best new watches

Just In Time: This Summer’s Best New Watches

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Simon de Burton clocks the watches that tick this year’s new boxes…

This Summer’s Best New Watches

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Patek Philippe watch

Nauti But Nice

It was all change at the beginning of this year when Patek Philippe’s CEO, Thierry Stern, announced his plan to discontinue the brand’s popular model, the blue-dial Nautilus Reference 5711. A lengthy waiting list for the steel, porthole-shaped sports watch (first designed by Gérald Genta in 1976) set pre-owned values soaring to the point where mint condition examples traded for more than twice the £25,690 RRP. But in April Patek confirmed the arrival of the new 5711/1A-014, reimagined with a sunburst olive-green dial (£26,870). Three other Nautilus variants were also launched: a rose gold flyback chronograph with dual time zone (5990/1R, £81,970); the diamond-set 5711/1300A (£72,860) and the jewel-encrusted 7118/1450R Haute Joaillerie version at £282,340.

patek.com

Zenith watch

So Defiant

With perfect timing Zenith created the macho Defy Extreme extra- tough sports watch just as Formula E founder Alejandro Agag launched his latest venture, the Extreme E electric off-road races, in Dubai this April. Zenith is Extreme E’s Official Timekeeper and founding partner; each ‘Zenith Moment in Time’ race winner receives a Defy Extreme chronograph with a titanium case that’s ‘faceted and carved like a boulder in a storm’. The 45mm version has the El Primero 9004 movement measuring up to 100th of a second. (Female Extreme E winners have the option of a Defy Midnight watch.)

From £15,300, zenith- watches.com

Rolex Explorer watch

Fancy Exploring?

Rolex created its Explorer watch in 1953 to celebrate the fact that Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay carried one of its earlier Oyster watches when they became the first to summit the south face of Everest on 29 May that year. The simple, black-dial Explorer has remained a familiar model in the Rolex line-up, with the most significant alteration to its appearance happening in 2010 when the case was enlarged from 36mm to – gasp – 39mm. This year, the Explorer shrinks back again, possibly in response to a blurring of the lines between what is a ‘man’s watch’ and what is a ‘woman’s watch’. The 36mm should certainly look right on both masculine or feminine wrists, either in its familiar all-steel guise (£5,150) or in an all-new Rolesor version, made from a combination of Oystersteel and 18ct yellow gold.

£8,700, rolex.com

IWC watch

It’s Quite Sandy

IWC continues its 15-year association with the US Navy Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor Course – better known as Top Gun – with two new watches in the Mojave Desert range that’s named after the location of the China Lake Naval Air Weapons Station. The desert theme has inspired a 46mm Big Pilot Top Gun three-hander at £13,600 and a £28,600 perpetual calendar model, each of which has a sand- coloured ceramic case, a dark brown dial, sand-coloured lume and sand-coloured rubber and textile straps. Annual production will be limited to 250 pieces and 150 pieces respectively.

best new watches

How Marvel-Lous

Audemars Piguet has teamed up with comic book giant Marvel Entertainment to create what is expected to be an ongoing series of watches based on superheroes. The first takes the form of a limited edition watch depicting the character Black Panther, who first appeared in a 1966 issue of the Fantastic Four comic as ‘king and protector of Wakanda’, a fictional African nation. The 42mm Royal Oak Concept Black Panther watch is powered by a skeletonised movement featuring a three-dimensional, white gold carving of the masked figure fearlessly straddling the mechanism’s whirling tourbillon. The watch is fitted with a purple rubber strap to complement purple detailing front and back and will be made in a limited edition of 250.

£POA, audemarspiguet.com

best new watches

It’s An Absolute Must

The story of Cartier’s Must watches dates back to the 1970s when the then managing director came up with the idea of producing more affordable versions of the historic Tank watch – previously only available in precious metals – with gold-plated cases and unusually coloured dials. The watches developed a cult following, and Cartier has now reprised the idea with an all-new range of five Must models in small, large and extra-large sizes that include mechanical and quartz versions as well as one with a Solarbeat photovoltaic, solar-powered movement and a strap made from recycled apple peel.

From £2,270, cartier.com

Jaeger LeCoultre Quadriptyque watch

Nice Quads

In 2006, Jaeger-LeCoultre marked the 75th anniversary of its signature Reverso with a haute-horlogerie version called the Triptyque that wowed watch fans by having three dials driven by the same movement. Now, to celebrate 90 years of the celebrated flip-case watch originally designed for colonial polo players, the historic brand has unveiled a ten-piece limited edition: Quadriptyque, the world’s first watch to feature four functioning ‘faces’. The 11 complications include a perpetual calendar, minute repeater and three displays of lunar information that, says the maker, enable the micro mechanical marvel to predict events such as supermoons and eclipses.

Chopard watch

That’s L.U.C.KY

Chopard has launched a raft of special watches to mark the quarter- century of its high-end L.U.C manufacture, which was founded in the Swiss Jura town of Fleurier back in 1996. One of the best anniversary pieces is the new L.U.C Time Traveller One Black, a mean and moody take on the original TT1 first seen five years ago but now offered with an ultra-light case made from ceramic-coated titanium. The chronometer-certified, in-house movement displays home time and local time using hour hands that, when correctly set, synchronise the city disc so that it also displays the right time in 24 locations simultaneously. Now that we’re allowed to go places again, it could be just the job…

£13,600, chopard.com

TAG Heuer watch

The Life Aquatic

TAG Heuer’s retro-cool Aquaracer Professional 300 Tribute to Ref 844 harks back to a dive watch from 1978. It takes several cues from its forebear, like the red 24-hour scale, perforated rubber strap and flat black dial, with the vintage feel enhanced by buff-coloured hands and hour markers – which glow brightly in the dark. A water-resistant-up-to-300m case, made from corrosion-proof titanium and containing the Calibre 5 automatic movement, also brings the watch up to date. Seven more versions of the new Aquaracer are available – four at 43mm and three at 36mm.

The Tribute costs £3,600 and the others start at £2,350, tagheuer.com

best new watches

Bi, That’s A Nice Watch

The horological arm of 133-year-old Lucerne-based jewellery and watch retailer Carl F. Bucherer first dipped into its archives to create a Heritage collection back in 2018. All its Heritage models combine post-war design cues with contemporary features such as larger case sizes and sapphire crystal backs. The new Bi-Compax chronograph Annual is based on a 1950 model of just 34mm diameter, featuring an exquisite, pink champagne dial. This 41mm re-boot sports the so-called reverse panda arrangement of a black dial with silver chronograph counters. It’s a limited edition of 888 pieces, in a nod to the founding year, 1888.

£5,500, carl-f-bucherer.com

best new watches

Feeling Foxy

In a new move for the British watch brand, Bremont has added its first ever sports chronograph to the Supermarine collection of dive watches, named after the historic aircraft manufacturer responsible for the Spitfire. Created using Bremont’s signature three-piece design, the Supermarine Chrono case comes in at a slender 15.8mm but nevertheless still packs a punch, housing a chronometer rated La Joux Perret 7754 calibre chronograph movement with GMT functionality. It’s also water resistant to 200 metres and, like the rest of the Supermarine range, extensively tested in the field by military squadrons and top dive units. Of course, a watch this muscular needed a worthy ambassador to match, and Bremont found him in Jason Fox, gruff star of TV show SAS: Who Dares Wins. With the brand motto, ‘TestedBeyond Endurance’, it’s an apt partnership.

From £5,395, bremont.com

Super Iconic Watches: Rolex Submariner