Monochrome Watches
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Buying Guide

Watches & Wonders Novelties that are Now Available Online

The Icons and Oddballs - we selected 10 newly launched watches that will be available at MR PORTER.

| By Frank Geelen | 13 min read |
Bovet 19Thirty Fleurier

Most of the new watches for 2020 have been launched online. That’s pretty different from any other year when Baselworld and SIHH (now Watches & Wonders) were THE places for new launches. For watch sales, the digital world has played a role for a longer period. Some brands already have e-commerce, some are testing it in selected markets. A rather big global player in this field might just be an unexpected player, namely the luxury fashion e-comm site NET-A-PORTER and MR PORTER. Just after the latest  Watches & Wonders launches, they partnered as the privileged multi-brand online retailers of Watches & Wonders. And we had a look and selected the coolest, the classiest and the funkiest of the Watches & Wonders novelties for sale at MR PORTER. 

The luxury watch world is probably one of the last bastions to show some resilience towards anything “online”, but we all know that resistance is futile. The current pandemic certainly works as a catalyst for those who were not convinced yet. But selling watches online isn’t new to MR PORTER. That very nice Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin Kingsman Knife Limited Edition was available for pre-order, exclusively at MR PORTER. And they also team up with small independent brands, like the two limited editions MR PORTER did with Ressence and more recently, the HYT H1.0 Black. The selection of brands to team up and do a limited edition is not restricted to some of our favourite independent brands, but MR PORTER also teamed up with for instance Zenith and quite a few more. But now we take a look at some of the recent Watches & Wonders ’novelties’. We selected ten… some classics and some more funky ones.

Bovet 19Thirty Fleurier – a pocket watch on the wrist

With its extremely classic pocket watch looks, one could also argue that the Bovet 19Thirty Fleurier is more funky than classic. In today’s market you will not find many pocket watches, let alone pocket watches to be worn on the wrist. Its movement, the in-house developed, manufactured, hand-finished and assembled calibre 15BM04, is a hand-wound movement that keeps running for seven days when fully wound. All movement parts are incredibly finished, featuring a beautiful circular Côte de Genève, heat-blued screws, bevelled edges, and more: it’s a true feast for the eye. Maybe a bit of an oddball, but at least it’s an incredibly beautiful oddball!

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Quick facts: 42mm x 9mm steel case – black and fleurisanne-engraved silver-tone dial – hand-wound movement with seven-day power reserve, 35 jewels, 21,600 vph – ardillon buckle on black croc-effect leather strap – around 21k EUR – you can find it here on MR PORTER.

(Although the 19Thirty was introduced several years ago, it is now available online – we covered it here.)

Cartier Santon Dumont Hand-wound

Again a classic, but less classicism this time. The Cartier Santon Dumont has a more than 100-year history and it is regarded as one of the first men’s wristwatches ever created. Although it was created for Louis Cartier’s friend, Brazilian aviator Albert Santos-Dumont, to be worn on the wrist while flying, it does not look like the pilot’s watches that we see today. Yet, it was actually the first purpose-built pilot’s watch. But as mentioned, its history of more than 100 years makes the Cartier Santos Dumont one of the all-time classics in the world of wristwatches. Introduced earlier this year during the digital Watches & Wonders, Cartier comes back to this beauty with a fine hand-wound movement, named Cartier’s calibre 430 MC.

Good to know: this movement is actually a slightly reworked ultra-thin Piaget calibre 430P. Here the Santos-Dumont is pictured as full stainless steel version together with a steel case with rose gold bezel version.

Quick facts: 46.6mm (lug to lug) x 33.9mm (diameter) x 7.5mm (height) steel case stainless – silvered sunray with satin finish dial – Roman numerals – blue sword-shaped hand – Cartier 430 MC based on Piaget 430P ultra-thin – hand-wound – 21,600vph – 38h power reserve – pin buckle and navy alligator strap – just under 6k EUR – here on MR PORTER

(We covered it here when it was introduced earlier this year.)

Girard-Perregaux 1966 Infinity Edition

Another absolute classic is the Girard-Perregaux 1966. Sleek, elegant, well-proportioned and simply good looking. The inky-black dial features applied hour markers in rose gold at 12, 3, 6 and 9 o’clock while the remaining indices are picked out in a similar pink gold colour. Slim and elongated, the markers add sophistication to the dial that also displays the new ‘bridge logo’ under the brand name at 12 o’clock, a nod to the famous La Esmeralda Tourbillon with Three Bridges model that won a gold medal at the Paris Universal Exhibition in 1889.

The 1966 Infinity is accompanied by a classy black alligator strap with a triple-folding steel buckle. A nice detail is the stitching on the alligator strap; the first two stitches are picked out in a golden colour, while the rest are black to echo the colour scheme of the dial. The movement is one of GP’s own making, namely the tried-and-tested calibre GP0330.

Quick facts: 40mm x 8.90mm – stainless steel, polished – 30m water-resistance – black onyx dial – pink gold indices – calibre GP03300-1402, automatic with pink gold oscillating weight – 4Hz/28,800vph – 46h power reserve for hours, minutes, central seconds and date – black alligator strap with triple-folding steel buckle – limited to 188 pieces – just under 10k EUR – here on MR PORTER

(More stories on the various Girard-Perregaux 1966 models can be seen here.)

HYT H0 Black & Orange

The HYT H0 that we selected might not be a classic…. YET! With its spectacular way to indicate time, by using fluids in a transparent capillary tube to indicate minutes, it’s a classic in the making. New ways to indicate time have always been intriguing. Ever since man started measuring time and creating devices to keep track of time, they’ve come up with novel ways to indicate the elapsed time. Yet, HYT manages to combine a normal minute hand, in the small sub-dial at the upper half of the watch face, with fluidic retrograde hour indication, and that is something that has never been done before.

The movement offers 65h of power reserve when fully wound; a power reserve gauge is visible on the right-hand side of the minute sub-dial and a running seconds indication on the left-hand side. The fluidic module is composed of two bellows, which can also be seen through two apertures in the dial, that actuate the immiscible liquids in a glass capillary tube. The intriguing factor of this movement is how it transforms the circular motion of a standard movement into a linear display, by means of a cam-follower system that synchronises the hour and minute indications. This cam works in conjunction with a long, curved feeler-spindle enabling the orchestration of the mechanism. Highly technical, highly unusual, and highly cool.

Quick facts: 48.8mm x 18.7mm black DLC-coated stainless steel case – 30m water-resistant – time indicated by minutes and fluidic retrograde hours, black fluidic indication over an orange background – calibre HYT 501, hand-wound, 41 jewels, 28,800 vph, 65h power reserve – black rubber strap on black DLC-coated titanium folding buckle – around 42.5k EUR – here on MR PORTER

(We covered the HYT HO Black & Orange here.)

IWC Portugieser Automatic 40mm

The IWC Portugieser is a classic, an icon, and had to be on our list of icons and oddballs. With a history dating back to the late 1930s, with reference 325, this nautical-inspired and elegant watch has been equipped with all possible complications. Earlier this year, IWC introduced a new, compact, daily oriented and ultra-clean version of its nautical icon, with a neatly organised dial with small seconds, named the IWC Portugieser Automatic 40. As the name already indicates, the case of this IWC Portugieser Automatic 40 measures 40mm in diameter, which offers a good presence, not too formal in its appearance and not too sporty either. A great daily wrist companion.

Now equipped with IWC’s new in-house movement, calibre 82200 can be admired through the sapphire pane in the caseback. IWC’s entry-level automatic manufacture movement has been developed as a replacement to ETA and Sellita and offers multiple improvements over these outsourced engines. The automatic winding is done by the brand’s Pellaton system, the power reserve is comfortable at 60 hours, and the movement measures 30mm in diameter, making it better adapted to contemporary sized watches. It is also quite pleasantly designed with opened bridges that reveal most parts. The decoration, if industrial, is well executed.

Quick facts: 40.4mm x 12.4mm stainless steel case, polished and brushed – domed sapphire crystal and sapphire case back – 30m water-resistant – silver-plated dial with blued indexes and hands – IWC calibre 82200, automatic with Pellaton winding system, 31 jewels, 28,800 vph, 60h power reserve – alligator leather strap with butterfly folding clasp – just over 7k EUR here on MR PORTER

Jaeger-LeCoultre Memovox

When thinking of Jaeger-LeCoultre, there is more than one icon that comes to mind. The well-known reversible wristwatch – the Reverso –  is one, the mantle clock that seems to run as a Perpetuum Mobile, named Atmos clock, is another. And the wrist-worn alarm watch, named Memovox is also an iconic Jaeger-LeCoultre. Earlier this year the brand from the Vallée de Joux, which is the cradle of complicated watchmaking, slightly redesigned this classic and now it’s available in a contemporary 40mm diameter.

Fun fact: back in the 1960s Jaeger-LeCoultre made a Memovox with an alarm that could be set to keep track of the parking meter, so you would not forget to top it up.

Legible, classic looks, comfortable on the wrist and functional as an alarm, it’s a perfect daily companion. Maybe you prefer to wake up with the gentle sound and vibration of the Memovox on your wrist instead of the loud alarm of your iPhone? Or you can use it to set an alarm for your next meeting at the office. The Jaeger-LeCoultre Memovox is easy to use and a pleasant way to infuse old mechanics into your daily activities.

Good to know: warranty is no less than eight years!

Quick facts: 40mm steel case – exhibition caseback – silvered sunray dial with applied hour markers – functions: hours, minutes, seconds, date and alarm – Jaeger-LeCoultre calibre 956AA automatic movement, 45-hour power reserve 24 jewels, 28,800 vph – folding buckle and calf leather strap – just under 12k EUR here on MR PORTER

Montblanc Star Legacy Nicolas Rieussec Automatic Chronograph 44mm

We’re covering the classics and the oddballs. But which of the two is this Montblanc? It features a lot of classic styling elements, like the Breguet numerals, the guilloché pattern on the dial, the open-worked leaf-shaped hands, the circular graining centre dial: everything about this watch spells “classic”. And that’s pretty much in line with the namesake, Mr Nicolas Rieussec, who was once the French king’s watchmaker and inventor of (one of the) first chronographs.

While it might not yet be considered a classic in watchmaking, we think that the Montblanc Nicolas Rieussec has everything going for it, to become a classic. Why? This was one of Montblanc’s first forays into mechanical watchmaking with an in-house developed movement and its watchmakers didn’t hold back. The movement comprises two mainsprings delivering 72 hours of power reserve, the chronograph functions are actuated by a column wheel and the coupling with the running gear train is a vertical one, something praised by experts. On top of that, it is a COSC-certified chronometer! An additional second time zone and day/night indicator turn this watch into a very handy daily wearer that’s also very useful for world travellers.

Quick facts: 44mm x 15mm steel case – exhibition caseback – anthracite dial, rhodium-coated hands and indices – functions: hours, minutes, seconds, date, second time zone, day/night indicator, chronograph – calibre MB R200 automatic chronograph movement, 72-hour power reserve, 40 jewels, 28,800 vph, COSC certified – alligator leather strap on a butterfly folding buckle – just under 7.5k EUR – here on MR PORTER

Piaget Altiplano Hand-wound 38mm

Again a perfect classic that has been well nurtured. The Piaget Altiplano has been around for decades and has set the bar for clean, simple, elegant and ultra-thin classic wristwatches. It’s the epitome of the classic dress watch in every way. Already back in the 1960s, Piaget set the benchmark for ultra-thin and elegant wristwatches when it introduced the hand-wound calibre 9P. A few years later Piaget added an automatically wound version, calibre 12P. With these ultra-thin movements, Piaget has become known for ultra-thin elegant dress watches. Inside this timeless beauty ticks the modern Piaget calibre 430P, which is a hand-wound movement that delivers autonomy of 43 hours when fully wound. Where did we see that movement before…?

Quick facts: 38mm x 6mm white gold case – silvered dial, stainless steel dauphine hands, indices and markers – calibre 430P hand-wound movement with 43-hour power reserve, 18 jewels, 21,600 vph – black alligator leather strap on ardillon bucklearound 18.5k EUR here on MR PORTER

Ulysse Nardin Freak X Ti

Sure, you’d expect this to be one of the oddballs. And although you’re 100% right to call the Ulysse Nardin Freak X Ti an oddball, it’s also a classic. For those in the know, this is no surprise, since the Ulysse Nardin is one of the most groundbreaking, revolutionary watches ever to be created. With its novel movement construction and pioneering use of silicon for the movement’s escapement, the Freak from Ulysse Nardin (developed by Ludwig Oechslin) is among the great classics in watchmaking.

The Freak X Ti is sort of the entry-level for the Ulysse Nardin Freak collection. The movement has been simplified, reading time seems easier on the new Freak X Ti, and, more importantly, the case is much more comfortable compared on the wrist compared to the old Freak. So altogether the Freak X Ti is the modernized and more accessible version of the groundbreaking Freak, and although a price tag of 21k EUR is not exactly a bargain, it’s priced less than a quarter of the original Freak. A classic with oddball looks!

Quick facts: 43mm x 13.5mm black titanium DLC case – water-resistant to 5 bar – calibre UN-230, automatic winding, 72-hour power reserve, 21 jewels, 21,600 vph – ardillon buckle and black calf leather strap – just under 21k EURhere on MR PORTER

Vacheron Constantin FiftySix automatic 40mm rose gold

Last but not least is this Vacheron Constantin Fiftysix. It might not be a classic yet, but we believe it has all the ingredients to become one of this Maison’s future classics. Vacheron Constantin is one of the oldest Maisons in the watchmaking world and its résumé features quite a few watches that can be considered as classic. While the new Fiftysix collection was introduced in 2018, thus pretty recent, the styling of the Fiftysix is convincingly classic. It might not look as overwhelming as, for instance, the Ulysse Nardin Freak X, but this is one that takes you by surprise.

We’ve worn the complete calendar version and we loved it! Movement finishing, case finishing, styling, and almost inexplicable factors like the ratio between the case diameter and thickness, are designed and executed to such perfection that you simply have to wear it to believe it. Inside ticks, of course, a Vacheron Constantin in-house developed and manufactured movement, calibre 1326.

Quick facts: 40mm x 9.6mm pink gold case – calibre 1326, automatic winding, 48-hour power reserve, 25 jewels, 28,800 vph – brown dial, luminescent hands and indices, pink gold numerals – dark-brown leather strap with ardillon buckle – around 20.5k EURhere on MR PORTER

1 response

  1. How much nicer would that PORTUGIESER look in 36 or even 37 mm ? It is just too big for that kind of watch ,but looks ok at 40mm.

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