It was only a matter of time before the horological industry kicked back into high gear, and we’re all for it.
The pandemic might’ve delayed many a watch launch but as they say, the best things are worth the wait. This week, we can almost hear the collective heavy breathing from collectors around the world as brands launch not only a bounty of limited edition watches, but also an exhibition (finally!).
Jaeger-LeCoultre, for example, has teamed up with style purveyor Mr Porter to channel the dapperness of Kingsmen into its ultra-thin watches, while HYT renders its famous physics-defying H20 watch in a bold crimson hue. For those who can’t wait to get back out to sea, IWC and Orlebar Brown have drawn up an expedition-worthy Portugieser to match with a nine-piece capsule collection of achingly cool resortwear pieces. All these while yet another Rolex Daytona makes history once more on the auction block.
Read on for the most exciting watch news this week.
Jaeger-LeCoultre x Mr Porter limited edition Kingsman watches
Jaeger-LeCoultre and Mr Porter are two brands which know a thing or two about looking sharp, so it’s no surprise they’ve come together to create a watch worthy of secret service agents. The Master Ultra Thin Kingsman Knife Watch is a limited edition of 100 pieces that’s part of the online retailer’s The King’s Man ‘costume to collection’ series. Jaeger-LeCoultre drew upon its historic mastery of ultra-thin calibres for this, specifically taking inspiration from its 1907 ‘Couteau’ pocket watch to create this 40mm neo-vintage timepiece.
The pink gold case houses the firm’s celebrated hand-wound calibre 849, which — at just 1.85mm thick — underlines the maison’s century-old mastery of ultra-thin movements. Each watch is engraved with the Kingsman logo as well as the legend “One of 100”, and is presented in a specially-designed sleevebox.
This Rolex Daytona just became the world’s most expensive automatic chronograph
We know the Rolex Daytona to be one of the most coveted holy grails of the watch world, but one has transcended that status to also become the most expensive automatic chronograph ever sold. Known as Reference 16516 amongst insiders, the watch went under the hammer for US$3.27 million (S$4.54 million) at Sotheby’s Hong Kong watch auction last weekend.
It’s the only known platinum Daytona with a lapis lazuli dial, its striking blue face only matched by an equally bright turquoise strap. Inside, the watch features the famed calibre 4030 automatic movement, which is based on the Zenith El Primero’s before Rolex replaced this a year later in 2000 with its own in-house calibre.
It still isn’t the most expensive Daytona ever sold — that accolade belongs to the Paul Newman Daytona which sold for US$17.75 million — but this is still a pretty impressive record nonetheless.
IWC x Orlebar Brown Portugieser and resort wear
There couldn’t be a better time for this partnership now that summer’s officially kicked off. Famed for its resort wear (even James Bond couldn’t resist), Orlebar Brown has been enlisted to apply its know-how for elevated poolside dressing to Portugieser Yacht Club Chronograph Edition “Orlebar Brown”, alongside a nine-piece collection of resort wear.
The nautical chronograph, which is water-resistant to six bar, comes crafted in stainless steel with a marine-blue, white, and red dial — all colours that Orlebar Brown often uses. The robust watch comes equipped with a blue rubber strap with textile inlay, so it’s completely at home whether you’re out sailing or at the beach. To match, opt for the photographic swim short (a signature of Orlebar Brown’s), a cotton-silk knitted polo, and the white towelling blazer from the same capsule collection.
Laurent Ferrier works with titanium for the first time
In celebration of its 10th anniversary, independent Swiss watchmaker Laurent Ferrier has pulled out all the stops for the Classic Origin Opaline. The three-hand watch with an opaline dial might not have all the trimmings that you’d expect from a master watchmaker like Ferrier, but it’s still a showcase of the brand’s craftsmanship at its finest.
For this, Ferrier re-released his lauded Classic case, this time using Grade 5 titanium for the first time instead of the usual gold or even steel. On the dial, signature elements include the Assegai-shape hour and minute hands, which are accompanied by a small snailed seconds display and an hour track in slate grey with Burgundy numerals for legibility. The brand’s new hand-wound Calibre LF 116.01 movement powers the watch within, lending a power reserve of 80 hours.
HYT releases one-of-five limited edition watch
HYT continues its knack for jaw-dropping watches with the H20, only this time the intriguing timepiece gets a crimson upgrade. Available in a very limited run of only five pieces, this special edition is a skeletonise engineering marvel that’s housed within a domed crystal, designed to resemble a pebble weathered to perfect smoothness.
As usual, time is indicated via a patented micro-fluidic module that surrounds the movement, with a red fluid that travels around the dial as time goes by. The rule-breaking watch has a substantial 192-hour power reserve, and continues the brand’s exploration of the interplay between time and space.
Vacheron Constantin’s showcases its sports watches at MBS
To illustrate its tradition of precision watches and sports models since the 1940s, Vacheron Constantin has drawn on its rich heritage of some 1,300 timepieces to select those particularly representative of different periods and trends. These precision instruments, especially the chronographs, are now proudly on display at Marina Bay Sands from now till 24 August 2020 at the Vacheron Constantin Boutique.
Some of the most notable watches to check out here include the “222” — a steel timepiece with an integrated bracelet that celebrated the brand’s 222nd anniversary in 1977 — and the Phidias, an elegant world timer that was entirely in tune with the prevailing democratisation of air travel.