As the end of the year is fast approaching, we continue with our “best of 2018” buying guides. After the top 10 watches below EUR 2,000, followed by 10 watches between EUR 2,000 and 5,000, and finally, our pick of the best watches of 2018 priced between EUR 5,000 to EUR 10,000, we now move to true luxury watches (or even the start of the high-end category for some) with our 10 favourite watches of 2018 in the 10k to 25k Euros range. And yes, big money means big pleasure here.
Note: as always, these “buying guides” are our own personal selections and we’re sure you’ll have your own favourites. Feel free to list your top watches of 2018 in this “10k to 25k Euros” category in the comment section at the end of this article!
A. Lange & Sohne Saxonia Outsize Date – EUR 24,500
What best defines a true luxury (or even high-end) watch than A. Lange & Söhne? Certainly, in the price range we’re focusing on today, you can’t expect to get your hands on the most complex watches of the Saxon brand. However, at ALS, there is no “entry-level” in the sense that all the watches, whatever the price, are made with the exact same attention to detail. If the simple Saxonia Thin 37mm (the most accessible ALS piece) sounds a bit too plain for you, the brand introduced a highly interesting watch this year, the Saxonia Outsize Date. Not only does it offer a well-proportioned 38.5mm gold case (18k pink or white gold) and an elegant, balanced dial, but it features the brand’s signature large date. And under the hood is an automatic movement finished in true “Haute Horlogerie” style. Certainly, EUR 24,500 is a lot of money but when you consider what you’ll get, it remains very decent.
Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Day Date 70s – EUR 12,000
When it comes to Blancpain, we’re more used to seeing classic, elegant watches or modern, technical dive watches… But vintage isn’t a common genre. However, this year, the Swatch Group-owned brand has started to explore new territories by looking at an unusual era: the 1970s. Based on a funky but unfamiliar model, the new Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Day Date 70s plays on vintage elements in a very cool way. Gradient grey-brown dial, large indexes, original shapes, a day-date complication (historically relevant) but in the modern 43mm Bathyscaphe case with a technically advanced automatic movement. An unexpectedly groovy watch from a manufacture usually more on the restrained side of things. Available on multiple strap/bracelet options, in a limited edition of 500 pieces from EUR 12,000.
Breguet Marine 3-hand 5517 – EUR 18,000
This year, Breguet entirely redesigned its sports watch, the Marine – but in case you were wondering, we’re talking about Breguet, so sports watch doesn’t mean tool watch! Let’s call it a more casual vision of Breguet. The Marine has always been a great part of the collection so reshaping it was a critical call for the brand. The new version takes the best ingredients of the old recipe and brings some new, fresh elements to end up with a modern, robust watch that still retains the classic elegance of Breguet. Already available in 3 versions (this 3-hand, a chronograph and an alarm), the time-and-date model is equipped with a great movement and beautifully crafted titanium case (also in white and rose gold too). A modern and original luxury “casual” watch with a great pedigree, available from EUR 18,000.
Bvlgari Octo Finissimo Steel – EUR 12,900
The Bvlgari Octo Finissimo Automatic was launched last year, but it has already gained a cult status for us. The Octo design isn’t new and has been in the Bulgari collection since 2004. However, it’s only in 2017 that Bvlgari found the right recipe to enter the luxury sports watch arena with the award-winning Octo Finissimo Automatic. Ultra-thin, featuring a shaped case, an integrated bracelet and a monochromatic look, it is also the thinnest of its category with a case measuring just 5.15mm in height. Our favourite version is also the one that best befits the luxury sports watch concept: the sandblasted steel-on-steel – however, this watch is special and is coated with a thin layer of gold and later palladium-plated and rhodium-plated, resulting in an almost white-looking material. Available from EUR 12,900 on a bracelet (also possible on leather, but we highly recommend the steel-on-steel version)
Chopard L.U.C Quattro 2018 – EUR 23,300
Chopard isn’t just a jeweller… The brand is also a very talented watchmaker, capable of manufacturing refined, elegant and mechanically complex pieces. Not a novelty per se, the L.U.C Quattro has been “refreshed” this year with a clean, slightly more casual version combining a gold case and shades of blue. Modernized, less serious looking but still amazing when it comes to the movement. Inside the case is the Quattro movement, which features two pairs of stacked barrels, endowing this certified chronometer with a maximum autonomy of 216 hours (9 days), while keeping it surprisingly slim at just 3.7 mm thick. Powerful, fresh looking but precious at the same time, a true connoisseur’s piece available for EUR 23,300 in rose gold.
Frederique Constant Perpetual Calendar Tourbillon Manufacture – EUR 19,495
You’d probably expect this 10k to 25k Euros category to feature complications. The opposite would be disturbing. However, we’re pretty sure you didn’t expect to see a watch combining a tourbillon and a perpetual calendar here. But you’d be wrong… Frederique Constant, a brand known for its accessible luxury strategy, celebrates its 30th anniversary this year with an ultra-complex piece for less than 20k Euros. Yes, you’ve read correctly, the new Frederique Constant Perpetual Calendar Tourbillon Manufacture is priced at exactly EUR 19,495 in stainless steel (the exact model photographed below) – this combination of complications usually requires way above 100k. Certainly, the finishing and decoration of the movement have nothing to do with what you’ll find at VC or PP, but mechanically-speaking, this watch does its name indicates. Meet a new concept: the accessible haute complication!
Glashutte Original Senator Cosmopolite Steel – EUR 20,700
Multiple time zone watches are extremely useful for globetrotters or those who need to keep track of time in different countries. The Senator Cosmopolite, Glashütte Original’s take on the complication, is packed with a unique set of features, making for a highly functional and original travel watch. With it, you can consult the time in two time zones at once, at a glance. No fewer than 36 time zones can be read on its dial (yes, there are more than 24 time zones, with ½, ¼ or ¾ hour differences). Each of them is displayed with its official IATA location code – the International Air and Transport Association 3-letter location identifier codes for airports and cities – for instance, JFK for New York. Not only is this watch mechanically impressive, but its new steel version is visually superb (and more casual too) and retails for a more accessible price. EUR 20,700 might sound like a lot, but considering the complexity of the movement, the overall finishing and functions, it is one very desirable watch.
IWC Tribute to Pallweber Edition 150 Years Steel – EUR 24,000
For its 150th anniversary, IWC presented an entire collection of “Jubilee” watches, comprising mostly modified versions of existing models. Yet, in the middle of these multiple limited editions, one watch stood out from the crowd: the Tribute to Pallweber. Its super cool and mechanically appealing display is based on an 1884 pocket watch with digital indications of both the hours and minutes – a first back then. Although this modern re-edition is now a wristwatch, it sticks to the exact same display used on the famed pocket watch created by Josef Pallweber. Inside is the complex and newly developed calibre 94200, which relies on a complex twin architecture – one sub-movement for the display, one sub-movement for the timekeeping. The steel-and-blue edition is limited to 500 pieces, priced at EUR 24,000.
Rolex GMT-Master II 126711CHNR “Root Beer” – EUR 12,900
While the Steel-Pepsi version was THE talking piece of Baselworld 2018, Rolex also introduced other editions of the GMT-Master II this year. One of them resurrects a colour combination nicknamed “Root Beer” playing on tones of brown, gold and black – something popular in the 1960s/1970s. For 2018, Rolex developed a new two-tone, black and brown ceramic bezel and combines it with a steel and rose gold case – never seen before on the GMT-Master II. This reference 126711CHNR also benefits from the new 32xx series of calibres, with improved escapement and a longer power reserve. The retail price for this very cool two-tone Root Beer GMT is EUR 12,900 but expect a small premium if you want one immediately.
Vacheron Constantin Overseas Automatic Black Dial – EUR 20,100
While the third Generation of Vacheron Constantin Overseas was launched in 2016, we believe that the best version only appeared this year. The black dial edition of the Overseas time-and-date is the hottest of them all and manages to combine the coolness of a luxury sports watch with a certain elegance – the tuxedo effect of this glossy black dial. For the rest, no evolution. This 4500V keeps all its qualities: superb case and bracelet finishing, a clever easy-to-use interchangeable system to switch from leather to rubber or steel in a minute (all 3 options are included in the box) and a beautifully finished automatic movement. This watch, priced at EUR 20,100, is amongst the best in class when it comes to luxury sports watches.