Aston Martin x Girard-Perregaux Laureato Chronograph
With seemingly hard-and-fast automotive hook-ups like Hublot x Ferrari and Breitling x Bentley suffering retirements from the race, you’d wonder who would venture gamely onto such a notoriously fickle scene. But the coming-together of Aston Martin and Girard-Perregaux feels like something that soars way clear of mere badge engineering – as exemplified by their first mainstream limited edition, a gorgeous ‘Aston Martin Green’ dialled Laureato Chronograph (£14,000). Barring a caseback engraving, it lacks an Aston badge entirely, unless (and this is where the satisfying ‘if you know, you know’ connections kick in) the origins of its dial’s laser-engraved cross-hatch seem familiar… Before the scarab-beetle wings began adorning the bonnets of what would become 007’s go-to wheels, Aston Martin melded its own initials to form its logo, punning on its cars’ signature front grille design. It takes a marque like Girard-Perregaux, nurturing a similarly connoisseur ethos, to make it work.
Grand Seiko Spring Drive ‘Snowflake’
“As watchmakers,” enthuses Yoshiaki Hayashi, presiding over Grand Seiko’s elite facility in northern Japan,” we were fostered by the rich natural environment that surrounds us. The forest meets the desolate season of winter, [and] then comes back to life as the flowers bloom, and a world of fresh green appears and turns a deeper hue.” Not only does Grand Seiko channel its surroundings with deliberate poetry – the powdered texture of the ‘Snowflake’ dial depicted here echoing the slopes of Shiojiri’s mountain slopes – but the technology beneath the dial does so too. Launched in 2005, Seiko’s revolutionary, electromechanical ‘Spring Drive’ uses wrist movement and stored kinetic energy to power, with near-infallible precision, analogue hands that glide silently and smoothly about the dial.
Bell & Ross BR 05
Paris’s monochromatically cool aviator brand, Bell & Ross dropped a bombshell in 2007: the BR 01 ‘Instrument’, so-named for its uncompromisingly squared-off allusion to fighter jet cockpit read-outs. Instantly adopted by pilots and hipsters alike, its bold geometry has become a sub-brand in itself, while never compromising on the watchmaker’s Swiss-made, professional- spec quality. And so, here we are, with a natural evolution that finds itself in line with the recent integrated-bracelet Seventies sports revival: the ’BR 05’. A more urbane, stylistically versatile take on ‘Instrument’, still in brutalist formation and now – just in time for our skies opening up again – in ‘GMT’ guise (£4,500). In other words, a fourth 24-hour hand keeping track of time back home, bringing a natty flash of scarlet to co-ordinate with your carry-on.
Bremont Calibre ‘ENG300’
As typically English weather hammered on the roof of Greenwich’s National Maritime Museum on 20 October, a once-typical English craft made a long-overdue return to the horological stage – unveiled by brothers Nick and Giles English (no, really). It’s been almost 15 years in the offing, but with the ribbon cut on their brand Bremont’s £20m factory-
cum-HQ, ‘The Wing’ they’ve wasted no time working with Swiss partners to secure manufacturing rights to a genuinely ‘in-house’ movement, the bulk of which (baseplates, bridges, more to come) are precision- engineered from the raw metal, before everything is assembled on-site by their watchmakers to ‘chronometer’ accuracy. The first home to calibre ‘ENG300’ was also unveiled that evening: the handsome ‘Longitude’ limited edition (from £14,995), containing a ring of brass from the Prime Meridian bedded into the cobbles of the Observatory, up the hill from the NMM.
Christopher Ward ‘C60 #TIDE’
Holidaying in Thailand’s Andaman Sea, you might hear of the region’s nomadic seafarers, the Moken. In the past they were fishermen, before overfishing and pollution robbed them of their livelihood – but not necessarily for good. The latest addition to Christopher Ward’s C60 Trident line – the ‘C60 #tide’ (£895) – is much more than a veritable, 600-metre bathyscaphe of a dive watch. It’s a collaboration between the affordable English watch brand and a Swiss outfit quite unlike its usual mechanical suppliers. #tide is an initiative helping to shine a light on plastic waste, making Christopher Ward the latest watchmaker to commit to this issue, after Blancpain, Breitling, Omega, Oris and many others. Its upcycled, canvas-like polymer makes oceanic flotsam and jetsam tough enough for the daily travails of a watch strap, plus £5 goes to the Blue Marine Foundation with every sale.