Watches ready for action

 
Timothy Barber
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BACK in the heady days of what we’re now calling “the bubble” (2006, basically) things in the world of watches had all got a little bit much, frankly. If the thing strapped to your wrist wasn’t big enough to eat your dinner off and full of enough moving parts to dazzle a rocket scientist, it wasn’t worth wearing.

So the return to elegance, understated beauty and classic design engendered by harsher economic times was to be welcomed. But that shouldn’t mean there isn’t room for a bit of extraversion. In fact sporty, chunky, rugged watches suddenly seem refreshed – and in 2011 may be just what’s needed to stand out from the crowd.

PIAGET, POLO FORTYFIVE
A chronograph watch that’s both sporty and smoothly businesslike at the same time. The dynamic display includes a second 24-hour time zone, date and flyback chronograph.
£13,200 www.piaget.com

PATEK PHILIPPE, 5980R
A timely rose gold version of Patek’s charismatic, retro-cool Nautilus chronograph line.
£35,100 www.patek.com

GRAHAM, SILVERSTONE LUFFIELD
Swiss-owned but British-branded, Graham’s watches are large and macho, with something of a military edge to them, to which this one adds some motor racing cool.
£7,150 www.williamandson.com

HUBLOT, KING POWER SENNA
Hublot, official timekeeper of this year’s World Cup, makes watches that are the last word in cool, extrovert machismo. In honour of the late Ayrton Senna, its latest piece incorporates materials used in F1 cars, and will be available from Mayfair’s Marcus watches soon.
£18,710 www.hublot.ch

BREITLING, CHRONOMAT 01
Breitling’s watches are bold, brash and heavily influenced by aviation. Its latest flagship watch is this sporty limited edition Chronomat 01, which contain’s the company’s in-house movement, the Caliber 1.
£5,880 www.breitling.com

CORUM, ADMIRALS CUP CHRONO 44 CENTRO MONO PUSHER A
Bringing sleekness and some heavy duty toughness to Corum’s Admirals Cup line of nautically-themed watches, this is the watch for those taking to the most gruelling of high seas.
£5,250 www.jurawatches.co.uk

JAEGER-LECOULTRE, MASTER COMPRESSOR EXTREME LAB 2
This chronograph watch is as tough as it is terrifically smart. Designed for extreme conditions, its housing is made from a highly resistant titanium alloy and its bezel from ceramic zirconium.
£43,000 www.jaeger-lecoultre.com