This article was published in Japanese by Chronos Japan No.89, July 2020 Edition. Reproduced here is the original submission in English.
As requested by Chronos Japan, this list is ranked from 1 to 5.
The Hand Made 1 in an exercise of taking watchmaking to the limits – preserving the old artisanal work to completely make watches by hand. This journey is one which is rather fearsome and awesome at the same time. Six thousand hours of work. Hundred of thousands more in research, in trying and testing. And the result is outstanding. Not only does it represent the highest level of a certain aesthetic, but it possibly the best and highest level of finishing ever lavished on a watch.
H. Moser Streamliner
This is the watch which is H. Moser’s entry into the luxury sports genre. The chronograph has very legible dial layout, and blessed with beautiful aesthetics. The design is coherent, and exudes class. The feel of the watch on the wrist, as it wraps comfortably around is exquisite. The textures as one runs one’s fingers on the watch and bracelet is sublime. And the team’s decision to go to a Agenhor as the chronograph specialist for the movement rather than attempt to hack it on their own is admirable
The IWC Portugieser Automatic 40 marks IWC return to its roots of this iconic design, with the small seconds at 6 o’clock. A more compact case of 40-millimetre diameter, suitable for slimmer wrists, equipped with the IWC-manufactured 82200 calibre with pellaton winding. Purists may still want to stick with the 1993 edition, with its classical handwound movement (possibly best neo-vintage base Portugieser movement), but for the modern, fuss-free watch wearer, this new automatic is the better choice.
Re-inventing a success story is not something for the faint hearted to attempt. In this new rendition, F.P. Journe has not only maintained the superb aesthetics of the original, but totally exceeded it in the technicalities. The new caliber 1520 is an improvement over the caliber 1499 in earlier iterations by the use of a set of double remontoirs d’égalité devices on both trains. The use of a remontoir as a constant force system is a very complex and notoriously difficult to tune, and to use two shows the savoir faire of F.P. Journe.
While many of the other maisons have chosen to save their big guns for this year, Vacheron has elected to fire theirs. The Astronomical Striking Grand Complication combines the best parts of the Celestia (shown in 2017) with the supreme chiming musicality of their ultra thin Caliber 1731 minute repeater. The outcome is one of the most poetic (and complicated) wristwatches to grace the watch market today.