New and noted: The latest watch launches from Omega, Breitling, Franck Muller, Blancpain and Vacheron Constantin
These days, brands don't always show everything they have at Baselworld and SIHH. They always set a special piece or two aside for a year end drop – sometimes even a completely new collection. And to keep up with increasingly sophisticated tastes, they've got to keep finding new ways to outdo themselves.
Here are five of the latest timepieces launched this month. Two of them are Southeast Asian specials, and one – the Omega – was co-created by James Bond himself, Daniel Craig, who'll be wearing it in No Time To Die.
Omega Seamaster Diver 300M 007 Edition
Can't wait for the movie? Then maybe you should just get the watch first. This military-inspired Seamaster Diver 300M has a gorgeous mesh bracelet known as the Milanese bracelet made of grade 2 titanium. Aged colours give it a weathered look; Omega used tropical brown aluminium for the dial to keep the watch as lightweight as possible. Best of all, it's not limited edition.
But while the design is vintage, the technology is contemporary. See the Naiad lock case back which is guaranteed watertight and inside the chronometer Co-Axial Calibre 8806 is made according to the industry's highest standards. An optional fabric NATO strap comes together with the exclusive brown pouch.
Breitling Navitimer Automatic 41 Southeast Asia Boutique Edition
This is the brand with some of the trendiest boutique concepts around the world, so it's only natural for Breitling to create special editions only found in its stores. And did you know that Singapore was the first city in Southeast Asia to don the brand's cool urban loft concept?
Only 36 of these bicolour beauties will be made available for the region. We just love the beaded bezel here made in 18K red gold, which provides a nice contrast to the classy blue dial. The 41mm case remains in stainless steel. Very vintage inspired but also very functional as it offers you a nice firm grip in the event you need to use the circular slide rule.
Franck Muller The Hour Glass 40th Anniversary Cintrée Curvex Master Banker Limited Edition
There were lots of special editions celebrating the 40thanniversary of The Hour Glass and this 1996 classic is one of them. The Master Banker is the quintessential Franck Muller, offering three time zones at a glance. Most impressively, there aren't any pesky extra buttons around the case, as everything's control via the crown.
This interesting rendition features a brushed black sunray finished dial with mocha coloured sub-dials sitting underneath the tonneau-shaped domed sapphire crystal. Limited to just 38 pieces, it's got the date window set rather unusually at 8 o'clock but that's a small price to pay for such a superb mechanism within. A hand-sewn distressed leather strap completes the ensemble.
Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Self-Winding
Pink gold on blue is a tried and tested formula that always works, and this elegant duo is no exception. For the lady watch connoisseur, Vacheron Constantin has very thoughtfully sized the classic Patrimony at 36mm – or 36.5mm with 69 round-cut diamonds. Other details that won't escape the gimlet eyed horology enthusiast include sunburst satin-finished dial, here cloaked in midnight blue. The pearl minute track also makes it more feminine than the standard Patrimony gents models.
Notice how slim the watch is? Credit goes to the movement, Calibre 2450 Q6/2, which has a 22K gold rotor featuring a beautiful skeletonised Maltese cross. The alligator leather strap is also dark blue and is secured with a pink gold buckle. All in all, we'll call this minimalist elegance at its finest.
Price: $35,400 (without diamonds) $55,000 (with diamonds)
Blancpain Villeret Ultraplate Limited Edition
Less is definitely more with this ultraslim number by Blancpain, maker of some of the world's most elegant timepieces. In this piece, the manufacture has stripped away all that's excessive, retaining only the most essential features. On the rich blue dial, beautifully finished with sunray décor, you'll find nothing more than 12 applied polished Roman numerals, the brand insignia, and a pair of feuille hour and minute hands – skeletonised. Yep, only the most essential features, as we said. If there were any excess, it's probably the double-stepped bezel. But in all honestly it wouldn't be a Villeret anymore without that distinctive feature.
This is an 88-piece limited edition cased in platinum and exclusively sold at Blancpain boutiques worldwide. The hand-wound Calibre 11A4B also provides long power reserve (four days) thanks to high performance mainsprings arranged in series. An indicator on the back of the movement always keeps you apprised of the watch's energy level.