Best watches of 2021 so far
Words by Rob Chilton
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Sixteen stunning new pieces from the Watches & Wonders festival in Geneva
It's only April but already the horology world has been busy, releasing a batch of tremendous watches at the 2021 Watches & Wonders festival in Geneva. EDGAR has trawled the new pieces to select a collection that you won't be able to take your eyes off.
Premier Heritage Chronograph
Willy Breitling, grandson of the company’s founder Leon, took the manufacture in a new direction when he created the elegant Premier watch in the 1940s. This year’s sophisticated 40mm model is manually wound like its predecessor and has vintage hands on a silver dial encased in 18ct red gold.
1858 Monopusher Chronograph Origins
Beige numerals sit on a vintage black dial featuring the historical Minerva logo in this 46mm re-edition. The officer case back – as found on pocket watches – has a laser-engraved depiction of the Minerva Goddess while a railway minute track has been brought back from the original design.
Endeavour Centre Seconds Concept
Parisian artist seconde/seconde – real name Romaric Andre – designed a pixelated eraser to act as the hour hand on a new concept watch from Moser. The eraser is a playful reference to the early days of horology when only the movement inside the watch would carry the manufacturer’s name, and not the dial as is the convention today.
Aquaracer Professional 300
This 43mm dive watch has been given a slimmer look for 2021, plus a new sword-shaped hour hand and a blue minute hand. The bezel’s new teeth make it smoother and quieter while those cool horizontal lines on the dial are inspired by TAG’s first dive watch that came out in 1978. You’ll never lose track of the date with a new magnifier window at 6 o’clock that makes the number super legible from wider angles.
Lange 1 Perpetual Calendar
On the 20th anniversary of its first perpetual calendar watch, A. Lange & Söhne unveil a new 41.9mm piece with a peripheral month ring. Only 150 models with a pink gold case surrounding a grey/silver dial will be made, featuring a moon phase display and an integrated day/night indicator.
Thanks to a titanium membrane developed with French audio experts Devialet, a clear striking gong sound emanates from this 45mm piece that shows its the chiming mechanism on the dial side.
L.U.C GMT One Black
Limited to 250 pieces, this dual-time travel watch in black and grey has a lightweight 42mm case made from ceramised grade 5 titanium. One crown sets the date and local time, while another moves the 24-hour disc.
Piaget has made use of its own gold foundry and precious metal case-making facility to update its 42mm Polo Skeleton watch that is just 6.5mm thick. The dark blue strap and movement team nicely with the rose gold case.
BR V2-94 Full Lum
The highest-grade pale green Super-LumiNova fills the dial of this 41mm watch with yellow fills the numerals, indices, hands, and counters. At night the dial turns fluorescent green and the two sub-dials become fluorescent blue.
A landmark in eco-friendly watchmaking, this 44mm piece – with dreamy sky blue details – has 98.6% of its weight made from recycled materials including a case, sandwich dial and bridges in EcoTitanium.
Big Bang Integral Tourbillon Full Sapphire
With a case and bracelet made entirely from transparent sapphire, this dazzling 43mm watch has nothing to hide, as light enters from every direction. The first Big Bang with an integrated case and bracelet, the tourbillon sits at 6 o’clock while the movement appears to float in space.
Reverso Tribute Small Seconds
This new model is a tribute to the original 1931 Reverso that was designed for polo players who’d flip the case of their watch to protect it during a match. This year, the Reverso Small Seconds has been given a sunray-brushed lacquer dial in a rich green tone that echoes the pine forests near JLC Swiss HQ in the Vallee de Joux. A matching green strap made by polo boot experts Casa Fagliano tops off the look.
Big Pilot Perpetual Calendar Top Gun Mojave Desert Edition
For the first time, sand-coloured ceramic that’s second only to diamond for hardness forms the giant 46.5mm case of this impressive, military style watch that emanates an adventurous spirit. Three sub-dials and a moon phase indicator add complexity to the beautiful dark brown dial.
Black Bay Fifty-Eight
Tudor’s dive watch from 1958, the Black Bay Fifty-Eight, has arrived with an 18ct yellow gold matt case and an open case back for the first time. Just 39mm in diameter, the size is an homage to the original model released in the 1950s. Green touches appear on the matt dial and on the strap, a splendid Jacquard fabric with a gold band. The fabric is woven on 19th century looms in France by the 150-year old family company Julien Faure.
The Nautilus has been a timeless piece since its debut in 1976. With its octagonal bezel and rounded corners based on a ship’s porthole, the Nautilus’ shape became iconic. The stainless steel version with a blue dial was discontinued earlier this year, but now Patek have breathed new life into a legend of horology by giving it a green dial. Water resistant to 120 metres, the Nautilus has an olive green sunburst dial with that recognisable horizontal relief embossing. Hands and hour markers are in white gold, making it a highly legible watch that carries the baton from its predecessor.
Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona
The latest Daytona from Rolex began, not on the sketchpad of a watchmaker in Switzerland, but with an asteroid that exploded millions of years ago in deep space. Fragments of the asteroid, mostly iron and nickel, gradually cooled as they made their way to Earth, eventually forming into a beautiful and unique crystallisation known as Widmanstätten patterns, that adorn the dial of this 40mm piece.
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