Perfect watches for summer afternoons

Timothy Barber
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Nomos Glashutte Lux Weissgold, £13,800, available at Wempe, 43-44 New Bond Street,

You might assume that the more hands and functions you add to a watch, the more interesting it gets; and by extension, there’s nothing terribly exciting about a time-only timepiece. It tells the time; it does so cleanly and simply. Done, boring, move on.
Well, balderdash and piffle. For those of us who fixate on watches rather more than is healthy, one of the truly fascinating things is just how much variation and subtle character can be squeezed into even the simplest and most conservative of models.
The barrel-shaped Lux from Germany’s Nomos Glashutte is a fine example – a thoroughly unusual watch, even if it doesn’t do anything particularly unusual, or stray very far from orthodox design parameters. The elegant curves of its white-gold case were devised by a Berlin-based architect, while the handwound movement is Nomos’ highest spec in-house engine. I don’t remember encountering egg-shell blue on any other watch dial, but its use here is delicious; it suggests long, lazy afternoons somewhere suitably sun-kissed.
Indeed, with warmer days calling for linen suits and a lighter, classic wardrobe, simple, easy elegance is the way to go – which makes the slimline Longines Grande Classique bang on the money (and not too much of it). There’s a certain well-bred sense of decadence to a classic Longines ultra-thin – Bowie sported one in the 80s with his Live Aid suit – and Sebastian Flyte-sorts should take note as they dust down their piped blazers and head for the Cherwell.
Unless the polo field’s your destination, in which case Jaeger-LeCoultre’s latest Reverso limited edition could be the perfect adornment. The Reverso was manufactured for polo play back in the 1930s – so the story goes, anyway – but with this version’s summery splash of blue and white, it’ll be chic incarnate in the champagne enclosure, while others get on with the business of chukkas and ponies.
For blue of a richer hue, there’s FP Journe’s Chronometre Bleu. This shimmering Art Deco beauty represents the “entry level” into the world of Francois Paul Journe, one of the world’s greatest living watchmakers – and while £15,000 may seem a hefty price, this really is one of the world’s great watches.