My criteria to choosing these 5 picks is fairly simple. They have to be of good value, not necessarily cheap, but reasonably priced nonetheless. They should have substantial longevity, which entails having a design that will stay relevant for a good future. Lastly, they must be classic watches, simply because I have grown an understated abhorrence of bulky and sporty watches.
So let’s reveal my choices.
Zenith El Primero Chronograph Classic
Year on year, there has been consistent debate over the unnecessary cluttering of the dial. For instance, the latest Zenith Captain’s chronograph has the clutter of words, Zenith, El Primero, 36,600 VpH. Notably, the Classic, removes all the subtitles and also takes away an hour subdial. Moving away from a tricompax to a bicompax, the Classic is reminiscent of a ’40s chronograph. It bears the DNA of vintage chronographs, with thin lugs, and no date, broad pushers and thin line stripe markers. But my favourite part of the watch is something quite unexpected. The leaf shaped hands. Priced at $21,600 USD for 18K rose gold and $8,900 for stainless steel.
Grand Seiko 62 GS
2015 marks the year of the 62GS, and this time, Seiko delivers yet another blockbuster homage, after the wild success of the 44 GS. Although I very much prefer the 44 GS unique case shape and machining lines. Completely in house, from movement to case, the GS collection is the benchmark of Japanese watchmaking. It comes in a limited edition of 600 pieces for steel and 100 pieces for each gold variant. The steel is priced at 4300 USD, and the yellow and rose at 16300 USD, and white at 17200 USD.
Nomos Tangente Automatik
Nomos goes slim. This time with an automatic ultra slim movement, the DUW 3001. It is a completely new ultra thin movement that incorporates Nomo’s in-house escapement. At just 0.3mm thicker than the manual winding Tangent, the Automatik is armed with unique straight lugs that won’t go unnoticed. On the dial side, it has thin hands to a matching utilitarian numeral font. Bearing the Bauhaus tradition of elegant simplicity, this watch is the perfect choice for any pragmatist. Priced at USD$3,780
Chopard 1963 L.U.C Tourbillon
Not your regular tourbillon, the 1963 Tourbillon is comes with a Grand Feu enamel dial, a superbly well finished movement, and an unusual open work cage. So what’s so special about the dial? A traditional Grand Feu enamelling technique is composed of a plate dusted with enamel powder and then fired at high temperature (900°C), hence the French term Grand Feu (literally ‘great fire’). The manual, artisan-style operation is repeated several times and always implies the risk of damaging the thin dial. The power-reserve display at 12 o’clock has an eight-day graduated scale, serving as a reminder that the L.U.C Calibre 02.19-L1 is endowed with the patented Quattro® technology supplying the movement with 216 hours of operating autonomy. This exceptional calibre powers a tourbillon at 6 o’clock as well as a nine-day power reserve. Price to be advised.
Breguet Tradition Répétition Minutes Tourbillon 7087
Of all the watches covered thus far, this Breguet is arguably the most impressive innovation in Minute Repeater history to make it to Baselworld 2015. What’s so impressive? They’ve put the hammers on the dial side and it strikes vertically towards the crystal. To enhance the resonance and sound quality, Breguet has also integrated sound pillars connecting the strikes to the inner bezel and case for optimum sound quality. I have specially chosen this piece as a bastion of watch innovation in classic cases. Breguet has successfully reinvented the minute repeater and tourbillon product class. Price to be advised.
That wraps up my 5 picks. Hope you’ve enjoyed the read. Cheers!