The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Jumbo and the Patek Philippe Nautilus seem just unobtainable these days… the luxury sports watch is one of the most sought-after categories today… if not the hottest. The archetype is straightforward: match a sporty but clearly expensively-crafted steel watch with an integrated bracelet and an automatic, ultra-thin calibre. Casual elegance to its maximum. In this respect, micro-rotor calibres – a great way of saving height in a movement, but also exposing more of these beautifully executed mechanics – can be an especially relevant and elegant option. We meet the burden of proof with 5 of the best luxury sports watches equipped with a micro-rotor movement.
Bulgari Octo Finissimo Automatic
In a record span of just ten years, the bold contemporary Italian design and sophisticated ultra-thin Swiss mechanics of Bulgari‘s Octo family have consecrated it as a modern watchmaking icon. Thanks to its BVL138 micro-rotor movement, the Octo Finissimo Automatic Small Seconds was one of the thinnest automatic watches ever when it was introduced at Baselworld 2017. 40mm in diameter, the elegant octagonal stepped case is only 5.15mm thick. Its design is nicely emphasized by the sober, dark grey look of titanium. Its simple outward appearance is enhanced by the pure, refined design of the dial, the finish of which nicely matches the case. And while there are many other variations available, the monochromatic, matte-finished titanium version still is, to us, the best possible option.
Quick facts: titanium case – 40mm x 5.15mm – sapphire crystal – water-resistant to 30m – automatic calibre BVL138 (in-house) – hours, minute and small seconds – 60-hour power reserve – titanium bracelet with folding clasp – EUR 15,600
Czapek Antarctique Passage de Drake
A true game-changer for the independent brand (which we clearly acclaimed with our second Montre de Souscription), the successful Czapek Antarctique is a luxury sports watch with a distinct personality that avoids the angular bezels often seen on these models. Its design is based on a barrel-shaped flat surface framing a round, sloped polished bezel. The brushed finishing of the case radiating from the dial’s centre adds a refined touch. Its steel bracelet features brushed links contrasting with the highly polished and stylised C for Czapek. The watch is powered by Czapek’s first in-house movement, the calibre SXH5 whose distinctive architecture is built around a platinum micro-rotor and seven bridges, five of which are openworked, offering a captivating perspective on the inner workings.
Quick facts: steel case – 40.5mm x 10.6mm – sapphire crystal – water-resistant to 120m – automatic calibre SXH5 (in-house) – hours, minute, small seconds, date – 60-hour power reserve – steel bracelet with easy release system and folding clasp – EUR 19,000
Laurent Ferrier Sport Auto
Built around the design introduced by the Grand Sport Tourbillon of 2019, the new, simpler and more compact Laurent Ferrier Sport Auto comes in a 41.5mm titanium barrel-shaped case, with a refined interplay of rounded curves, a raised, shaped bezel and an integrated bracelet. To add to the comfort, it is made of grade 5 titanium, making it soft and light on the wrist. The dark blue dial features an opaline, matte texture combined with a gradient effect while the silver crosshair in the middle of the dial, creates a focal point. The display includes a snailed small seconds at 6 o’clock and a date at 3 o’clock, integrated within a bevelled window. Its beautiful automatic Calibre LF270.01 features a platinum micro-rotor held by a transversal bridge and with miniature literature in positive relief, paying tribute to the motorsport past of the brand’s founders. And the finishing is, as always with the brand, pretty spectacular.
Quick facts: grade 5 titanium case – 41.5mm x 12.7mm – sapphire crystal – water-resistant to 120m – automatic calibre LF270.01 (in-house) – hours, minute, small seconds, date – 72-hour power reserve – titanium bracelet with folding clasp – EUR 46,000
Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda PF Micro-Rotor
The Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda PF Micro-Rotor is a slim, pared-down, two-hander standing out with a unique elegant personality. Combining brushed surfaces and polished accents, the 40mm steel case is only 7.8mm in height. It features a bezel made of 950 platinum to offer an optimal shine for the knurled pattern. The integration of the signature tear-drop lugs has been cleverly done, serving as a starting point for the curvature of the integrated bracelet. Among the reasons for the slenderness of the watch is the Calibre PF703, measuring only 3mm in height and equipped with a platinum micro-rotor and overall a very elegant design, and a discreet yet refined decoration.
Quick Facts: steel case – 40mm x 7.8mm – sapphire crystal – water-resistant to 100m – automatic calibre PF703 (in-house) – hours, minute, date – 48-hour power reserve – steel bracelet with folding clasp – EUR 21,000
Speake-Marin entered the luxury sports watch category with the Ripples, an automatic model driven by a micro-rotor movement and with its own twist and dose of eccentricity. The shaped stainless steel case is quite complex with a round dial opening, a flat brushed bezel and a protected crown. Measuring 40.3mm in diameter, the slim 9mm profile is courtesy of the movement inside, which has an equally distinct design and complexly-shaped bridges. One of the striking design elements of the watch is its dial, which stands out with an original pattern. Its horizontal texture creates a striking sense of depth, changing colours and reflections. The original positioning of the small seconds at 1:30 is characteristic of Speake-Marin.
Quick facts: steel case – 40.3mm x 9mm – sapphire crystal – water-resistant to 50m – automatic calibre SMA03-T (proprietary) – hours, minute, small seconds – 52-hour power reserve – steel bracelet with folding clasp – CHF 19,900 (excl. taxes)