You imagine certain watch brands to be exactly what you expect, consensual and predictable, true to traditions, believing in decades of coherent collections of watches. But you are sometimes wrong. Here are five unexpected, even controversial, watches from some of the most respected watchmakers.
Patek Philippe Calatrava Pilot Travel Time Ref. 5524
Calatrava – a name that resonates in your mind as the ultimate definition of the classical, elegant and understated dress watch. This was true, until 2015. And for 99% of the Calatrava collection, it still is.
Yet, there’s one unusual suspect named the Calatrava Pilot Travel Time. An aviator’s watch by Patek Philippe? How is that possible, you might ask?
Patek Philippe broke its traditional codes, but if you look closely, it’s not the first time (think back to Nautilus of 1976).
The Calatrava Pilot looks entirely different from the rest of the line-up but still it doesn’t come out of the blue. As did multiple other manufacturers, Patek Philippe created pilot and military watches before WWII, albeit in tiny numbers. One of them was a pilot’s watch with hour angle dial that inspired the Calatrava Pilot Travel Time. And when considered as a whole, the Calatrava Pilot Travel Time remains entirely Patek Philippe: perfect finishing, a great movement, luxurious details and an overall splendid design.
F.P. Journe Elegante 48
A turtle-shaped watch from F.P. Journe? Great news, as this shape usually refers to the brand’s ultra-limited, but mechanical, Vagabondage watches.
But no, instead it has 18 years (yes, years) of power reserve, in standby mode. Wait… It’s a quartz watch? Yes, it is.
But not any ordinary electronic movement. First launched in a feminine version, Journe decided to introduce a larger version of the Elegante that’s suitable for both genders. Inside the large titanium case is an in-house movement that still uses solid gold bridges, with a clever design; it’s just any cheap quartz calibre. Once it goes to sleep after 30 minutes of inactivity, the watch awakes when it’s put back on the wrist, bringing the hands to the correct time.
MB&F for most of us means futuristic, sci-fi inspired watch with super-bold, out of the box designs known as Horological Machines. But there’s another collection, the Legacy Machines. When Max Büsser introduced the LM1, reactions were incredulous. But there’s an explanation behind the LMs. They are what Max would have created if he has been born 100 years before. And now you understand that the LMs are indeed perfect example of 19th century, steam punk-inspired watches that also play on a completely different level, just like the rest of the MB&F collection. And well, just look at the gorgeously decorated movement inside the LM – created with the help of Kai Voutilainen no less – and the giant floating balance wheel on the front.
Rolex Air-King Ref. 116900
When one of the most conservative brands revealed at Baselworld 2016 a new pilot’s-style Air-King, reactions were all but mild. It was either love or hate. Such reactions are not usual for Rolex, and so is the watch that created this situation. Larger, sporty, provocative, colourful, but at the same time, the Air-King has a dial inspired by military timepieces or instruments, designed with utmost legibility in mind. The result is strange but in the end, it what made this watch one of the key talking pieces of the brand’s recent history. And the fact it has an entry-level price tag boosts it appeal enormously.
Tudor Pelagos LHD
Left handed watches are rare, so rare that people usually refer to them as destro, which is Italian for “right”, as in “right wrist”, typically applied to a brand with Italian military heritage. Yet for its latest creation, Tudor also dug into its rich military past to come up with the Pelagos LHD, Fitted with a crown on the left side (meant to be worn on the right wrist of course) and tweaks to the dial to make it look more vintage, the Pelagos LHD was inspired by destro Submariner watches made for the left-handed members of French navy in the 1970s. Despite being surprising, the Pelagos LHD is completely coherent, inspired and massively cool to wear. In fact it’s already a bestseller and probably a future collectible.
For more information, please schedule an appointment with our Sales Consultant here.
Frank Geelen – The Netherlands
Frank Geelen is an expert on Haute Horlogerie and beautiful hand-finished mechanical movements make his horological heart beats faster. He loves to explain all technical details of complications like tourbillons, minute repeaters, constant force escapements and column-wheel chronographs and he has been doing that for nine years.