The idea of an integrated bracelet on a watch is an enchanting one.
Having a watch with a seamless design, from its case to the bracelet, can be rather satisfying. This is especially so for a timepiece that is well-designed. The concept of having the design extending beyond the case, and onto the bracelet, gives the watch a rather complete look.
The rise of integrated bracelet can be traced back to the 1970s. During this period, brands have began exploring the concept of luxury sports watches. While watches in the past do feature metal bracelets, the idea of an integrated bracelet has a profoundly different effect as the entire timepiece is design with the bracelet in mind. Surprisingly, this also gave the watch a rather elegant look – which was the idea in the first place as these are touted as high-end luxury products. The rest, as they say, is history.
In this week’s column, we will be taking a look at some watches with integrated bracelet. What are the watches that we have made the cut? Let us find out!
The first watch that we have selected today is perhaps one of the hottest watches of 2021. Cue the new Tissot PRX.
Based on a flagship design derived from 1978, the 40mm Tissot PRX is a classic timepiece that had been remade for the 21st century. Its popularity, notably, can be derived from its design – its angular case, together with a stunning integrated bracelet that reflects light different angles, is indeed a sight to behold. The best part? You can have it all at S$510.
Notably, Tissot had just recently launched a Powermatic edition this week – which features the brand’s signature mechanical movement that boasts a power reserve of 80 hours. It is slated for delivery within the next few months, and we reckon that will be homerun with collectors especially.
Bvlgari Octo Finissimo Automatique
The regular readers of the Deployant might have already seen this coming, but the Bvlgari Octo Finissimo Automatique is definitely an obvious choice for this week’s article.
Combining form and functionality, the stylish 40mm timepiece features a stunning geometric case with plays on both lines and angles. What is also incredible its movement, which features a micro-rotor and has a thickness of a mere 2.23mm. The finishing on the movement, as well as the entire case and bracelet, is incredible as well.
Priced at S$20,500 for the titanium variant, we feel that the Bvlgari Octo Finissimo Automatique is a great piece that is both unconventional and sublime. It is difficult to find any faults with this watch, and frankly, it is one of the best ultra-thin watches that is out there currently.
Czapek & Cie Antarctique Terra Adélie
For something that is a little less common, we have the Czapek & Cie Antarctique Terra Adélie.
The idea behind the watch, which is reflected in its name, came from a brand’s major shareholder who wishes to pay homage to Antarctica and draw more emphasis to the environmental issues that are plaguing Earth today. To drive the narrative, the brand had specially procured recycled gold to construct its micro-rotor which reinforces the idealogies behind this timepiece.
Powering the watch is the Calibre SXH5.01. This is a self-winding movement and it boasts a decent power reserve of around 56 hours. The movement is notably conceived in-house by the Czapek team, and it is a visual treat with reference to how the different elements of the movement were arranged.
Finally, the watch retails at CHF 18,000 (approximately S$25,955). While it is not exactly inexpensive, this Czapek certainly offers collectors a much more accessible alternative to the world of independent watchmaking. It is also quite a nice timepiece, and we do think it is an excellent choice for a collector who wants to own something different from the usual crowd.
Vacheron Constantin Overseas
When it comes to watches with the integrated bracelet design, the Vacheron Constantin Overseas is perhaps one of our favourites.
The latest generation of Overseas, which was launched in 2016, is one of the most compelling luxury sports watches in the modern era. We particularly like its design, and how the brand had incorporated the signature Maltese Cross emblem on the both the bezel and bracelet of the watch.
Its pièce de résistance, however, lies in the new quick strap changing mechanism. The straps can be easily changed by unhooking a latch that is attached to the back of it. What is also brilliant is the fact that Vacheron Constantin had provided the owner with three different straps in the package: leather, rubber, and metal bracelet. This allows the user to mix and match their straps accordingly. Talk about versatility.
The base Overseas variant retails at S$30,800, and we reckon it might be perfect for someone who wants a timepiece that can adapt to different styles. It is a pretty good deal, considering that you are getting three well-made watches for merely the price of one.
Patek Philippe Nautilus
Following the Vacheron Constantin Overseas, we have yet another classic from the “Holy Trinity” of Swiss Watchmaking.
The Nautilus, launched in 1976, was Patek Philippe’s answer to the Royal Oak. The watch, which was designed by late Gerald Genta, had captured the attention by many over the years for its interesting design cues and exquisite finishing. Although it is unusual, but its rounded octagonal bezel and “ears” on the case is now an icon within the industry.
Unfortunately, for many collectors who have yet to own this timepiece, Patek Philippe had discontinued the highly popular stainless steel model. The next best alternative is the rose gold variant, which is priced at a princely sum of S$78,000.
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak
Finally, we have the definitive collection that started it all: Audemars Piguet Royal Oak.
When the Royal Oak first debuted in 1972, it was definitely outragerous. Touted as a “luxury sports watch”, the collection featured elements that raised some eyebrows: large exposed screws, strange-looking octagon bezel, and the integrated metal bracelet. It was bold, but the entire concept found favour subsequently. In fact, it has now acquired legendary status, and had kickstarted a revolution in the process.
Even though nearly half a century had passed, the Royal Oak has certainly yet to pass its prime. There are many iterations available, but a full gold variant, in “Jumbo” Extra-Thin specification (not pictured; priced at S$86,500) is the way to go if one can afford its relatively steep price tag.
Initially, even before we start to write the article, we thought that most of the watches with integrated bracelets are luxury sports watch. But it seems like there is more to that.
In recent years, we have certainly seen how watch manufacturers have tried to integrate this into their watches. The new Bell & Ross BR05 and Tissot PRX are entry-level examples, while the likes of Czapek and Bvlgari had introduced this concept beyond dress watches.
There are also some notable mentions too. The H. Moser & Cie. Streamliner, for instance, is perhaps another incredible timepiece with integrated bracelet. There are also other classics, such as the Omega Constellation and IWC Ingieneur, that deserves a shout-out as well.
We hope that you have enjoyed this week’s article. Let us know your thoughts on integrated bracelets, as well as some of the watches that deserves a spot on the list. Till the next article, ciao!