The news broke last summer – Nick Hayek announced that from 2019 onwards, Swatch Group and its brands would no longer be present at Baselworld. As a consequence, the luxury powerhouse decided to organise its own product presentation “Time To Move” for its most luxurious brands: Breguet, Blancpain, Glashütte Original, Harry Winston, Jaquet Droz and Omega. First for retailers in Zurich in March, and then for the press in each of the brand’s Manufactures (except for Glashütte Original). Held mid-May, the unveiling of these novelties came later than usual and we were very curious to see what surprises the Swatch Group high-end brands had in store for us. Here are our favourite watches from “Time To Move” – which we have limited to just one watch per brand.
Note: this selection is based on a consensus among the MONOCHROME team. It reflects our preferences of the watches unveiled during “Time To Move”. If there are other watches you’d love to mention, feel free to share these in the comment section at the end of this article.
Blancpain Air Command Chronograph
We were expecting new Villeret models and hoping for a new vintage-inspired Fifty Fathoms. We got all this and, in particular, the cool Fifty Fathoms Barakuda Re-edition. What came as a surprise, however, was the Air Command Chronograph. A re-edition of a rare Blancpain Pilot Chronograph from the late 1950s, the Air Command ticks all the boxes. Presented in steel, this handsome limited edition remains faithful to the original with a few concessions to modernity. At 42.5mm in diameter, it comes with an ultra-vintage bi-compax dial framed by a tachymeter scale. Inside is the calibre F388B, a high-frequency flyback chronograph equipped with a vertical clutch, a column wheel, silicon parts for the regulator and a propeller-shaped rotor.
Quick facts: 42.5mm steel case – water-resistant to 30m – automatic calibre F388B, column-wheel flyback chronograph – calfskin strap with pin buckle – CHF 18,500 – limited edition of 500 watches – For more information, visit www.blancpain.com
Breguet Classique Tourbillon Extra-Plat Squelette 5395
One of the things that always amazes us when visiting the Breguet Manufacture is how large the finishing and decoration (in particular the anglage, engraving and guillochage workshops) departments are. The new Breguet Classique Tourbillon Extra-Plat Squelette 5395 is a lesson in the art of finesse and movement decoration. Still 41mm in diameter and just 7.7mm thick, this new version of the brand’s automatic ultra-thin tourbillon comes in either pink gold or platinum. Its openworked movement and peripheral rotor offer an unimpeded view of its inner workings and superbly finished components. Truly impressive handwork.
Quick facts: 41mm x 7.70mm pink gold or platinum case – water-resistant to 30m – automatic calibre 581SQ with hours, minutes and small seconds on the tourbillon – alligator leather strap with folding buckle – CHF 220,000 in pink gold – For more information, visit www.breguet.com
Glashütte Original Senator Chronometer Tourbillon
Naturally, the big surprise at Glashütte Original is the brand’s return to dive watches, with the SeaQ collection. However for us, their most striking timepiece is the Senator Chronometer Tourbillon. The Senator Chronometer was already a favourite among the MONOCHROME team, it now reaches new heights with this tourbillon version. Inspired by the raison d’être of a Tourbillon – rate precision – its movement incorporates a stop-seconds, a zero-reset and a minute detent to ensure hyper-precise time setting! The sophisticated architecture of the dial and movement is made up of different levels, exposed areas and lavish finishes. Beautiful and technically impressive.
Quick facts: 42mm platinum case – water-resistant to 50m – manual-winding calibre 58-05 with hours, minutes and small seconds on the tourbillon – alligator leather strap with folding buckle – EUR 150,000 – limited to 25 pieces – For more information, visit www.glashuette-original.com
Harry Winston Histoire de Tourbillon 10
Harry Winston presented a rich collection with numerous ladies’ watches showcasing impressive jewellery work or métiers d’art. Focusing on men’s watches, the most striking creation is the final chapter of a long series – the Histoire de Tourbillon 10. Developed with Complitime, this beast of a watch is regulated by no fewer than four 36-second tourbillon regulators, with three differentials averaging their rates. The result isn’t perhaps the most discreet watch of the year (obviously), however, in terms of pure watchmaking expertise, this is one truly impressive watch.
Quick facts: 53.3mm x 39.1mm pink gold, white gold or platinum case – water-resistant to 30m – manual-winding calibre HW4702 with hours, minutes and power reserve indication, four 36-second tourbillons – alligator leather strap with pin buckle – from CHF 700,000 – For more information, visit www.harrywinston.com
Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Chronograph
The Jaquet Droz 2019 novelties are consistent and coherent focusing on the brand’s fields of expertise and distinctive style – métiers d’arts, stone dials, automata (with the superb and poetic Magic Lotus of this year) and new versions of its signature Grande Seconde. The new monopusher chronograph version of its flagship Grande Seconde collection is, according to our editorial team, this year’s highlight. Incorporating a chronograph without altering its design, this sophisticated and elegant timepiece comes in a 43mm case. The gold version with enamel dial offers a classic execution while the steel models come with a twist, its winding crown is located at 4 o’clock.
Quick facts: 43mm pink gold or steel case – water-resistant to 30m – self-winding calibre 26M5R monopusher column-wheel chronograph – alligator leather strap with folding buckle – from CHF 20,000 in steel – For more information, visit www.jaquet-droz.com
Omega Seamaster Diver 300M Chronograph
Omega came with an array of new watches this year. Of course, there are the Speedy limited editions that celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Moon landing, new Seamasters (in particular the white ceramic dial Seamaster 300m) or the elegant and understated Omega De Ville Trésor 40mm in steel. However, the watch that will be remembered this year is the Chronograph version of the Seamaster Diver 300M, a watch that got a facelift last year on its 3-hand model. It is now time for the chrono to get the new design and materials, but it also comes now with an impressive in-house Master Chronometer movement, the calibre 9900 with column-wheel/vertical clutch architecture. Best of all, the price remains quite friendly considering what you get in return, starting at CHF 6,600 in steel. Bi-colour and solid gold models are also available.
Quick facts: 44mm steel or steel-and-gold case – water-resistant to 300m – self-winding calibre 9900 with hours, minutes, seconds, date and chronograph – rubber strap with pin buckle or steel bracelet with folding clasp – CHF 6,600 in steel – For more information, visit www.omegawatches.com