Luxury watches are coming back to classics

A mechanical watch is a fairly simple thing. It operates on a painstakingly designed movement that depends on its wearer for power. It indicates the hours and minutes (and especially the seconds too) and has no more than one date or day / date complication to clutter the dial. While other complications (tourbillons, perpetual calendars, moon phases, minute repeaters) always make a watch more interesting, in 2021 we are largely witnessing a return to basics: the classic three hands in all its splendor.

Take Rolex. Earlier this year, she released what I think is the purest distillation of her sports watch, the Rolex Explorer, in a classic 36mm size. The ref. 124270 ( ??4,61,700) is an instant classic on the oystersteel steel bracelet, with the black dial and the iconic 3, 6 and 9 in Arabic numerals. Men’s watches got bigger every year, but now, thanks to the resurgence of watches and vintage styles, the diameters are shrinking again, just like the Explorer, dropping from 39mm.

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Or take Grand Seiko. The Japanese powerhouse has established itself as one of the big players in the luxury segment, and its stunning watches are a refinement of an ideal that dates back to Seiko’s design philosophies of the 1960s. Take a look at the layout net and temporal of ref. SBGW231G ( ??3,60,000). It’s all shiny, crisp lines in the hands and indexes; a captivating, yet subtle dial with plenty of space; and shiny, polished zaratsu pods. This reference is also just 37mm wide, a throwback to earlier styles of understated luxury. Much like the Explorer is for Rolex, the SBGW231G may not be the most expensive Grand Seiko, but it is the purest.

And this is also true for the wider domain. A new Breitling like the Premier Heritage B09 Chronograph displays a timeless look. The new Patek Philippe Nautilus ref. 5711 / 1A-014 does not disturb the DNA either. And I could go on with the new offerings from Cartier, Bvlgari or Omega, but the underlying sentiment remains the same. At a time of upheaval in the luxury watch segment, it is better to stick to timeless designs. And customers don’t complain. With that in mind, here are six great luxury watches you should consider.

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Grand Seiko Ref. SBGW231G
(Courtesy of Grand Seiko)

GRAND SEIKO REF. SBGW231G: A classic dress watch, this is a pure iteration of Grand Seiko’s 1960s design heritage. Available on; ??3.60 lakh.

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Rolex Explorer Ref.124270

Rolex Explorer Ref.124270
(Courtesy of Rolex)

ROLEX EXPLORER REF. 124270: Rolex has returned to tradition by reducing the classic sports watch to a svelte 36mm. Available on; ??4 61 700

Also Read: Diwali Gift Guide For Those Who Want More Than Mithai

Breitling Heritage Chronograph B09.

Breitling Heritage Chronograph B09.
(Courtesy of Breitling)

CHRONOGRAPH BREITLING HERITAGE B09: Breitling is channeling the 1940s to bring this magnificent manual winding chronograph in this year’s trendy color, green. Available on; ??5.86.350

Read also: A Cartier, a Junghans and what makes a watch a design icon

Cartier Tank Must.

Cartier Tank Must.
(Courtesy of Cartier)

THE CARTIER TANK MUST: There is probably no better unisex dress watch in the world than the Cartier Tank. Available on; ??2.35 lakh

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Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra 150.

Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra 150.
(Courtesy of Omega)

OMEGA SEAMASTER AQUA TERRA 150: One of this year’s hits, and no wonder, with its 38mm case and mix of sporty and dressy vibes. Available on Ethoswatches; ?? 4.77 lakh

Read also: Swiss luxury watches and the watch auction boom

Bvlgari Octo Finissimo.

Bvlgari Octo Finissimo.
(Courtesy of Bvlgari)

BVLGARI OCTO FINISSIMO: Another hit this year was the Octo Finissimo in super thin and tough titanium. It is the perfect blend of elegance and robustness. Available on; ??11.88 lakh

Also read: Why do we need mechanical watches in 2021?

About Robert L. Thomas

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