When it comes to certain watch manufacturers, there are some collections or watches that will be immediately associated with the brand. Or at least, there will be preconceived notions about how watches should be for a particular brand.
In this week’s article, we are going slightly deeper into certain brands. We reckon it will be nice to look at some watches that are a little unique or special, especially if one deviates a little slightly from the typical design language or DNA of the brand. Think of it as a Maverick of the family, but in a good way.
So, without any further ado, here are some of our selections.
Breguet Tradition 7067
When it comes to Breguet, classy dress watches with beautiful engine-turned guilloché dials are certainly images that would come to mind. However, there is certainly something different up on Breguet’s sleeves.
The Tradition collection is a timepiece that hopes to change collector’s perception of the brand, with its contemporary take on watches. Featuring an openworked design, the movement – a key element of any Breguet watches – is revealed in full glory. Beyond that, the Tradition also retains the Breguet DNA that makes its watches special – and in this case, the guilloché dial, Breguet-style hands, coin-edged fluting on the band of the case, and Breguet hairspring. Talk about having the best of both worlds.
One of our favourite pieces from the collection is perhaps the Tradition 7067, which has a dual time-zone display. It is undoubtedly a fine timepiece, with great finishing throughout. The Tradition 7067, in precious metal, is priced at S$59,700 onwards, and we reckon this is a sublime watch that showcases Breguet as one of the tour de force in the watchmaking scene.
Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921 White Gold
The Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921 is a well-loved model by collectors. Many appreciate the beautiful design, with that little bit of quirkiness with its 45-degree rotated dial.
Dubbed the driver’s watch, the idea was to allow the user to tell time easily while his or her hand is on the steering wheel. Although the concept was simple, it was (and still is) quite a novelty which makes the American 1921 rather charming even in today’s age. The cushion case, as well as the position of the crown, further adds an interesting and intriguing touch to this timepiece.
The watch is available in both 36.5mm and 40mm variants. The watch retails at S$43,600 and S$53,000 respectively for the white gold variant, which we thought works very well for this model. Notwithstanding the price point aside, the American 1921 is a brilliant piece, with a nice touch of history to it. For those who are able to afford its slightly princely price tag, this Vacheron Constantin is definitely a great piece to supplement any watch collection.
Cartier Crash in Platinum, London Bond Street Exclusive
Originally conceived in 1967, the Cartier Crash (picture above courtesy of Cartier) is a timepiece with a story that is as intriguing as its nomenclature.
There are many intriguing claims about how the Crash was conceived. Some claimed that it was inspired by Salvatore Dali’s The Persistence of Memory, while others alluded to a damaged Cartier Baignoire Allongée that was damaged in a car accident. Regardless of the story, one thing remains for certain – the watch is certainly bold and stylish.
Cartier recently launched the Crash in Platinum earlier this month, as a London Bond Street exclusive. The watch is priced at £43,000 (approximately S$73,560) and will be produced in limited quantities. There is seriously something cool about the Crash, and it is certainly going to be a conversational piece that will interest both collectors and non-collectors alike.
Patek Philippe Calatrava Weekly Calendar Ref. 5212A
For a brand that is as legendary as Patek Philippe, it is not easy for them to come up with something that is entirely different and novel. However, the exquisite Calatrava Weekly Calendar Ref. 5212A might have done just that.
Introduced in 2019, the Ref. 5212A is a highly unusual and special timepiece. This model, notably, is the first to feature the weekly calendar complication. What makes the complication even more special is that the typography for the calendar markings is based on the sketch of the Ref. 5212A – which makes it entirely unique and lends a personal touch to this magnificent timepiece.
To put the icing on the cake, the 40mm Ref. 5212A is cased in stainless-steel, a rarity for Patek Philippe watches (sans the luxury sports watches). The Calatrava Weekly Calendar is indeed a compelling and extraordinary piece, and one that we reckon will be future classic in time to come. The current retail price of the Ref. 5212A is S$51,200.
A. Lange & Söhne Zeitwerk
In 2009, A. Lange & Söhne introduced a timepiece that perhaps no one had expected from the Glashütte-based manufacturer. Christened the Zeitwerk, the 41.9mm is the antithesis of one’s preconceived notion of a typical Lange timepiece.
From the first glance, one can definitely tell that the Zeitwerk is a special watch. Here, we have a digital timepiece that is operated mechanically, with the inspiration driven by the five-minute clock in the Dresden Semper Opera House. Of course, Lange executed it the way it only knows, with a constant force mechanism that not only keeps time well, but also ensures that the digital display works as instantaneously as it should be.
Arguably, the Zeitwerk combines the contemporary aspect of time-telling (digital display) with traditional watchmaking finissage. While the concept of digital display is not exactly new, it is still an idea that has not been regularly explored, and for it to come from a traditional and conservative watchmaker is remarkable. The current standard Zeiwerk, in either pink or white gold, was last known to have a retail price of S$118,800.
F.P. Journe Vagabondage III
We round up the article with an incredible piece from F.P. Journe: Vagabondage III.
As its name suggests, the Vagabondage III is a timepiece that is unconventional in many different aspects. Besides its uncommon Tortue case, the watch’s time-telling capability is rather peculiar as well. The watch features a digital display for both the hour and seconds indicators, while opting for an analog display for the minutes.
Powered by the Calibre 1514, the manual-winding Vagabondage III has a power reserve of around 40 hours. The watch also features a remontoir – in order for it to store and release energy every second to allow the jumping seconds mechanism to operate. The finishing of the 18k gold movement is aesthetically stunning as well, with the employment of a myriad of haute horlogerie finishing techniques.
The Vagabondage III is available in two different variants: one in red gold, and the other in platinum. The watches are priced between CHF 54,000 (approximately S$74,466) and CHF 56,000 (approximately S$77.225), and they will be produced in a limited series of 68 and 69 pieces respectively. If you thought F.P. Journe’s watches are cool, then the Vagabondage III certainly takes it on a whole new level altogether.
These are definitely some of the more interesting timepieces from the brands that we have highlighted today. For example, one will typically not associate Breguet with contemporary pieces. The same can be said for Lange and F.P. Journe, with their impressive rendition of the digital watch. The Calatrava Weekly Calendar, from Patek Philippe, is also a timepiece that one would not have expected to come out from the maison. These are some of the things that make the six watches here today so intriguing – albeit some are not as obvious at the first instance.
What are your thoughts with established brands producing watches that deviates from their usual offerings? What are some watches that should have made it onto the list today? Let us know in the comments section below.