Up your wrist game: 10 of the best new men’s watch releases (so far)
The recently concluded Watches & Wonders 2022 and its satellite events have given us a new crop of gorgeous tickers to add to the stylish gentleman’s wrist and winders.
It’s been two years since watch fairs have had a physical presence, but based on what we witnessed at the recently concluded Watches & Wonders 2022 in Geneva, Switzerland, not a whole lot has changed aside from the inclusion of previously Baselworld-only brands like Patek Philippe, Rolex, Chopard and Chanel.
The timepieces were still exceptional, the exhibitors and visitors were still enthusiastic, and here we are again with the latest and greatest watches for men from the biggest horological event of the year.
BREITLING NAVITIMER B01 CHRONOGRAPH 41
Updating an icon is tricky business. Change too little and it’ll be deemed a lazy effort, too much and fans will be in an uproar. But Breitling’s 2022 update on its Navitimer hits all the right notes in terms of sizing and details.
The whole collection offers references in 41mm, 43mm and 46mm, but we’re partial to its smallest size, especially now that they have been upgraded from ETA movements to the in-house B01 calibre.
Swapping the movement also meant a shift of the three chronograph counters from the left side of the dial to the bottom half, and a date window placed unobtrusively inside the 12-hour subdial. The old “B” logo has been replaced with a winged one, the lugs are thinner, and the bezel grooves are less toothy – tiny changes that you’ll feel and appreciate when it’s on your wrist. There are three dial options in steel, and a black-dialled version in rose gold.
HERMES ARCEAU LE TEMPS VOYAGEUR DUAL TIME ZONE
Praised for its inventive use of satellite dials in Hermes’ Arceau L’Heure De La Lune in 2019, complications specialist Chronode is back with the same concept but with a different application, resulting in one of the most original interpretations of a dual time zone we’ve seen in a while.
The Arceau Le Temps Voyageur Dual Time Zone features home time in an aperture at 12 o’clock and the local time in a satellite subdial. Once you’ve set your home time and start travelling, you simply press the pusher on the left of the case to move the subdial to the corresponding city or time zone, and the hour hand in the subdial will adjust automatically.
It’s an elegant solution that’s also great fun to watch in action. And true to Hermes-style whimsy, the world map design on the dial is an imaginary one based on a Hermes scarf design, where the continents are named after equestrian terms. It is available in a 41mm platinum case with a black DLC titanium bezel and black and grey dial, or in a 38mm stainless steel case with a blue dial.
JAEGER-LECOULTRE POLARIS PERPETUAL CALENDAR
After the smorgasbord of Reversos last year, we won’t blame you for being in the mood for something round and static from Jaeger-LeCoultre.
The sporty Polaris collection welcomes its first perpetual calendar, and that means it’s one of the uncommon few to showcase the complication in a truly contemporary style. The indexes are modern, the blue gradient dial is trendy, and above all, it is easy to use. The top crown adjusts the rotating inner bezel (a Polaris signature), while the bottom one sets the time and winds the watch. To make things even simpler, all calendar settings are adjusted via the singular pusher.
In steel or pink gold, the 42mm by 11.97mm case is topped with a domed sapphire crystal and houses the new Calibre 868AA, which comes with a 70-hour power reserve.
VACHERON CONSTANTIN HISTORIQUES 222
The recent obsession with full metal watches with integrated bracelets has sent brands like Chopard and Piaget into their archives to revive designs originally created to compete against the mighty Audemars Piguet Royal Oak and Patek Philippe Nautilus.
Vacheron Constantin, too, did this with the rebooted Overseas collection in 2016, but this year’s Seventies revival is far less mainstream and a whole lot more interesting. Returning from 1977 in full yellow gold is the 222, a watch designed by Jorg Hysek (who was also responsible for the designs of the Breguet Marine, Tag Heuer Kirium and more) and the progenitor of the Overseas collection.
The modern version follows the 37mm diameter of the original “Jumbo” version and keeps the same fluted bezel, Maltese Cross logo, brushed and polished finishing, and date. What has changed is a three-part case instead of a mono-bloc one, the addition of a sapphire crystal caseback, lower water resistance of 50m instead of 120m, a slightly repositioned date window, a more comfortable bracelet and, of course, a new movement in the Calibre 2455/2 with a 4Hz frequency and 40-hour power reserve. While not a limited edition, the Historiques 222 is a boutique exclusive.
TAG HEUER AQUARACER PROFESSIONAL 200 SOLARGRAPH
As one of the only luxury watchmakers enjoying sustained success in the smartwatch sector, it makes sense for Tag Heuer to venture once more outside the bounds of traditional horology.
The Aquaracer Professional 200 Solargraph is a solar-powered watch that packs a lot of convenience, precision and style in a 40mm black DLC stainless steel case. Not only will the battery last 10 to 15 years, a two-minute charge will provide 24 hours of power and a full charge of 20 hours will let the watch run for six months.
The movement was developed by Swiss movement manufacturer La Joux-Perret (owned by Citizen, with clients including Girard-Perregaux and Franck Muller), and can be halted by pulling out the crown to save on power. In the dark, the Solargraph displays a light show of blue and green lume on the dial and, more interestingly, in the bezel made of carbon mixed with Super-Luminova.
IWC PILOT’S WATCH CHRONOGRAPH TOP GUN EDITION “LAKE TAHOE”
IWC’s Top Gun editions of its famous Pilot’s Watch collection does an outstanding job of looking serious and broody. Which is why the new “Lake Tahoe” edition, one of four new coloured Top Gun models released at Watches & Wonders this year, is so striking.
The stark white ceramic case, hands and indexes on the black dial is inspired by the landscape of Lake Tahoe in winter, where the Naval Air Station Fallon and the Top Gun school is located. Combined with steel pushers and a matching white rubber strap, the chronograph is sharp and crisp, and features a titanium case back engraved with the Top Gun logo.
It is powered by the in-house calibre 69380. The “Lake Tahoe”, along with “Woodland”, “Jet Black”, and “Ceratanium” are colours that IWC developed with Pantone, and they are exclusive to the watchmaker.
GRAND SEIKO EVOLUTION 9 SLGA015
Basically a Rolex Submariner with a little more personality (and attainability), Grand Seiko’s latest dive watch combines the familiar and well-loved diver aesthetic with some of the Japanese watchmaker’s best features.
First of all, it uses the 9RA5 Spring Drive movement, the newest iteration of the brand’s quartz-enhanced mechanical movement that comes with a generous five days of power reserve – two days more than previous Spring Drive calibres. The “high-intensity” titanium alloy case measures 43.8mm by 13.8mm, so it is by no means subtle, but the extra real estate shows off the beautiful sheen of its black ceramic bezel and wave-textured dial, inspired by the Kuroshio Current, also known as the Black Stream. As expected from a diving watch, it has a water resistance of 200m, a screw-down crown and case back.
MONTBLANC 1858 MINERVA MONOPUSHER CHRONOGRAPH RED ARROW LE88
Up in the mountains of Villeret in the Bernese Jura of Switzerland, the Minerva manufacture has been quietly making chronographs in the same traditional (that is, painstakingly tedious) way for over 160 years. And thanks to Richemont group’s acquisition and assignment of it to Montblanc in 2007, it has continued to do so, giving us vintage-inspired beauties like this aviation chronograph.
Based on models from the 1920s and 1930s, the 1858 Minerva Monopusher Chronograph Red Arrow has all the aesthetic eccentricities of the old world: A fluted white gold rotating bezel, a red arrow to track elapsed time or act as a countdown marker, a tachymeter and a telemeter. The MB 13.21 is a manually wound movement with a lateral clutch column wheel and breathtaking hand-finishing, visible through the exhibition caseback. This is a limited edition of 88 pieces.
CHOPARD LUC STRIKE ONE
Minute repeaters are so difficult to make that even the very best watchmakers don’t release more than a handful in any given year, if at all. But Chopard is celebrating a very special anniversary in 2022 – 25 years of the LUC collection, the ultimate expression of the brand’s horological expertise – so it has revealed three chiming watches, collectively known as the “Sound of Eternity” trilogy, to commemorate the event.
While there are two impressive repeaters in the trio, we want to highlight the LUC Strike One, because its (relative) simplicity as an hour striker is just as appealing in its purity. As its name suggests, it strikes a single note on the hour, every hour, automatically. And because Chopard has worked with two classical musicians, violinist and cellist Renaud and Gautier Capucon, for feedback on how to improve the watch’s sound, each chime is surprisingly loud and wonderfully clear.
The 40mm case is crafted in Fairmined rose gold, and its solid gold dial has been treated to give it a grey colour, and then engraved by hand with a honeycomb pattern.
A LANGE & SOHNE RICHARD LANGE MINUTE REPEATER
So skilled is the team at A Lange & Sohne that it has never launched a minute repeater as a standalone complication, preferring to pair it with other dramatic functions like jumping hours or perpetual calendars.
This year however, the German watchmaker has finally decided to release a minute repeater – nothing more and nothing less – in the brand’s most classic collection. It’s hard to find fault in a design this clean: Flawless white enamel on a solid gold dial, blued steel hands, Roman numerals and a railroad minutes track.
The 191-component L122.1 manually wound calibre also delivers superb performance, as there are no pauses between the chimes of the hours, quarters and minutes if you activate the repeater within the first 14 minutes of an hour. The repeater also cannot be activated while the crown is pulled out, and vice versa, to ensure no damage to the movement. The 39mm case is in platinum, which isn’t the best material to conduct sound given its softness, but it still offers decent resonance and clarity. This boutique exclusive is limited to just 50 pieces.