The past month has shaped up to be quite an exciting one for watch enthusiasts here, but there’s even more that the industry can offer besides Patek Philippe’s recently-culminated retrospective exhibition and IWC’s ongoing one. 

The watch updates this month are just as buzz-worthy. For starters, Vacheron Constantin has a spanking new boutique that’s a vast departure from their previous one. Then there’s the stunning Royal Oak in black ceramic that frenzied collectors all over the world; Audemars Piguet has indulged fans by releasing a variation that’s equally – if not more — covetable. 

Meanwhile, Hublot plays its part for wildlife conservation, and Romain Jerome reimagines Batman’s worst nightmare as a timepiece. Here’s everything to catch up on this week. 

Audemars Piguet strips its black ceramic Royal Oak

Following a release in 2017 in the obsidian scratch-proof material, Audemars Piguet has once again employed the same jet-black ceramic to its latest Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar Openworked. Only this time you’ll get a view of everything within.

Set with a transparent glare-proof sapphire crystal dial instead of a slate grey “Grande Tapisserie” one, this watch bares the firm’s penchant for fine craftsmanship for all to see. Above the complex inner workings are rose gold accents that gently contrast against the otherwise monochromatic look.

The calibre 5135 within is still the timepiece’s biggest star; the more visible elements here get extra hand-finishing, while components such as the bridges and barrel on the rear of the movement are now openworked too.

Hublot supports the rhinos

Hublot has been known to create plenty of special editions, but this is one of its most meaningful. Created in collaboration with former international cricket champion Kevin Pietersen — founder of the non-profit Save Our Rhino Africa India (SORAI)  the watch will raise funds for Care for Wild, a South African organisation that cares for orphaned baby rhinos while preventing illegal horn trade.

It’s easy to see the wildlife references on this 45mm beige ceramic model, especially since there’s a white rhino within one of the sub-dials. The self-winding chronograph comes with two strap options — a camouflage rubber bracelet or a matching NATO strap.

Vacheron Constantin refreshes its ION Boutique

No stranger to revolutionising the industry with new concepts, the world’s oldest haute horlogerie manufacturer has reopened its ION Orchard boutique with new design codes, a touch of contemporary Asian elements, and a special curation of vintage timepieces.

This boutique might house the complete collection — from the simple models to high complication pieces — but it’s the “Nicknames” exhibition that you’ll want to check out. Some of its most iconic timepieces will be on display here; the “Cornes de Vaches” (cow horns), “Batman”, and “Cioccoalatone” are just three of the many connoisseur favourites, and are nicknamed so within the horological circle for their unique aesthetics.

The Joker gets this own watch

Everyone’s favourite psychotic clown is now immortalised for the wrist thanks to Swiss independent watch brand RJ. Its namesake watchmaker Romain Jerome — who’s now synonymous with eccentric special editions — worked closely with Warner Brothers to create the DC Comics villain timepiece.

There are plenty of references here to please fans. Using its new Arraw signature collection case as the base, the Joker is a 100-piece limited edition chronograph that recalls the criminal’s dark mind. The 45mm titanium timepiece sees a dial that bears the four suits of playing cards in the small seconds dial and hour markers. Instead of an arrow, the hands are tipped with aces instead, and the bezel is laser-engraved with his motif. From far, the black subdials against a white dial recall the Joker’s soul-less gaze and pallid skin, creating a sense of grim suspense with every glance.

The most extensive watch collaboration of the decade

As far as collaborations go, few will be able to name-drop like the Mr Porter × Bamford Watch Department × Zenith El Primero Revival A384 Edge of Space Limited-Edition watch. 

With a rough, bead-blasted titanium case and solemn grey and blue dial, it’s easy to see why this A384 is one of the brand’s grittiest offering. Yet what it lacks in shine, it more than makes up for in style, especially since it’s borrowed design elements from previous models here. The tachymeter, for example, is courtesy of the 1984/86 El Primero, while its subdials are from the calibre 146-HP. The famous 400 calibre in this watch powers the chronograph, date, and time, and has a power reserve of 50 hours.

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.