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Haute Horology

New timepieces unveiled at this year’s watch fairs acknowledged both the sophisticated consumer and the tighter economy
Elizabeth Doerr
From the Print Edition:
Adrien Brody, September/October 2010

It was no easy task choosing the 10 best new watches this year. There were many impressive offerings in terms of originality, creativity, functionality and price, though the major brands seemed to opt for classicism over novelty. Some of the very best innovations and most interesting mechanics were introduced by small boutique brands, and this is not too surprising-it behooves the smaller companies to continually innovate regardless of costs in order to retain their clientele of discriminating collectors.

Other brands are starting to concentrate on in-house component production rather than relying on third-party suppliers. And justifiably so, as Swatch-owned ETA (the largest supplier of watch movements) announced that it will be restricting sales to outside companies in the near future. Many brands have fortuitously adjusted prices to retain a customer base, and in the process foregone all-out novelty elements.

Brands such as Carl F. Bucherer continue to amaze the educated watch-buying public with its new base movement, but this year decided to introduce a new ladies' model rather than a more complicated addition to the men's line. And, naturally, Rolex continues to be a perennial favorite, with this year's talked-about introduction being a stainless steel version of the evergreen Submariner model as well as a snazzy sports watch by sister brand Tudor, which is currently not distributed in the United States.

Bovet Amadeo
Due to the rarity and high retail prices of the Bovet timepieces, this brand rarely makes it onto Cigar Aficionado's Top 10 list. This year, however, the Fleurier, Switzerland-based marque has introduced an extension to its gloriously classic line that may well appeal to a more conservative watch buyer interested in classic aesthetics and exclusivity.

The Bovet principle sees its classically styled timepieces clothed so traditionally as to resemble a pocket watch. The look is achieved to a great extent by placing the crown between the lugs at the 12 o'clock position-like on a pocket watch-rather than at 3 o'clock. Other pocket watch characteristics include the bow-styled strap lugs.

Bovet has now come out with an addition to the line that makes perfect sense given these predilections. Working out a user-friendly system with no muss and no fuss, Bovet introduces a variation on its Fleurier line called Amadeo that allows the 39 or 43 mm watch to be quickly, easily, and safely converted between wristwatch, pocket watch (or pendant for women), and table clock.

Needing seven years of research to perfect the mechanism, Bovet presents this delightful timepiece in just the right economic climate: a classically styled watch with variable uses in a solid gold case, powered by a reliable and beautifully finished automatic movement with five days of power reserve. The reserve might seem unnecessary in an automatic watch. Why does it matter how much power reserve an automatic watch has if it is being continuously wound by the wearer's kinetic movement? If the watch is worn as a pocket watch or pendant, or, most importantly, used as a desk clock, five days of power reserve is really a necessity. Being automatic, as soon as it is worn again, it will wind itself. Convenience is thus one of the key elements of this timepiece.

Conversion from pocket to wristwatch and back is done without any tools, which means that that the Amadeo can be easily worn by anyone in any desired manner.

The 43 mm Bovet Amadeo in 18-karat red gold with a polished black enamel dial retails for $34,000 and comes with a beautiful 26 cm red gold-plated silver chain. The great thing about Bovet is that the production is so intimate that customization of any sort is easily accommodated-particularly miniature paintings on the dial, which is a specialty of the company. The chain is also available in solid gold.

Breguet Type XXII
Breguet is generally known for its high complications, and in particular the tourbillon, but what many don't realize is that Breguet also has a sports watch line that appeals to more casual tastes.

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