Monochrome Watches
An online magazine dedicated to fine watches

Don’t Touch That Dial! 2013’s Best in Review! Drive-Time Radio Meets Haute Horology

| By Mario Squillacioti | 5 min read |
Monochrome top 10 2013

Here we are in 2014 – looking forward to SIHH and Basel. What better way to prepare for the next wave of horological masterpieces than to revisit the pieces that made us tap our feet and click our fingers (with some interpretive music thrown in!) So, sit back, draw another espresso and click your way through our tongue-in-cheek multi-media (dry cough) presentation as looks back at the hits of 2013!

Girard-Perregaux Constant Escapement L.M.

Marillion – The Great Escape

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The escapement of the watch is quite rightly considered its heart. The quest for a durable and accurate escapement has marked the progress of the industry since men with names like Graham, Arnold and Breguet were in the headlines. It is fitting that Girard Perrgaux, who were pioneers in the early days of quartz watches take our top-spot for making the most pertinent addition to the escapement catalogue since George Daniel’s Co-Axial, or Breguet’s Tourbillon before that.

A. Lange & Söhne Grand Complication

Avril Lavigne – Complicated

Saxony is a region that is synonymous with accurate timepieces. The watchmakers in the region are the benefactors of many, many generations of technical mastery. The Lange & Sohne Grand Complication seems to capture that entire lineage in one beautiful and portable piece. As visually striking as it is mechanically complex, the Grand Complication performs no less than 14 different functions! From Equation of Time to Perpetual Calendar to mechanical Alarm and a myriad of different Repeater functions – the men and women of Lange & Sohne have set the mark for the entire industry – not just the region!

Ressence Type 3

Meatloaf – Paradise by the Dashboard Lights

There is something so very, very striking about the lay-out and color of the Type 3 by Ressence! It immediately reminds us of the binnacle of a motorbike or perhaps a futuristic car’s dashboard. Then when you strip it off your wrist and realize that the winding and setting functions are the realm of science fiction you understand that it’s not just a pretty face!

Vianney Halter Deep Space Tourbillon

Star Trek Theme

Four simple words: We Love Vianney Halter! We love the nerdy/goofy references to the SciFi series. And most of all, we love the fact that after taking a breather, he came back into the spotlight with his phaser set to STUN! The Deep Space Tourbillon is a creation that redefines what an independent watchmaker can do with ONE watch! Beam us up!

Patek Philippe Calatrava 5227

Joe Cocker and Jeniffer Warnes – Up Where We Belong

For the Officer/Executive and Gentleman. Patek Philippe along with Vacheron Constantin (look a few spaces below.) and Audemars Piguet make up the ‘Trinity’ of watchmaking partnerships. Virtually everything they make is an automatic keepsake. If it’s got off-center seconds it’s an automatic collectible! At 39mm the new Officer’s watch is rather something of a departure for P2 in the realm of dress watches. I suppose even people with money have problems with their eye-sight! Besides, ‘who knows what tomorrow brings?’

Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Contemporaine Ultra-Thin Calibre 1731

Nik Preston – Red Baron (live with Billy Cobham)

Back-to-back with perhaps it’s only true peer, the brand wearing the Maltese Cross makes a fine showing. Never brash, never ostentatious Vacheron Constantin exelle at making very complicated things look elegant. While other brands use cases the size of a shoe-box to fit their technical offerings, 8.09mm is enough for VC to provide a time only watch with minute repeater. A watch so slight that it might never attract any attention from under your shirt cuff, so you’ll never have to explain what it is to a curious on-looker. Not that you’d ever deign to speak to a person of that caliber!

Rolex Day-Date Colors

The Rolling Stones – She’s a Rainbow

What do you do when you have a design that won’t or perhaps more accurately can’t die? Change the color! Borrowing a page out of its own book – Rolex have reintroduced the Day-Date with six tantalizing colored dials! Green with envy. Cognac. True Blue. Cherry Red. Chocolate love. And finally Rhodium ridge-back Silver. Same great watch. Great new tastes!

Omega Speedmaster Dark Side of the Moon

Pink Floyd – Time

The Speedmaster is a venerable line of watches for Omega. It’s a franchise player in a line-up of superstars. How do you improve something that is already so good that people buy them out of compulsion? Easy! You take something that people already find indispensible and make it SEXY and indispensible! Lightweight black ceramic case ‘adds lightness’ while the Co-Axial enabled 9300 movement insures accuracy and longevity for those trips to the grocery store, or around your local race-track or perhaps Tyndall Crater!

Romain Gauthier Logical One

Pretenders – Back On The Chain Gang

Here at we love the mavericks that set out to pioneer new technologies. We also have a fondness for folks who hone in on the essential nature of older technologies and apply them in modern settings. Case-in-point: The Fusee. One would question why a pulley driven mechanism would have any cache in an industry that has been all about the gear for the past few hundred years. An interesting fact is that the instant alternation between taut and slack implied in a chain-driven pulley allows for ‘natural’ shock resistance! Sometimes the old ways ARE best.

Swatch Sistem51

Buggles – Video Killed The Radio Star

This pun is intended: the watch industry goes ‘round in cycles. The quartz watch hit the market in the 70’s and obliterated the mechanical watchmaking industry. The ‘Second Watch’ (aka Swatch) was seen as a vehicle to deliver low-cost/high-quality watches with as few parts as possible to maximize accuracy and profits. 35 years later it appears to have worked. Those little plastic watches grew into a behemoth that was able to amalgamate some of the most highly vaunted names in the annals of ‘traditional’ (that’s a funny way of saying mechanical…) watchmaking! If you are Swatch – what do you do for your second act? Produce a little plastic mechanical watch, with only the essential parts (51 in number) and have it assembled by robots that insure each pieces accuracy. A headline from the year 2049 might just read: “Swatch group to acquire Seiko” let’s wait and see.

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