Meet the craziest watches of 2021. These new models go far beyond the usual idea of “steel, round and three hands”.
Comic heroes: Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Black Panther Flying Tourbillon
In 2021, AP President François-Henry Bennahmias announced the collaboration between his watch company and the Marvel comic book franchise. The first watch resulting from this partnership is the Royal Oak Concept Black Panther Flying Tourbillon. This model hasn’t really won over fans of traditional watches, but one of its accomplishments is undeniable – it faithfully represents the animal superhero Black Panther, who was recently played by the late Chadwick Boseman. Dressed in a high-tech suit and wearing clawed gloves, the hand-painted white gold figure of the Black Panther appears to be preparing to pounce. The lower part of its body elastically hugs both the axis of the main hands in the center of the dial and the tourbillon cage at 6 o’clock, while the skeletonized barrel is clearly visible under the superhero’s right arm. The 42mm case of the Royal Oak Concept model series is made of titanium; the bezel and crown are in scratch-resistant ceramic. Complicated manual winding manufacturing The caliber 2965 heroically keeps the time inside the case. This comic book inspired wristwatch is limited to 250 pieces. The price is on request.
Stun Gun: Hamilton Ventura Elvis 80 Skeleton
Today’s Ventura winds itself automatically, but Hamilton created it in 1957 as the world’s first battery-powered wristwatch – and gave it an almost triangular case. As in the early days, a stylized zigzag voltage line crosses the dial of some new models to symbolize the old power supply. Elvis Presley was Ventura’s most famous fan: he wore the original model not only in private life, but also in the 1961 film, Hawaii Blue. One of the latest Ventura models is the watch shown here, which not only attracts attention with its modern reinterpretation of the case shape, but also with its skeletonized dial and the combination of an elegant rose gold plating and gold plating. ‘a sporty rubber strap. ETA’s automatic Powermatic 80 caliber operates inside the 42.5mm by 44.6mm stainless steel case. The Ventura is by far the most affordable watch on our crazy timepiece list: it retails for an affordable price of $ 1,795.
Transparency Artist: MB&F Horological Machine No. 9 Sapphire Vision
Max Büsser and his friends have opened up their simplified Time Machine Number Nine in the eyes of mechanically savvy viewers. For this, the Geneva think tank used an extremely complex sapphire crystal cover with multiple curves and domes. A symmetrical architecture is created inside the rear of the transparent sapphire shell by manual winding manufacturing movement with two pendulums. It works with a planetary differential in a central position, which averages the time retained by the two movements and thus ensures optimal timing. The vertical dial displays the hours and minutes. MB&F builds models in rose gold and white gold, each with two movement bridges in different colors. Each of the four model variants is produced in a strictly limited series of five watches. Each timepiece is priced at $ 440,000.
A break in tradition: Hublot MP-09 Tourbillon Bi-Axis 5 Days Power Reserve 3D Carbon
The design of this Hublot “Masterpiece” (MP) takes all visual habits to the point of absurdity. The bezel comes out of its conventional circular shape at 6, where it also tilts downward to get closer to the caseback. This creates a unique “hanging jaw”, where a tourbillon spins on two axes and continues to spin for five full days after the watch is fully wound. The running autonomy is indicated by a large format inscription at 7, while the current state of the power reserve is indicated at 3. The three-dimensional skeletonized main dial is surrounded by a semi-circular date display skeleton with two arcs of figures. The crazy frame for manufacturing The manual-winding caliber MHUB9009.H1.RA.B consists of a 49 mm wide and 18 mm high case made of “3D carbon”, a composite material that Hublot manufactures from several layers and can shape into even the most complex shapes. The MP-09 is made up of four series of eight watches each: in yellow, green, blue and red. Each watch sells for $ 200,000.
Shining Piece: Roger Dubuis Excalibur Single Flying Tourbillon “Glow Me Up”
This Geneva-based manufacture is known for its tourbillons and double tourbillons, but it also likes to experiment with new forms of setting. The last result is this creation, which looks like a jewel watch by day, but becomes colorful avant-garde at night. Brilliant diamonds? You have never seen anything like it! The appearance is striking, but the technical background is not that complicated. The settings of the 60 baguette diamonds along the bezel are filled with Super-LumiNova in different colors, so that the gemstones shine in different colors at night. Luminous material is also applied to the star-shaped movement bridge, the tourbillon crown and the almost non-existent outer ring of the dial. The result is a unique light show at night. When the sun rises, this timepiece is transformed again into a technically sophisticated but visually almost sober jewelery watch. Each of the eight 42mm rose gold watches features the in-house hand-wound RD512SQ caliber and sells for $ 215,000.
Flaming Beacon: Urwerk UR-220 SL “Asimov”
Geneva-based manufacturer Urwerk has been making a name for itself for years with its satellite screens. Now these movable and rotating faceplates for the hours are also starting to light up. And that’s not all: in addition, the luminosity usefully highlights the numerals of the arcuate minute scale, along which the luminous hour numerals scroll, and also accentuates the brand name on the dial. plate as well as the power reserve display, which appears on two indicators at the top left and right. Despite the new and radiant optics, the patented hour display remains the most astonishing feature of this new watch. A skeletonized arm serves as the frame for the hour cone on this display. The hour cone rotates its correct side up as it quickly returns to the start of the minute scale, where it is raised by the hour hand and gradually carried back up the scale. After the frame hand completes a one hour task, it quickly returns to the start of the scale and picks up the next hour cone. Manual winding manufacturing The UR-7.20 caliber, which operates for 48 hours after it has been completely wound up, is responsible for this function and several other technical tricks. The case, which measures 43.8mm by 53.6mm, is made of 81 layers of TPC carbon composite. Urwerk uses a special manufacturing method to give the case a concentric circular texture. The price of so much innovative spirit? $ 168,000.
A version of this article first appeared in the WatchTime 2022 special design issue, on sale now.