A diving watch is no longer just meant for diving anymore. The same can be said for a racing watch – you don’t have to be a racer to wear one.
A pilot watch? No, it is not something only pilots should have on their wrist.
How about an equestrian watch? Again no, this can be worn by everyone, not just competitive horseback riders.
Sports watches are certainly evolving to beyond just their functionality. The blurring of the category, plus its associated designs, is changing the perception by which the style has been pigeonholed in the past.
No one will bat an eye if a person straps on a sports watch to go with a well-tailored suit anymore. Such is the versatility of today’s luxury sports watches.
Some of the most celebrated watchmakers – from Blancpain to Breguet and Corum – know this, and they are quick to release designs that combine the best of all worlds.
Takes a dive into life
The Fifty Fathoms is a timepiece that was initially created in 1956 as a professional diving watch. The Bathyscaphe was added to the line in 2013, marking the 60th anniversary of what was one of the very first diving watches ever created.
All sorts of complication were later introduced, like the complete calendar with moon phase that the latest model carries.
For 2022 however, two new editions have been launched. There is one in red gold with a blue-gradient dial, as well as another in titanium with an anthracite dial.
In terms of functions, these latest releases offer a full calendar, with the indication of the day and month, as well as the date. There is a central pointer for the latter, and two apertures to display the former.
More than that, the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Quantieme Complet has a large moon phase indicator. This is situated at the 6 o’clock position and carries the watchmaker’s signature “moon face”.
If you take a step back however, you will notice it looks extremely sophisticated – yes, despite being a sports watch.
Whether opting for the18k red gold for a warm, luxurious look or the titanium alloy, which has a rugged yet debonair feel to it, you will still end up with a watch with all the diving capabilities – water-resistance to 30 bar (about 300m), being one trait.
Travels the open seas
Breguet’s Marine line was not made with diving in mind, yet it still takes inspiration from the brands history with French marine chronometers. Again, this plays into the theme of how a modern luxury timepiece can co-opt the appeal of sports watches.
Breguet first introduced the Marine back in 1990, but in 2018 the line was given its most modern makeover.
This year? It is time for the Marine Hora Mundi to shine. This new model has a dual-time display, but without the subdials, hands and globe displays.
After setting two time zones – indicated on the city display at the bottom of the dial, press the crown at eight o’clock, and the time instantly changes, including the date and day/night display.
This seamless (almost magical) shift between two time zones relies on great technical intricacy. Aesthetic wise? It’s pretty marvellous as well.
The world is mapped out on the dial in great detail: hand- guilloche waves worked in gold and lacquered in abyssal blue lap against the shorelines of finely sculpted continents.
Despite the nod to its sports watch heritage, this is a very current and cool timepiece. The wear extends far and beyond. You can even say that it will look at home in the most genteel of settings.
Time to take flight
While it was launched last year, Corum’s Admiral 45 Automatic Openworked Flying Tourbillon Carbon & Gold remains an impressive watch all the same.
This timepiece comes from a line of sought-after and celebrated sports watches that are icons in their own right.
The original Corum Admiral’s Cup debuted way back in the 1960s as the quintessential timepiece for avid regatta fans and sailors. It also became sort of a flagship – laying the base for the subsequent modern Admiral collection.
The Corum Admiral 45 Automatic Openworked Flying Tourbillon Carbon & Gold features a skeletonised flying tourbillon caliber and a distinctive carbon-and-gold bi-material case construction.
What stands out is the incredible mix of ultra-light carbon fibre with layers containing gold flakes.
For this year, Corum unveiled six new versions of its Admiral 42 Automatic.
Like all Admiral designs, they are characterised by a 12-sided – or dodecagonal – case shape and a dial with coloured sailing pennants to mark the hours (which conform to the International Code of Signals for indicating numbers using coloured flags).
All of the Corum Admiral watches continue to steal hearts around the world, embracing a lifestyle attitude perfect for today’s navigators and sailors of life.
Or as Corum so aptly puts it: “This collection is beloved by collectors, especially those with a yearning to indulge in an active yet elegant lifestyle.”
So there you have it – whether it is a Blancpain, Breguet or Corum, luxury sports watches have indeed evolved in terms of looks.
So dispense with the stereotype of how sports watches have to be bulky – or come with subdials and a rubber strap. Modern ones don’t even have to look overtly sporty, if they so choose.
Of course, these timepieces are still capable of performing some of the most technical measurements. Yet, whether if they show up on the wrists of athletes or not, the latest and brightest models have come a long way from just being tools entrenched in the world of sports..