The virtues of moderation

A look at the top 5 men’s watches from the SIHH salon that will become commercial successes this year.

Montblanc Timewalker Chronograph lifestyle image

Beyond the wildly complicated and million dollar peacocks of the watch arena - which we will be looking at in detail in the coming weeks - there were plenty of watches at this year’s SIHH Geneva watch salon that you could actually wear and, in some cases, even afford without having to apply for a loan. Let’s take a look at five candidates that I predict will fly off the shelves this year. 

Montblanc’s revisited TimeWalker collection bristles with confidence and sporty attitude (£3,420).

I have to admit that although I appreciate Montblanc’s efforts of the past years to contain prices and highlight its watchmaking credentials, the brand was not doing it for me. Until, that was, Davide Cerrato, of former Tudor turnaround fame, stepped in as head of watchmaking and gave the brand a revitalising design upgrade. The TimeWalker collection has clearly benefited and this year’s collection bristles with confidence. Developed around the eternal theme of motor sports, the 39mm steel TimeWalker Chronograph Automatic model, above, recalls the golden years of motoring with vintage car codes replicated throughout the watch. The steel body contrasts with a shiny black ceramic bezel and the crown and pushers are knurled like vintage petrol caps for a better grip. Another fun feature is the smoked glass caseback window protecting the automatic Minerva movement and the perforated strap, like driving gloves of yesteryear.

Parmigiani has produced a version of its best-selling, ultra-thin Tonda watch in stainless steel with a very attractive price tag of £7,950, available with a black or a white dial.

An unequivocal sign of the current situation in watchmaking is the incorporation of stainless steel models by  high-end brands at entry-level prices. Parmigiani has joined the crowd and produced a version of its best-selling, ultra-thin Tonda watch in stainless steel with a very attractive price tag of £7,950. The new 40mm Tonda 1950 Steel, above, features the same attention to detail on the movement as its gold siblings and comes with a black or silver-coloured dial. Elegant, yet resilient enough to be worn on a daily basis, a minute track and the addition of luminescent material enhance the overall legibility of this beauty.

Now that Panerai has its own manufacture, the Luminor Submersible 1950 is decked out with an in-house automatic calibre with a 3-day power reserve and water-resistance to 300 metres (€14,000).

Panerai’s beefy 47mm Luminor Submersible 1950 Bronzo model with a sea blue dial and solid bronze case, above, conjures up the maritime past of the brand to a tee.  The bronze on the case and the bezel is an alloy of copper and pure tin; not only is it highly resistant to sea water and atmospheric agents, it is destined to develop a unique patina over the years.  The indices and hands are picked out in luminescent material for the legibility that put Panerai’s underwater instruments on the map. Now that Panerai has its own manufacture, the new Luminor Submersible 1950 is decked out with an in-house automatic calibre with a 3-day power reserve and water-resistance to 300 metres.

 
Girard-Perregaux returned to the SIHH this year after a hiatus of four years with a consolidated Laureato collection (SFr. 10,400).

Girard-Perregaux, the 225-year-old Swiss watch brand, made a welcome return to the SIHH this year after a hiatus of four years. The core collection of the brand is the Laureato, a 1970’s-inspired sports collection with a muscular architectural feel thanks to its octagonal bezel and round-shaped case...if  it reminds you of the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak watch, you are right on cue. However, unlike its 1975 quartz ancestor, the new 42mm Laureato, above,  is equipped with an in-house mechanical automatic movement and measures just 10.88mm in height, allowing the watch to fit under any shirt sleeve.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Control Geographic watch for men features a second time zone function (£7,900).

Jaeger-LeCoultre declared 2017 the year of the women’s Rendez-Vous collection but had some treats for men up its sleeve like this Master Control Geographic, above, with a second time zone function. Celebrating 25 years of the Master Control collection, three special edition watches were launched with vintage-inspired aesthetics and a cool two-tone sector dial with blue accents and clean, sober styling. In the case of this GMT model, an aperture displays the name of 24 cities representing the 24 time zones, which is set with the second crown positioned at 10 o’clock allowing home time to be consulted in a small sub-dial with a 24-hour indicator. Local time is read on the main dial with elegant skeletonised hands revealing the satin-brushed and polished finishes of this practical travel companion.

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