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Prime Time

Beyond the hype of the year’s high horology rarities is an array of intriguing watches for dreamers and realists alike
Laurie Kahle
From the Print Edition:
Ernie Els, November/December 2012

(continued from page 1)

Similarly, Ulysse Nardin applied a vulcanized rubber coating to the stainless steel case, bezel and pushers of its latest Marine Diver model, the Black Sea Chronograph ($10,900), which is the first chronograph in the collection. The textured monochromatic black dial, accented with Superluminova for visibility, features a seconds counter with a hand adorned with the brand’s hallmark anchor at 3 o’clock, a 30-minute counter at 9 o’clock, date at 4 o’clock, and a 12-hour counter with a red and blue hand at 6 o’clock. It’s also water-resistant down to 200 meters, should you find yourself going overboard.


Bulgari Octo Maserati
Honorable mention: Hublot, TAG Heuer, Graham

The link between cars and watches has never been stronger with scores of new timepieces that not only take design cues and borrow materials from their automotive counterparts, but also carry the names of esteemed marques, champion drivers and famous racetracks. This fall, Hublot brings its Big Bang Ferrari with shifter-like pushers and carbon-fiber trim to the U.S. TAG Heuer pays tribute to the designer of the original Carrera with the Carrera Calibre 17 Chronograph Jack Heuer 80th Birthday Edition and Graham continues its run of beefy Silverstone models.

This year, even Bulgari entered the field with the Octo Maserati ($32,100), incorporating a tachymeter scale on the bezel, in addition to a jump hour and four retrograde displays that are hallmarks of Gerald Genta’s Octo design, which has been folded into the Bulgari range. Though the automaker’s name appears only on the case back along with the marque’s trident motif, Bulgari designers picked up on Maserati design codes on the dial. The face recalls the cars’ distinctive radiator grilles with vertical lines rendered in lacquer using a multistep champlevé technique. In this context, the retrograde displays mimic the arced, linear readouts of dashboard gauges, while the quilted leather strap is stitched to resemble a Maserati cockpit seat. Presented in a classic Maserati color scheme of silver and blue, the Octo Maserati takes the checkered flag for design.
Moon Phases

MB&F HM3 Moonmachine
Honorable mention: Girard-Perregaux, Carl F. Bucherer, Jaquet Droz, Ulysse Nardin

Of all watchmaking’s complications, the moon phase is perhaps the most romantic, connecting us to the cosmos and the very origins of our calendar. Charting lunar cycles on a wristwatch may seem superfluous today, but that may be part of the appeal of a moon phase, which is frequently paired with calendar functions. The presentation of a moon phase is often resolutely classic as seen in Girard-Perregaux’s Vintage 1945 Large Date Moon-Phases or Carl F. Bucherer’s Manero MoonPhase released in 18-karat rose gold this year. But some designers have gotten creative. Jaquet Droz’s Eclipse Onyx reveals its moon from behind a paddle-shaped piece of black onyx, while Ulysse Nardin’s Classico Luna depicts the waxing and waning of the moon in an aperture that rotates around the center of the dial every 12 hours.

Finnish watchmaker Stepan Sarpaneva makes what are probably the most striking moon phases on the market, perhaps influenced by the long winter nights in his homeland. This year, the independent watchmaker teamed up with MB&F to create three limited-edition Moonmachines ($98,000), which pair his oversized sculpted moon with the iconoclastic time display of the HM3 Frog, so named for its protruding aluminum domes that rotate under sapphire crystals. Sarpaneva’s celestial themes have been incorporated in the Moonmachine, which presents two particularly expressive moon faces (resembling Sarpaneva’s own) through a corona-shaped aperture against the backdrop of a multilayered rotor that is laser-pierced to form stars and constellations. A radical departure from the conventional, Moon-machine takes the moon phase into sci-fi territory.


Chopard L.U.C XP Skeletec
Honorable mention: Audemars Piguet, Blancpain, Hublot, Glashütte, Piaget

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