Now that the “ten pipers piping” have finally exited the scene, it’s a good time to look back at the 10 best men’s watches of 2015. Some of the candidates are reiterations of time-honoured classics, others are brand new and determined to face the ultimate arbiter of longevity, our old friend Father Time.
For a luxury emporium forged on steamer trunks and luggage, travel is an evident motif and the eye-catching Escale Worldtime range of Louis Vuitton watches were upgraded with a minute repeater in 2015. My personal favourite, the Escale Worldtime Minute Repeater is like a lively game of Trivial Pursuit with an ingenious no-hands approach to world time readings and a highly complex movement allowing you to chime your home time.
When it comes to intrepid design, Cartier watches have an enviable history - just think Tank and Santos. In 2015, the Clé collection was unveiled, but as with all Cartier products, the subtleties of the design have conspired to create an icon. With a more tapered rotundity than the Ballon Bleu, the Clé collection is based on a perfect circle and offset with gently arching lugs and a rectangular crown. One of my favourite models is the Clé de Cartier Mysterious Hour watch. Equipped with Cartier’s signature mystery movement, the hour and minute hands float magically in space with no visible connection to the movement.
Read more about the Clé de Cartier collection here
Patek Philippe is renowned for its world time watches - the most complete travel companion displaying the time in 24 cities around the world. Patek was also among the first to incorporate the mechanism invented by Louis Cottier in the 1930s into its men’s watches. Ref. 5131 in a rose gold case and an artistic cloisonné enamel dial representing the continents lets you consult the time in 24 time zones at a glance - proof positive that functionality and beauty are not incompatible.
Vacheron Constantin, the oldest watch manufacturer in the world, turned 260 in 2015 and celebrated the event with a new collection of watches for men called Harmony. A triumph of design with a reinvented cushion-shaped case and a host of new calibres, the star of the collection on both the aesthetic and technical front is the Ultra-Thin Grande Complication Chronograph - the world’s thinnest automatic monopusher chronograph housed in a svelte 8.40mm platinum case.
The refined taste that permeates every corner of the Hermès universe has touched the elegant Slim d’Hermès Perpetual Calendar watch. While relaying a wealth of information such as the time, day, date, month, leap year and Moon phases, the aesthetic purity of the dial on these Hermès watches prevails, housed in an ultra-thin 2.6mm rose gold case.
Another winning design for a perpetual calendar and one of my all-time favourites of 2015 is H. Moser’s Endeavour Perpetual Calendar Funky Blue watch. One of the most elegant and easy-to-read dials for a complication of this magnitude, the beautiful fumé sky-blue dial and cool kudu leather strap bring a contemporary touch to these men’s watches.
One of the most successful revivals of 2015, right on trend with the rage for retro, is undoubtedly the Geophysic True Second range of Jaeger-LeCoultre watches. Deceptively simple with the same utilitarian clean-cut case and dial of its 1958 ancestor, the new rose gold Geophysic is endowed with a dead-beat seconds complication, allowing for even more accurate readings of the seconds - in keeping with the watch’s original vocation as a scientific timing tool.
Read more about the ongoing rage for retro watches here.
It was Andy Warhol’s favourite watch, and Piaget did the world a favour by reviving this cult Black Tie Vintage model from the 1960s. The rich inky-black onyx dial - a forte of Piaget - and the cushion-shaped case with its stepped bezel are faithful to the original, although the profile of these Piaget watches are slimmer thanks to the ultra-thin movement inside, making it an ideal dress watch.
Tudor watches, the sibling brand of Rolex, came of age in 2015 and made a declaration of independence and maturity by developing its first in-house automatic movement. This rugged North Flag model, an ideal companion for hardcore adventures, is equipped with the new movement, offering a feisty 70-hour power reserve and COSC chronometer certification.
2015 was also a James Bond year and since Omega has been 007’s brand of choice for the last 20 years, a special edition of the virile Seamaster Spectre 300 was produced for the agent’s adventures in the movie Spectre, complete with anti-magnetic protection of up to 15,000 gauss and water-resistance to 300 metres. The NATO strap adds a cool touch of military might to these iconic watches and also looked great on Daniel Craig’s wrist.