We all know that in life, time may be one of the most precious commodities. It can’t be bought, bargained for, or gotten back. So why not keep track of it in style?
Welcome to our annual “Watch Guide,” where we take a close look at what goes into the making of some of the finest watches in the world — from astonishing creativity to startling technical advancements and jaw-dropping aesthetics. Akin to the supercar and hypercar industries, watchmaking tests the skills of the finest mechanics, challenging them to meet higher standards than ever before.
This article appeared in our November 2023 Issue.
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From the screeching tires on the asphalt to the hypnotic tick of a watch’s heart and hands, automotive and horological enthusiasts share an unspoken appreciation for finely tuned instruments. While the automotive world focuses on pushing boundaries in horsepower, aerodynamics, and cutting-edge technology, watchmakers, too, continually master the art of pushing the envelope. They are building faster, more precise movements, adding innovative — often patented — technologies and creating 3D works of art and design worthy of display in a museum. In this, our annual watch guide, we embark on a mission to showcase some of the finest timepieces the world has to offer. Reflecting the watch trends of the moment, we present three categories: Classics; Complications; and Air, Land, Sea. So sit back and indulge in the world of creativity, function, form, and performance.
A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 Time Zone
German brand A. Lange & Söhne is known for its clean designs and precise manufacturing. A beloved favorite has always been the Lange 1 Time Zone watch, which the brand recently released in 950 platinum with a solid silver dial that indicates home time and a second time zone at a single glance. The 41.9-millimeter watch houses a manually wound movement and offers outsized date indication, power reserve (70 hours) indication, and a day/night indicator.
Price On Request
Vacheron Constantin Traditionelle Tourbillon
With the recently unveiled Traditionnelle Tourbillon in platinum, Vacheron Constantin modernizes this beloved watch with a sunburst green dial for contemporary appeal. The 41-millimeter timepiece is powered by an ultra-thin self-winding movement (caliber 2160/1) with a peripheral rotor that slims down the movement thickness along with the final cased watch. In constant rotation, the tourbillon-regulator mechanism at 6 o’clock beats at a slow frequency (18,000 vibrations per hour), yielding a mesmerizing mechanical dance. The watch offers 80 hours of power reserve and carries the coveted Hallmark of Geneva.
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Glashütte Original Senator Chronometer
This German brand’s legacy of tradition and innovation shines in the Glashütte Original Senator Chronometer watch. This 42-millimeter, 18-karat white gold chronometer is powered by an in-house manual winding movement with a Panorama Date, a day/night indicator, a power reserve indicator, and — at 6 o’clock on the dial — an offset seconds subdial. The shock-resistant watch is a certified chronometer, attesting to the fact that it passed a strictly controlled 15-day test by an outside observatory to gauge precision in five positions and at three temperatures. The silver-plated dial is a classic beauty with solid gold, blue-coated, appliqéd Roman numerals and a railroad chapter ring.
Accutron Spaceview Evolution
Always a pioneer with new power sources — this is the brand that brought the first electronic tuning fork watch in 1960 — Accutron’s Spaceview Evolution boasts electrostatic technology inspired by the Spaceview it released in 2020. The new version is accurate to plus or minus 5 seconds per month thanks to the two turbines on the dial side (the larger one is an electrostatic motor). The new design of this classic watch shifts the angle of the movement by 30 degrees, so the turbines are off-center, and the crown is at 2 o’clock instead of 3 o’clock. The 43.5-millimeter piece features a domed sapphire crystal.
Parmigiani Tonda PF Micro-Rotor
Watchmaker Michel Parmigiani dedicates himself to classic, elegant design with top-notch movements. The Tonda PF Micro-Rotor follows in that theme with a polished and satin-finished, stainless steel case with a hand-knurled platinum bezel. The 40-millimeter watch is powered by the PF703 automatic winding manufacture movement. It is equipped with a platinum micro-rotor and 48 hours of power reserve and consists of 176 individual components. The dial features a classic finish with a Grain d’Orge guilloché pattern that is created by hand.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tribute Small Seconds
Invented in 1931 for polo players, the Reverso has become an icon thanks to a unique case design that features a dial/case that pushes sideways out of its cradle and can be flipped to showcase either a secondary dial or a solid case back. The new Reverso Tribute Small Seconds is a nod to the past with a hint of modernity. The rose gold case with midnight black dial pairs with an interchangeable strap from the Fagliano collection (in collaboration with the Argentinian makers of the beloved polo boots). The watch is ultra-thin thanks to the manually wound caliber 822 mechanical movement that contains only 108 components.
Richard Mille RM 30-01
Richard Mille has always rocked a distinctive look inside and out. Its newest RM 30-01 is examplary of this singularity, as it is equipped with a world’s first: an automatic movement with a declutchable rotor, demonstrating the brand’s commitment to technical excellence. Essentially, when the automatic movement has reached its optimal level of winding, the rotor disengages and no longer continues to wind the movement until its power has dropped out of the zone again. This prevents overwinding and the damage that ensues. In typical Richard Mille style, the strong aesthetics of the geometric tonneau case and skeleton movement ensure recognition from across a crowded room. In rose gold and titanium.
This year, famed watch brand Rolex discontinued its niche Cellini watches and replaced them with the exciting, new 198 collection. With timeless elegance, this 1908 39-millimeter, 18-karat yellow gold watch features a domed and fluted bezel and a stark white dial. The watch is powered by the brand’s housemade bidirectional self-winding Perpetual movement (caliber 7140) that is precise to +2/12 seconds per day. Offering 66 hours of power reserve, the watch is chocked with high-technology components, including a Syloxi hairspring made of silicon with patented geometry, as well as high-performance Paraflex shock absorbers.
Patek Philippe Calatrava Travel Time
Always a classic, Patek Philippe’s Calatrava watches continually evolve but always stay true to their own style. The recently released, 42-millimeter Calatrava Travel Time in rose gold boasts a rich blue dial with 24-hour time indication using Arabic numerals in gold. There is also a subsidiary seconds dial, in addition to the second time zone indication. The watch is powered by a proprietary automatic movement with 48 hours of power reserve. The movement, which carries Patek Philippe’s Seal, is visible via a transparent case back.
Wilbur Leo JW1.1
An acronym for “living extraterrestrial object,” Jason Wilbur’s Leo is a sculpturefor the wrist that was years in the making. Inspired by his fascination with aliens, Wilbur crafts the eight-part case in titanium and black DLC with blue accents and incorporates cryptic symbols as art. The watch is powered by the Wilbur Engine One movement, made by Concepto in Switzerland, and offers a jumping hour in the center. Three versions will be made, all in limited editions.
The new Corum Concept watch, created in titanium and manufactured in very limited numbers, eschews a traditional dial and adds an aventurine back plate instead, making the movement parts appear to float in plain view. The 39.5-millimeter watch wields a flying tourbillon move- ment, sapphire crystal bridges and plates, and 90 hours of power reserve. The case back is etched with arrows and the names of the parts that are visibleviatransparentsapphire windows. It is finished with a blue recycled-Velcro strap and a new adjustment system.
Jacob & Co. Twin Turbo Furious
A grand complication and a world premiere, the newest Twin Turbo Furious combines three incredible complications: a twin triple- axis sequential high-speed tourbillon, a minute repeater, and a monopusher column wheel chronograph. It marks the first time Jacob & Co. has combined a triple-axis twin tourbillon with a repeater. The manually wound JCFM05 caliber consists of an incredible 832 parts. Crafted in 18-karat 5N rose gold and carbon fiber, the watch boasts an anti-reflective domed sapphire crystal and a crystal case back for viewing the exception movement.
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Minute Repeater Sonnerie
Legendary brand Audemars Piguet pushes its innovative materials concept further in this high-complication watch by using black ceramic for the case. The intricate Supersonnerie movement, which chimes the hours, quarter hours, and minutes on demand, has an all-new sound when paired with this material. The caliber 2953, patented, hand-wound movement consists of 362 components, including the hammers and gongs needed to sound the time. The black dial boasts a Grande Tapisserie pattern, and the white gold hour markers are coated with luminescent material.
Price On Request
Breguet Classique Minute Repeater 7637
A true leader in watchmaking invention, Abraham-Louis Breguet built the first repeater watches with a spring bell in 1783. The spring bell replaced the gong that had been in use. Today, Breguet pays homage to that invention with its new 42-millimeter, 18-karat rose gold Classique 7637 repeater that strikes the hours and minutes on demand. The 358-part movement is hand- wound and offers 40 hours of power reserve. For a truly elegant look, Breguet’s master artisans turned to the art of Grand Feu enamel for the black dial.
Price On Request
Hublot Big Bang Integrated Tourbillon Full Carbon
A master of fusion, Hublot’s new Big Bang watch is a blend of fine watchmaking and cutting-edge materials. It is equipped with an automatic micro-rotor tourbillon and 72 hours of power reserve thanks to the house-manufactured, 282-part skeletonized move- ment. The case is crafted of carbon fiber and Texalium and boasts a seamlessly integrated bracelet of the same material. The movement is fully visible thanks to a trans- parent sapphire crystal and case back. Only 50 pieces will be made.
HYT Conical Tourbillon
Swiss watch brand HYT was the first to use fluid to indicate time on its watches. It continues to evolve that approach in the Conical Tourbillon watch, which features a tourbillon escapement in the cente of the dial that is 3D with a raised, cone-shaped format. A fast-moving tourbillon that completes a single revolution every 30 seconds, the movement is visually arresting. Surrounding the escapement are tiny spheres of green luminous fluid, and on the outer portion of the dial, the HYT fluid system indicates the time. A mere eight pieces will be made.
Kross Studios KS 05 Central Floating Tourbillon
Relatively young independent Swiss brand Kross Studio recently unveiled its KS collec- tion of watches spotlighting a raised, 3D central floating tourbillon escapement in the 220-part movement. The tourbillon cage with a fixed seconds wheel mechanism is patented. The case is crafted in titanium, and instead of a traditional crown at 3 o’clock, there is a ring integrated into the case side so as not to disturb the harmony of the look. The dials are set on two levels, and this version is set with aventurine.
Ulysse Nardin Freak One
Highly unusual in its look, the Freak One watch is equipped with a flying carousel and a patented Grinder that enables the carrousel to rotate on its own axis. Like the tourbillon, the carrousel defies gravity when the watch is in a vertical position and keeps the timekeeping accurate. However, the carrousel has two powertrains, equipping the watch with 72 hours of power reserve. Additionally, there is no crown; the UN 240 automatic movement is set using the bezel.
Air, Land, and Sea
Blancpain Air Command
Since the 1950s, Blancpain has been working with military aviators to provide the best pilot watches possible. The Air Command watches offer a chronograph with flyback function that enables the wearer to reset the chronograph instantly without having to stop and start it. The watch also features a countdown bezel and tachymeter scale for measuring speed. The automatic 255-part movement offers 40 hours of power reserve. It is crafted in brushed titanium with blue ceramic inset and Super-LumiNova hours and markers.
IWC Pilot’s Watch Black Aces
For almost 90 years, Swiss brand IWC Schaffhausen has been building pilot watches and, in recent decades, has collaborated with some of the military’s finest, including the elite fighter pilots of Top Gun. Now, it has teamed with the U.S. Navy Black Aces squadron to release the Pilot’s Watch Automatic 41 Black Aces. For this timepiece, the brand unveils its first-ever fully luminous dial — a solid disk of Super-LumiNova that glows light green in the dark. It is crafted in zirconium oxide ceramic and powered by the IWC-manufactured 32100 caliber.
The only watch brand with the rights to print “pilot” on its aviation watches thanks to trademarks filed in 1888 and 1904, Zenith has a lengthy connection to the world flight. The newest Pilot Automatic watch is equipped with a central second hand and a big date indication at 6 o’clock. Powered by the El Primero 3620 high-frequency (5Hz) automatic movement, the watch boasts 60 hours of power reserve. It is crafted in black micro-blasted ceramic with a black dial that showcases horizontal grooves. The hands and numerals are coated in SuperLumiNova.
Breitling AviChronograph 42P-51 Mustang
Celebrating 70 years of the Av1Co-Pilot watch and planes, Breitling has manufactured several new 42-millimeter Classic Avi Chronograph 42 P-51 Mustang watches. This 18-karat gold chrono- graph houses the Breitling self-winding Caliber 23 movement that beats at 28,800 vibrations per hour and is a COSC-certified chronometer — attesting to its rugged and precise abilities. It is water-resistant to 100 meters, features glare-proof sapphire crystal, and contains blue-emitting SuperLumiNova numerals and indexes.
This Angelus Chronodate combines retro styling with precision timing for contemporary appeal. It is crafted in durable titanium with a titanium bracelet and a fern green dial. The numerals and hands are coated with Super-LumiNova for easy reading in the dark. Water- resistant to 30 meters, the watch offers a chronograph function and a peripheral date in addition to hours, minutes, and seconds. It is powered by the Caliber A-500 self- winding movement that beats at 28,000 vibrations per hour.
TAG Heuer Monaco Racing Blue
Timing while on land looks good with this silver sunray dial Monaco Racing Blue automatic chronograph. The 39-millimeter timepiece is crafted in titanium and features a circular sapphire caseback with the inscription “One of 1,000.” The limited- edition watch is powered by the Caliber 11 automatic movement with the crown placed on the left side of the case.
G-Shock Mr-G Frogman
From G-Shock, this MR-G for the sea is crafted in lightweight and durable titanium. Shock resistant and water-resistant to 200 meters, the Frogman is solar-powered. Time adjustment is radio-controlled, and the watch boasts diving mode, time tracking, and surface-time measurements, among other features. The case consists of 70 pieces and is built to withstand the elements.
Cvstos Sealiner PS
Perfect for a day of sailing, the Cvstos Sealiner PS delivers dramatic appeal thanks to its sapphire tonneau-shaped case that measures 53.70 millimeters by 41 millimeters. The skeletonized self-winding mechanical movement lets you view some of the movement parts, behind which, a teak-inlaid decorative appliqué emulates a ship’s deck. Equipped with 42 hours of power reserve, the watch is water-resistant to 100 meters and finished with a rubber strap. Hands and markers are coated with Super-LumiNova. Only 25 pieces will be made.
Panerai Luminor Chrono Carbotech Luna Rossa
Paying tribute to its ongoing partnership with Luna Rossa and the Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli sailing team (participating in the 37th annual America’s Cup in 2024), Panerai unveils the high-tech Luminor Chrono Carbotech Luna Rossa watch. In addition to the advanced case and bezel material, the watch houses a P.9200 automatic movement with Glucydur high-tech balance and an Incabloc anti-shock device. It offers chronograph, speed tachymeter dial, and luminous numerals, markers, and hands. It is water-resistant to 100 meters.
Franck Muller Vanguard Yachting Anchor Skeleton
Hailing from one of Franck Muller’s bestselling collec- tions, the Vanguard Yachting Anchor Skeleton watch features seafaring details that include its deep-blue color, a compass rose, and compass directions on the outer flange of the tonneau-shaped watch. Crafted in 18-karat rose gold, the watch is powered by a 175-part manual winding movement with seven days of power reserve thanks to two barrels. It is water-resistant to 30 meters.