Rare and rarefied are those who can afford to indulge in $10,000 +++ watches. Yet despite the fact that high-end luxury watches are aimed at the elite 0.5% of the watch buying public, there is surprisingly vast depth in choice. Naturally, the higher North of $10,000 you climb, the more precious you can expect the metals and the materials to be. The movement is likely to be manufacture made, expertly embellished, polished and often hand decorated to the manufacture’s exacting demands, and extremely intricate with sometimes hundreds of individual parts. Certain luxury watches will wish to prove to you their outstanding quality with the Seal of Geneva, which specifies that the movement was entirely made in the Canton of Geneva. This is not a must have for a luxury watch, but it is certainly a nice to have and is always a sign of a true quality piece. These are some of the high-end pieces we found impressive and particularly eye-catching at this year’s show.
BREGUET CLASSIC GRAND FEU ENAMEL
Featuring a 40mm case in 18K white gold with delicately fluted caseband and a dial in Grand Feu enamel, the new Breguet Classique ref. 7147 is the epitome of elegance in a time-only watch that contains all the signature elements of this manufacture. The Grand Feu enamel dial features Arabic numerals in the traditional Breguet typeface and a small recessed off-centered seconds subdial at 5 o’clock. With blued hands in steel and its welded lugs with screws, the new Breguet Classique Grand Feu Enamel ref. 7147 is a great watch for the price. The watch is powered by the Breguet automatic caliber 502.3SD with 35 jewels and a 45-hour power reserve, the movement is fully visible via the display case back. The movement is exquisitely decorated with ‘Côtes de Genève’ and an oscillating weight with barleycorn hand guilloché motif. Price: $21,500 for 18K white gold and $21,000 for 18K rose gold. Visit Breguet
BULGARI OCTO FINISSIMO
Bhanu Chopra, our esteemed Senior Editor, has banged on about this ultra slim piece so much we had no choice but to feature it. The Octo Finissimo Automatic is the slimmest ultra-thin automatic watch right now. The 40mm sandblasted titanium case is just 5.15mm thick, and the automatic movement with a platinum micro-rotor is mere 2.23mm thick. Bulgari has developed a new in- house movement BVL 138 which beats at a frequency of 21,600 vibrations per hour and has a 60-hour power reserve. The watch is water- resistant to 30 meters. The Octo Finnisimo Automatic is available in Titanium bracelet with a folding clasp or black alligator leather with titanium pin buckle. The retail price is CHF 11,900 on the leather strap. Visit Bulgari
CHRISTOPHE CLARET AKRIVIA AK06
The AK-06, marks the long awaited, and first non-tourbillon wristwatch of the AkriviA collection, now in its fifth year of existence. Like all Christophe Claret timepieces, this watch divulges its beauty, secrets and complexities to the discerning eyes of serious connoisseurs of watchmaking. Examples of this include the round dial under the hand engraved AkriviA nameplate as a power reserve indicator. This two-part sub-dial, comprising inner and outer rings, rotates using a differential gearing to reveal the timepiece’s energy flow over the course of 100 hours of power reserve. The spacious winding barrel and its large jeweled pivot can be clearly seen through the sapphire glass on the back of the movement. The delicate process of Anglage has been used for the movement. This technique of rounded edges is much more time consuming to produce and cannot be prepared in advance by the use of machines. Starting with the basic flat piece of material with 90∘ angled edges, one of the first steps is to create a rounded edge by filing the edges into shape in several steps, which perfectly follows the edges equidistantly into every curve and corner. Price On Application. Visit Christophe Claret
FABERGE VISIONNAIRE CHRONOGRAPH
Available as of November 2017, the Fabergé Visionnaire Chronograph marks a new standard of charting time. Hours and minutes are read at the periphery of the watch dial while the chronograph function takes center stage. This is made possible through the caliber construction by Agenhor; the automatic caliber 6361, a revolutionary new movement that imparts unprecedented clarity, precision, and efficiency to the highly popular chronograph complication. It is the modern-day analog to a Fabergé egg — a mechanical opus with wonder at its heart. Price: CHF 34,500 for Ceramic and CHF39,500for Rose Gold. Visit Faberge
HERMÈS SLIM D’HERMÈS PERPETUAL CALENDAR IN PLATINUM
This watch was first introduced in gold at Baselworld 2016. The perpetual calendar features the custom typography by graphic designer Philippe Apeloig, one of the several details that give it a clean but nuanced look. The new platinum model sticks to the same design, but now with a stunning dark blue dial with silver-tone numerals and rhodium-plated hands, excepting the bright red second time zone hand at six o’clock. The case is 39.5mm, powered by the self-winding H1950 movement. It features a perpetual calendar and second-time zone that can be advanced by the button at four o’clock. Price: CHF 38,000 Visit Hermes
JAQUET DROZ GRANDE SECONDE QUANTIÈME SATIN-BRUSHED
The watch is instantly recognized by connoisseurs thanks to its two off-center dials, majestic direct-drive seconds hand, and pointer-type date display highlighted with a touch of intense red. This silhouette is now displayed on a dial featuring a sunray finish, which helps capture and diffuse rays of light. Two shades are available – anthracite, equipped with hands in rhodium-plated steel, and gray, with hands in blued steel. Each version is available with a diameter of 39 or 43 millimeters. These Grande Seconde Quantième Satin-Brushed watches are matched by the gleam of the new hand-made straps in light brown and slate gray alligator leather. The sleek silhouette of the horns, the convex appliques and perfect curves of the bezel and steel case strengthen this performance of remarkable purity. Lastly, the date, located on an incline on the dial at six o’clock, brings an added touch of modernity to this work of visual architecture. CHF 10,000. Visit Jaquet Droz
PATEK PHILIPPE CALATRAVA “SQUELETTE” REF. 5180/1R-001
The skeletonized Calatrava has been a part of Patek Philippe’s regular collection since 2008. As of 2017, the new Calatrava “Squelette” Ref. 5180/1R in 18K rose gold 5N showcases the rare craft of skeletonization alongside magnificent engravings. Powered by the caliber 240 SQU, the plate and bridges are pierced to the maximum extent possible to create a seductive view without compromising the reliability and functional integrity of the movement. More than a week of work is required to complete the elaborate skeletonization process. Then, the movement is entrusted to the hands of the engraver who further refines it with his artisanal skills. Price: $98,660. Visit Patek Philippe
PATEK PHILIPPE AQAUNAUT JUMBO 20TH ANNIVERSARY REF 5168G
This year, Patek Philippe celebrates the 20th anniversary of its Aquanaut collection that debuted in Basel in 1997. In the anniversary year, with the new Aquanaut Ref. 5168G men’s wristwatch, the first in 18K white gold; a decidedly masculine watch that is water-resistant to a depth of 120 meters. With a diameter of 42 mm, it is also the largest model in this line. The format pays tribute to the original 1976 Nautilus of the same size that was nicknamed “Jumbo” and today is still referred to by that name among collectors. Also new is the night blue color of the dial that darkens to a subtly gradated black toward the outside. Its delicately embossed structure sets the stage for applied Arabic numerals in white gold that complement new luminous five-minute markers, also as appliques in white gold. But the design of the gently rounded octagonal bezel with vertically satin-finished flats and chamfered polished flanks remains unchanged. Price: CHF34,000. Visit Patek Philippe
One of the most eye watering expensive watches to grace this year’s event. The new Weap-One (pronounced weapon) features a never-before-seen, asymmetrical, 60-second flying tourbillon movement. Suspended between the hour and minute rollers, the tourbillon is attached to two plates. Each plate rotates at a different speed, resulting in a non-stationary horizontal axis – said to be the first of its kind. Designed by Fabrice Gonet and made in collaboration with CONCEPTO, the movement is housed in a detachable sapphire crystal tube which offering an undisturbed view and countless mounting options.
Like the wheels of a race car, the rollers and tourbillon-mounted plates rotate at varying speeds – the right at 1 rpm, the left .5rpm. To compensate for this difference in speeds, the movement was developed with two differentials modeled after those found in race car suspensions. Ten ball bearings have replaced jewels in this piece for additional reduction in rotational friction as well as radial and axil loads.
Two rollers read the time – hours on the left and minutes on the right. The numbers and indexes are treated with Super-LumiNova® to ensure ease of readability day or night. Finishing the piece is a dual crown system – mounted on either side of the movement and fashioned after wheel nuts – the left sets the time while the right winds the 60-hour power reserve. The watch can be worn on the wrist or mounted into a high-end sports car dashboard as a clock. Price: CHF 450,000 Visit Rebellion
ROLEX SEA DWELLER
This high-end Rolex diver was one of Ernie Romers’ top choices at Baselworld 2017. Rolex introduced the latest generation of its Oyster Perpetual Sea-Dweller, a legend among professional divers’ watches created 50 years ago in 1967. The new Sea-Dweller features a larger, 43 mm case and the new caliber 3235, at the forefront of watchmaking technology and employed for the first time in a Rolex Professional category watch. To enhance the reading of the date, it is equipped, also for the first time, with a Cyclops lens on the crystal at 3 o’clock. The dial bears the name Sea-Dweller in red, a reference to the first model. Price: CHF 10,800. Visit Rolex