Throwback Sundays: Six Watches of 2020, from Our Archives

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2020 has been an incredible year.

It has been challenging for everyone, especially with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The same goes for our beloved watch industry, and even more so when it is faced with unprecedented challenges across different spectrums.

Despite operating in such a trying environment, we are pleased to see that it has not dampened the mood of the industry. In fact, as we progressed throughout the year, we were introduced to many novelties this year, albeit digitally (unlike the exhibitions that we have had in previous years). Talk about adaptability.

Hence, for the last Throwback Sunday article of the year, we thought that it will be a great moment to look back at this tremendous year, and highlight some of the great timepieces that had debuted during this period. What are some of the timepieces that have caught our attention? Let us find out!

Omega Speedmaster Snoopy 50th Anniversary

The Omega Speedmaster is an iconic and important timepiece in its own right. However, the Snoopy Editions – which has an interesting provenance behind it, certainly makes this remarkable timepiece an even more collectable item altogether.

The third iteration of the Snoopy Edition was launched late this year, following the wildly successful predecessors (which debuted in 2003 and 2015 respectively). The original edition, launched in 2003, was initially produced to commemorate the “Silver Snoopy Award”, in which the Speedmaster had played a crucial role in helping the Apollo 13 crew to get back home safely. This was further reinforced in the 2015 edition, as well as the latest 2020 edition which coincides with the collection’s 50th birthday.

This version, notably, is perhaps one of the most beautiful Speedmasters that Omega had ever produced. The silver dial, together with the blue sub-dials and ceramic bezel, certainly contrasted nicely. The reverse side is also amazing especially with the incredible graphics and animation – especially with the beautiful shot of space and the Moon, together with a rotating Earth (and a secret Snoopy in his rocket when the chronograph is activated by the usual). These easter eggs are definitely a great addition to this watch.

With a retail price of S$14,100, the Snoopy 50th Anniversary Edition is certainly a large premium over the base Speedmaster. However, there is no lack of suitors, and the appeal of the Snoopy Edition is something that had enchanted the legion of watch collectors – including both the Speedmaster and non-Speedmaster collectors alike.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra-Thin Kingsman Knife

It is always cool to see a timepiece being commissioned for a movie. The Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra-Thin Kingsman Knife, as its nomenclature suggests, is one of such timepieces. And this watch is rather special indeed.

For this particular 40mm watch, Jaeger-LeCoultre combines its mastery in ultra-thin movements and past references to develop a dress watch. The timepiece, notably, is inspired by the 1907 “Couteau” (couteau is French for knife) pocket watch – which explains its namesake and the triangular bow which would have been used in the classic pocket watch to attach a chain. The latter is highly unusual, which makes it rather unique. Overall, the broad bezel and fine profile – which resembles a knife blade in retrospect – alludes to its namesake. 

Powering the movement is the in-house Calibre 849. The evergreen movement is a mere 1.85mm thick, and it is featured in many of JLC’s Master Ultra-Thin watches. The hand-winding mechanical movement contains 123 parts, and it has a power reserve of around 35 hours. 

This particular JLC is a very special and well-executed timepiece. We love how the maison had integrated a classic pocket watch design into a timepiece seamlessly, which results in a unique-looking dress watch. It is priced at S$44,200, and it will be limited to a production of 100 pieces.

H. Moser Streamliner Flyback Chronograph Automatic

The Streamliner, launched earlier in January this year, is the latest timepiece to join the H. Moser & Cie.’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 – a movement that is co-developed with Agenhor. The self-winding movement has a power reserve of around 54 hours, and the winding rotor is fitted between the dial and the movement. This allows the user the pleasure to view the movement 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”.

The 42.3mm H. Moser Streamliner is priced at S$60,700. The watch has a great design, and the movement is equally compelling as well. This is definitely worth a consideration if one is looking for a solid and bold timepiece that stands out in a crowd.

Audemars Piguet [Re]master 01

The Audemars Piguet [Re]master01, which was launched in March this year, is arguably one of the more recent Audemars Piguet watches that had attracted the attention of many collectors in recent times.

One of the rarest complications in the world of vintage Audemars Piguet watches are its chronographs. Between the 1930s to 1950s, it was reported that there were only 307 units being made by the venerable watch manufacturer. The [Re]master01, notably, is a faithful reproduction of the pre-model 1533 (made in 1943). Some interesting features include the teardrop lugs, thin-bezel, and a two-tone case construction with a pink gold bezel and stainless steel case. The gold dial is also a hallmark of the old chronographs as well.

Powering the [Re]master01 is the Calibre 4409 – a self-winding movement that boasts a power reserve of around 70 hours. It is well-finished, and it is additionally fitted with a matching 22-carat pink gold oscillating weight that is decorated with Clous de Paris – a traditional decoration technique used since the 1950s by Audemars Piguet.

The watch is priced at a princely sum of S$74,400, and it is limited to a production of 500 pieces. The [Re]master01 is almost perfect for what it is, and we would certainly love to see what else Audemars Piguet can offer under this new [Re]master collection.

Vacheron Constantin Overseas Perpetual Calendar Ultra-thin Skeleton

The Vacheron Constantin Overseas is an iconic collection with a vast range of watches across different complications. One of the latest additions – the Overseas Perpetual Calendar Ultra-thin Skeleton – is an award-winning timepiece that is perhaps one of the most beautiful timepieces from the Geneva-based watch manufacturer.

Being the first skeleton watch in the Overseas collection, the timepiece offers a different perspective from its brethren. The skeletonised dial provides a level of complexity to the aesthetic of the watch, and it is surprisingly legible considering the contrasting sub-dials.

The 41.5mm watch is powered by the Calibre 1120 QP SQ – a remarkable movement with a checkered history in which its roots can be traced back to the Jaeger LeCoultre’s Calibre 920. This movement uses the same base, but of course, Vacheron Constantin has gone a step further by introducing its own in-house perpetual calendar module. This, together with its exceptional finishing that is worthy of the Geneva Seal, makes it a rather highly tantilising prospect.

F. Berthoud Chronomètre FB 2RE

F. Berthoud is a brand that constantly fascinates us with incredible timepieces. The FB 2RE, an epic 2020 novelty, is an all-new watch with a more conventional round-shape case and three-hand layout.

On the surface, the FB2 RE is a simple and conventional-looking watch. But it is more than what meets the eye. Beneath the stunning grand feu enamel dial is a beautiful movement, featuring incredible complications and an exceptional finish. The fusée-chain mechanism, a mainstay of F. Berthoud watches, is present in the FB 2RE as well. Notably, the mechanism is installed in a flying configuration – pivoted only on one side, which is a patent of the brand itself. The remontoire is also another complication that is noteworthy, which adds a nice touch to the watch.

Priced at S$307,500, the F. Berthoud Chronomètre FB2 RE is definitely positioned on the higher-end of the scale. However, this timepiece is truly exceptional, and one that is the crème de la crème of haute horlogerie. This is perhaps one of the best novelties of 2020, if not the best.

Concluding Thoughts

There are so many watches that can feature today, and there are definitely a lot of watches that certainly deserve a spot on the list. 2020 may have been challenging, but that did not stop the manufacturers and watchmakers from producing exceptional pieces. Kudos to that.

Amidst all the madness, we hope that everyone has come out of 2020 much stronger. We are still not out of the woods yet – 2021 will still bring a new set of trials and challenges. But we must all hold our head high, and face all the uncertainties and tribulations with courage. There will always be light at the end of the proverbial tunnel.

With that, the author shall sign off with this article for the year. See you in 2021, and hopefully in better circumstances!


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