The final week before Christmas spells a frantic rush of last-minute gift shopping and let’s face it, nobody likes to be on the receiving end of last-minute gifts — especially lacklustre ones. In case one is on your radar of gifts to purchase, we have carefully curated a selection of watches so you could skip the research and zoom in on the best picks this Christmas.
Pictured Above: Longines Heritage Classic
Swiss firm Longines has been especially successful with its reissue collection, riding on the burgeoning trend of vintage verisimilitude. The new Longines Heritage Classic pays tribute to a 1934 classic that currently resides in the watchmaker’s museum in Saint-Imier, Switzerland – a sector dial watch. The so-called sector dial earns its name from the divisions of the dial by bold dashes.
The watch dial is free of “superfluous” dial text such as automatic, model names and date apertures; Longines even chose to omit its wings logo. What is left on the dial are essential elements, each working harmoniously with one another. Inky black inward facing 3, 6, and 9 hour numerals and five-minute intervals represented by bolder lines (thinner dashes mark the in-betweens) provide contrast against the sectors and blued steel hands. Measuring 38.5mm across, the Longines Heritage Classic is a handsome watch on the wrist with its blue leather strap.
TAG Heuer Autavia Isograph
The TAG Heuer Autavia Isograph pays tribute to its historical Autavia chronograph counterparts, which attained legendary status in the horology world. Though it is filled with vintage references, the Autavia Isograph is thoroughly contemporary because a three-handed Autavia with date never existed in TAG Heuer’s archives. Sitting beneath the dial is a brand-new version of TAG Heuer’s automatic Calibre 5, fitted with a carbon-composite hairspring.
With a case diameter of 42mm, the Autavia Isograph sports SuperLuminova coated hands as well as indexes — a reference to the Autavia’s penchant for great legibility. A particularly interesting design is the fade-to-black dial, starting from blue in the middle but gradating to black towards the edge of the dial.
Fun fact: Autavia is a combination of the words “automobile” and “aviation”
Tissot Gentleman Powermatic 80 Silicium
Though the Tissot Gentleman is a straightforward timepiece that is thoroughly simple in its execution, it is not a boring nor dull watch. The gradated navy dial proves to be a stylish option, bordering ever so slightly on black when viewed at certain angles. Paired with a stainless steel bracelet with polished centre links, the Tissot Gentleman takes one from Monday to Friday with ease, and feels equally at home at gala dinners or after-work drinks. Powered by the automatic Powermatic 80 calibre, it is blessed with 80 hours of power reserve, which means the Gentleman Classic continues to run after it is left on the dresser over the weekend.
Hermès Slim D’Hermès Cheval Ikat
Founded in 2015 by Philippe Delhotal, the Slim d’Hermès takes a new form just in time for Christmas. Framed in a 39.5mm white gold case, the Slim d’Hermès lends its refined design to the art of Ikat weaving, a dyeing and weaving technique that originated in Asia. It features an embroidered dial woven with gold threads set against a blue background, revealing the graceful curves of a galloping horse.
The French leather maison backs up the good looks of the Cheval Ikat with serious watchmaking pedigree – its ultra-thin automatic Manufacture Hermès H1950 calibre measures 2.6mm in height and is powered by a micro-rotor. Only 36 pieces of the limited edition Hermès Slim D’Hermès Cheval Ikat is produced.
Rado Captain Cook
The Rado Captain Cook Automatic is one watch we cannot stop revisiting simply for its overall good looks and functional purpose. Similar to the Longines mentioned earlier, the Captain Cook is a homage/re-edition of the 1962 original edition but tweaked for present day use. The aluminium bezel has been replaced for ceramic, while the domed acrylic crystal makes way for scratchproof sapphire crystal. These design tweaks will allow the watch to look new and fresh for many years to come, without compromising the original design or aesthetics. The water resistance has been beefed up to 200m, with a screw down crown to ensure the interiors stay dry during swims.
Measuring 42mm, the quirky oversized arrow-shaped hour hand and indices remain true to form of the 1962 original — maintaining the retro and funky vibes. The dial in particular is a feast for the eyes as it plays with light, creating playful swirls and a gradual fade of gradient around the edges. Fun fact: the little anchor on the dial swivels as the wearer shakes the watch.
BR03-92 Diver Black Matte
The iconic square circle chassis of the Bell & Ross Instrument collection BR03-92 is reimagined as the French manufacture employs subtle tweaks to come up with a dive watch. Water resistance is dramatically bumped up to 300m to ensure it holds itself during dives and swims. The fixed bezel of the Instrument collection takes the form of a unidirectional rotating dive bezel while the hands and hour indexes are simplified to provide maximum legibility. Clad entirely in strong and lightweight ceramic, the stealthy case is a reminder of the aeronautical codes that Bell & Ross holds so closely to itself. In its quest to produce highly reliable professional watches, Bell & Ross has taken the necessary steps to ensure its dive watch is made to the highest standards – attaining the ISO 6425 standards for dive watches.
Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch
Made famous by the triumphant moon expedition of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, the Omega Speedmaster Professional needs no further introduction having been part of all six lunar missions set out by NASA. It was known as the Moonwatch ever since. Numerous editions of the Speedmaster have surfaced over the years but the Speedmaster Moonwatch remains purest in its execution with its inky black dial and white dial elements and tachymetre bezel.
The Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch comes in a special presentation box which includes two additional straps – a NATO strap and a strap for astronauts. A tool to change the bracelets are included along with a Speedmaster loupe, a metal plate and a book highlighting the adventures of the Speedmaster.
Zenith Chronomaster 2
Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the El Primero, Zenith released the Zenith Chronomaster 2 fitted with an entirely redesigned El Primero 3600 calibre with optimised performance and power reserve. The Chronomaster 2 looks every bit futuristic with its partially openworked dial and liberal use of greys. Made with titanium and finished with a black ceramic bezel sitting atop, the Chronomaster 2 backs up its good looks with serious strength as well. Fans of the brands will be quick to spot the tri-colour chronograph counters and star-ended central chronograph seconds hand
The watch industry is filled with numerous horological achievements that showcase the brilliant minds of humans at its very best. The El Primero — the world’s first high-beat automatic chronograph calibre is one of those horological innovations which shook the industry when it was released in 1969.
Montblanc 1858 Automatic Chronograph Limited Edition
The Montblanc 1858 product line is inspired by the legendary professional Minerva watches from the 1920s and 1930s which were conceived for military use and exploration. Reinterpreting these legendary timepieces, the Montblanc 1858 Chronograph expresses the spirit of mountain exploration, embodying the modern trend of returning to nature. The 1858 Chronograph Limited Edition 1858 comes cased in bronze develops a beautiful patina over time. A pair of luminescent cathedral-shaped hands are used for the 1858 Chronograph, contrasting nicely against the khaki-green dial. Sitting below the dial is the automatic calibre MB 25.11 that powers the bi-compax chronograph. A matching khaki-green NATO strap completes the rugged look of the Montblanc 1858 Automatic Chronograph.
Tudor Black Bay Bronze
When the Tudor Black Bay was first launched in 2012, it received raved reviews for mixing vintage elements such as its “snowflake hand” with contemporary case design. After different iterations over the years, the famed Tudor Black Bay was introduced in bronze in 2016, a first for the Swiss manufacture. The second edition of the Black Bay Bronze is identical to its first except for the dial and bezel colours – a handsome shade of slate grey instead of brown. The dial is a graduated affair, the centre is lighter than the edges, contrasting again with the uniform slate grey bezel. As before, the nubuck and fabric straps on offer also match this grey.