Chronoscope 2016


Most valuable

Most interesting to start with price records. The past year turned out to be rich in super-expensive models, despite the general recession of the world market, which, apparently, implies a concentrated attention to exceptional works of watchmaking. For example, one of the most important events for watch collectors took place in the summer of 2016, although it doesn’t quite relate to the premieres: after three years of waiting, the first owner received the long-awaited copy of A. Lange & Sohne Grand Complication, which are the most difficult watches when either assembled in Germany. The model itself was announced in January 2013 at the SIHH Geneva watch salon, and the price for them was announced 1.9 million euros, or 2.5 million dollars at the then exchange rate. In total, 6 copies were announced, for the acquisition of which a waiting list was immediately created. Now the Saxon manufactory promises to collect one copy each year until it completes the entire series, which will happen in 2021.

But besides the most expensive watches from A. Lange & Sohne, collectors this year saw a series of premieres worth more than a million dollars. The new Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime Ref 6300, which is a copy of the Ref 5175 model, released in the amount of 7 copies in honor of the 175th anniversary of the manufactory in 2014, is in the lead. The Ref 5175 has become the most complex wristwatch in the history of Patek Philippe, with 20 complications - from the minute repeater to the perpetual calendar and alarm clock. The difference between the model is that it is made in a white gold case and is more strict in design, having lost vignettes and arabesques. And the price, compared with the 2.5 million anniversary version, has dropped by $ 300,000.

Baselworld 2016's most expensive premiere, Rebellion 540 Magnum Sapphire Tourbillon for $ 1.8 million, is slightly behind in value. Such a high price is due to the fact that the caliber with the tourbillon was placed in a sapphire case, which took 99 working days to manufacture. In the same vein, the premiere of the Greubel Forsey Double Tourbillon 30-Degrees Technique Sapphire, presented by Robert Grube and Stephen Forsy in the summer at a price of $ 1.1 million, was made. The familiar caliber with a double tourbillon located at an angle of 30 degrees is also placed in a unique sapphire case. Apparently, the complex case is the most obvious trend in increasing the collection value and, as a result, the cost of watches. Proof of this - two more premieres per million.

The new version of Opera Tourbillon from Manufacture Royale, released in the amount of only 12 copies each at a price of $ 1.2 million, is a telescopic golden "accordion" that increases in volume to enhance the resonance of the repeater. Richard Mille, a chronograph with a tourbillon RM 50-02 ACJ Tourbillon Split Seconds Chronograph presented in Geneva, earned a price of $ 1,050,000 in that its case and movement parts are made of innovative materials borrowed from business jet maker Airbus Corporate Jets.

The most record

Given the rapid development of watch engineering over the past twenty years, it is already difficult to expect new unconditional world records from inventors. Nevertheless, in the past year there were several of them at once.

The undoubted sensation of the year is the Bulgari Octo Finissimo Minute Repeater, who won the title of the thinnest minute repeater in the world. Its height is only 6.85 mm, and it is unlikely that this indicator for a sound clock will ever be improved without compromising the quality of the repeater. Meanwhile, the Octo sound is very loud and clear. This was achieved due to the special design of the titanium case, in which the gongs come in contact directly with its inner surface, and special narrow holes were made on the dial to enhance the resonance. The thickness of the manufactory caliber BVL 362 is only 3.12 mm, the power reserve with manual winding is 48 hours. Naturally, all the elements of this complex device are made and assembled by hand, so only 50 copies of the record repeater are created.

The second unprecedented achievement in watch mechanics also relates to the realm of sound. This year, Audemars Piguet manufactory first introduced its Supersonnerie concept in a commercial version in the famous Royal Oak building. A feature of the AP 2937 caliber sound system, which took 8 years to develop, is three important innovations: in the new form of the gongs themselves, in the anchor design of the regulator, which works completely silently, unlike the classic “screw”, as well as in a special resonator, fastened to the bottom cover of the case and enhancing the sound. By the way, the Royal Oak case with a diameter of 44 mm and a height of 16.5 mm is also made of titanium, which can now be called the number one material in complex watches.

And finally, this year’s third world record belongs to Patek Philippe. Its premiere is World Time Chronograph Ref. The 5930G is not only the first production model in the history of manufacture, combining the function of a chronograph with an indication of world time, but also the thinnest combination of these complications in the world - the white gold case has a diameter of 39.5 mm and a height of only 13 mm. By the way, when making the ring of cities in Ref. The 5930G at Patek Philippe took into account the changes that occurred in the time format of Russia, and also made a number of adjustments compared to previous versions. Now, instead of Noumea, Brisbane is indicated on the ring, and Dubai instead of Riyadh.

The most difficult

But in order to attract the attention of lovers of the beauty of the watch movement, it is not necessary to set a world record in price and complexity. Some of the premieres of this year were so interesting in design that it is impossible not to mention them.

One year after the presentation of the most difficult watch in its history Ref. 57260 with 57 complications Vacheron Constantin introduced the double retrograde with the spherical tourbillon Maitre Cabinotier Retrograde Armillary Tourbillon, created by the same masters. The tourbillon got its name in honor of the armillary sphere, which was built into the astronomical clock created by the French watchmaker Antides Janvier in the 18th century. Caliber 1990 with manual winding is placed in a case of 45.7 mm in white gold. The spherical tourbillon itself can be viewed from all sides, including in the window on the side of the casing 2 cm high.

A wide overview is the main trend in the mechanics of the past and, obviously, upcoming hour season, which is why the most interesting premieres were presented in the trendy sapphire case. Hublot's MP-05 LaFerrari Sapphire, in which the revolutionary HUB9005 with a 50-day power reserve and winding drums resembling the pistons of a racing car, was placed in a no less revolutionary sapphire case, which was spent on the manufacture of 600 hours and 18 months of development. The exclusive series is limited to only 20 pieces.

In the field of perpetual calendars, the unexpected MB&F Legacy Machine Perpetual concept, released by Maximillian Busser together with Irish master Stephen McDonell, who literally "reinvented" this complication by constructing a new mechanical calendar "processor" consisting of several disks, attracted everyone's attention. This invention deservedly won the prize for the best calendar at the Geneva watch Grand Prix.

And at the Dubai Watch Week immediately after him, another Geneva-based producer Baume & Mercier presented his vision of this classic complication. The premiere of Clifton Perpetual Calendar can be called one of the most elegant incarnations of the perpetual calendar. The Vaucher 5401 automatic caliber with a 42-hour power reserve and perpetual calendar module is installed in a perfectly finished rose gold case with a diameter of 42 mm and a height of 13 mm. The dial with Arabic markings and four counters each detail embodies the 500-year-old watch tradition.

Most precious

In January 2016, Audemars Piguet showed off the stunning Diamond Fury bracelet, completely encrusted with 4635 diamonds and another 206 stones covering the dial, at SIHH Geneva. We can say that this watch set the tone for the entire season, which was marked by the “diamond rush”.

The main collection of the year for the Roger Dubuis manufactory was Velvet Ladies', where four provocative and daring premieres appeared at once, the most luxurious of which is Velvet Ribbon, completely covered with 631 diamonds weighing 53.9 carats. The jewelry collection Van Cleef & Arpels also presented an unexpected diamond collection for White Diamonds: watches and jewelry in recognizable forms of clover, flowers and snowflakes are made exclusively of white gold and studded with pure diamonds, some in the unique A Cheval technique, in which stones cover the metal at both sides.

However, other gemstones got no less attention. For example, Chopard has expanded the Imperiale jewelry watch collection with a model entirely encrusted with colored sapphires, filigree recreating the rainbow effect. The stones of the seven primary colors were carefully selected, sorted and set in an invisible lock to create the effect of overflowing color, which took the masters more than a thousand hours of work.

In total, Chopard Imperiale adorns 581 sapphires with a total weight of 48 carats. Or another winner of the Geneva Grand Prix in the category “Best Jewelry Watches” - the Chanel Secret Watch “Signature Grenat” model with a quartz movement, generously decorated with precious stones: diamonds, yellow and orange sapphires. The main highlight of this model is a large garnet weighing 52.61 carats, covering the dial. It is interesting that this year not only ladies', but also men's watches competed for the prize "Best Jewelry Watches" this year. For example, Hublot Big Bang Tourbillon Power Reserve 5 Days High Jewelery Impact Bang, decorated with a mosaic of 484 diamonds.

Pure gold fans received a special gift. In the fall, in honor of the 40th anniversary of the first Royal Oak female models, Audemars Piguet manufactures the Frosted Gold collection in white and pink gold, created in collaboration with Carolina Bucci, a jewelry designer from Florence. Thanks to the special surface treatment, the gold case and bracelet acquire an unusual “frosty” flicker.

The most highly artistic

The role of decorative design in wrist watches has grown so much that it now receives almost more attention than manufacturing mechanics. Own ateliers of artistic crafts - miniature painting, engraving, inlay and mosaics - brought all the leading watch brands to themselves. For example, this summer Jaeger-LeCoultre united all the workshops of decorative techniques under one roof in an atelier called Metier Rares (rare crafts). And in honor of this, she released the Tribute to Metier Rares series, consisting of three exquisitely decorated models of the Master line: tourbillon, minute repeater and perpetual calendar with an 8-day factory.

And the prize for the best watch design last year was awarded to Piaget for the unique Protocole XXL "Secrets & Lights" model Venice MicroMosaic, in which the case and dial are covered with Florentine mosaics made of semiprecious stones depicting a view of Venice.

And, of course, in anticipation of the year of the “Fire Rooster” in Chinese style (which will come on January 28), the leading watch manufactories have prepared limited thematic models that will bring good luck to their owners. Best of all in this area, Сhopard is known, which for many years now presents in the LUC XP Urushi series special art series made using the Japanese varnish technique Urusi.

New classic

Behind all the records and exceptional achievements in the field of the art of mechanics and jewelry, one cannot fail to notice that 2016 turned out to be very generous with offers of decent everyday classics. The collections presented this season can be enjoyed for years.

The number one watch brand presented the main gift to its fans - Rolex. In 2015, the manufactory introduced its own new marking of chronometers, indicating that the watch not only received the COSC certificate, but also passed the test for resistance to temperature and temperature. The super reliability of the new watches can be estimated by the example of the Oyster Perpetual Air-King, based on the design of classic aviation watches of the 40s. And connoisseurs of more sophisticated classics will not pass by the Cellini collection, in which there are three new models: the Time chronometer, a clock with an arrow indicating the date Date and a clock with a dual time display Dual Time.

Moreover, in the most traditional version of Cellini Time, special attention is paid to the accuracy of movement and a clear display of time on a white dial with overhead hour indexes and Arabic minute markings. In a 39 mm case made of white gold or Everose gold, caliber 3132 is installed, which has received a chronometer certificate according to the new Rolex standards, which means that the error of the course does not exceed 2 seconds per day.

"New Classic" is the unspoken motto of 2016, and you can be sure that the search for the perfect everyday watch will continue in the future. So far, the past season will go down in history with the presentation of the Drive de Cartier collection from the Cartier manufactory, which presents a completely new shape of a steel or gold case and all types of mechanics: from three hands of the caliber 1904 MC to the tourbillon. The premiere of the first manufactory caliber of Chanel House was held in the Monsieur de Chanel model with a “jumping hour”. The second caliber - with the A2000 peripheral rotor - was introduced by Carl F Bucherer, who also equipped him with a completely new everyday model Manero Peripheral. And finally, the long-awaited novelty is the thin Officine Panerai Luminor Duei. Thanks to the new R.4000 caliber with a power reserve of 72 hours, which fits in an elegant 42 mm case with a height of just a centimeter, the brand will significantly expand its audience. Although the new models in gold or steel retain the recognizable shape of the "pillow" in the style of the Navy of the 50s, Luminor Due is very elegant.

Reason for pride

Luxury is a very exclusive and personal pleasure. They cannot be shared with the whole world at once. This was demonstrated by many watch houses, which in 2016 created collections specifically targeted at key countries, taking into account their culture and aesthetics. Moreover, a number of new products were released exclusively for customers from the Emirates.

Last fall, Dubai Watch Week H Moser & Cie introduced the Venturer XL Concept Dubai Edition, limited to only 9 pieces. It is distinguished primarily by the dial of a special smoky shade of blue, casting white, which recalls the sea and sand - the main signs of the Emirates.

However, there are more personalized models. So, in honor of the 44th anniversary of the UAE, Franck Muller presented the Proud to be Emirati collection in three cases (gold, titanium and carbon), each of which is limited to 44 items. The dial is decorated with an image of a falcon with the state flag of the Emirates, as well as the inscription "I am proud to be an emirate" in Arabic. Around the markings, Franck Muller designers placed the names of the seven emirates that are members of the UAE, and at the bottom of the dial there is the inscription "United into one." The back cover is decorated with hand engraving of the national symbol, as well as an individual model number.

The falcon decorating the emblem of the Emirates inspired artists from many manufactories. Its most exquisite embodiment can be found on the dial of the special Metiers d'Art Gyr series by Vacheron Constantin. The model in a platinum case is equipped with the famous 2460 G4 caliber with a disc display of hours, minutes, date and day of the week in four semicircular windows along the edges of the dial, leaving almost all of its space at the mercy of decorators. Thanks to the art of enamels and engravers on the dial, the scene of a falconry in the desert is precisely recreated, and the 22-carat gold rotor is decorated with a pattern inspired by the architecture of the Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi. The model number and the inscription that the series is limited to only 10 pieces are also engraved on the back cover, so only a few lucky ones will be able to decorate their collection with this falcon.

Text: Lisa Epifanova