The Best of Watches & Wonders 2015

Horological Extravaganza

Excalibur Star of Infinity – Roger Dubuis
Roger Dubuis gives an old favourite a dazzling makeover with the Excalibur Star of Infinity, a diamond-set version of its iconic Excalibur Skeleton Double Flying Tourbillon. The RD01SQ calibre has been plated in charcoal grey rhodium in order to create a darker background on which the diamond-set star may better stand out and appear to float. Because of the skeletonised movement, the points of the star seem to stretch out into empty space, hence the ‘infinity’ in the timepiece’s name.

The 319-part movement took 1,200 hours to complete, including 360 hours spent on engineering and finishing it in order to meet the requirements of the Poincon de Geneve. It gives the watch a 48-hour power reserve.

Geophysic Universal Time – Jaeger Le-Coultre
First released in 1958, Jaeger Le-Coultre’s original Geophysic watch was created to celebrate the brand’s 125th anniversary and to commemorate the world’s first International Geophysical Year, a collaborative effort by 67 nations to encourage progress in the field of geophysics. The brand reintroduced the line last year and it seems it is now here to stay with the unveiling of two more additions at Watches & Wonders.

Shown here is the Geophysic Universal Time, equipped with the Calibre 772. The movement has an unusual non-circular balance wheel called the Gyrolab, which took the brand eight years to perfect to incorporate into this line – the challenge was in reducing its air resistance. The other noteworthy feature is the true seconds (or deadbeat seconds), which provides better accuracy.

Taking centre stage on the dial is a miniature depiction of the world map. Engraved in gold, the continents have a mesmerising sunburst finish while in the background, the oceans are lacquered in subtly graded shades of blue. In the back is a gold oscillating weight in the shape of Jaeger-LeCoultre’s logo, crafted from a single block of solid gold.

1815 200th Anniversary FA Lange – A Lange & Sohne
Ferdinand Adolph Lange, the pioneer who brought watchmaking to Saxony, would have turned 200 this year. As a tribute to the man who elevated German watchmaking, A Lange & Sohne released the commemorative 200th Anniversary FA Lange in platinum with a black dial in February. A second edition followed at Watches & Wonders, but with a case in the brand’s proprietary ultra-hard honey gold and a dial of solid German silver. The dial is finished in finely textured argents graine, a historic technique that gives the metal a velvety appearance when viewed up close. Driving this masterpiece is the 188-part manually wound calibre L051.1 with a power reserve of 55 hours. Each 40mm watch of this special edition is engraved with a serial number between 001 and 200.

Lo Scienziato Radiomir 1940 Tourbillon GMT Oro Rosso – 48mm – Panerai
Galileo Galilei’s law of isochronism (or equal intervals) of the oscillations of the pendulum contributed greatly to watchmaking. It unlocked the puzzle to regulating the swing of the balance wheel as the power reserve depletes between each winding. In 2012, Panerai sponsored a special section in the Museo Galileo in Florence detailing his contributions to time measurement. In conjunction, the brand launched the Lo Scienziato (The Scientist) range. The latest addition, Radiomir 1940 Tourbillon GMT Oro Rosso, showcases the skeletonised P. 2005/S hand-wound caliber with an almost dial-less design. The tourbillon completes a rotation within its cage every 30 seconds instead of the more usual 60, and in a perpendicular direction, instead of parallel, to the balance wheel.

Portofino Hand-wound Day & Date –  IWC Schaffhausen

IWC‘s new Portofino adds a highly practical complication to the collection’s signature elegance. At 12 o’clock sits the large date, which is synchronised with the day display at three o’clock. Powered by the in-house 59220 calibre, the two elastic fingers that control the day and date displays tap off energy from the barrel throughout the day. At midnight, the power they have built up is used to advance the date, and move the hand on the day subdial to point to the next day. The movement has a power reserve of eight days, which is indicated by the power reserve at nine o’clock.

Heritage Chronometrie Dual Time Vasco da Gama – Montblanc
As a continuation of its tribute to Vasco da Gama, a large portion of Montblanc’s new releases at Watches and Wonders constituted new additions to its Vasco da Gama line. Heritage Chronometrie Dual Time Vasco da Gama is one of them. Da Gama navigated his way by aid of the stars in the night sky; so the home time day/night indicator at 12 o’clock shows the night sky in the southern hemisphere, while the seconds sub-dial at six o’clock features a miniature world map. Only 238 pieces are available worldwide, referencing the Cape Point Peak lighthouse built 238m above sea level at the Cape of Good Hope. Da Gama would have used the lighthouse as a guiding landmark during his voyage.

Coffret d’exception Rotonde de Cartier – Cartier
Presented in a black lacquered mahogany box, the three timepieces represent the best of Cartier’s watchmaking expertise. Each features grand complications that would have made the watch a great standalone piece – there’s the Mysterious Double Tourbillon, the Minute Repeater Flying Tourbillon and one with the innovative concentric perpetual calendar display unveiled in 2014 that is now an icon of Cartier.

Uniting the trio aesthetically is the blue guilloche enamel on 18k white gold dials. The radiating motif of the guilloche is first carved into the metal before it is covered in layers of translucent enamel. After repeated firings, a radiant dial of brilliant blue with the metallic sheen of the gold and guilloche shining through is revealed. Every timepiece in this set holds the prestigious Poincon de Geneve seal. Only five sets of this trio are available worldwide.

RM 017 Extra Flat Tourbillon Asia Edition – Richard Mille
At just 8.7mm thick, this timepiece is slim by Richard Mille’s standards. Its dimensions are even more impressive when one considers that besides the usual time indications, it holds a tourbillon, power reserve and function indicator. Powering the watch is the 4.65-mm thick manually-wound RM 017 calibre, which has a baseplate, bridges and balance cock machined from grade 5 titanium, an extremely rigid material that provides the movement with great strength. The case encapsulating the movement is equally strong, being constructed from white or black ceramic created at a high pressure of 2,000 bar. This process increases rigidity by 20 to 30 per cent and reduces the material’s porosity to a minimum. The result is a scratch-resistant material second only to a diamond in hardness. Because the timepiece was created for the Asian market, the 12, three and nine o’clock hour markers are in Chinese characters.

Sign up for our Newsletters

Stay up to date with our latest series