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Throwback Sunday: Six Recommendations for a Stunning Two-Hand Watch, from Our Archives

More Than This.
by Robin Lim on May 12, 2019
Reviews

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”

This is one of the quotes that had been often used, but not necessarily practised often. The same has often been used to describe about timepieces, with a specific focus on simple two-hand dress watches.

We often like to think that there are two schools of thoughts with two-hand watches. The first one, which is the predominant one, is that two-hand watches are preferred because they are simple and are designed specifically for their function to tell time. Perhaps that is why minimalistic watches such as Daniel Wellington are popular with many individuals.

For us, however, we do like to think slightly differently. The idea of brands designing a two-hand watch, in our opinion, is to allow the other components of the watch to stand-out. While time-telling is the core function of a timepiece, but we think that some watches have transcended beyond that. We do consider some watches to be more of an art piece, rather than just a device that tells time. This is more predominant in the field of high-end and independent watchmaking.

Hence, in this week’s article, we are looking at what are some of the more spectacular two-hand watches that are available in the market currently. It must have some merits, predominantly in the field of design and finishing techniques. What have we selected? Let’s find out!

Cartier Tank Cintrée

All three versions of the Cartier Tank Cintrée
Cartier Tank Cintrée is a statement of elegance. Three noble materials and three dials versions will satisfy any wish, regardless age or gender.

The first watch that we have is the Cartier Tank Cintrée.

First launched in 1921, the new Tank Cintrée remains faithful to its roots. The highlight of the watch certainly lies in its design. The elongated curved case is simple and elegant on the wrist. It also features a beautifully crafted dial, with contrasting colour schemes to bring out the looks of it. The watch, in addition, is fitted with a JLC-based hand-winding movement. The combination is brilliant, and it is surely a lovely piece to behold.

The retail price of the watch is S$28,300 for the gold versions, and S$32,600 for the platinum variant. The Tank Cintrée, in our opinion, is certainly a beautiful work of art. It might be a simple two-hand watch, but it certainly tells the time in timeless style.

A. Lange & Söhne Saxonia Thin in Copper Blue

The stunning A. Lange & Söhne Saxonia Thin in Copper Blue.

It is not an open secret that we have a soft spot for A. Lange & Söhne’s watches, but the Saxonia Thin in Copper Blue certainly reinforces our love for this German watch manufacturer.

While the Saxonia Thin 37mm may be the brand’s entry-level piece, but the Glashutte-based manufacturer decided to go a step further with a stunning dial iteration. This particular version features a solid silver dial that is layered with goldstone, which is a man-made glass consisting of tiny crystals of copper dispersed within to create a glittering appearance. The sparkling stardust-like effect works brilliantly with the blue background, and it gives the watch a rather dreamy appearance.

Priced at S$31,500, the 37mm Saxonia Thin in Copper Blue is priced at a large premium as compared to the normal Saxonia Thin. However, the dial is definitely unique, and this surely makes the highly-acclaimed dress watch a whole load more desirable than ever.

Jaquet Droz Petite Heure Minute Paillonnée

The dial for the time indication has reduced real estate to give pride of place and space to showcase the paillonnée artistry.

When it comes to the Métiers d’Art watches, Jaquet Droz is certainly one of the front-runners in terms of their intricate artistic crafts. The
Petite Heure Minute Paillonnée is one of such pieces, for instance.

The 39mm watch, which was launched in 2017, was the first piece in the Petite Heure range to feature the paillonnée technique. This is extensively featured on the watch, in which the yellow gold paillons – in the form of fleur de lys pattern – is set on the blue enamel dial. Interestingly, Jaquet Droz had utilised an off-centre silver opaline sub-dial to tell the time. This is to ensure that there is sufficient real estate for the manufacture to showcase the paillonnée artistry. Over at the back, the watch is powered by the Jaquet Droz Caliber 2653 – a movement that is supplied by Manufacture Blancpain. The finishing is of haute horlogerie standards as well, to match the sublime craftsmanship on the dial.

This timepiece is limited to a production of 8 pieces, and it is priced at S$64,000. While Jaquet Droz might have often been overlooked by many, but do think that its gorgeous Métiers d’Art watches are worthy of being included in any admirable watch collection.

Franck Muller Crazy Hours

Franck Muller Crazy Hours oblique-crown
Franck Muller Crazy Hours released in 2003 is a powerful statement that the world of horology can have innovation of ideas. One must can remain true to the horological heritage and tradition applying also modern ideas.

It is interesting to note that the Franck Muller Crazy Hours has been around for 16 years. While many things have changed in the last decades or so, but the novelty of this watch still has not worn off till this day. It is not just another timepiece with an interesting complication, but one that is certainly mind-boggling and yet still stood the test of time.

At the first glance, the Crazy Hours is seemingly a strange piece. While it may look like any normal tonneau-shaped timepiece in Franck Muller’s repertoire, but the “misplaced” numerals would certainly raise many questions in your head. In fact, this watch has a slightly different way of interpreting time, in which the hour hands will indicate the time based on which numeral it is pointing. For instance, in the above picture, it is approximately 3:35. When the minute hand hits the 60 minutes mark, the hour hand would “jump” to the next hour (in this case, the hand will move to the position where the numeral “4” lies). It is certainly bewitching.

The Reference 5850CH, with a 32mm x 45mm 18k white gold case, retails at S$40,104. If you are looking to add an unusual piece into your collection, then perhaps the Franck Muller Crazy Hours might just be an interesting proposition. Now, who says that two-hand watches must be dressy and “boring”?

Patek Philippe Golden Ellipse 

The Patek Philippe Golden Ellipse, with a pair of matching cufflinks.

While collectors are constantly chasing the likes of Nautilus and Grand Complications, the Golden Ellipse is quietly lying in the shadows within the Patek Philippe collection. Launched in 1968, the timepiece certainly has a special place in the hard of most Patek Philippe collectors.

Last year, to commemorate the golden jubilee of the Golden Ellipse, the maison had decided to produce a special edition of the watch. The magic of the piece definitely still lies in its timeless case design. The elliptical case has dimensions that follows the golden ratio, which makes it look rather proportional and “right”. This particular edition is the “Grand Tallie” model, which means that it features a larger case dimension. This version measures at 34.5 mm x 39.5 mm, instead of the regular 31.0 mm x 35.5 mm case size. It was perhaps made with the modern consumers in mind, who seem to prefer a slightly larger timepiece.

The watch is powered by the legendary Calibre 240. The self-winding movement is only 2.53 mm thick, playing a key role in the watch’s overall slenderness. It is fitted with a 22k gold micro-rotor, and it also comes with the brand’s proprietary Gyromax balance and patented Spiromax balance spring for improved rate accuracy. This rose gold timepiece retails at S$40,700, and we feel that this is one of the perfect discreet dress piece that will look classy in any formal setting.

De Bethune DB25 Starry Varius

Finally, we round up the article with perhaps one of the most mesmerising pieces from the brilliant De Bethune: the DB25 Starry Varius.

We have always held De Bethune in high regard for its finishing and polishing techniques. The DB25 Starry Varius is no exception, but the Grade 5 Titanium watch goes one level up with its bewitching centre dial. The centrepiece begins its life as a dull grey titanium plate, before it underwent rounds of polishing and heating to attain the vibrant shade of blue. Perforations are then made to attach the golden pins (and gold leaves), which culminates with a stunning rendition of the galaxy (or rather, part of it). Interestingly, the design can also be customised to match the owner’s preferences as well.

On the business end of the watch, the DB25 continues to shine with its movement. The watch is powered by the DB2005, and the manual-winding movement boasts an excellent power reserve of around 6 days. The finishing is impeccable as usual, which justifies the enormous price tag for a time-only watch. The 42mm DB25 Starry Varius is priced at CHF60,000 (approximately S$80,828), and it is perhaps one of the best looking two-hand timepiece that is available in the market right now.

Concluding Thoughts

There are two groups of watch collectors: those who like complicated watches, and the rest who prefer simple two or three-hand watches.

We are often fascinated with watches with plenty of complications, or timepieces with dreamy complications such as minute repeaters or perpetual calendars. But we do think that two or three-hand watches, especially those that are blessed with wonderful finishing techniques, are highly underrated by many. We do think that such timepieces deserve more credit, and the watches that we have highlighted today are certainly worthy of such credentials.

So, what are your thoughts on our selection today? What are some of your favourite two-hand watches? Let us know in the comments section below.

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