On my blog, Watch-Insider.com, I am assembling lists of my top five watches introduced at last year’s SIHH in three categories: design, innovation and, today, my favorite sports watches. Keep in mind these are listed in alphabetical order, not ranked by preference. Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph 42 mm Some may call me an idiot or tell me I have no taste, but I simply love this new, blue Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph from Audemars Piguet. I find it absolutely stunning and vibrant, perhaps because it’s a perfect stylistic accompaniment to my preferred outfit of blue jeans & Etro shirts. My only small disappointment is the fact that the watch still has no integrated chronograph caliber. The base is AP’s in-house Caliber 3120, but the chronograph module is from Dubois Dépraz. You can learn more about AP’s development of an integrated chronograph movement in my interview with Audemars Piguet CEO François-Henry Bennahmias.
Cartier Calibre de Cartier Diver I like Cartier’s approach to this watch. This not a gimmicky watch for snobby landlubbers to impress their friends with after hours whilst sipping a Mojito; this is an elegant Cartier watch that is also a legitimate diving watch, ready for underwater adventures and rough terrain, as proven by technical industry standards. Between you and me, I would personally go for the steel version, even though I’m showing you here the 18k rose-gold model.
IWC Aquatimer Automatic 2000 This is not only a fascinating timepiece because of this collection’s illustrious history at IWC. The newest Aquatimer Automatic 2000 is also the first of this model to be powered by an IWC in-house movement. The huge watch looks good when worn with casual clothes and, due to its size, it offers very good readability underwater. In my eyes, this represents one of the best deals for a diver who wants to own a really cool watch.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Compressor Chronograph Ceramic I am a fan of the huge “Compressor” crown, a Jaeger-LeCoultre invention. It adds a very “technical” look to each watch on which it is used. The combination of this deep black, high-tech ceramic case with the push-pieces and the crown looks fabulous. There’s also a useful second-time-zone function that uses a second hour hand that can be set independently of the main hour hand. The watch is a perfect companion to explore the unknown.
Panerai Radiomir 1940 Chronograph Oro Bianco – 45mm What a watch! The combination of the historic Minerva 13-22 caliber (aka Panerai OPXXV caliber) with the Radiomir 1940 case is simply mind-blowing. The finishing of the chronograph caliber is at the highest possible level. With this one, especially in white gold, you’re wearing pure understatement on your wrist; only connoisseurs will know what’s under the dial. Still, I have one criticism: Since I was the very first journalist to see the three new Panerai Radiomir 1940 chronographs, I noticed that the subdivisions between seconds, as determined by the oscillating frequency of the balance subdivided into fifths (18,000 vph)/sixths (21,600 vph)/eighths (28,800 vph) or tenths (36,.000 vph), which are engraved around the edge of the dial, are wrong on the chronographs shown at the SIHH and in the official SIHH press-kit. The Minerva beats at 18,000 vph (or 1/5th second) and the divisions on the dial are for 28,800 vph (1/8th second). After explaining why, the Panerai team admitted that this was incorrect and Panerai CEO Angelo Bonati gave the order to change all the dials before delivery of the watches. You can hear my interview at SIHH with Bonati by clicking here. But let me come back to the watch: Apart from this issue, this chronograph is a must-have if you can afford one — especially since it will have the correct second subdivisions now. Call me pedantic if you wish, but the correct execution of every little detail is a must for a watch that costs almost 50,000 euros, right?