Certainly, we’re only halfway through February, so it’s a bit too early to call the best watches of the year… just a bit! However, it’s only been two months and brands have presented more than just minor models. In fact, following several months of slow launch calendars, most of the watch manufactures have woken up and some very important models have been introduced in recent weeks. Some of them are truly crucial while others are updates of best-sellers. And, believe us, there’s more to come in the following months, with no fewer than 38 brands participating in Watches & Wonders in April (and that includes Rolex, Patek, Tudor, IWC and many more). But before that, we’ll take a look at five watches that really caught our attention in 2021.
Note: to discover all the new models introduced in 2021, check this dedicated section of the website.
Bvlgari Octo Finissimo S Steel Silvered Dial
The Bvlgari Octo Finissimo Automatic is a watch that needs no introduction anymore. Since its launch in 2017, it has become the brand’s most emblematic collection and, in this “simple” version, one of the most desirable contenders in the luxury sports watch game. With its movement measuring 2.23mm, but still packing a micro-rotor and 60h of power reserve, it not only managed to bring Bvlgari to the forefront of the ultra-thin scene, but its modern and striking design made quite an impression, to say the least. Best of all, the recent S model made it usable on a daily basis, with a screw-down crown and 100m water-resistance. The only issue, the monochromatic tone-on-tone titanium dial/case was replaced with contrasting dials… And I personally think this was part of the appeal of the watch. Problem solved this year, with the new Silvered dial model, which not only brings back this uniform style but also plays a lot with textures. Truly cool.
More details in our hands-on article here.
Quick Facts: 40mm diameter x 6.40mm height – stainless steel case – 100m water-resistant – vertically brushed silver-coloured dial – calibre BVL138 Finissimo, in-house – ultra-thin automatic with platinum micro-rotor – integrated stainless steel bracelet – EUR 12,300
Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Professional Master Chronometer
Now we’re talking MAJOR launch, with the new version of Omega’s most iconic watch, the refreshed Speedmaster Moonwatch Professional. Aware of the cult status of this model, the Biel-based brand was not allowed to make a single mistake. So, the update had to make an impact, but everything had to be perfectly controlled. You can’t mess with such a watch. In full honesty, after reviewing most of the new versions, we can easily say that this is a success for Omega. The Speedmaster is still a Speedmaster, just better on all points. Everything has been changed with the idea to bring the flair of the first “Professional” model. The case has been reshaped, the dial is different, the hands are new and small retro touches have been added everywhere. Most importantly, proportions have been reduced a bit and the new bracelet is not only nicer but also far more comfortable. Finally, the most important update concerns the movement, which takes a jump into the 21st century, with Master Chronometer certification, co-axial escapement and anti-magnetic properties. But, look at the watch and you’ll know immediately what it is… You’ll only have to choose if you prefer sapphire or hesalite.
All the updates on this new Speedy are listed in this in-depth article.
Quick Facts: 42mm diameter x 13.2mm (sapphire) – stainless steel case – aluminium tachymeter bezel – 50m water-resistant – black step dial – Calibre 3861, in-house – Master Chronometer certified, hand-wound chronograph – stainless steel bracelet – EUR 7,000 steel-on-steel with sapphire
Piaget Polo Skeleton
The Piaget Polo S certainly had a slightly rough start to its career. But those days are gone and the brand has managed to maintain its ambitions, giving this sporty-elegant watch some more colours and more punch. However, something was missing. In fact, it was precisely what makes Piaget so important in terms of watchmaking: an ultra-thin and openworked movement. For 2021, the brand solves this and presents the Piaget Polo Skeleton. Visually, while the case is identically shaped, the new movement simply changes the face of the watch with an incredible presence, some complexity and the desired modernity. Specifically, this blue edition, which relies on the brand’s signature colour. And more than the style, the mechanics are also typical Piaget, with an ultra-thin automatic movement with micro-rotor, measuring only 2.4mm in height – the watch being 6.5mm. Beautifully finished, mechanically interesting and visually impressive, this is what the Piaget Polo deserved.
More details about this watch in our hands-on article here.
Quick Facts: 42mm diameter x 6.5mm height – stainless steel case – 30m water-resistant – calibre Piaget 1200S, in-house – automatic with micro-rotor, openworked (available in blue or grey) – H-shaped stainless steel bracelet and colour-matching alligator strap, with interchangeable device – CHF 28,700
TAG Heuer Carrera Porsche Chronograph
If like us, you’re a fan of watchmaking and motorsport, the word “Carrera” should immediately resonate. It is a name of legend, both for chronograph watches and sports cars. It is even surprising that these two cult items have never been associated before… But, for 2021, things have changed and the TAG Heuer Carrera Porsche Chronograph celebrates the alliance between two powerhouses whose paths have always met on the racetrack. A natural encounter that results in a watch with great presence and faithfulness, for both brands. Based on the brand’s recently revamped Carrera Sport, with a surprisingly ergonomic 44mm steel case and in-house chronograph calibre, it features multiple references to the track, such as its tachymeter ceramic bezel, its asphalt-like dial and numerals using Porsche font. Best of all, we’re talking about a two-way partnership that could potentially lead to more cool products in the near future.
More details about the TAG x Porsche Chronograph here, in our review.
Quick Facts: 44mm diameter – stainless steel case – ceramic bezel – 100m water-resistant – grey asphalt-like dial – calibre Heuer 02, in-house – automatic chronograph, integrated, column wheel and vertical clutch – black calfskin strap or steel bracelet – EUR 5,550 on calfskin strap
Zenith Chronomaster Sport
Meet the watch that Instagram named the Daytona-killer… or the Daytona-copy, in classic “hater” language. But before answering why we think this Zenith Chronomaster Sport is worthy of being here, let’s try to clear up the situation a bit. Daytona-copy sounds, to us, slightly misused. In fact, everything in this watch is pure Zenith: the case is almost identical to previous Chronomasters and even to 1969 models; the tri-colour dial couldn’t be more faithful to the brand; and the ceramic bezel, well, Zenith has been using that on the Chronomaster before Rolex did on the Daytona. And finally, the movement is the legendary El Primero, which is kind of ironic when you know the history of the Daytona. So yes, these two play in the same field and are direct competitors, but the Chronomaster Sport is not, according to us, just a simple copy (far from that). It is, in fact, a great watch with superb execution, versatile design, sporty and modern style, impressive automatic, hi-beat movement with 1/10th of a second display (yes, that is super cool) and great appeal. Plus, it doesn’t feature those pointless, impractical screwed pushers, but is still 100m water-resistant (sorry Rolex…)
More details in our review with video here.
Quick Facts: 41mm diameter x 13.60mm height – stainless steel case – ceramic bezel with 1/10th of a second track – 100m WR – white or black dial, tri-colour counters – El Primero calibre 3600, in-house – automatic hi-beat column-wheel chronograph – 3-link stainless steel bracelet – CHF 9,900 on steel bracelet