There’s a lot to look for when deciding on a watch. But for Carson Chan – chief adviser at the not-for-profit Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie, whose objective is to promote and spread the reputation of watchmaking excellence around the world – story and provenance are what come first
Cartier – Pebble
Cartier has always been one of my favourite brands when it comes to dress watches. The Pebble was introduced in 1972 with an extremely limited number produced (altogether six pieces were made). To celebrate its 50th anniversary, Cartier made the Pebble available again in a much more reasonable quantity of 150.
Shape, design and iconography are what drive me mad about this watch. Sometimes, complications aren’t everything, even for a watch geek like me. I was blessed to own the Pebble at the launch in November 2022 and could not take it off my wrist! It’s simply stunning.
Akrivia – Chronomètre Contemporain
This is a watch I wish to own someday. If you haven’t heard of Akrivia, you need to start paying attention. Founder Rexhep Rexhepi started the brand in 2012 – it’s an infant compared to some of the big brands, but Akrivia has been able to reach some of the highest recognition from the world’s top collectors.
Why? Attention to detail, phenomenal finishing and incredibly classy designs are some of the traits. The flip side of this awesomeness is as soon as any pieces are announced, they’re are snapped up by the market, making them very sought-after. If you want one, you have to stay on top of the game.
Chanel – Mademoiselle Privé Pique-Aiguilles
Okay, this is a lady’s watch, but I really want it. I saw it last month at a Chanel private event. The watch itself is 55mm, which is, yes, ginormous on paper but still surprisingly chic when worn on the wrist. The spirit of this watch goes beyond just a timepiece; it transmits the spirit of the house and the dial speaks for itself. All the attention to detail can be found on the dial – my favourite is the tweed jacket. It’s limited to only 25 pieces, so wish me luck! (Or wish my wife luck.)
Omega – Speedmaster 321
No introduction is needed with it comes to the Omega Speedmaster. It’s probably one of the most important chronographs in watchmaking history – of course I’m referring to its involvement with the moon landing. More than 50 years since its first manned mission, Omega has reintroduced the Speedmaster with the iconic Lemania 321 chronograph movement, an exact replica of the original.
The Lemania 321 was very popular and used by many brands (Vacheron Constantin, Roger Dubuis, even Patek Philippe). Its reintroduction meant Omega had to re-engineer it from scratch, and the result is a classic movement with modern specifications. I’ve had mine since it was introduced and love every moment of wearing it. Just knowing the movement is the same design as the one that was worn on the moon gives me an adrenaline boost just thinking about it.
Audemars Piguet – Royal Oak 16202
Last year marked 50 years of the Royal Oak. Despite the hype around the 50th Anniversary version (the 50th rotor), I actually prefer the 2023 version with a non-50th rotor. It stays true to the original design while being even more understated. Not to mention the new and improved calibre 7121 now offers 55 hours of power reserve and has the quick-set date feature. Now, if I can only own the 16202 – I was told if you currently own the 15202, it will be a challenge to acquire the 16202.
Hamilton Jazzmaster – Face 2 Face III Limited Edition
The misconception that interesting watches cost a tonne of money is shattered by this new Hamilton watch. Its super cool design includes a watch head that can rotate, giving it two completely different looks. While this may not be the first time Hamilton has introduced this feature, it’s the first in a round case. It’s such a conversation piece and very functional – with a chronograph and calendar and day of the week display. Best of all, it’s very affordable at just under HK$25,000.
Also see: Watch enthusiast Erwin Chu’s collection