Fearless fashion leader G-Dragon is often hailed for his outlandish and colourful style, simply because there’s something about the way he pulls off the whole androgynous, pink cheetah, “aegyo” punk look that manages to be both “Wtf?!” and “Fabulous!” at once. Just as his experimental outfits and hairstyles make him who he is (fashion incarnate), it is avant-garde horology that makes Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) tick, and many were gobsmacked at the insanity of a watch made from real cheese this year. The H. Moser & Cie. Swiss Mad watch is a satirical statement against the revised “Swiss Made” label for watchmaking (which requires 60 per cent of components to be of Swiss origin), touting 100 per cent Swiss-ness through its Swiss flag dial design, furry cowhide strap, and cheesy case. On relatively saner ground, Roger Dubuis continues to blaze trails with new partner Pirelli, literally incorporating the motorsport brand’s premium tyres into the straps of a pair of Excalibur Spider models. The combination is emphasised by powerful colour coding, as blue vulcanised rubber accents fill the skeleton architecture of the watches. Finally, trust an independent watch brand to bring us back into the realm of the radical: MB&F’s latest horological machine, the HM7 Aquapod, takes the organic form of a jellyfish, with its high-domed crystal housing a central flying tourbillon atop a vertically concentric movement, and titanium tentacles on the winding rotor.
THE SLICK B-BOY
Hands-down the best dancer of Big Bang (some even say the whole of K-pop), Taeyang flaunts precise physicality and smooth swag in his all moves. To keep step with the “beast-dol’s” hard-hitting choreography and perpetual shirtless-ness, timepieces have amplified their masculine physical appeal. Audemars Piguet introduces its first full-black Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar in hand-finished ceramic; displaying the essential day, date, month, and moon phase on its “Grande Tapisserie” dial (whose patterned design evokes chocolate abs). The special edition Panerai Lab-ID harnesses the full potential of carbon for watchmaking, exhibiting the material in the striated musculature of its Carbotech case, its deep black dial coated with carbon nanotubes specially developed to absorb all light, and even its new P.3001/C movement, whose components are either made from a tantulum-based ceramic (containing a high percentage of carbon) or DLC-coated for a continuous 50-year flow without lubrication. For extra light-footedness (or handedness in this case), the Richard Mille RM 50-03 Tourbillon Split Seconds Chronograph Ultralight McLaren F1 is the lightest split-seconds chronograph in the world at a mere 40g, thanks to a case made of titanium, carbon TPT (thin-ply technology), and Graph TPT – the latter a proprietary composite that debuts graphene as a watchmaking material.
THE COOL AESTHETE
T.O.P’s lead rapper status is bolstered by a cool, almost aloof, demeanour and a streamlined style. He doesn’t need to show skin, instead relying on an eccentric 4D personality (because 3D is too normal) to stand out from the group. Dressy classics with a twist fit perfectly with his image of an abstract gentleman. This year, IWC revisits its old-school Da Vinci collection, with the Tourbillon Rétrograde Chronograph sounding the most rarefied. It houses a new in-house 89900 calibre, and its triple complications are optically balanced on the dial, with the retrograde date vivifying the time display. Parmigiani Fleurier’s Toric Chronomètre has relatively spare dial elements for a clean design. Those elements that are present – such as the sector date display and utilitarian minute track – temper the excessive formality of the watch, especially when paired against the knurled bezel. For a suave, discreet timepiece that hugs the wrist beneath the sleeve of a suit, jacket or blazer (all of which T.O.P favours), look no further than the Drive de Cartier Extra-Flat. At less than 7mm thick (40 per cent slimmer than the original), its slender profile complements the stylish proportions of its cushioned-shaped case, making it a chic piece of art de vivre.
THE BOYS NEXT DOOR
Finally, there’s Daesung and Seungri – one’s a soaring vocalist and the other’s a lovable “maknae”. Both do not have the visual impact of the former three members, but that doesn’t diminish their position within Big Bang; in fact, their more conventional sensibilities keep the group grounded. Likewise, everyday watches may not be the flashiest, but they provide solid value and easy versatility. Girard-Perregaux brings back its masculine Laureato in 42mm, a watch that’s sporty, elegant and can be worn on any occasion, even with the striking aesthetic of an octagonal bezel nested within a circle. For the active urbanite – or “gentlesportsman”, as Baume & Mercier puts it – the Clifton Club boasts casual elegance and athletic prowess in five variations. Montblanc’s TimeWalker Chronograph UTC goes further down the sporty spectrum with its dashboard dial layout (two vertically aligned sub-dials) and racing red chronograph seconds hand, and pairs that with travel functionality that displays three time zones – one through the main hands, one through the red arrow-tipped UTC hand, and another through aligning the unidirectional ceramic bezel marked with a 24-hour scale.