This year was a pretty exceptional year for me regarding horology. As well as writing many articles I also managed to develop my own prototype (called the Polaris) with the generous assistance of Frank Heydrich. Going through this process really made me appreciate how difficult and expensive it can be to get a watch to market. Nevertheless I really enjoyed the experience and was able to share my insight with many of my watchmaking heroes at Baselworld. Every year these amazing artisans seem to set the bar higher and higher. Obviously it is impossible to compile a definitive list but here are some of my highlights from 2015.
Louis Moinet SA Derrick Gaz Tourbillon
Louis Moinet SA is a high-end watchmaker that pays homage to inventor of the first Chronograph. The company is owned by progressive designer Jean-Marie Schaller and is based in Saint-Blaise, Switzerland. This year they launched an incredibly creative timepiece called the Derrick Gaz Tourbillon. Dimensionally the watch has a luxurious 18-karat white gold case measuring 47mm x 14.10m. What makes this timepiece so magnificent is the stunning multi-layered lacquered “Clous de Paris” engraved blue dial. This feature displays a three-dimensional representation of an oil tower and pipelines. Beneath the opulent façade lies an accomplished 39-jewel mechanical hand-winding tourbillon movement.
Harry Winston Opus 14
Harry Winston is synonymous for its beautiful range of high-class jewellery. Under the helm of the Swatch Group they are also producing some pretty exceptional timepieces. The Opus 14 was released in 2015 (after Baselworld) and is probably their most ambitious model to date. This watch has a massive 18-karat white gold asymmetrical case measuring 54.7 mm x 21.9 mm. What makes this timepiece so phenomenal is the amazing futuristic appearance. Other details include a multi-layered dial with GMT, calendar and power reserve indications. At the heart of the watch is an exceptionally complicated Swiss made mechanical movement containing 1066 individual components.
Hautlence is a brilliant contemporary watchmaker situated in the heart of Neuchâtel, Switzerland. François Quentin and Guillaume Tetu originally founded the company. This year they released one of their most distinctive timepieces called the Vortex. Dimensionally it is also one of their largest watches to date and measures 52mm x 50mm x 17.8 mm. What makes the timepiece so striking is the grade 5 titanium case with several sapphire crystal windows. This feature gives the recipient views of the intricate mechanics from every angle. Time is ingeniously displayed by retrograde minutes and jumping hours. Powering the watch is a 92-jewel Swiss made self-winding movement that contains 552 individual components.
HYT is a highly progressive and modernistic watch brand based in Neuchâtel, Switzerland. Industry veteran Vincent Perriard co owns and operates the company. This year they released their most exciting and complicated watch to date called the H3. Dimensionally the timepiece has a mammoth titanium and platinum case measuring 62mm x 48.8mm x 16mm. What makes this watch so distinctive is the meticulous three-dimensional multi layered dial. This gives the timepiece a really striking industrial appearance. Other amazing details include a fluid linear hour display and rotating retrograde minute indication. Beneath the sophisticated exterior lies a Swiss made 53-jewel hand-winding movement with a power reserve of 170-hours.
4N Sapphire Planet
4N is a Parisian based luxury watch brand established by renowned designer François Quentin. This year at Baselworld they unveiled a new version of their debut model called the Sapphire Planet. With a sublime transparent sapphire crystal rectangular case measuring 52mm x 37mm x 16mm this watch is designed to make a bold statement. What makes this timepiece so amazing is the beautifully handcrafted open work dial. This characteristic displays hours and minutes in a digital format via 3 rotating disks. Powering the watch is a highly complicated mechanical movement containing 78-jewels and 514 individual parts. This amazing watch will be limited to only 3 pieces and priced at: $312,555.