Watch this space for incredible timepiece novelties
By: Stephenie Gee
June 28, 2023
This year, the world’s leading watchmakers including Audemars Piguet, Blancpain, Breguet, Breitling, Bulgari, Louis Vuitton, Omega and Richard Mille unveiled a sea of incredible novelties. Stephenie Gee reports
Audemars Piguet continues to deliver with a line-up of new novelties that includes six new Code 11.59 models, a new Royal Oak “Jumbo” Extra-Thin, a yellow gold and turquoise Royal Oak Selfwinding, and a full ceramic Royal Oak Offshore.
Starting with the Code 11.59, the maison reworked the watch, creating six new references all crafted – for the very first time – in stainless steel. Each feature guilloche dials with a concentric circle pattern, either in a smoked beige, dark green or Bleu Nuit, Nuage 50 – a popular Royal Oak shade. In the three Selfwinding models, you’ll find Calibre 4302, while the Selfwinding Chronograph models are driven by the Calibre 4401.
There were a variety of Royal Oak variants to admire this year, including this 37mm Royal Oak Selfwinding entirely crafted in 18k yellow gold and illuminated by, for the first time ever, a gemstone turquoise dial.
Not to be overlooked is the Royal Oak Offshore Selfwinding Chronograph, rendered in a bold black ceramic with a matching bracelet and black Petite Tapisserie dial for a contemporary monochrome look.
Betty Fiechter would become the first woman to head up a watch house. This house was Blancpain and it would go on to play a revolutionary role in the history of feminine watchmaking. From the first automatic ladies’ wristwatch in 1930 to the smallest round mechanical movement several decades ago to the sophisticated, modern-day Ladybird collection, Fiechter’s visionary spirit lives on.
This spring, the Swiss watchmaker continues to embody Blancpain’s passion for the extraordinary through the Ladybird collection by bringing in new colour combinations to enhance two refined small seconds and moonphase complications. The textured mother-of-pearl dial set with 70 diamonds features colourful midnight blue, peacock green, forest green, lilac or turquoise Roman numerals and these variations are picked up on the straps of these red or white gold models. Outfitted with a four-day power reserve and a silicon balance spring, accuracy sits high on the agenda alongside elegance and style.
Abraham-Louis Breguet is famous for many horological inventions. One of which is his perpétuelle watch of the 1780s equipped with an à secousses (moving) oscillating weight enabling the calibre to react to the wearer’s body movements and thus automatically wind the mechanism as they walked. In 2023, Breguet pays tribute to this within its Classique collection through a reinterpretation of the perpetual calendar in two gold hues: 18k rose gold and 18k white gold.
The new Classique Quantième Perpétuel 7327 presents a simplified guilloché silvered dial and the addition of a retrograde month display at 11 o’clock. The date indicator at six o’clock has been enlarged and the moonphase aperture sitting between 2 and 3 o’clock is reduced to an arch for enhanced legibility. Measuring only 4.5 mm in height, the Calibre 502.3 P is one of the thinnest automatic movements with calendar function.
Six new references join the family of Breitling’s most premium collection, the Breitling Premier. Presented in a stylish 42mm steel case, the newly refined aesthetic is more in line with vintage Premier designs. This means the five new dial colours (salmon, blue, green, black and cream) now feature syringe-style hands, applied Arabic numerals and a new sub-register layout.
Equipped with the self-winding Breitling Calibre 01, a manufacturing movement designed for maximum precision, reliability and functionality, the new Premier B01 Chronograph assortment lives up to Willy Breitling’s uncompromising technical standards.
The 1960s was an era of freedom, fun and energy. Willy Breitling, the grandson of the brand’s founder, felt this change and captured it in an unconventional chronograph: Top Time. This year, four new watches in their Top Time B01 Chronographs make their debut with even more throttle. Inspired by American muscle cars – the Thunderbird, Mustang, Corvette and Cobra – they all come with a brag-worthy new engine under the hood: the Breitling Manufacture Calibre 01.
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Bulgari once again showcased its uncanny ability to reinvigorate its hallmark aesthetics with a new chapter of the Octo Roma series, which now includes three Octo Roma Automatics, two Octo Roma Chronographs and four Octo Roma Tourbillons.
The 41mm automatic mechanical version with three hands and date comes in three dial variations – classic blue, sophisticated anthracite and bold white – enhanced with the 3D effect of the Clous de Paris motif. The Octo Roma Chronograph, a first for the Octo Roma collection, is distinguished by a sleek dial, with a clear and legible display in blue or black. The 42mm timekeeper features a chronograph function with a central seconds hand, a 30-minute counter, and a 12-hour counter.
Bulgari’s expertise in the art of haute horlogerie is highlighted in the Striking Papillon Tourbillon and Striking Tourbillon Sapphire in 44mm titanium cases. The Precious Naturalia and the Precious Tourbillon Lumière, meanwhile, showcase the brand’s jewellery expertise.
Never a brand to rest on its laurels, Louis Vuitton went even bigger and bolder this year. Spearheading its new novelties, the 46.8mm rose gold Tambour Opera Automata is a tribute to Sichuan opera’s bian lian, where performers rapidly switch colourful masks, seemingly by magic. The complex automaton movement drives a 16-second operatic performance that includes five different expressions on a mask, elaborately enamelled by Anita Porchet, Switzerland’s maestro of the art.
The 42mm Tambour Fiery Heart presents the French luxury brand’s first in-house self-winding automaton movement and enamel dial decorated in rose, thorn and heart motifs. At the push of a gem-set button at 8 o’clock, the heart throbs, flames appear and the flowers rotate.
The Tambour Moon Flying Tourbillon Poinçon de Genève is a work of absolute transparency, crafted from a single block of synthetic sapphire in either fluorescent green or yellow. Certified with the Geneva Seal, the most coveted certification in the Swiss watch industry, each case demands no less than 420 hours’ work, which includes 100 hours of milling and 150 hours of polishing for the case middle, bezel and glass.
Swiss luxury watchmaker Omega has expanded its popular Seamaster Aqua Terra Worldtimer collection with three new 43mm models: a titanium edition with a dial made entirely by laser ablation, and two striking options in stainless steel. Topped with scratch-resistant ceramic bezels, all three watches are outfitted with the unique Worldtimer display. At the centre of the dial lies a miniature representation of the Northern Hemisphere, achieved through laser ablation on a grade 5 titanium surface. Circling the topographic map is a 24-hour indication under hesalite glass, divided into night and day sections.
Globetrotters wishing to keep it classic can opt for the stainless steel options, one with a matching stainless-steel bracelet and butterfly clasp and another with an integrated green rubber strap with grey stitching, additional decorative link in polished steel, and polished-brushed fold-over clasp. The beefier of the three, the Titanium Worldtimer sports a matte black and grey dial. Completing the look is an integrated strap in black structured rubber with grey stitching, an additional decorative link in brushed grade 2 titanium, and a grade 2 titanium clasp.
Bold and slightly irreverent designs executed at the highest possible levels are what Richard Mille is best at. Furthering this theme is the latest RM 66 Flying Tourbillon, a 50-piece limited edition that represents the brand’s tribute to rock ‘n’ roll.
The 42mm watch places the “devil’s horns” at the center of its skeletonised dial. The gesturing hand, forged from polished 5N red gold, holds the RM 66 manual-winding movement in its fingers while the case follows the tonneau-shaped design that defines the vast majority of the brand’s other models. The bezel and caseback are crafted from black Carbon TPT, while the middle caseband is made from grade 5 titanium.
The new RM 07-04 Automatic Sport marks the brand’s first women’s sports watch. Offered in six versions, each with its own bold combination of colours, the RM 07-04 houses the most compact automatic movement ever made by the house. The highly skeletonised shockproof Caliber CRMA8 provides hours, minutes and a function selector located at 4 o’clock, allowing one to choose among the winding, neutral or time setting positions.
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