From: Esquire UK
From Baselworld and beyond we've selected 30 of the year's most beautiful watches.
First designed back in 1904 for Brazilian aviator Alberto Santos Dumont, the Santos went on to become one of the watchmakers most coveted creations. It was first designed as pilot’s timepiece, but its slim size profile makes it the perfect dress watch.
Audemars Piguet’s new Royal Oak Offshore marks 25 years since the brand first introduced the watch it called ‘The Beast’. As close to the original as it can be, only some of the materials (such as the rubber for the pushers) have been improved. So if anything, it’s better.
Simple, sturdy and in line with the trend for vintage-y sports watches, this chronograph is a great example of the Montblanc’s excellent 1858 collection.
Lots of watchmakers are delving in their archives, but few are coming up with such handsome goods as Jaeger Le Coultre, as the Polaris Memovox – our favourite piece from the new Polaris range – attests.
Our pick of the anniversary collection unveiled at SIHH back in January. This Big Pilot is the only piece in the collection to have the annual calendar collection, but it maintains that oversized pilot’s watch style so perfected by IWC.
Offering a new, slightly more affordable ‘entry level’ price point, the fantastic Fifty Six collection is perhaps Vacheron’s big story of the year, but it was the Overseas Dual Time, on steel, that stuck in our minds after seeing it for the first time in January.
A thing of watchmaking beauty, the Triple Split is quite possibly one of the coolest and most impressive watches ever made. It allows multi-hour comparative time measurements; the first mechanical watch to ever do it. Beyond that, it looks great (and it’s the looks that get you first, eh?).
Clean, simple and decidedly mid-century, B&M’s new auto date watch marks a big step forward for the Richemont brand. Fitted with a technically-advanced in-house movement, it’s incredibly good value.
The enfant terrible of the watch world, customiser George Bamford has been embraced into the bosom of a clutch of the biggest brands, and the latest result is this seriously cool reimagining of the Monaco. It’s limited to just 500 pieces so you’ll be lucky to get one, but worth a shot nonetheless.
You’re not actually going to go diving in it (unless you’re a grade-A baller), but if you were to wear Patek’s new Aquanaut chrono into the briny deep, then you’d be the coolest man below sea level, hands down.
The Due is available in 40mm and 42mm, but it’s the 38mm that we love. The smallest Luminor Panerai has ever made. It reflects an industry move to smaller watches, which is good for those with slighter wrists.
Known (and celebrated) for its big, wrist dominating, statement making watches, Hublot has trimmed down the Big Bang to 42mm, but kept all of its incredible inner workings intact. The flyback chrono boasts a ‘double clutch’, which can be seen through the open work dial.
A perfect expression of Hermès’ brand of eccentric craftsmanship, the new Arceau is gleefully off-kilter, but – true to the Maison’s form – incredibly cool.
In true Bremont spirit, the new Endurance (named after Ernest Shackleton’s expedition) was tested in the harshest conditions: strapped to the wrist of Ben Saunders as he trekked unsupported to the South Pole.
At just 3.95mm, this is the world’s thinnest automatic watch. It’s hard to gauge the sheer intricacy of this watch until you see it up close, but we have, and it’s astonishing.
We’re big fans of pieces in B&R’s Vintage collection (the recent Belly Tanker chrono is very cool indeed) and the Racing Bird – inspired by the Reno Air Races – is our pick of the latest releases.
Every year Tudor seems to come out with the watch that you (and every other man) will be pining after for at least a few months. The new Pepsi-Cola GMT is that watch for 2018.
One of the new iterations of the iconic Navitimer under the guidance of new company boss Georges kern, the Navitimer 1 is now aviailable in 38mm, and we love it.
Definitely one of our highlights from the watch fair in Basel last month, the Sixties is seriously groovy, and incredibly chic when you see it up close.
We love the Legend Diver on Milanese bracelet (released last year), but this black PVD edition is ace, and in line with the trend for all-black colourways.
One of the coolest ‘diving’ (would you actually go diving with something this precious?) watches ever made, new Fifty Fathoms Grande Date has recently undergone some facial reconstruction, with the date moving from 4 o’clock to 6 o’clock. Simple but effective.
One of the unexpected highlights of our trip to the Basel watch fair, this Diver, a faithful remake of a Sixties design, is a sure-fire way to put some quality on your wrist for an excellent price.
We love the sturdy simplicity of the Khaki Field collection, and this hand-wound 38 is the perfect example. The kind of watch that you can take anywhere and it will never let you down.
Omega’s big story this year is the 70th anniversary of the Seamaster, and a new Seamaster 300M (which is 25 this year) will be launched in celebration in the Autumn (keep your eyes peeled: it’s going to be big news). But to tide you over, here’s the CK2998 Moonwatch Chrono, and it’s a thing of beauty.
A re-up of the the Cairelli chrono Zenith issued to the Italian military in the Sixties (which was relaunched as a special edition last year), the Tipo CP-2 is a fine illustration of the rustic, war-weary-looking watches the marque creates.
The German watchmaker has been releasing excellent, vintage-inspired pieces for some time now, and although the Chronoris chronograph was perhaps the most eye-catching watch the brand unveiled last month, the Big Crown auto is beautiful for a different, more rustic reason. And best of all, it’s available now.
Traditionally, we wouldn’t choose two shades of brown for a bi-colour bezel on the new ‘Everose gold’ GMT Master II from Rolex, but on seeing the watch, we immediately held up our hands in contrition, and bowed down at the altar of Rolex. It’s awesome.
Another of our surprise favourites from Baselworld last month, Carl F Bucherer’s Manero Flyback in steel is classy and understated, but packed with watchmaking finesse.
Brimming with that quintessentially Nomossian sparsity, the Autobahn is made in collaboration with product designer Werner Aisslinger. We love the simple colourway with the pops of orange, but the coolest thing is when you get up close you can see that the dial is concave.
The Dive is perhaps Gucci’s most popular model (and understandably so), but the new autos, equipped with a GMT function, might just bump it off its perch. Our pick is the yellow gold variation on a black alligator strap.