While many companies have struggled in 2020, the watch industry has proven remarkably resiliant. It has also released some truly stunning pieces that would look at home on the wrist of any self-respecting horology nerd. Here are nine of the very best.
Longines Heritage Classic – Tuxedo
Longines has been a long-time favourite brand at City A.M., producing incredible watches that reference classic designs of the past. This one is a particularly fine example, with its bold, clean black and white design that harks back to the elegance of the 1940s, with a sub dial in the lower half featuring a second hand. So stripped back is the design, it even forgoes the usual “Automatic” tag.
Glashutte PanoLunar Tourbillon
This sumptuous limited edition creation is not a watch that blends in. Featuring a flying tourbillon, a solid gold, hand engraved dial, a moon phase and date window, this is a horological masterclass, an instant classic that will look as wonderful in 100 years as it does today. The blue Louisiana alligator leather strap with platinum fold fastener is the icing on the cake. Get in quick – it’s limited to just 25 pieces.
Patek Philippe Chronograph Ref. 5172G-001
Few brands say ‘quality’ quite like Patek Philippe, but even by that brand’s sky-high standards, this watch is a real stunner. The manual winding chronograph comes in a white gold case with gilloched pushers and three-tier lugs. But it’s the wide, confident blue dial that really gets our hearts racing – something that’s wonderfully complimented by the hand stitched navy blue calfskin strap.
Bell & Ross BR 05 Chrono
This chunky 42mm piece from Bell & Ross is a real beauty. Its square case is inspired by flight instruments, although the company says it’s perfectly suited to “urban explorers”. The BR 05 is now equipped with a chronograph movement, making it a super-desirable piece for the horology fans in your life this Christmas.
£5,200 for the steel bracelet and £4,800 for the rubber strap, bellross.com
Grand Seiko Spring Drive Hi-Beat 80 Hours
Proving that haute horologie doesn’t have to come from the Swiss mountains, Grand Seiko has been pushing the boundaries of mechanical watches for years. Its Grand Seiko Spring Drive Hi-Beat 80 Hours features the company’s new 9SA5 beat high mechanical caliber in a perfect union of form and function. Then first watch to be powered by this incredibly accurate motor, the Spring Drive Hi-Beat 80 Hours is limited to just 100 pieces.
Seiko Presage Porco Rosso
The links between aviation and wristwatches go all the way back to the first days mankind decided that scrabbling around in the mud was no longer enough for a species with such lofty ambitions. But even with this esteemed history, this new collaboration between Seiko and Studio Ghibli is uncommonly wonderful.
Porco Rosso is the beloved animation studio’s very own flying pig, and this watch pays tribute to a modern classic with a modern classic of its own. There are references to Porco’s fictitious 1920s, the 21-S Savoia, to be found in every aspect of the Presage’s design from the “R” on the dial to the green, white and red flourishes.
From ~£3,700, seikowatches.com
Rolex New Oyster Perpetual
Even by Rolex’s standards, the Oyster Perpetual is a special watch. The brand’s first waterproof wristwatch, it was the foundations upon which Rolex has built its reputation since 1926. This new version exudes an easy grace, with its waterproof Oystersteel case housing a self-winding movement via a Perpetual rotor. Available with a range of coloured dials, this elegant champagne is our pick of the bunch.
From £4,050 for the 28mm to £4,700 for the 41mm, rolex.com
Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Control Memovox Timer
Limited to just 250 units, this striking timepiece comes from Jaeger-LeCoultre’s long tradition of creating ‘chiming’ wristwatches. And while the alarm function demonstrates a mastery of watchmaking, that fabulous blue and silver dial, consisting of concentric circles, is a masterclass in design. Simply put, this is a true show-stopper.
Vacheron Overseas Self-Winding
A maker of many exquisite timepieces with some wonderful design flourishes, this Overseas Self-Winding watch is a crisp and clean classic that leans into the trend for blue dials. Instantly recognisable as a Vacheron, the ability to switch the bracelet for a range of straps makes this a versatile as well as beautiful piece.