By Kristian Haagen in Copenhagen, Denmark
With the big watch fairs behind us, the SIHH in January and Baselworld in March, we will soon be able to get a good look at the timepieces launched at the shows. We asked Kristian Haagen, Timegeeks blogger and watch expert, to name his five favourite watch designs for 2014.
> A.Lange & Söhne Zeitwerk Striking Time watch in rose gold
This rather striking - pun intended - timepiece is not merely horological eye candy but also a rather peculiar watch. First of all, it's a digital watch with a mechanical movement consisting of 528 separate parts. Secondly, it's a watch with an acoustic indicator. Not as in a minute repeater, however. Instead, the watch will strike only once on the hour, which is indicated with a reverberating low-pitched tone, and on each quarter-hour, indicated with a clear, high-pitched tone that sounds like you accidentally hit your wine glass with a fork.
> Omega Speedmaster Apollo 11 45th Anniversary watch
The Omega Speedmaster is one of the most predictable watches in the world because it looks pretty much the same as the original version, which was introduced in 1957. But the 2014 launch of the sexy Speedmaster Apollo 11 45th Anniversary had me return to the Omega booth at Baselworld for another trying-on session. The dark-grey grade-2 titanium case, with a Sedna rose gold tachymeter bezel, is a great contrast. The laser-treated brown dial is truly spectacular and, to top off this fantastic look, Omega its 45th anniversary Speedmaster a high-quality brown NATO strap. Did I say that the Speedmaster design is predictable? Not this year. This year, the Omega Speedmaster is hot.
> Girard-Perregaux Neo-Tourbillon watch
The man at the design helm at Girard-Perregaux is actually a trained architect, and that's why the very cool Neo-Tourbillon is more that just a good-looking watch. It's a timepiece with architectural details, which is precisely what Stefano Macaluso was aiming for when he designed the Neo-Tourbillon with three distinct tourbillon bridges. Easily recognisable as Girard-Perregaux, which has being using this design since the 19th century, the watch's domed look and the use of sapphire crystal on the sides of the case are not there just for show but to let in light. And this is how an architect thinks when creating a building. Macaluso, who is a cartoon buff as well as big Star Wars fan, reckons the Neo-Tourbillon looks like a space station. "I was thinking of a small city when I designed this watch. You know, a space city with a large dome over it." Indeed. I see it, Mr Macaluso. And I love it too!
> Linde Werdelin Oktopus MoonLite watch
The Danish brand Linde Werdelin is enjoying lots of attention with its clever combination of luxurious mechanical watches and digital instruments that are designed to click on top of the watch. This year, the young watchmakers came out with a stunning new version of its Moon phase Oktopus Moon watch. The original was an all-black version, while this year's model, which is devoid of all colour, is named MoonLite. The inner and outer cases are made from colourless ALW - Alloy Linde Werdelin - which was developed specifically for the brand.?ALW is more than twice as hard as steel and half the weight of titanium, making the Oktopus MoonLite the lightest Linde Werdelin timepiece ever made, weighing in at an impressive 62.5 grams. But is very heavy on good looks.
> Cartier Tank MC Skeleton watch
Cartier is currently doing extremely well in terms of great design and in-house movements, all made under the helm of the über-talented Carole Forestier-Kasapi. As one of the most talented watchmakers in the Swiss watch industry, she has introduced one spectacular new model after the other since joining Cartier in 2008. As an all-time Cartier Tank fan, my favourite for 2014 is the openworked Tank MC in palladium, which combines the iconic case design with the modernity of a skeleton movement. The skeleton's bridges ingeniously take the form of Roman numerals, indicating the hours - a truly great design with a truly great movement to match.