A watch is more than the sum of its parts, and the right timepiece signals that you're a force to be reckoned with
From the Print Edition:
Tom Selleck, Nov/Dec 2007
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Jaeger-LeCoultre is also expert in understated elegance and its products rank among the world's true power watches. The Reverso has been around since 1931 when British polo players stationed in India desired a wristwatch that could protect the sensitive crystal—which at that time was simply made of normal pane glass, today called mineral crystal—over the dial while playing. The Le Sentier —based company responded by inventing a case that could revolve 180 degrees so that the metal case back was facing up while being worn during play. The rectangular Reverso has gone through many evolutions in the ensuing 76 years, many of which now include a second dial for a second time zone or ornately enameled and/or engraved case backs.
Celebrating 75 years of the Reverso, Jaeger-LeCoultre introduced a new case shape for it in 2006. This chunkier, square version was a more masculine update of the Art Deco style of the famous model. Jaeger-LeCoultre's newest power watch was born. Wearing this lets your peers know that you are knowledgeable about good quality, good design and watch history.
Wearing a Patek Philippe is perhaps the only thing that could top this. This 168-year-old company is the undisputed king of the watch industry, producing watches that are the utmost in discreet taste and quality. A Patek Philippe—pick any model of your liking—is possibly the ultimate power watch, and always has been.
The Look for Less
Perhaps you like the power watches mentioned, but don't quite have pockets deep enough to acquire a real dream piece. Don't despair. You don't have to turn to the same common staple most everyone else does: Rolex. Although the marque is still a classic choice among businessmen and watch enthusiasts, there are a number of great brands offering cool, unique wristwatches that won't break the bank.
Anonimo's Polluce model in bronze is one. It's a masculine timepiece you can wear equally as well in the boardroom as you can yachting or playing a round of golf. This stately watch houses an excellent Swiss movement, features outstanding case and dial design, and has the added plus of being the first model to bring bronze back as a case metal. This alloy is practically the only one currently used in watchmaking that is able to project a unique and manly patina after being worn for a while. The color of the bronze case changes slightly over time, gaining a used and worn look that can only bring out the best in you and your wardrobe. Combined with a light brown strap, this timepiece not only makes your wrist look powerful, but adds an air of masculinity to your entire being. This model retails for $3,950.
Bell & Ross has emerged as one of the industry's hot brands since creating the BR 01 Instrument line. This expansive 46 x 46 millimeter wristwatch is now available in a number of different versions housed in stainless steel, black PVD or rose-gold cases. The various dials include fluorescent orange or blue—and even a "stealth" version that is legible at night, while remaining a little more low-key during the day. Starting at $3,000, this is one power watch that will not burn a hole in your wallet.
Real watches inspired by real pilots are what Ernst Benz offers. Although only six years old, this is one of the first marques to serially offer timepieces in an oversized state of 47 millimeters—making them an instant hit among watch fans. A change of ownership two and a half years ago gave the brand another push in the design department, since the company's young new owner, Leonid Khankin, also happens to be a gifted designer with a distinct feel for pilot Ernst Benz's original intentions and early designs. Jazzing the bezels with high-grade diamonds and offering the dials in a myriad of fresh colors have also made this brand a new favorite among professional sports players as well as rainmakers. Non-diamond pilot-style timepieces start here at about $2,000.
For a watch line that starts at less than $2,000, yet remains completely unique in appearance, have a look at Alpina's Avalanche Extreme Regulator. Available in 48- or 42-millimeter diameters, this Swiss-made timepiece remains a distinct conversation piece, outfitting you with the same type of shape, size, look, and feel that the power watches costing 10 times or more provide.
Make a statement with the only real piece of jewelry you can get away with in the boardroom. Be daring and get informed—and you will see it pay off by letting everyone know exactly who you are. After all, it's going to be kind of hard to carry that BMW into the office, now, isn't it?
Elizabeth Doerr is a freelance watch writer based in Germany.
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