We know… the current worldwide health and economic crisis and the wall-to-wall media coverage of it has many of us a bit distracted to think much about our beloved wristwatches. Good news from the watch industry, not to mention new product releases, seem few and far between in this unprecedented year in which major trade shows and events have gone indefinitely dark. Nevertheless, attesting to the resilience of the industry and the optimism of collectors, March 2020 has offered a number of major launches in various categories, from high-end complications to vintage re-editions to smartwatches. For a reminder of what we’re all striving to get back to, turn off the news, pause whatever Netflix series you’re binge-watching, and read on for a list of new timepieces announced during the most chaotic month in recent history. Follow the links to learn more about each watch.
High-end horology: Greubel Forsey introduced a new version of its extraordinarily complex QP à Équation in an 18k rose gold case with a chocolate-colored gold dial. Its “mechanical computer” movement drives a host of calendar and astronomical complications, including an equation of time. Jaquet Droz’s Loving Butterfly Automaton features a dial made of an extremely rare petrified wood called Chinchilla Red that features a multi-level animated nature scene, with foliage and moving figures handcrafted from gold. Breguet offers a new iteration of its Marine Tourbillon Équation Marchante 5587, with a rose gold case and a slate gray dial with a nautical wave motif. The watch combines a tourbillon with an equation-of-time indication. MB&F’s HM10 Bulldog takes visual inspiration from its namesake canine, with mechanical “jaws” that open and close with the draining of the power reserve. The Hermès Arceau Squelette has a skeletonized self-winding movement on display behind a smoked, sapphire dial.
Exceptional Chronographs: Audemars Piguet revived a very rare (only nine were made in 1953) mid-20th century model in the new [Re]master01 self-winding chronograph. with a two-tone steel-and-gold case and a tricompax Champagne dial. Breitling follows up its recent series of successful vintage re-editions with the Top Time Limited Edition, a bicompax chronograph whose retro-style “Zorro” dial evokes the Swinging Sixties. Paying aesthetic tribute to classic Minerva watches of the 1940s and ’50s, the Montblanc Heritage Pulsograph features an eye-catching, smoked-finish tobacco dial and a rose-gold case. Referred to by vintage-timepiece enthusiasts as a “doctor’s watch,” its chronograph function was once used by doctors to measure a patient’s resting heart rate via the pulsograph scale on the dial.
Vintage Revival: Grand Seiko marks its 60th anniversary in 2020 with a slew of new historically inspired timepieces and several new calibers. The new Grand Seiko Hi-Beat Caliber 9SA5 debuts in a 100-piece limited edition in 18k yellow gold that harks back to the very first Grand Seiko watch of 1960. Hamilton unveiled the PSR, a throwback model recalling the Pulsar digital watch of the 1970s, updated with a digital OLED time display. The Bulova Chronograph A “Surfboard” is a modern re-issue of a vintage watch from the 1970s with a colorful, horizontally oriented “surfboard” motif linking its two subdials.
Divers and Pilots: Bremont celebrated Gurkha mountaineer Nims Purja’s historic conquest of the world’s 14 tallest mountain summits with the Project Possible limited edition. Based on the robust Supermarine 500 diver, it is the British brand’s first watch with bronze in its case. Omega expanded the palette of dial colors in its sport-luxury Aqua Terra collection, adding two new models whose nautical teakwood dial are in navy blue and military green, and both equipped with Master Chronometer movements. Japan’s Seiko celebrated the 55th anniversary of its first divers’ watch with a quintet of vintage-inspired editions — three modern replicas of legendary models from 1965, 1968, and 1975, plus a contemporary take on the 1965 original. Bell & Ross expanded its series of BR 03-92 Lum models, whose intensely luminous dials take inspiration from the nighttime lights on airport runways (Lum is short for the French “lumière,” or “light”), with the new BR 03-92 Grey Lum.
For those interested in a high-end smartwatch, TAG Heuer offers the latest and most updated edition of its TAG Heuer Connected watch, a versatile timepiece that offers customers an array of lifestyle-related capabilities, from daily connected services (provided by Wear OS by Google) to an immersive sports experience via an all-new sports application. Connecting the watch to a smartphone, the new, custom-designed app supports golf, running, cycling, walking, fitness, and other activities. Montblanc has launched a next-generation version of its Summit luxury smartwatch, first rolled out in 2017. The new Summit 2+ is the first such timepiece equipped with direct cellular connectivity via the Wear OS by Google app on Android smartphones, meaning the wearer can stay connected even when separated from his or her smartphone. Aimed at outdoorsmen and frequent travelers, the watch’s “outdoor toolbox” features an array of functions well-suited for rigorous activity in a variety of settings, including a speedometer, altimeter, barometer, compass and GPS tracker.
Finally, for the ladies, Vacheron Constantin has unveiled its revitalized Égérie collection, the historical Swiss manufacture’s first new women’s collection in decades, whose mission statement is to bring together the worlds of haute couture and haute horlogerie. The series comprises three 37-mm moon-phase models in white gold, rose gold, and steel, each with varying degrees of diamond accenting; and two 35-mm automatic models in rose gold and steel, with the most high-jewelry models boasting full-diamond dials. All contain Vacheron’s in-house mechanical calibers, visible behind sapphire casebacks, and quick-release, interchangeable straps.