Come advent season, all of us here at Deployant enjoy taking some time to reflect on the year that’s gone by, especially in relation to watchmaking. It’s a time for us to deliberate – as collectors, enthusiasts, and writers – on what we really like and how our preferences evolve over the years. Take me for example: this is the second year in a row that my Christmas wishlist doesn’t feature a watch from Lange when they’ve always been an auto-pick for me in the past. My omission of Lange watches likely stems from me not feeling inspired by recent novelties and being more open to different flavours of timepieces.
Don’t get me wrong, the German brand is my first love and remains my favourite. But at the same time, there’s also a whole wide world of fine watches that cater for every taste, mine included. This year’s wishlist is extra special – not only is it for Christmas, it also happens to be my birthday today! Hopefully Santa takes extra notice of that fact and grants me one of these beauties from my list. Here we go!
Chopard L.U.C 1860 in Lucent Steel
A dress-sized steel case, a guilloche dial in salmon by Metalem, and a Geneva Seal movement inspired by the acclaimed Calibre 1.96 – can this watch get any more perfect? Along with the original from 1996, the 2023 L.U.C 1860 has got to be the L.U.C collection and Chopard’s most well-designed timepiece, at least in my opinion. While the default strap works great in a casual setting, I would personally go for alligator leather, either in light brown or black. I am a fan of the Dufour Simplicity and the L.U.C 1860 just feels like a second chance ever since the S.S. Simplicity set sailed. While they’re obviously not the same watch, they do give off a similar aura. Much obliged, Santa.
Grand Seiko SBGZ009
The Masterpiece Collection is by far my favourite Grand Seiko watch line. Ever since the release of the SBGZ001 and chancing upon the actual watch in the Grand Seiko boutique in Ginza, I’ve been terminally hooked. The SBGZ009 is basically the SBGZ001 but with a slightly different, equally stunning aesthetic. The Calibre 9R02 that beats within was developed for the Masterpiece Collection, looks as handcrafted as the case and dial, and easily rivals the finest movements from Europe. I’ve always much, much preferred purely mechanical movements but for the SBGZ009 (and all its past iterations), I’d gladly make an exception.
Patek Philippe Calatrava Ref. 5224R-001
Out of the three watches I’ve chosen for my wishlist, the Patek Philippe Calatrava Ref. 5224R-001 is perhaps the least exclusive and flamboyant. That’s not to say it’s not as well-made; quite the contrary, it is worthy of haute horlogerie. What drew me to the watch was its rather unique yet easy-on-the-eyes design. It’s pretty big for a Calatrava but the lack of complication sub-dials/displays and pushers help keep the watch classy. Toss in some retro elements like syringe hands, double-stepped lugs, and finger bridges, and I’m sold. This is a genuinely attractive, elegant watch that also happens to have a fun time display.
If I had to pick a watch out of the three, perhaps due to budget cuts at the North Pole, I’d probably go with the Chopard – but it’d be extremely close. All three of these exquisite timepieces are here for good reason: the L.U.C 1860 for being the best overall, the SBGZ009 for the best craftsmanship, and the Ref. 5224R-001 for being unique, especially for a Calatrava. Here’s to 2024 unearthing more horological wonders for all to admire!
From all of us at Deployant, Merry Christmas. And a Happy New Year.