14 Sep 2020

Luxury watches that are pushing watchmaking innovation

The 2020 luxury watch launches that are pushing the limits of watchmaking innovation

A form of mechanical art.

It is often said that traditional watchmaking is no longer a necessity in the modern world. An affordable quartz watch is infinitely more accurate than a mechanical piece and a smartphone can easily replicate what a hundred-thousand Ringgit perpetual calendar complication can do. So why continue to push the art of mechanical watchmaking? Simply put, traditional horology has garnered a status akin to art. There are of course, more efficient ways of keeping time. However, seeing hundreds of components – most of which are smaller than the smallest fingernail, working together flawlessly to serve a purpose, stirs emotions in ways no digital technology can.

Thus, we are shining the spotlight on four amazing pieces of luxury watches that are continuously pushing the envelope of mechanical watchmaking, taking them to places that horology pioneers could only dream of.

Vacheron Constantin
“La Musique du Temps” Les Cabinotiers Grand Complication Split-Seconds Chronograph ‘Tempo’
Vacheron Constantin La Musique du Temps” Les Cabinotiers Grand Complication Split Seconds Chronograph ‘Tempo’ dialFront dial of the “La Musique du Temps” Les Cabinotiers Grand Complication Split-Seconds Chronograph ‘Tempo’

Vacheron Constantin La Musique du Temps” Les Cabinotiers Grand Complication Split Seconds Chronograph ‘Tempo’ reverse dialReverse dial of the “La Musique du Temps” Les Cabinotiers Grand Complication Split-Seconds Chronograph ‘Tempo’

This piece of Grand Complication from Vacheron Constantin is the perfect example of what heights traditional horology can reach when the right minds are put to the task. Do not let the simple dial design fool you, because this one-of-a-kind Vacheron Constantin watch offers a total of 24 horological complications. It has everything you would want in terms of an exhibition piece, a minute repeater, a perpetual calendar, and even a split-seconds chronograph – all complications that are infinitely more complex than the tourbillon. In order to display all the functions, the watch uses two faces, one on the front and another on the back. If you are still perplexed on how they fit 24 complications into a 50mm case, you will be astounded to learn that the in-house calibre 2756 is made of 1,163 parts.

Jaeger-LeCoultre
Master Grande Tradition Grande Complication
Jaeger LeCoultre Master Grande Tradition Grande Complication front dial
Jaeger LeCoultre Master Grande Tradition Grande Complication watch caseback

If you feel like it is no longer enough to keep regular time, you will love the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Grande Tradition Grande Complication that also keeps sidereal time. Unlike the worldwide standard of solar day, which is based on the sun, sidereal time is measured based on the earth’s rotation relative to certain ‘fixed’ stars in the sky. A sidereal day is also shorter at 23 hours, 56 min and 4.1 seconds. In order to fully illustrate this, the watch has a decorative element that mimics the lines drawn between stars to form constellations. This disc of constellations also has an opening for the tourbillon that not only rotates on its own axis, but will circle the dial, making one full circle in a sidereal day.

H. Moser & Cie x MB&F
Endeavour Cylindrical Tourbillon
H. Moser & Cie. and MB&F Endeavour Cylindrical Tourbillon watch in funky blueH. Moser & Cie. and MB&F Endeavour Cylindrical Tourbillon watch in funky blue

While some manufactures choose to explore on the amount of complications they are able to fit into the case of a watch, others try to reimagine what a movement can look like. That is the case for this collaboration piece between H. Moser & Cie. and MB&F. Inspired by the MB&F Flying T, this Endeavour Cylindrical Tourbillon takes the balance spring and places it on a vertical axis, offering a cylindrical shape that rises out of an aperture in the dial. In keeping with this vertical structure, the timekeeping indication has also been transferred onto a subdial that slants at a 40-degree angle. They have also made this dial in sapphire so you can see exactly how it works.

H. Moser & Cie and MB&F Endeavour Cylindrical Tourbillon watch in greenH. Moser & Cie and MB&F Endeavour Cylindrical Tourbillon watch in green

H. Moser & Cie. and MB&F Endeavour Cylindrical Tourbillon watch in off whiteH. Moser & Cie and MB&F Endeavour Cylindrical Tourbillon watch in off-white

Piaget
Altiplano Ultimate Concept

Piaget Altiplano Ultimate Concept watch dial details

This watch was actually a concept piece launched in 2018 by Piaget to prove that it was possible to make a functioning mechanical watch that was only 2mm in thickness. If you are unable to wrap your head around how thin that is, take two credit cards, stack it together and you have your answer. This year, Piaget has refined this concept and managed to make it a production piece. To demonstrate the watch for how it is, they made the watch out of a cobalt-based high-tech alloy to have enough rigidity as a luxury watch for daily wear. The sapphire crystal is a mere 0.2mm thick and yet, the Piaget watch is able to keep a water resistance of 30m.

Piaget Altiplano Ultimate Concept watch 2mm thick watch casePiaget Altiplano Ultimate Concept watch side profile 2mm thick watch case

Piaget Altiplano Ultimate Concept watch front and side profile

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