10 stunning watches for him and her to put on your Christmas wish list
It’s time to stuff those stockings with the season’s most desirable tickers.
It’s been another tough year for the same, obvious reasons. So treat yourself to horology’s latest and greatest and let these beautiful timepieces count you down to a new and more hopeful year ahead.
Blancpain Air Command Flyback Chronograph in Titanium
This season, forget Blancpain’s Fifty Fathoms (just for a bit) and consider the rare Air Command instead. Originally made for the United States Air Force in the 1950s, these chronographs never saw commercial production, making what little surviving pieces today extremely rare and collectible.
The modern Air Command is a re-issue that debuted in 2019, and its faithful styling made them such a hit that they are now only available on the secondary market at a hefty premium. This year, you can have another go with new versions in titanium or red gold. Its blue livery displaces the vintage charm of its predecessor, making this a modern interpretation of a solidly built chronograph.
Breguet Classique Tourbillon Extra-Plat Anniversaire 5365
On the 220th anniversary of the tourbillon, one would expect its inventor’s legacy brand to come up with something dramatic to celebrate. But Breguet has instead unveiled a rather restrained version of its superb ultra-thin tourbillon.
Having previously been presented in guilloche, enamel and skeletonised models, the anniversary reference keeps things simple and unmistakably Breguet. This means two types of guilloche (clou de paris in the centre and grain d’orge on the periphery) and a big, beautiful, off-centred tourbillon held in place by a blued steel bridge. The words “Brevet No 157” above it is a reference to the patent number Abraham-Louis Breguet received for this complication.
The fluted rose gold case is 41mm wide and 7mm thick, and the back is engraved with a reproduction of the patent. Only 35 pieces have been made – the same number of tourbillon pocket watches Abraham-Louis made in his lifetime.
Girard-Perregaux Laureato Chronograph Aston Martin Edition
Not all brand collaborations need to be obvious to look good. The Girard-Perregaux Laureato Chronograph Aston Martin Edition doesn’t make the marque’s involvement that apparent, nor does it have to, because the Laureato’s crowd-appeasing design goes beautifully with a trendy – and not to mention festive – green dial.
This shade in particular is Aston Martin’s take on British racing green, and its cross-hatching pattern is a subtle salute to the marque’s early logos from the 1920s, as well as to the quilted seats of its cars. Petrol heads might also notice how the seconds hand counterweight is shaped like the side strakes of the DB5. This is the first Laureato chronograph to have an exhibition case back, through which you will be able to see the in-house GP03300-0141 calibre in action. Limited to 188 pieces.
Panerai Luminor Marina Quaranta
With the way its releases have been going in recent years, Panerai looks to be moving away from being known (just) as the Italian maker of giant watches, but of moderately sized, environmentally friendly ones.
This one in particular focuses on more diminutive dimensions, as “quaranta” means “forty” in Italian. This 40mm model will replace the 42mm versions to become the smallest reference in the Luminor Marina line. This means all the hallmarks of the iconic Luminor – distinctive crown guard, sandwich dial, and no-nonsense layout – can finally look proportionate on those with slimmer wrists.
All three versions come in brushed and polished stainless steel cases, with a blue satin dial, matte white dial, or matte black dial, and delivered with an additional calfskin strap that can be easily swapped in via Panerai’s Quick Release System.
Tudor Pelago FXD “Marine Nationale”
It’s easy to forget that the popular Tudor Black Bay has a more contemporarily styled, ever so slightly tougher looking cousin in the titanium Pelago. And it has just received a fresh infusion of military seasoning with a new model built specifically to the needs of the French navy, with whom the watchmaker has a relationship that dates back to 1954.
The Marine Nationale’s requests have resulted in a Pelago FXD with a thinner case profile of 12.75mm, removal of the helium escape valve, (reduced) water resistance of 200m, and a brand new bi-directional bezel with a full 60-minute and countdown scales. It’s also wider and grippier for ease of use underwater. You won’t be able to see the COSC-certified MT5602 calibre, but you can admire the commemorative engraving of the navy’s logo and on the case back.
Blancpain Ladybird Colors
Women today want their watches bigger and brighter, so Blancpain has responded accordingly by making its Ladybird collection exactly that. A new case size of 34.9mm demands more attention than say, the 21.55mm Ladybird Ultraplate, and seven colourful strap options means options for every taste.
The red gold version is offered with a peacock green, midnight blue or satin white strap, while the white gold version can be paired with the lemon yellow, tangerine orange, or lilac straps. All that extra room must accommodate a proper movement, which the new Ladybirds have in the in-house Calibre 11.53 – the same one that powers the Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe and Villeret Ultraplate. The 3Hz movement boasts a silicon balance spring and 100 hours of reserve power.
Breguet Tradition 7035
When Breguet launched the Tradition Ref 7038 in 2016, it was – and still is – one of the few women’s watches that managed to add a feminine twist to a highly technical design without looking overly frivolous. But for ladies who want the beauty of the Tradition’s open-worked movement to be just a hair fancier, the new Ref 7035 is a better bet.
It is basically a Ref 7038 with a lavish dusting of diamonds, along with rubies and pink sapphires set along the retrograde seconds at 10 o’clock, and additional rosette motifs engraved on the bridges to match the one on the barrel. Because the gems are set directly onto the movement, each groove had to be drilled by hand so as not to imperil the watch’s operation. This will be a limited edition of 88 pieces.
MB&F x Bulgari Legacy Machine FlyingT Allegra
Bulgari makes fine watches, but it is its jewellery expertise that MB&F has tapped on for this collaborative effort. The Legacy Machine FlyingT, MB&F’s first dedicated women’s watch that debuted in 2019, gets a luscious Italian makeover using Bulgari’s flair for coloured stones.
There have been FlyingT models released over the years at increasing levels of opulence, from guilloche to diamond pave versions, but the FlyingT Allegra elevates the watch to jewellery art. With Bulgari’s Product Creation Executive Director Fabrizio Buonamassa Stigliani taking the lead, tsavorites, topazes, tanzanites, tourmalines, and amethysts contribute to this dizzying display of glamour. The two versions in white or rose gold differ slightly in the gemstones used, but both have dials, bezels and crowns fully set with diamonds. Each is a limited edition of only 20 pieces.
As far as colour combinations go, it really doesn’t get much more festive than gold and green. And Omega has ensured it’s not just any gold or any green. Its latest quartz-powered Tresor comes in 18K Moonshine Gold, a proprietary alloy the brand created as its paler take on traditional yellow gold.
The dial is domed malachite, lending it a natural pattern and richness of colour, upon which are applied slender Roman numerals. Diamonds run along the lugs into the 36mm case, and the look is completed with a silk-like mesh bracelet – also in Moonshine Gold – or a matching green alligator strap.
Zenith Chronomaster Original
Trying to make a chronograph look dressy seems counterintuitive, but Zenith nailed the look with two new Chronomaster Original editions launched in celebration of its Dreamhers campaign event in Madrid earlier this year. Like the campaign, the watches are tailored to the accomplished woman of style and substance.
The chronographs take on soothing, pastel shades of brown and blue, and diamonds are used sparingly – on just the lugs and hour markers. It keeps the Chronomaster Original’s vintage sizing of 38mm and, of course, the famous high-beat El Primero 3600 movement that runs at 5Hz with a power reserve of 60 hours. Both models are cased in steel, though the light blue reference features a mother-of-pearl dial.