Thank goodness we made it through 2016. It was one of the roughest years experienced by the watch industry for quite some time, but as they say, diamonds are formed under pressure, and pearls through irritation. With plenty of both stoking the fires of desire that burn so savagely in the hearts of our market leaders, 2017 promises to be the opening salvo in a charge towards redemption.
January is always a fun month in the world of watchmaking because of SIHH. For my thoughts about this year’s fair, check out our previous article here.
I observed a continuation of the recent trend towards vintage styling, a favouring of pared-back, era-proof design. That said, there were some other pieces that hit the market during January that suggest there’s still a demand for big, bad, brash beaters.
Here are my top three radical releases for the month of January:
Christophe Claret and the Power of Three
Sticking to three colours is a great way to produce a striking, memorable, confident piece of art or clothing. The Christophe Claret Maestro Watch in titanium is memorable for its chromatic clarity. It is one of the cleanest examples I’ve seen of a watch utilising just three colours and displayed mechanics on the dial. It’s an icy masterpiece from one of the coolest brands around.
Movements in Glass Houses…
Sapphire cases are a whole load of glorious nonsense. I thought the idea was insane until I got last year’s Hublot Big Bang UNICO sapphire watch on my wrist. That model took transparency to hitherto unseen levels, with a see-through dial, see-through hands, and even a semi-opaque rubber strap.
What we see here, with the release of the Hublot Big Bang UNICO Magic Sapphire watch is a much more mature, everyday interpretation of the sapphire concept.
The case retains the glittering beauty of its predecessors, but it teams this with a highly legible, high contrast dial in black, red, and white. I particularly like the smoked date ring (visible at three o’clock), because it doesn’t interrupt the flow of the dial in the least.
Red-hot Roger Dubuis Debuts New Piece
The Excalibur Carbon Spider is the latest piece to bolster a range, best known for its notched bezel and three-pronged lug system. This model in particular flies directly in the face of watchmaking’s classical curve. With a carbon case, skeletonised movement, dial-mounted tourbillon, composite straps, and bright red liberally splashed all over the place, this watch is an unapologetic salute to the creativity that will always find a foothold in the market.
This is an excellent new watch from a brand that will endure on its non-conformist principles for years to come.