in Florence, Italy, men walk the streets in the finest fashions, and they pair their watches perfectly.

By Allen Farmelo, Lorenzo Sodi 20/06/2024

Pitti Uomo is a major fashion gathering in Florence, Italy where brands bring their best to buyers and fashion editor alike. But, perhaps more interestingly, Pitti Uomo transforms the streets of Florence into an urban runway on which guys from around the world with more than a passing interest in style go about their business—even if in some cases that business seems just to be hanging around waiting to be photographed—in their best threads and, of course, some excellent watches.

We pondered the relationship between men’s fashion and watches in more detail earlier this year, and what’s fascinating about the intersection of fashion and watches is how to situate the timepiece within an ensemble. To give you a sense of how that plays out, this year we saw a tonal pairing of a tasty vintage Rolex GMT Master Pepsi (red and blue) with rose and mid-blue summer plaid, and we saw high-waisted military green Bermuda shorts paired intelligently with a beat up old Elgin field watch with a matching green strap. Both looks were killer, the watches working as perfect accents, and there are many more great pairings to consider below.

As is often the case at fashion shows (including Pitti Uomo in previous years), Rolex dominated. Horological snobs might look down on this choice because the Crown is so often the default choice for so many, be they collectors signalling their access to rare references or those just getting into this obsession. But a more nuanced read on this tendency is that Rollies are fabulously versatile watches that one can rock with each new outfit—which some men will swap throughout the day. Breakfast might call for a casual look, lunch something more daring, and dinner that perfect summer suit. What better than a Rolex for all occasions?

But it wasn’t just Rolex at Pitti Uomo this week. The urban catwalk brought out Paiget, Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet, and Cartier, as well. But our favourite watch was a vintage Tudor Sub on a turquoise bracelet.

Below are the 13 best watches from Pitit Uomo 2024.

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The 10 Best Omakase in Sydney

Sydney’s best Japanese chef’s-table dining experiences.

By Belinda Aucott-christie 06/06/2024

In Japan, where food is a cultural art form, omakase stands for traditional Japanese foods made with seasonal ingredients. A good omakase meal, prepared with purity and mindfulness, can make an unforgettable imprint on the culinary memory. Yet in a land defined by seasonal traditions, omakase is a relatively new concept.

Omakase originated in Japan in the 1970s as affluent Japanese began to dine more regularly at first-rate sushi counters. Bowing to the expertise of the sushi master, omakase loosely translates to “I’ll leave it to you.” In a setting where money is no object, letting the chef decide was designed as a chic way to take the awkwardness out of ordering.

In Australia where there’s an abundance of fresh seafood, omakase menus have experienced a recent rise in popularity. Today omakase is any series of small dishes served directly by the chef to the diner. Each part of the meal is presented on beautiful ceramics and lacquer wear, with a great —and somewhat— intimidating reverence for elegant details. It’s a chance to see a chef’s knife skills up close and get a feel for their cooking style.

Omakase menus are based on whatever is freshest at the market and can be influenced by the chef’s mood, expertise, and response to the guest. They can be slowly paced like a ceremony—hushed and reverential—but they can also be rowdy, humorous, and personal.
Here we give you 10 of the best to try in Sydney.

Yoshi’s Omakase at Nobu Crown Sydney

Crown Sydney, Level 2/1 Barangaroo Ave, Barangaroo. Open: 12–3 pm, 5:30–9:30 pm Phone: 02 8871 7188 Reservations: F&B-SYD-Nobu@crownresorts.com.au; $380 per head (including matched wine and sake). Crownsydney.com.au

Sushi Oe

16/450 Miller St, Cammeray; Tue – Sat. SMS only 0451 9709 84 E: jizakana16@gmail.com Phone: 0426 233 984 $230 per head. jizakana.com.au

Kisuke with Yusuke Morita

50 Llankelly Place, Potts Point; Tuesday – Saturday: 17:30 – 10.45 (closed Sunday/ Monday) $185-200 per head Kisukepottspoint.com

Haco 

102/21 Alberta St, Sydney. Lunch, Friday to Saturday 12 -2:00 pm Dinner, Tuesday to Saturday 5:45 pm – 8:1 5pm (closed Sunday & Mondays) P: 0408 866 285                                     E: haco@hacosydney.com.au; $150 – $210 Hacosydney.com.au

Kuon

Shop 04 2/58 Little Hay St, Sydney, Lunch: Fri-Sun 12:30 pm. Dinner  Tue-Sun 5:15 pm or 7:45 pm sittings.  Reservation via SMS at 0488 688 252; $220 per head @kuon.omakase

Sokyo 

The Darling, Level G, 80 Pyrmont St, Pyrmont. Open dinner Monday to Thursday from 5:45 pm P: 1800 700 700 $300 per head Sokyo.com.au

Kuro

368 Kent St, Sydney; Open Tue – Wed – Thur: 6 pm Fri & Sat: 5:30 pm P: 02 9262 1580, reservations@kurosydney.com $220 per head. Kurosydney.com;

Choji Omakase

Level 2, 228 Victoria Ave, Chatswood —upstairs from Choji Yakiniku. Every Monday to Wednesday at 6.30 pm. One seating per day only. $295 per head. Chojiomakase.com.au

Gold Class Daruma

The Grace Hotel, Level 1/77 York St, Sydney; 12–2:30 pm, 5:30–9.00 pm Phone: (02) 9262 1190 M: 0424 553 611 booking@goldclassdaruma.com.au·$120 – $150 per head Goldclassdaruma.com.au

Besuto

Besuto Omakase, Sydney Place precinct, 3 Underwood Street, Circular Quay. Omakase is available to book for dinner – Tuesday to Saturday. 5:30 pm & 8pm sittings. From $250. Besuto.com.au

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is no soy and wasabi offered during my omakase meal?
Even though sushi and sashimi are being served, the chef is serving each piece of sushi so quickly and directly that the chef is applying the wasabi and soy to the sushi themselves. Watch as they brush the top of the fish with soy and dab a tiny amount of wasabi on the rice, under the fish. You should not need to add extra, and in fact, it can be insulting to the chef to add more. Bathing the bottom of the rice of your sushi in soy sauce is considered bad manners, as it is seen as detracting from the flavour of the fish.

Nobu, Sydney

Can an omakase experience accommodate my dietary needs?
Although there is often little variation once the chef has set the daily menu, some customisation is possible. Advise the restaurant when you book and remind them of allergies or aversions again as you sit down. They will let you know when you book if your allergy is possible for the chef. Japanese menus feature a lot of seafood and dashi so accommodating a no seafood request can be genuinely tricky.

What are the golden rules for chopstick etiquette?
Use your chopstick holder in between eating, rather than putting chopsticks on your plate. Don’t use your chopsticks to gesticulate or point; if offering food to someone to try, never pass food directly from your chopsticks to theirs. Rather place the food onto a small plate and let them pick it up.
Never touch communal or shared food with your chopsticks. The longer, slightly larger chopsticks are like sharing cutlery, never put these in your mouth.

Without a menu, how can I know what I am eating during omakase?
Omakase is often a no-menu situation, and you are expected to try new things. Attending an omakase experience with an open, trusting mind yields the best results.
There are Wagyu and tempura omakase that reflect the chef’s personal predilections and training, but in a standard luxury omakase, the format will include a lot of freshly caught seafood and will usually kick off with a delicate appetiser. This will be followed by a sashimi and sushi course, a savoury egg custard (chawanmushi) with meat and seafood, a cooked or blow-torched market fish, a soup course, and dessert.

Can I talk to the chef during omakase? What is the protocol?
Guests at an omakase experience are welcome to ask questions of the chef; in fact, interacting with the chef is part of the experience. It is considered polite to ask questions or inquire about the food so they can explain.

What is best to pair with omakase  in terms of drinks?
In general, wine and sake are a perfect match for omakase. Aged fish and vinegar have strong umami flavours so depending on which course you enjoy, different wine and sake will pair well. Dry chilled sake is a great choice. Amazing sakes are imported into Australia, so trust the restaurant to advise you and take you on a sake journey at the same time.  If you don’t like sake, drinking chardonnay, a crisp young riesling, or even a dry complex Riesling is also totally acceptable. All three styles help bring out the flavour of the fish. Champagne can also be good. Try a blanc de blancs— 100% chardonnay —for a great way to start the meal. As you progress, remember that sake is good for dishes with a strong taste, such as uni and eel.

Nobu, Sydney

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The Sonos Ace Headphones Are Music to the Ears

The audio giant has (finally) revealed its foray in the personal listening category.

By Josh Bozin 20/06/2024

In the ever competitive market for premium headphones, few brands have captured the hearts (and ears) of audiophiles, professionals and enthusiasts alike. Bowers & Wilkins, Bose, Sony, and even Apple come to mind when debating great audio brands in 2024. Then there’s Sonos.

For over 20 years, the American audio manufacturer has been lauded for its high-end capabilities, particularly in a home setting; Sonos changed the game for the integration of home entertainment. But it had yet to venture into the realm of headphones.

Until now. Earlier this month, the company marked its long-awaited entry into the personal-listening category, with the launch of its highly anticipated Sonos Ace over-ear headphones.

“Fans have asked us for years to bring the Sonos experience to headphones,”says Patrick Spence, CEO of Sonos, “and we knew our first foray into the category needed to champion the type of innovation and sound experience Sonos has become synonymous with.”

Sonos

On paper, the Sonos Ace is an enticing proposition: a premium over-ear headphone featuring lossless and spatial audio, intuitive Active Noise Cancellation (ANC), and Aware Mode. Most appealing, however, might be its new immersive home theatre offering; the Sonos Ace can pair to compatible Sonos soundbars with just a tap of a button. The new TrueCinema technology, which arrives later this year, will precisely map your entertainment space and then render a complete surround sound system for an unparalleled listening experience.

Sonos

Retailing at $699, they aren’t exactly cheap, and there more affordable headphones that compete with Sonos in terms of audio output and high-fidelity sound. But where Sonos thrives is in the details. Available in  stealthy black and pure white, the Sonos Ace are sleek and stylish right out of the box. Sure, there is some resemblance to the Apple Air Max Pro—arguably its greatest rival in the over-ear headphone segment—but Sonos has also added its own design touches, and it’s clear the Ace was made to look and feel as good as it sounds.

Its distinctive, slim profile elegantly blends metal accents with a sleek matte finish, and thanks to the use of lightweight, premium materials like memory foam and vegan leather, you get an airy fit that isn’t overbearing, even after extensive use. The design of the Sonos Ace is also intuitive; tactile buttons make controlling the headset a cinch, and pairing with Apple or Android devices is also straightforward. The dedicated Sonos App is also helpful for customising (somewhat) your listening experience, from altering EQ to turning on certain capabilities, like Head Tracking.

Sonos

It does fall short on a couple of key fronts.  I was expecting more from the Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) for over-ear headphones of this price point; there’s no way the ANC as it stands will filter out the sounds of a plane engine, for example. I also found the Sonos Ace has an issue, albeit subtle, with the mid-bass, which can sound muddy and lack punch at times.

But these are small nits. The Sonos Ace only adds to the company’s impressive standing as an unimpeachable innovator in the audio industry.

For more information, visit Sonos.

 

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