Mechanical doesn’t mean medieval: the most advanced traditional watches

Timothy Barber
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Ressence Type 3 Blue

You don’t have to make too many circuits of the Silicon Roundabout and its environs to notice that, even at the heart of the tech community, there’s more to wristwatches than those prefixed with the word “smart”. In fact, the traditional wristwatch is one of the most technologically advanced gadgets to have ever appeared, and it continues to evolve with the times. No sign of obsolescence among this tech-friendly quartet.

Ressence Type 3 Blue

Ressence is simply one of the coolest and cleverest boutique watch brands out there. The tactile and satisfying Type 3 features a dial in which all the elements orbit around each other on rotating discs, and appear to be one and the same with the sapphire dome encasing the watch thanks to the insertion of light-refracting oil. Newly available in blue, it looks like a digital gadget, but this is one piece of pure mechanical magic.


Rolex Air-King

The Air-King was for years the perennial entry-level men’s Rolex, but became too small for modern tastes and vanished. However, it’s suddenly back – upsized, and with a colourful, aeronautical-style dial that’s the freshest and breeziest look we’ve seen from Rolex in years. It’s technically right on the money too (we’d expect nothing less), with anti-magnetic protection and Rolex’s newly-introduced “Superlative Chronometer” specification for accuracy and toughness.


From left: Rolex Air-King, H Moser & Cie Swiss Alps Watch, Nomos Tetra Neomatik

H Moser & Cie Swiss Alps Watch

One of Switzerland’s oldest and most exclusive watchmakers – producing only around 1,000 a year – H Moser & Cie is also a cheeky blighter, and in January announced a hand-wound, ultra-refined model whose, er, “inspiration” is all too easy to discern, with its distinctive square face and prominent crown. It won’t read your heart rate or deliver texts, but with a truly sumptuous in-house movement delivering 100 hours of power, it’ll outlast its Cupertino cousin several times over.


Nomos Tetra Neomatik

This German watch company is beloved by designers and coolhunters for its crisp, modernist designs and its impressive value proposition. Its “Tetra” square watches have until now only been available in smaller sizes, but its newest version has been enlarged to be suitable for both sexes, and contains the company’s most sophisticated in-house movement – one of the slimmest and most efficient movements in existence.


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