Top picks: Six novelties that piqued our interest this year

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We have almost reached the end of the year, and almost all the novelties for the year has been already released. In today’s Top Picks, we look back a the novelties released in 2022, and take note of six of those which piqued our interest.

Top picks: Six novelties that piqued our interest this year

This list is for the top six watches released this year that piqued our interest. Though many are also our top picks for the best watches for 2022, that is not the criteria we used for this selection, and as a result, some on this list may be just that…interesting watches. So without further ado, here they are.

Ferdinand Berthoud Chronomètre FB 3SPC

We begin with the watch which blew our minds. And currently is our reference standard for watch finishing. Our first encounter the new FB3, was a breathtaking experience. So much so that the Chief Editor who handled the first two FB3s to land in Singapore was almost overwhelmed with every aspect of the watch, that after writing his first impressions, he thought it better to have Dr. Frank Chuo write the full detailed analysis. We will publish the comprehensive review tomorrow, so make sure to watch out for that.

But for now, suffice it to repeat the words we used in the first impressions article. This is the ultimate level of attention to detail lavished on a watch. And having handled and examined the watches in close proximity, we are EXTREMELY impressed with the quality of workmanship lavished on the watch. As we said in the title, minds suitably blown. This is possibly the watch with the best finishing we have ever seen. And definitely at the price of just a tad over SGD 200k, is a value buy, if ever there was one at that admittedly very big price tag.

Both of the variants are extremely beautiful, but our pick is for the white gold, gilded dial FB 3SPC.1. In a recent discussion with Karl-Friedrich Schuefele, he revealed that it was his pick as well. This model has a more classical vibe than its brethren the rose gold, black dial FB 3SPC.2 which tends to appeal to younger collectors.

Underd0g Strawberries and Cream

From an ultra high end piece to a true underdog of the watch world. Underd0g is a small independent operating from the UK, and though is not a manufacture, but with a very special take on chronographs. The movement selected is a Chinese made Seagull ST-1901, a clone of the venerable Venus Caliber 175.

The theme used in their watches are around food items, mostly fruits. And the dial reflects the fruity nature. Our pick is the Strawberries and Cream, which evokes the summery feel of strawberries to be eaten with cream. And all for a micro brand pricing of just EUR 600. Fascinating.

Patek Philippe Ref. 5470P, 1/10th of a second monopusher chronograph

Next a technological tour de force by the grand dame of the industry. Patek Philippe revealed a new 1/10th second chronograph with an extremely complicated mechanism to achieve the timing resolution without having to run the escapement at 36,000 bph. But Patek has chosen to develop a new module over the chronograph just to display the 1/10th seconds hand. 

Seven additional patented innovations developed for this new 29-535 PS 1/10 caliber also contribute to reducing energy consumption, protecting the movement against shocks and avoiding the risk of breakage in case of mishandling. And make no mistake, this level of craftsmanship and innovation will not come cheap. The retail price of this gem of a chronograph is  CHF 380,000.

The ASEAN leaders’ Made in Cambodia Tourbillon

Perhaps we were as surprised as the next person when we were alerted of this Made in Cambodia Tourbillon. The pictures of the watch which was posted in Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen’s Facebook page revealed a superbly beautiful watch.

The dial side was quite modest. The champagne gold dial has a slight green tinge, and is completely closed, without the traditional opening to showcase the tourbillon. And looks distinguished and modest with Dauphine hands, and dagger appliqué markers. The watch features a sunken subsidiary seconds hand with the engraving of what looks like the Cambodian national flower Romduol. a completely closed dial with the branding being “ASEAN” “Cambidia 2023” in two lines.

But flip the watch over, and the movement as shown through the open case back looks amazing. Top haute horlogerie material. The watch looks worthy of a Swiss or German high end manufacture label, but as the Prime Minister declared, the watch is made in Cambodia, which makes it even more impressive. Cambodia is not particularly known for horology.

Plus, unlike the other watches on this list that is accompanied by a price tag, this watch will be presented as a gift by the Government of Cambodia to the leaders of the ASEAN countries.

Vacheron Constantin the Great Civilisation métiers d’art watches 

From this almost crazy tourbillon which is made in Cambodia, to another of the industry’s grand maisons. Vacheron Constantin released a set of 4 watches to celebrate the Great Civilisations. Four masterpieces. representing 4 eras, were selected to be depicted on the dials. These are important cultural symbols from the Persian Empire of Persian Empire of Darius the Great, the Egypt of the Pharaohs, the Hellenistic Greece of Alexander the Great’s successors and Imperial Rome. 

Each piece is a masterwork on its own right. VC is well known for their métiers d’art watches, and all four featured specific artisans and techniques to bring out the flavour of the civilisations it represents. The detailing, the craftsmanship is amazing, and truly a spectacle. Understandably, the watches are currently listed as POA.

Code 41 Mecascape Sublimation 1

And we close with another independent. Code 41 is a based in Lausanne, and is not quite as small as many micro brand independents. And their business model seems rather interesting as well. They source the ideas on what watches to make from their community of 55,000 members

The novelty introduced as the Mecaspape is a unique watch in this traditional space. The watch looks like a credit card, and is only 8.1mm thick. The movement seems to be one which is unique and designed specifically for the Mecascape Sublimation1. It is a collaboration with the respected independent workshops of Cercle des Horlogers in Neuchâtel. Intriguing, as we said. We reached out to them, and is scheduled to receive a review loaner this week, and a video conference call with founder Claudio D’Amore. We will, of course put the loaner to the test, and photograph it in our studio. And will report back with a comprehensive review of this watch.

The target retail price for the Mecascape Sublimation1 is EUR 10k.

Concluding thoughts

There you have it. Six watches which intrigued us, challenged us to rethink of the basics in watchmaking. Ranging from grand old maisons, to young fresh independents. From complicated mechanisms, to simple works of art. What would you have included in this list? Tell us in the comments.