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SIHH 2015: Nick's Top 5 Picks
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SIHH 2015: Chester’s Top 5 picks

by Chester Lau on January 28, 2015
The Collector's View

For me, I am at a stage of severe infatuation with subseconds at 6 time only watches. So naturally, I will show partiality to watches in this category. Apart from that, I like the notion of watches being down sized which I assume is the dream of classic loving thin-wristed men, like myself, of the asian gene pool. Consequently, this criteria set out the following choices. As always, I have reserved the best for last, so do read till the 5th to find out which is my favourite pick, and why I think it is worth its weight in platinum.

1) Lange & Sohne Saxonia Hand Winding

The Saxonia Trio: Handwound, Automatic, and Dual Timezone.

The Saxonia Trio: Handwound, Automatic, and Dual Timezone.

The Saxonia is new to few, having been time tested for almost a decade, this watch is a staple and cannot go wrong. Apart from its well known artisan finishing, what is new about this model is that the size of the case has been reduced. The Saxonia is now 35mm and the Saxonia Automatic from 37mm and Saxonia Dual Time from 40mm to 38.5mm. The Saxonia still carries the bullet proof calibre L941.1 and the Automatic now with the L086.1 and the Dual Time L086.2. Peter writes more about it here.

Movement of the handwound Saxonia, caliber L941.1, remains original and unchanged. Note the original screw balance wheel is still featured.

Movement of the handwound Saxonia, caliber L941.1, remains original and unchanged. Note the original screw balance wheel is still featured.

2. IWC Portugieser Hand-Wound Eight Days Edition “75th Anniversary”

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Ref. IW510205 in stainless steel with black dial, measuring 43mm wide and 12 mm tall.

The return of the Italics Font with International Watch Co. spelt out in full is breathtaking for any IWC fan. And I am a crowd cheering, whistle blowing fan of the brand. It is nostalgic of IWC’s rich heritage, almost a homage model, but with a touch of ingenuity. Rail road threads and vintage font, with seconds subdial at 6, with a strategically placed date window; I think this is really quite clever. Stylistically, the leaf hands and the vintage black and white set to an 8 days movement and a well constructed portuguese case with raised dome crystal give this watch not only a taste of the past but a sign of the brand’s ability to rethink and revamp itself. It retails at SGD$ 15,800. Read more about it here.

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The in-house 59215- calibre from IWC with 8 days power reserve

3. IWC Portugieser Yacht Club Chronograph

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The new Portugieser Yacht Club Chronograph (Ref. 3905) is immediately obvious: the case diameter has been reduced from 45.4 to 43.5 millimetres.

Is IWC really a brand that listens to its consumers? In this case I think it has excelled in listening in to its loyal fans. In all honesty, I had found the previous version too big for my liking. That was a major turn off for me. After all, I do have a small wrist and the watch was sized almost close to my Big Pilot. This down sizing is a well played move and it looks like the watch is back to compete in the classic sports chronograph category. While this is not new, the movement is unconventional as well, featuring a combined hour and minute counter at 12. Though I do have qualms with a rubber strap on this otherwise sharp looking chronograph. (It does remind me of a Breguet Marine.) A nice leather strap could really transform this watch.

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The 8541 calibre was spring-suspended inside the case and bearing-mounted on rubber buffers. This shock-absorption system effectively neutralized the effect of impacts. It predestined the Yacht Club for use on the high seas, as did a new automatic pressure-limiting system for the crown, which ensured that the case seals became tighter with increasing water pressure.

4) IWC Portugieser Minute Repeater

The IWC Portugieser Minute Repeater, in Red Gold.

The IWC Portugieser Minute Repeater, in Red Gold.

I really like this piece. Although I hardly see any difference from its 2009/2010 predecessor, I still like it. Apart from fulfilling my infatuation with subseconds, it also bites on my love of Wagner’s Tannhauser. As an amateur classical singer, I have sung arias from Wagner’s Tannhäuser and the pitch of the gong with the intervallic relationship of the perfect 4th is a geek fantasy for a multi-disciplinary geek. Aesthetically and aurally astute, this piece makes it to my list. Read more about it here.

5) My top pick, the Vacheron Constantin Harmony Ultra-Thin Grande Complication Chronograph

 

 

The Vacheron Constantin Harmony Ultra-Thin Grande Complication Chronograph.

Cased in 950 Platinum, and only 10 individually numbered pieces are available!!

This is probably the best release of the year. At least to me. The Vacheron Constantin Harmony Ultra-Thin Grande Complication Chronograph is the centerpiece attraction of the Harmony collection. It is currently the world’s thinnest self-winding split-second chronograph, at a mere 5.20mm thick.

This timepiece features several iconic Vacheron Constantin touches, which ranges from its iconic design cues, to the intricate finishing of the movement. It is powered by their in-house Caliber 3500, which took nearly 7 years to develop . It features modern mechanisms, including the “friction” technique on the lateral coupling clutch to reduce the jerking of the chronograph needle when it is activated. Read more about it here.

A caseback shot of the Harmony Ultra-Thin Grande Complication Chronograph. The finishing in this timepiece is superb.

A caseback shot of the Harmony Ultra-Thin Grande Complication Chronograph. Notice the maltese cross at the column wheel? Not to mention the superb build of the monopusher complication and the finishing of the parts. This is treasure.

Manufactured in a limited edition of 10, cased in platinum in a blue and white colour theme, a great technical accomplishment, an unconventional tv case shape, this watch checks every box of a legendary model. I would very much want to own this piece.

This wraps up my 5 picks. I hope you have enjoyed the read. Cheers.

 

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