The summer season is here again. For some, this means that it is time to head out for some sun. For others, it represents warmer weather and the higher propensity to sweat. Not a good thing for collectors who wear watches that are fitted with leather straps.
Hence, for this reason, many collectors have opt to swap for watches with rubber straps or metal bracelet especially during this period. For this week’s article, we have decided to take a look at the latter, with emphasis on the higher-end category. We have also excluded the trio of sports watches from the “holy trinity” to introduce more diversity in our picks.
Czapek & Cie Antarctique Terra Adélie
The genre of luxury sports watches is heating up, with Czapek & Cie being one of the latest participants joining the incumbents.
Named after an island in Antarctica, the Antarctique Terra Adélie is a tribute to the French explorer Jules Dumont d’Urville. That concept was drawn from Xavier de Roquemaurel – one of the brand’s most active shareholders – during his family trip to Antarctica. The idea is to pay homage to the continent, as well as to draw more attention and emphasis to the environmental issues that is faced by nature – where the Antarctica had since become a preeminent symbol of environmental degradation.
The watch is fitted with the Calibre SXH5.01. This is a self-winding movement with a micro-rotor, 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.
With a retail price of CHF 18,000 (approximately S$26,458), the Czapek offers collectors a much more accessible timepiece from an independent watch manufacturer. It is worth to note that the micro-rotor is produced with recycled gold, which reinforces the brand’s commitment to build awareness on the current environmental issues and promote sustainable practices.
Bvlgari Octo Finissimo Automatique
Over the last few years, Bvlgari had constantly impressed us with its Octo collection. Its relentless pursuit of making ultra-thin watches had yielded some interesting results, and these pieces had certainly differentiated itself against some of the counterparts in the same category.
The 40mm Octo Finissimo Automatique is one of our favourite pieces from Bulgari just yet. While there are many other more complicated pieces (such as the Octo Finissimo Tourbillon and the Octo Finissimo Répétition Minute), we pretty much like the clean and sophisticated looks of the Automatique itself. Besides, the price point is also much more accessible, and that its simple aesthetics really brings out the case and bracelet construction (which we reckon is the main attraction of this piece).
The Finissimo Automatique is cased with Bulgari’s Calibre BVL138. The self-winding movement comes with a platinum micro-rotor, and it has a power reserve of around 60 hours. This is even more impressive considering that the movement is only 2.23mm thick – which is even thinner than Piaget Altiplano’s record of 2.35mm. Finally, this incredible titanium timepiece is available from S$19,900 onwards (with the integrated bracelet option), and we feel that this is excellent value for an ultra-thin luxury sports watch which is constructed beautifully and coupled with excellent finishing.
Chopard Alpine Eagle
The Chopard Alpine Eagle – launched late last year – may be one of the latest to join the line-up of the Geneva-based watch manufacturer. But the luxury sports watch has an interesting history to back.
The Alpine Eagle was inspired by the St. Moritz, which older readers might have had some recollections. That was notably the first was that was designed by Karl -Friedrich Scheufele, at a tender age of 22 (back in 1980). The watch – an evolution of the St. Moritz – is available in both 36mm and 41mm, and it features a contemporary design with exposed screws and integrated bracelet. It is paired with a sunburst dial, and completed with a combination of stick indices and roman numerals.
Powering the watch is the in-house Calibre 01.01-C (or the 09.01-C for the 36mm), which boasts a power reserve of around 60 hours (or 42 hours for the latter). The movement features some nice finishing touches as well, which is expected from a brand such as Chopard. The 41mm version is priced at S$17,200 (for the stainless steel version), and we think that this is a nice alternative if one is looking for a slightly different luxury sports watch.
A. Lange and Söhne Odysseus
Launched last year, the A. Lange & Söhne Odysseus is the brand’s first luxury sports watch. This is actually rather unusual from the Glashütte-based watch manufacturer, who is known for producing dress watches.
The 40.5mm timepiece is one that broke many different rules. Aside from the fact that this is the first sports watch from the maison, the Odysseus is also the brand’s first regular production timepiece that is produced in stainless steel.
Powering the Odysseus is a totally new manufacture Calibre L155.1, a self-winding movement that is known as the Datomatic. The movement features a large date and day display, and in addition a power reserve of around 50 hours. The watch is also fitted with a new in-house free sprung balance spring, secured by an engraved balance bridge. We reckon that the is meant to make the movement more shock resistant, considering the nature of it.
The Odysseus is priced at S$40,800, which we think is priced decently for a top-tier luxury sports watch that perhaps has one of the best finishing touches around. This watch certainly gives the “holy trinity” a run for their money, and it had already garnered positive comments from the collectors and enthusiasts alike since its inception late last year.
H. Moser Streamliner Flyback Chronograph Automatic
Similar to the A. Lange and Söhne above, the H. Moser Streamliner is a first for the luxury watch manufacturer. But this one takes it up a notch with an incredible complication – the flyback chronograph.
The Streamliner, launched earlier in January this year, is the latest timepiece to join the independent watch manufacturer’s repertoire. Drawing inspiration from the 1970s, the organic-looking timepiece features a curvaceous case with an integrated bracelet. The watch is also fitted with a clean looking dial, but with the brand’s signature fumé and an additional griffé (French for clawed, or scratched) treatment to it. The end result is amazing, and it provides a visual treat to the collector. We also like the white and minute tracks on the peripherals of the dial, which accentuates the design cues of the 1970s.
Notably, the watch is powered by the Calibre HMC 902, which is a movement that is developed with Agenhor. The self-winding movement has a power reserve of around 54 hours, and notably the winding rotor is fitted between the dial and the movement – allowing the user the pleasure to view the calibre in full glory from the exhibition case back. The latter is certainly important, considering that the HMC 902 is a well-finished movement with all standard haute horlogerie elements ticked off as “well done”.
With a retail price of S$60,700, the 42.3mm H. Moser Streamliner is well-priced when it is placed against its competitors. The watch has a great design, and the movement is equally compelling as well. Definitely worth a consideration if one is looking for a solid timepiece from this category.
F.P. Journe Chronographe Monopoussoir Rattrapante
Finally, we round up the article with a provocative sports watch from F.P. Journe, with its Chronographe Monopoussoir Rattrapante.
Known as the first split seconds to be produced by the maison, the timepiece combines a very traditional complication with a very contemporary sports-inspired case design. Despite that, the watch still has the signature Journe design cues with its smooth and sleek design.
Besides its design language, the movement is another aspect of the timepiece that deserves a huge mention. Powering the watch is the in-house Calibre 1518, a manual-winding movement that boasts a power reserve of approximately 80 hours. Interestingly, the movement is produced in either red gold (for the precious metal case variants) or aluminium (for the titanium case). As per the other F.P. Journe watches, the movement is highly embellished with traditional haute horlogerie finishing.
Prices begin at CHF 58,000 (approximately S$85,255) for the titanium model, to CHF 106,000 (approximately S$155,810) for the platinum model. We reckon the one in titanium is very well-priced for what it is, but we will opt for the precious metal variants (red gold or platinum) for that extra bit of wow-factor.
For some interesting reason, there is an influx of luxury sports watches that are launched by different brands in recent times. This is also apparent in the independent watchmaking scene, where brands such as Laurent Ferrier and Urban Jürgensen had created their own interpretation of sports watches. They are certainly worth a double take as well.
We hope that you have enjoyed our article this week. Please let us know what are your favourites amongst our selection, as well as the other luxury sports watches that deserve a spot on the list, in the comments section below.