We kick off this Christmas tide with a series of articles from our writers on their wish list for 2020. We begin with our correspondent Peter Nievaart.
Editor’s Note: We do these articles both for the fun of sharing our writer’s wish lists, but also, and perhaps more importantly, as an exercise to give readers a glimpse of their interests and biases. We all do have our biases, based on our world view, and articles like this help readers to recognize this and take this into consideration when reading our writing.
Peter Nievaart writes to Santa
What a strange year 2020 has been! It is so good to hear the North Pole is not in a lockdown and you, Mrs. Claus and the Elves are all in great shape. I am sure governments around the globe will be happy to grant you access to their countries without having to show a negative covid-19 test.
Fortunately I kept my appetite for beautiful and interesting watches, so I am sending you my wish list for 2020, based on the models highlighted this year at Deployant.com. Be assured my number 1 wish is that 2021 will be a healthier and happier year than 2020 for all humans across the globe.
Before mentioning my Christmas wish list, let me share my personal preferences with respect to watches. I prefer watches with clean and functional aesthetics, clear legibility and that can be worn on a daily basis. Watches that show craftsmanship that has been developed during many years of practicing watchmaking and/or engraving. I also look for a story behind a watch or brand. Last but not least: I do have a soft spot for independent watch-makers who are driven by passion and skill. Yet, I also admire watch companies that implemented rigorous processes for manufacturing high quality, precise components and watches.
My choice up to S$10K: The Kurono Classic by Kurono Tokyo in Midnight Blue
Watches on my short list include the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin Small Seconds with Blue Dial, the Hanhart PIONEER Mk II 80 Jahre Jubiläum, the Seiko 140th Anniversary Limited Edition Re-creation of King Seiko KSK and the Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra 15,000 Gauss.
The Kurono ended up being my choice for several reasons: It does not happen often that a watchmaker of ultra high-end watches, wants to make horology accessible to people with slimmer pockets. That alone deserves recognition.
The balanced, classic and elegant design as well as its size of 37mm makes it a perfect dress watch for men and women during the Holidays and beyond.
Most watches in this price category have a standard, one-piece dial that is glued instead of screwed. The Kurono Classic differentiates itself by adding highly polished concentric circles combined with polished needle-like seconds hand and stylised hour and minute hands gives to a 2-part dial. Moreover, the circles connect the rounded case-shapes with the center of the watch and “soften” the rail track with its minute and hour markers.
The watch features a domed sapphire crystal glass.
The watch houses Citizen Miyota’s highest end automatic workhorse movement cal. 90S5 from its premium series and has a good balance between affordability and construction quality. It has a stop-second mechanism and 40-hour power reserve. Obviously, it is not as impressive as the hand made Asaoka movements, but the watch does what it must do – show time accurately – for years to come.
It has an excellent build quality, is limited to 50 pieces and costs only S$ 2998.
Santa, since the watch is sold out and you may have difficulty in finding one with all travel restrictions, the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin Small Seconds with Blue Dial will also make me very happy.
2: My choice up to S$25K: Urban Jürgensen The Alfred 14,300 euro
Yet another classic dress watch from an independent watch manufacturer and a “connoisseurs secret”. With its 42mm stainless steel case, it is larger than the Kurono Classic but it should fit well on my wrist. Design and size reminded me of the IWC Ref 5441-07 Pisa Portuguese, which is still one of my favourite watches of the 20th century with its six-bridge movement.
By choosing stainless steel, Urban Jürgensen made an unusual choice. They have a wonderful job. The convex and concave curves as well as the teardrop lugs contribute to the classic look of The Alfred. The soldering of the lugs to the case is secretly-kept process that is absolutely invisible.
The Alfred (wouldn’t it be nice to say “My Alfred”?) is powered by the manual-winding Calibre P4 with a power reserve of 72 hours. The movement shows an excellent finishing, including angle, chamfering, blued screws and pelage. Attention to detail is impressive. Of course, time setting and winding is smooth and effortless.
Santa, before you think I am into classic watches only… The Armin Strom Gravity Equal Force in stainless steel was also on my short list. I have been fortunate to see the quality of the Armin Strom watches and the workshop and I am impressed by their bold yet elegant watches.
As a diving watch fan, the Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Mariner Memovox with its gorgeous ocean blue dial is a great alternative too. Its clean and clear legibility makes it a perfect companion under water. Its alarm-setting ability helps me get awake after a long diving day and a short night. I must admit that diving with a watch in this price category would be something to think about carefully.
3: My choice with an unlimited budget: A. Lange & Söhne TOURBOGRAPH PERPETUAL HONEYGOLD “Homage to F. A. Lange” Ref. 706.050FE
Now, isn’t this always the most enjoyable part of writing a “Dear Santa” article? What to buy if money is no limitation? Actually this was a rather difficult choice since there are so many fabulous, very expensive watches on the market. Watches that show incredible craftmanship of designers, manufacturers, watch-makers and finishers. Watches with superb designs and incredible finishing. Watches that deserve to be photographed with high-end macro lenses to show all details.
It was tempting to choose the Greubel Forsey Hand Made 1, just because it is 100% hand-made and costing a million Swiss francs. I drooled on the design and finishing of the F. Berthoud FB2RE, and was so impressed by the MB&F LM Split Escapement ‘Eddy Jaquet’ Limited Edition, the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin Moonphase Tourbillon. Ah, I should not forget the cheapest of all: the Seiko Credor Eichi II Blue Edition to celebrate 140 years of Seiko for its gorgeous blue dial.
Initially I opted for the F. Bertoud FB2RE with its enamel dial and unique movement that includes a fuseé-chain. However, I finally opted for a brand that is one of my favourite brands for its obsession for perfection: A. Lange & Söhne. More specifically, the A. Lange & Söhne TOURBOGRAPH PERPETUAL HONEYGOLD “Homage to F. A. Lange” Ref. 706.050FE.
I did not choose that watch for its multitude of highly complex complications and its out-of-this-world movement. Yes, that alone could have been the reason. I would be tempted to wear the watch dwith the movement turned upwards. Ever since writing an article about Chronographs, I am especially impressed by the watch-markers ability to synchronise time and timers flawlessly. Each part of its movement is meticulously developed and finished. Like all Lange movement, it works so smoothly. If you want to enjoy a Lange movement, you need to spend some time looking at the details. Take a high-resolution photo, put on your headphone for some music and enjoy the view. The more you look, the more you see the subtle details of the shapes and finishing. It is almost like making your safety stop after a dive just above coral plateau where you start to notice more and more life and interaction.
What made me choose the A. Lange & Söhne TOURBOGRAPH PERPETUAL HONEYGOLD “Homage to F. A. Lange” Ref. 706.050FE was a belated personal salute to Walter Lange who passed away at the age of 93 in 2017. To me, Walter Lange – together with Günther Blümlein – symbolise(s) true entrepreneurship in the watch industry. He (they) combined a vision for the future, a passion for heritage, resilience, and a sense of responsibility for the community.
Some concluding thoughts
Some great watches have shown the light in this peculiar year. As watch lovers we can be grateful for that. It has been a joy to look for and write about watches with a unique story, special features, or great beauty.
Be assured that you have a wide selection of watches to choose from for this Holiday Season, whatever your available budget is.
I wish you all a wonderful Holiday season and start of 2021.
Stay safe and healthy!