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Christmas selection - 8 out-of-the-ordinary watches

Christmas selection 8 out-of-the-ordinary watches

The editorial team has picked eight off-the-beaten-track watches, any one of which would make a perfect end to the year

The most vintage: RALF TECH WRX 1963 “Night”

Back in 1963, scuba diving was left to professionals and a few reckless amateurs, conscious (or not?) of the risks they were taking with equipment that no-one would even consider using today. With one exception: the dive watch. Rolex, Panerai and Blancpain paved the way. The WRX 1963 is RALF TECH’s tribute to them.

Why this one? For its bumper 47.5mm cushion case: this is a man’s watch, make no mistake. For its drop-dead gorgeous patinated leather strap. For its specs: a good-looking timepiece but more to the point a true dive watch with a 500-metre water-resistance rating. For its exclusiveness: only 63 will be made.

7 montres sous les radars

WRX 1963 « Night » © RALF TECH

The most sculptural: Raymond Weil Freelancer Skeleton

If there’s one thing Raymond Weil does extremely well, it’s a quality, Swiss-Made watch with an atypical design at a fair price. The Freelancer ticks that box with remarkable consistency. The collection tends to err on the conservative side, which is why this Skeleton version is such a standout, especially the bold colour scheme that wavers between bronze and gun metal. This is a finespun watch with a level of detail and finish rarely seen at this price. Particular care has been given to the decoration of the skeleton movement.

Why this one? For its wow factor: it’s rare to encounter such finely executed skeletonwork in a vintage-style watch at this price point. For value: nothing comes close at this level of finish and creativity for under CHF 3,000. For the movement: this isn’t an open dial but, as on the rather lovely balance bridge at 6 o’clock, a patiently skeletonised movement. For the finishing: the entire movement has a perlage decoration while the leather strap, chosen to complement the sheen of the bronze, confirms this attention to detail.

7 montres sous les radars

Freelancer Squelette © Raymond Weil

The most innovative: Sequent SuperCharger2

Still reluctant to add a smartwatch to your collection? Take the plunge with Sequent, maker of the only smartwatch that charges using kinetic energy, like any mechanical automatic watch. While the hybrid concept isn’t new - Grand Seiko has been doing it for the past fifteen years – Sequent breaks new ground by applying it to a smartwatch, thus providing a solution to the problem of most smartwatches’ laughably low autonomy: 24 hours or at best a couple of days. The SuperCharger2 is entirely self-sufficient: no need for a charger, just wear it on a regular basis. In standby mode, it stays ready to go for up to two years. Strap it back on and the hands will automatically set to the right time.

Why this one? For the disruptive idea of charging a smartwatch like a mechanical automatic watch. For its price: around CHF 300. For its clean and legible dial: no endlessly distracting notifications or icons cluttering a screen – just essential indications.

7 montres sous les radars

SuperCharger2 © Sequent

The most collectible: Schwarz Etienne Roma Synergy by Kari Voutilainen

If a Kari Voutilainen is out of your price range, you can still enjoy the master’s touch with this Roma, created in collaboration with the specialists at Schwarz Etienne. The dial is resplendent with three types of magnificently crisp, engine-turned decoration, a signature feature of a Voutilainen watch. The Finnish watchmaker’s hand is also felt in the diameter of “his” Roma: an elegant 39mm that will delight the most discerning collector. And there is more to please the eye on the ASE 200 (for Automatic Schwarz Etienne) movement that guarantees 86 hours (3.5 days) of power reserve.

Why this one? For the authentic signature of one of today’s greatest master watchmakers. For the originality of a fully independent and inventive manufacturer. For the benefit of a solidly built in-house movement with a longer than average power reserve.

7 montres sous les radars

Roma Synergy © Schwarz Etienne x Voutilainen

The most cosmopolitan: Meccaniche Veloci Icon NeroFumo

A watch by Meccaniche Veloci is immediately recognisable for its four subdials showing four time zones, all powered by the same movement. Unlike the other executions (generously sized at 49mm) which opt for bold, bright colours, this smoky black model is a lesson in sobriety. We particularly like the brushed dial that brings to mind certain Anonimo or, perhaps, JeanRichard. The two left-side dials indicate the time, the third also shows the date and the fourth incorporates a seconds hand. In all, a watch with a strong identity that any long-distance traveller will appreciate.

Why this one? For its discretion, despite its size. For its idiosyncratic nature: the spirit of Meccaniche Veloci in a single watch. For the pleasing combination of a brushed dial with carbon subdials: the ideal balance of modern meets racing.

7 montres sous les radars

Icon NeroFumo © Meccaniche Veloci

The most offbeat: Maurice Lacroix Aikon Automatic Urban Tribe

Is this a future collector’s item? Only 500 will be made and the concept itself is exceptional in the watch world. The Aikon Urban Tribe is a joint project with Simon Nogueira, the free running sensation who prefers to ascend buildings by the outside. The real frisson, however, comes from the steel bracelet and the tattoo/tribal engravings across its surface that make this watch so completely out of the ordinary. This special edition has all the hallmarks of an Aikon and is priced at just $300 more for all this stunning engraving.

Why this one? For its creativity: Maurice Lacroix catches us off-guard with an engraved bracelet which, while nothing new (Yvan Arpa, among others), is an interesting departure for the brand. For its price: under €2,000. For its singularity. For its exclusivity: limited to 500 pieces, individually made to order.

8 montres sous les radars

Aikon Automatic Urban Tribe © Maurice Lacroix

The most promising: Charles Girardier Tourbillon “Signature Mystérieuse”

After a long teasing, Charles Girardier recently unveiled its “Mysterious Signature” in the flesh in Geneva… and what a revelation it was. Few brands demonstrate such aesthetic and technical maturity from the time of their launch. The product is perfectly mastered, lines and proportions are exactly right, decoration is original, contemporary and finely executed. No matter that the Charles Girardier name has little historical resonance: this tourbillon is one of the most promising of its generation.

Why this one? For its innovative and coherent aesthetic, which makes use of time-served techniques to bring something new to the conversation. For the “CG” monogram at 12 o’clock that twirls then reforms. For the singularity of a watch that has no equivalent anywhere else.

7 montres sous les radars

Tourbillon « Signature Mystérieuse » © Charles Girardier

The must-have: Rolex Cosmograph Daytona with meteorite dial

Last spring, Rolex gave its legendary Daytona a facelift with the introduction of a metallic meteorite dial. This isn’t a new feature, but the meteorite’s coarsely textured surface continues to make an impact and simply knowing that it journeyed through space to land on your wrist is pretty mindblowing! This remains a prestigious watch with a case in 18k white gold and a monobloc black Cerachrom bezel. It is, of course, equipped with the in-house Calibre 4130 movement.

Why this one? Because it’s a Daytona. Because it’s a pleasure to own as well as a (very) wise investment, like any Daytona. Because there won’t ever be two the same: each meteorite dial is different, making each watch unique.

7 montres sous les radars

Cosmograph Daytona © Rolex

Lecture 1 Comment(s)

12 January 2022
Renee Potvin
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Having lain dormant for almost two centuries, the Charles Girardier name is back in the horological spotlight with men's and women's timepieces that are imaginative, playful but most of all...

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Based in the Jura region of Switzerland, Maurice Lacroix has been producing fine Swiss timepieces for over 40 years and has developed 14 in-house movements over the past ten years.

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A brand born from the passion of engines and speed in the design capital of Milan now produces high-end watches in Geneva

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In 1996, professional diver Frank Huyghe created the RALF TECH brand: diving suits, buoyancy compensators, regulators, masks, etc. In 2003, on the strength of his personal experience, he designed a...

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Based in traditional Swiss watchmaking country in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Schwarz Etienne has a century of history in watchmaking but chooses to look to the future rather than the past.

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