This year has been an interesting year, horology wise. But it has also been a lack lustre year in many accounts. Looking back at the excitement of the SIHH, the Geneva shows, the Baselworld offerings, it is not an easy task to pick 3 of one’s favourites. After long and thoughtful consideration, our Chief Editor ended up with 3 chronometers. Here are his picks
The selection I have picked is rather eclectic. I began the process of shortlisting by reviewing my picks from SIHH and Baselworld. But the list turned out to comprise of none of those I was initially impressed with. The final 3 were indeed a walk on the road less traveled. And though I did not start out with chronometers as a criteria, the list ended up with three chronometers.
And range from a quartz watch, a simple three hand mechanical watch, and a complicated timepiece. All three have more than piqued my interest this year, and all three are exceptional timepieces. Here they are, in no particular order:
It is perhaps no surprise to regulars that this watch made the list. I have been enamoured with this timepiece since I received it for an extended loan for review. I wore the watch for the best part of 2 months, including a 3 week road trip which took me up and down California to Arizona and Utah. And remain totally impressed.
The talents of the watch are many. Too many to document here. So I encourage you to read the full, detailed review on this link, as well as the high speed photography article which included the following video of the movement of the second hand and the jumping of the date.
The Chronomaster speaks to me in terms of the superb chronometry and the brilliant simplicity to display a perpetual calendar. The watch is hand assembled and regulated by a single master watchmaker at the factory, known by Citizen as Super Meister. The case is made in light but durable and scratch resistant titanium. Add to that, the artistry of the zaratsu finishing on the case and hands as well as the traditonal craft of the washi paper dial. And we have a real winner. Especially at a price of merely
¥ 330,000 before taxes.
The next piece goes back to the traditional and classical mechanical roots. The safest piece which meet this criteria, especially when taken to the extremes of superior finishing is perhaps the grail watch: Dufour Simplicity. This is a watch I already own, so for this year, I went with the Akrivia.
From the philosophy of Rexhep Rexhepi to the execution, the Chronomètre Contemporain represents a purity of spirit which I am highly admire. As with his great passion for watchmaking and focus on finishing. I discuss his art in this article here, please read to understand the background.
For me, in the final analysis, the Chronomètre Contemporain makes the cut because it impresses on all fronts. From the maker’s passion and philosophy (yes, I know I said that already), to the beautiful and classical grand feu enamel dial, to the exquisite layout of the movement, especially designed to showcase finishing of the highest degree is magnificent. The finishing itself, it second to none, and all the traditional and classical finissage detailing is done to perfection.
The third watch in this list is another chronometer. This one a complication from the revived house of F. Berthoud. The admiration for the watch also goes beyond the physical, as I am also personally intrigued by the passion of Karl-Friedrich Schuefele. Read that story here.
The design is unabashed. It retains mostly the layout of the Berthoud Marine Chronometers carried on board French ships back in the day. I love the layout of the dial, with the negative space playing well to the central seconds hand, and the digital disc for hours, the sub-dial for the minutes, and an aperture to show the workings of the power reserve indicator.
The watch from the back is equally compelling. The movement is gorgeous, and the huge tourbillon is mesmerising to behold. The fusée and chain and partially visible suspended cone of the power reserve system offers a treat to the eyes. Finishing again is top rated.
So there you have it. My Christmas wish list. Intended to provoke and tease. A bit of the road less traveled. But more than just watches, I also wish for peace and goodwill. And may the Christ child be the real reason for Christmas. Have a Blessed Christmas and a Great 2019!