Watchmaking’s Best Vintage Reissues And Modern Tributes Of 2020

These watchmakers have found the perfect balance between past and present.

By Celine Yap 25/06/2020

If there’s one word that would perk up any fashion or luxury aficionado, it’s ‘vintage’. There’s just something in the way things were done in the past that’s just so much more emotional, and more enduring, than what we have at the current moment.What’s also great is how you don’t need to be a child of the ’60s or ’70s to appreciate what that decade’s known for. Beauty is beauty, period.For the watch collector, vintage timepieces have become more alluring than ever. Mechanical watches as we know aren’t relevant today because of functionality. Far from that. We love them so much precisely because they’re not just about timekeeping, but rather, the craftsmanship, style and emotion.

It’s a worldwide phenomenon. Collectors everywhere are so hot for vintage timepieces that classic watch auctions are now something of a global obsession.

In response to this fervour, watchmakers have reached far back into their archives for creative inspiration to produce vintage-inspired watches or reissues. Also known as the ‘new old watch’, this category of timepieces forms a significant proportion of new launches each year since around 2012.

Eight years on, we find ourselves at a fork in the road. Does the existing formula of rehashing and upsizing a historical reference work anymore? On some level, yes. But as always, you find a handful of mavericks and forerunners looking to push the envelope just a little bit more.

Here are the best examples in 2020.

Cartier Tank Asymétrique

Cartier made some of its best watches in the 20th century. The Tank, the Santos, the Baignoire, the Crash, the Tortue… As proof of how brilliant these watches are, not only have they stood the test of time, they’ve each evolved so beautifully and are just as relevant today.

Tank Asymétrique in three variations: yellow gold, pink gold, and platinum

The Tank Asymétrique was one of those legendary creations. When it first appeared in 1936, it alternated between two names: The Parallélogramme and the Losange. But one thing was clear, it broke tradition and questioned the established order of things. Namely, does watchmaking always have to be so serious?

Bringing us back to the time when driving watches was in vogue, the entire movement was skewed. And instead of Cartier signature Roman numerals, it had Arabic numbers which weren’t exactly on-brand for Cartier then, but as you can see, totally works.

A historical Tank Asymétrique, also known as Losange or Parallélogramme

The Maison reprises this unique aesthetic in 2020, adding on to its much adulated Cartier Privé collection. With its polished gold or platinum case, single cabochon sapphire, beaded crown, and blued steel sword shaped hands, the new Tank Asymétrique bears the familiar hallmarks of a contemporary Cartier. Gone are the ultra-flat crown flushed with the case and the quaint pomme hands.

The numerals have also been redesigned, their elongated style at once modern, timeless and futuristic. Such is the design genius of Cartier.

Pasha de Cartier

In a similar vein, much of the Pasha de Cartier’s character could be gleaned from its numerals. Despite it being a product of the ’80s – the watch first appeared in 1985 as the world’s first water-resistant watch – the numerals hark back to the Art Deco period. And although Pasha has a round-shaped case, its square filigree rail-track reveals an almost nonconformist spirit which is almost out of character for Cartier.

The collection includes sizes for men and women, along with an assortment of gold and steel combinations.

That’s because everything here, from the numerals and the case to the Vendôme lugs and the singular crown protecting cap, was the brainchild of famed independent designer Gerald Genta. To Cartier’s credit, Genta did base his design on the original model created in 1932 by Louis Cartier for the Pasha of Marrakech.

With a screw-down cap protecting the crown from water damage, Pasha de Cartier was a tool watch at heart.

From the outset, the Pasha gained instant cult status. There simply was nothing else like it. Then it fell off the radar a little, and after a short hiatus, returned in 2020, souped up with a bevy of luxurious upgrades.

Now, you get not one but two sapphire or spinel cabochons; you get the opportunity to inscribe your initials on a part of the case; you get an interchangeable strap or bracelet with self-adjustable links; and finally there’s the contemporary in-house manufactured movement Calibre 1847 MC which is extra resistant to magnetism thanks to the use of amagnetic nickel phosphorus components for the escapement.

Breitling Chronomat

It was the world’s first chronograph equipped with a built-in slide rule. Because of that, Breitling’s iconic Chronomat was for the longest time the coolest watch on the planet. You could call it the smartwatch of the ’40s – indeed it predated the other Breitling classic, the Navitimer. The circular slide rule allows you to make quick calculations and conversions anytime, anywhere. Thus the Chronomat, and eventually the Navitimer as well, became indispensable aviation tools for pilots of the era.

The Chronomat went through a period of change in the ’80s, as then-new management took over the firm, and sought to reinvent the timepiece. Roping in the help of the Italian aerobatics jet team Frecce Tricolori, the Chronomat gained some of its signature features such as rider tabs on the bezel, ergonomically designed push-pieces, and high-contrast chronograph sub-dials.

Today the timepiece re-emerged with a brand new look updated for the 21st-century watch aficionado. Its circular slide rule has given way to a tachymeter but the quarterly notches on the bezel remain. Indeed, where the ’40s Chronomat was a combination of the words ‘chronograph’ and ‘mathematics’, the ’80s remake actually alluded to the self-winding movement within, also known as a chronograph automatic.

Most importantly, what’s new and exciting about the 2020 re-edition is the eye-catching Rouleaux bracelet completed with a butterfly clasp. Embracing that retro-cool style of the ’80s, this is a unique feature found nowhere else but only at Breitling.

Breitling Top Time

Breitling is not just a brand with a long history, but with a long history making lots and lots of watches. This is why vintage Breitlings are such a big source of fascination for collectors and why they inspire the company so deeply today. Case in point, the Breitling Top Time – a cult favourite that’s instantly recognisable and simply unmissable.

vintage inspired reissued watches
The Top Time was one of Breitling’s first attempts at wooing younger audiences

Introduced in the 1960s, the Top Time targeted a younger audience who had active and sporty lifestyles. However, it also began to appeal to women, in particular, women who would choose a trusty timekeeper over a dainty jewellery watch any day of the week. It was nicknamed the Zorro dial for obvious reasons, and you know what they say: People have to like something enough to give it a nickname.

So the Top Time was a hugely popular timepiece. So popular it was featured in the 1965 James Bond movie Thunderball. Apart from being a fair bit larger than the original (42mm as opposed to 35mm), this modern tribute also features a modern Valjoux calibre 23 as opposed to the original 7733. But all that matters none when you look up close at the watch and check out those gorgeous red baton hands and retro-cool sub-dials.

Longines Heritage Classic Tuxedo Collection

Having done so many winning vintage re-editions within its Heritage line, Longines has really come to own this space. New for 2020 is a pair of ultra elegant models that celebrate the carefree spirit of the post-war ’40s. Think men in suits and women in nylon stockings, dancing and jiving to the rhythm of jazz music.

Inspired by the black-and-white suits of that era, the Heritage Classic Tuxedo exists in two variations, an hours-minutes-seconds and a bi-compax chronograph. Both pieces would certainly please the watch collectors of today. Not only did Longines manage to resist adding in a date window, it also left out the word Automatic in a bid to keep the dials as clean and faithful to the original as possible.

Best of all, the 38.5mm and 40mm cases were only very slightly increased from the original timepieces. Just big enough to contain a modern calibre, yet not so big as to set off the dial proportions.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Control Geographic

In the ’90s, Jaeger-LeCoultre was a very different company to what it is today. That was a time when the Grande Maison focused solely on making exceptional timepieces and instruments. It was far from the dynamic, multi-talented, simultaneously futuristic and traditional organisation we see now.

vintage inspired reissued watches
Master Control Geographic updated with elegant watchmaking details as well as a new Novonappa calfskin strap

Watches like the Master Control Geographic were made during this period and they perfectly embody the manufacture’s dedication to functionality. In it, you see the technical rigour and stylistic restraint. You see the commitment to watchmaking precision and everyday utility. You see a watch that takes itself almost too seriously.

A historical Master Geographic from the ’90s

So the relaunched Master Control Geographic takes some of that seriousness and mixes it with stylistic features of the ’50s, and updates it with 21st-century flair. Why was it named Master Control? Because this was the first watch to be certified by Jaeger-LeCoultre’s incredible 1,000 Hours Control test. Watchmaking, was and continues to be very serious business at Jaeger-LeCoultre.

Zenith Chronomaster Revival Manufacture Edition

Flying well under the radar in spite of its technical eminence, Zenith has far more to offer than most people give it credit for. This was the company that invented the world’s first and fastest automatic chronograph that remains – more or less – unchanged since 1969. Suffice it to say, Zenith has watchmaking talent in spades.

This modern tribute was inspired by a selection of vintage El Primero dials

But all that has changed this year, if its 2020 novelties were anything to go by. The Chronomaster Revival Manufacture Edition proves that all that latent potential swirling about in the Zenith manufacture has bubbled to the top. This special though not limited edition timepiece has an interesting dial design inspired by vintage prototypes discovered in a forgotten attic of the manufacture in Le Locle.

In addition, Zenith reissued them in a case that’s faithful to the original 1969 design and to the delight of collectors all over the world kept to the vintage 38mm diameter. There is but one catch: The Chronomaster Revival Manufacture Edition is so named because you can only purchase it at the manufacture. The good news? Zenith’s manufacture works with the Swiss tourism board and is open to the public for scheduled visits.

Zenith Chronomaster Revival “Shadow”

With vintage tributes being pretty much dime a dozen these days, why it becomes doubly special when brands come up with an angle as refreshing as Zenith’s Chronomaster Revival “Shadow”. Although based on a ’70s manually wound prototype which never made it to production, this all-black model was ahead of its time then, but looks completely modern and relevant today.

A fascinating story accompanies this all-black Zenith sports watch.

Its 41mm case was also considered extremely oversized back in the day. Now crafted in microblasted titanium, there is this gunmetal grey hue when the light bounces off its surfaces at the correct angle that contrasts very elegantly with the jet black dial. Best of all, this piece comes with an El Primero movement which you can admire through the sapphire case back.

Audemars Piguet [Re]master01 Selfwinding Chronograph

Remastering is not the same as reissuing, says Audemars Piguet. Coming from the people who brought us this amazing tagline “To break the rules, you must first master them”, you best believe that the [Re]master01 Selfwinding Chronograph is no ordinary vintage-inspired timepiece.

Likening its journey to a record remastering, where classical vinyls are restored using state-of-the-art techniques, the [Re]master01 Selfwinding Chronograph offers a number of elegant design features no longer seen in modern timepieces. See here teardrop lugs and olive-shaped chronograph pushers.

A 500-piece limited edition, the [Re]master01 offers a hint of Audemars Piguet’s approach to vintage remakes

Extra details that Audemars Piguet kept include the hour numerals, bicolour case, the 4/5 marker above the 15-minute index within the 30-minute counter. Apparently this little detail was suggested by the brand’s third-generation family-founder Jacques-Louis Audemars who was passionate about soccer.Of course where the original was a manually wound piece, this modern remastering uses a self-winding calibre first seen in the Code 11.59 chronograph.

Reference 1533 provided the inspiration for this beautiful timepiece. Photo by Phillips

Another feature that’s anachronistic today but duly retained in this timepiece is the Audemars Piguet Geneve logo. This is a throwback to the olden days when the manufacture ran a workshop in Geneva for the convenience of its clients.

Vintage reissues are not just fascinating to watch collectors but also inspiring to watchmakers and designers. Even though vintage began as a trend, it is now much more than a mere trend. And as it keeps evolving, horology’s long and storied history will continue to influence modern watchmaking for many more years to come.

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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.

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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.

 

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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.

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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.

 

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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

 

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