It’s that time of the year again, for watch geeks. From W&W, we’ve picked out the best new watches of 2021 for men and women.

Watches & Wonders 2021 —one of the biggest online watch shows ever held — saw some 40 brands from across the globe turn up to showcase the best of what 2021 will offer us. Some dripped with pure savoir-faire and many were romantic tributes to the history of watchmaking, but there wasn’t a lack of everyday watches that caught our eyes. After all, not everyone can afford to sport a skeletonized or bejewelled timepiece to a casual lunch. 

These timepieces are beautiful in their simplicity while still boasting plenty of character to spare. They are also generous in their craftsmanship and set themselves apart from the rest with their attention to detail, not to mention sheer uniqueness.

Best new watches of 2021: Watches & Wonders 2021

Hermès H08

best new watches of 2021

The Hermès H08 is the perfect everyday watch for any modern man who values form just as much as function. Using its flair for creating objets d’art, the comfortable 39 x 39mm timepiece comes in three masculine case materials — graphene composite, DLC-coated titanium, and satin-brushed titanium — to perfectly sync with the rest of your Hermès wardrobe. On the dial (either black gold-coated or black nickel-coated), the watches see the brand’s exclusive typography, designed to sport a similar shape to the new “form factor” — in this case a circle in a rounded square that harnesses the best of both shapes. 

Three-strap options in fabric, rubber, and titanium bracelet are available here, which gives the watch plenty of mileage if you’re looking to take it from work to play. The Hermès Manufacture Caliber H1837 self-winding movement lies beneath to power the time and date functions of this compelling timepiece.

Patek Philippe Nautilus Ref. 5711/1A-014

best new watches of 2021

When the discontinuation of Ref. 5711/1A-010 was confirmed earlier this year, the industry simply assumed there would be a new model, not four. If you didn’t get your hands on the cult model, there’s always the 5711/1A-014, a stainless steel iteration that replaces the famous blue dial with a sunburst olive green one that’s never existed in the Nautilus collection before. 

Accented by luminescent hands and hour markers in white gold with a satin-brushed and polished bezel, case, and bracelet, the timepiece treads the line between sporty and sophisticated and makes for a stylish addition to any collection. Inside, the new self-winding calibre 26-330 S C — which was first introduced to the Ref. 5711 in 2019 — runs the time and date, the latter of which is displayed via an aperture at three o’clock.

Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921

best new watches of 2021

There’s no denying that Vacheron Constantin has plenty of old-school charm, and it knows exactly how to play its history to its advantage. As the Historiques American 1921 watch line celebrates its centenary this year, the manufacturer has decided to revive the historic timepiece for the modern gentleman once again, this time in three new versions — a 40mm and 36.5mm version in white gold and another limited edition in sand-blasted platinum. 

On the surface, the modern American 1921 is faithful in style, keeping to the century-old aesthetic with its Art Deco cushion shape, unique corner-set crown, and cockeyed dial. The suitably more modern calibre 4400AS hand-wound movement (first used in the 2008 version) finds its way back to these newer babies, which sees 65 hours of power reserve and carries the prestigious Hallmark of Geneva.

Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight 925

best new watches of 2021

Tudor’s latest Fifty-Eight has plenty going for it, and it’s not only because of its very unique colourway. This is its first-ever dive watch with a silver (a proprietary 925 silver Tudor alloy to be precise) case, which has been maximised by the manufacture for “luminance” so that it wouldn’t show the usual tarnish commonly associated with silver. The look pairs perfectly with an equally warm taupe dial and bezel, a pleasant departure from the usual black/blue-steel diving options that are currently dominating the market today.

Only a handful of divers have been rendered in this unorthodox material so it’s easy to see why this Black Bay will be so covetable. The watch offers a solid 200m of water resistance and is powered by the Calibre MT5400 automatic movement that’s COSC chronometer certified.

Cloche de Cartier 

best new watches of 2021

If the usual watch shapes were getting too boring for you, Cartier’s latest will have you excited. Its Privé Collection — a platform that revisits the brand’s most iconic designs throughout history — has revived the Cloche de Cartier, a watch from the Roaring Twenties best recognized by its unique bell-shaped case.

The idiosyncratic design started its life as a brooch watch, so expect plenty of quirks not usually found on wristwatches. The dial, for example, has been rotated 90 degrees to see the 12 o’clock position be adjacent to the crown. Sure it’s a little disorienting at first, but you’ll quickly get used to it. Available in yellow or pink gold, or platinum, the timepieces sport the hand-wound 1917 MC movement. Three skeletonised versions are also available with the calibre 9626 MC, and comes in pink gold, and platinum with or without diamonds.

IWC Big Pilot’s Watch 43

best new watches of 2021

IWC’s original Big Pilot had plenty of fans, but not many of them could carry off a hulking 46mm timepiece on their wrists. The new one, however, sits at a more comfortable 43mm, but still keeps the charm of a big aviation watch without losing any of its characters. Its dial is also cleaner, which purists would appreciate seeing as early pilot watches were simply composed of three light hands against a dark dial with a minute track. 

After doing away with the date window and even the power reserve indicator, this is as minimal as it gets for an IWC pilot’s watch and can be easily matched with your daily wardrobe. The black-dialled version comes with a brown calf leather strap, while the blue version in either a matching calf leather strap or stainless steel bracelet.

Panerai Submersible Bronzo Blu Abisso

best new watches of 2021

It’s been 10 years since Panerai introduced bronze to its lineup and the alloy has since become a part of the family. This year, it finally comes in a smaller 42mm iteration, making it more wearable, as opposed to the similarly-hued Bronzo PAM 671 of 2017 that measured 47mm. 

Still, the watch is plenty big in personality, with a striking bronze-blue colour combination that encapsulates the brand’s affinity for the seas. The timepiece is paired with beige Super-Luminova and oxidised bronze accents, lending it a well-worn aesthetic that’ll only get better with time.

Inside, Panerai’s in-house P.900 provides the watch with three days of power reserve. The watch will come paired with a suede leather strap with a bronze buckle, as well as an additional blue rubber strap.

All images: Courtesy brands

This story first appeared on Lifestyle Asia Singapore.

Shatricia Nair
Deputy Editor
Shatricia Nair is a motoring, watches, and wellness writer who is perpetually knee-deep in the world of V8s, tourbillons, and the latest fitness trends. She is fuelled by peanut butter and three cups of coffee a day.