A week ago, the WatchTime team and over 1,600 guests had the pleasure to meet at Gotham Hall in New York City for the fifth annual WatchTime New York event. The show is now the largest watch event in the United States, and as such features some of the newest and best watches in the world. This year saw a proliferation of dive watches and skeletonized models, and also a big emphasis on over-the-top expensive pieces. It also saw a continuation of the vintage-inspired trend in the watch industry, with at least four brands showcasing their vintage-inspired chronographs over the weekend. Here’s a look at three standouts.
The Carl F. Bucherer Heritage BiCompax Annual, which debuted at this year’s Baselworld, is a popular chronograph inspired by a 1956 model produced by the brand. Combining an annual calendar with a chronograph, the 41-mm watch is available in either stainless steel, with a silver dial and panda-style subdial orientation, or in two-tone rose gold with a rose-and-champagne dial. Other noteworthy details include the usage of syringe hands filled with Super-LumiNova, vintage-style Arabic numerals, elongated chronograph pushers, box-type sapphire crystals, and the usage of a black rubber strap on the panda-dial model and a cognac brown calfskin strap for the champagne-dialed, two-tone model. The Swiss movement inside is the automatic Caliber CFB 1972 (an ETA base with a Dubois Dépraz module), which offers up a 42-hour power reserve.
The steel version of the Carl F. Bucherer Heritage BiCompax Annual is currently priced at $7,200, while the two-tone version is offered at $10,200; both models are limited to 888 pieces.
Another retro-look chrono that caught our eye was the Montblanc 1858 Automatic Chronograph, a popular bronze watch and member of the brand’s 1858 collection, inspired by a 1930s Minerva Chronograph (pictured below). At 42 mm in diameter, the 1858 model lands in the sweet spot size-wise for contemporary chronographs and provides the dial ample room for enhanced legibility. There’s an outer minute ring in white that contrasts with the green background and two prominent registers at the 9 and 3 o’clock positions, for running seconds and a 30-minute counter, respectively. The hour and minutes hands are in a vintage-inspired cathedral style, while the chronograph seconds counter uses a pointer with a small counterweight on its opposite end. Inside the watch is the self-winding SW500 movement, which stores a 48-hour power reserve.
The bronze-cased 1858 Automatic Chronograph is priced just over $5,000.
Rounding out our trifecta is a watch that generated massive excitement around the time of its arrival, and we needed to get a special appointment pre-show just to see it. We’re talking, of course, about the Zenith El Primero A384 Revival. This model celebrates the 50th anniversary of Zenith’s groundbreaking El Primero chronograph movement— one of the first automatic chronograph movements to be developed and marketed in 1969— and as such uses a vintage-inspired design to channel that history.
The watch itself has a 37-mm steel case designed in an unusual, boxy style, with distinctive, faceted lugs. The panda-style dial on this chronograph is also sure to catch the eye. The dial uses a red central chronograph hand — noticeably without Zenith’s typical star-shaped counterweight — a 30-minute counter at 3 o’clock, 12-hour counter at 6 o’clock, and small seconds at 9 o’clock, along with the tilted date window at 4:30. The timepiece is powered by the El Primero 400 caliber, an automatic movement with its finishing visible through a sapphire caseback, and equipped with a 50-hour power reserve.
The new watch will not be produced in limited editions, and will be marketed at $7,900. At the show, Zenith also debuted a new ladder-style steel bracelet to accompany the watch, though noted it’s sold separately, at $384.