Who doesn’t like a good party every now and then? A chance to dress up, have a blast and just let loose a little. In any industry, this is a recurring theme as birthdays are celebrated regardless of what they’re about. The brands in this Buying Guide certainly celebrated 2023 in a big way, as we’ve seen some very cool and impressive new watches celebrating all kinds of watchmaking anniversaries. From iconic divers to famous racing chronographs or disruptive luxury sports watches and everything in between, each of these watches looks back at decades of inspiration. So grab a drink, put on your party hats and join the conga line as we take a closer look at five of the best celebratory watches of the year!
30 years – Audemars Piguet royal oak offshore chronograph black ceramic 26238CE
Thirty years ago, Audemars Piguet had the audacity to try and one-up its iconic Royal Oak with the introduction of a larger, beefier take on the famous Genta design. Known as the Offshore, it went against everything that was popular at the time – compact, elegant watches. Fittingly, the Royal Oak Offshore was granted the nickname ‘The Beast’ for its then unconventional diameter of 42mm. Fast forward three decades, and we can honestly say the APROO has established itself as an icon. Its 30th anniversary was celebrated this year with the full-black ceramic 26238CE. This comes with the in-house calibre 4404, is part of the permanent collection and retails for EUR 84,000. A lot of money for a lot of watch, but boy, does it look good!
For more information, please visit AudemarsPiguet.com.
Quick Facts – 42mm x 15.3mm – black ceramic case, brushed & polished – sapphire crystal front & back – black ceramic bezel, pushers and crown – 100m water-resistance – black dial with Petite Tapisserie pattern – black counters and inner tachymeter scale – applied indices – white gold hands with Super-LumiNova – calibre 4404, in-house automatic flyback chronograph – 28,800vph – 70h power reserve – full black ceramic integrated bracelet with folding clasp – 26238CE.00.1300CE.01 – permanent collection – EUR 84,000 (incl VAT)
55 years – Seiko 5 Sports 55th anniversary SRPK17
The Seiko 5 Sports is one of the most humble yet iconic watches on the planet. First introduced 55 years ago, the Japanese powerhouse released a celebratory remake this year with the SRPK17. The original design is mostly left intact, and the result is very striking. The tonneau-shaped 39.5mm by 12.5mm steel case has a hidden crown and a bidirectional bezel, just like the first one. The same goes for the dial, which is almost identical. Mechanically things have changed, though, as it now comes with the calibre 4R36 automatic day-date movement. The flat-link stainless steel bracelet completes the cool retro look. Limited to a staggering 15,555 pieces, this one has a very sensible price of EUR 410.
Quick Facts – 39.5mm x 12.5mm – stainless steel case, brushed & polished – bidirectional rotating bezel with black insert – Hardlex crystal – solid caseback – hidden crown – 100m water-resistant – black dial with silver minute track – applied indices & hands with LumiBrite – red lollipop seconds hand – framed day-date window – calibre 4R36, in-house automatic – 21,600vph – 41h power reserve – flat-link steel bracelet with folding clasp – limited to 15,555 pieces – EUR 410
60 years – TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph 60th anniversary edition panda
At the beginning of the year, we were treated to a gorgeous new edition of the TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph, the 60th Anniversary Panda. It perfectly captured the look of one of the most collectable vintage Carrera’s with a stunning silver and black ‘Panda’ dial. The size of 39mm across is very pleasant on the wrist, and the fit and finish are just spot-on. If you were to put it side by side with the 1963 original Ref 2447SN, it becomes evident how close this new one comes. Proudly showcasing the calibre Heuer 02, a column-wheel chronograph with 80 hours of power reserve, this limited edition was produced only 600 times. The price of CHF 6,600 sounds like a lot, but given the formidable execution, it doesn’t feel exaggerated.
For more information, please visit TAGHeuer.com.
Quick Facts – 39mm x 14.55mm – stainless steel case, polished – fixed bezel – sapphire crystal front & back – 100m water-resistant – silver sunray-brushed dial – black subdials – applied indices and hands with Super-LumiNova – calibre Heuer 02, in-house – automatic integrated chronograph with column-wheel & vertical clutch – 28,800vph – 80h power reserve – black leather racing-style strap with folding buckle – limited edition of 600 pieces – CHF 6,600
70 years – Blancpain Fifty fathoms 70th anniversary ACT III
While the bewilderment on the price of the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms 70th Anniversary Act III has not yet died down, it must be said the watch itself looks brilliant. The 41.30mm case takes us back to early Mil-Spec models of the iconic Fifty Fathoms and comes in 9ct bronze-gold, a material first seen at Omega. It’s paired with a black ceramic insert, a matte black dial with a historic moisture indicator and beige-coloured indices and hands. The caseback reveals the in-house automatic calibre 1154 P2, providing an above-average 100h power reserve thanks to its double barrels. Delivered on a two-tone NATO-style strap, it’s limited to 555 pieces. No matter how good it looks though, we can’t get over the CHF 30,000 price tag.
For more information, please visit Blancpain.com.
Quick Facts – 41.30mm x 13.30mm – 9ct bronze-gold case – unidirectional bronze-gold rotating bezel with black ceramic insert – sapphire crystal front & back – 300m water-resistant – black dial with moisture indicator – vintage Super-LumiNova on indices & hands – calibre 1154 P2, in-house automatic – 21,600vph – 100h power reserve on twin barrels – silicon balance spring – 1000 gauss anti-magnetic – two-tone NATO-style strap with pin-buckle – limited edition of 555 pieces – CHF 30,000
75 years – Omega Seamaster diver 300M master chronometer
Where others are recreations or interpretations of original designs in honour of a specific anniversary, Omega released a whole series of watches for the 75th birthday of the Seamaster. One of the most emblematic models is the Diver 300M, although it was not created in 1948, obviously. Regardless, this formidable dive watch is a genuine icon. For the occasion, it’s fitted with a gradient ‘Summer Blue’ ceramic dial with a blue ceramic insert on the diving bezel. The signature Helium Escape Valve at 10 o’clock has been maintained, of course, as has the co-axial Master Chronometer automatic calibre 8800 inside. Worn on a blue rubber strap or a five-link steel bracelet, it retails between EUR 6,400 and EUR 6,700.
For more information, please visit OmegaWatches.com.
Quick Facts – 42mm x 13.5mm – stainless steel case, brushed & polished – unidirectional rotating bezel – blue ceramic insert – helium escape valve – sapphire crystal – solid caseback – 300m water-resistance – sunray brushed gradient blue ceramic wave dial – indices & hands with light blue Super-LumiNova – calibre 8800, in-house automatic – co-axial escapement – Master Chronometer certification – 25,200vph – 55h power reserve – blue rubber strap or steel five-link bracelet with folding clasp – EUR 6,400 (rubber strap) or EUR 6,700 (steel bracelet)