Part one of our two-part series covering the MR PORTER and NET-A-PORTER's partnership with Watches & Wonders will feature a variety of fantastic pieces, all of which will be offered via the respective online fashion destinations' e-commerce platforms. A variety of maisons will be featured in both parts, including for the first time for MR PORTER watchmakers like Ulysse Nardin and Bovet, along with some of the world's most renowned and well known brands like IWC, Cartier and Piaget. Enjoy!
Ulysse Nardin Freak X Ti
The Ulysse Nardin Freak X Ti has seen many iterations, but perhaps the most awe-inspiring would be this version. Clad in 43mm of titanium, the Freak X Ti is an amalgamation of functionality, of complexity and of technique. With a central bridge that acts as the minutes hand and a wheel that indicates the hours, Ulysse Nardin's Freak X is a stunning display of theatrics, of drama and of intrigue.
The partially openworked dial leaves little to the imagination, and in doing so Ulysse Nardin has kept the spotlight on what is fundamentally, the focal point of the entire watch, that magnificent rotating carousel. Ulysse Nardin has also generously endowed the Freak X Ti with personality, where the notion of the conventional has been tossed right out the window.
The black on black look of the Freak X Ti is as compelling as it is abrupt and bold. Innovative, cutting edge and a sign of Ulysse Nardin's horological might.
Ulysse Nardin Blast Rose Gold
A cultivation of technicality, of precious metals and of drama, the Ulysse Nardin Blast Rose Gold is a complete horological spectacle. The Blast Rose Gold is a cultivation of Ulysse Nardin's pursuit to create timepieces that go against the grain, as they say. It's an unorthodox approach to modern haute horlogerie, but it's one that is ultimately appeasing.
The Blast Rose Gold actually features Ulysse Nardin's first skeletonised automatic tourbillon, along with the tell-tale signs of a true modern movement, including an escape wheel, an anchor and a balance spring all made out of silicium.
Beyond its exceptional movement, the Blast Rose Gold also features a four-part case with faceted lugs emphasising the piece's angular and highly contemporary look. Certainly not your average run-of-the-mill watch, but it's one that ticks a lot of boxes.
IWC Big Pilot Big Date Spitfire
IWC's affinity towards pilot's watches is long-standing, with the Big Pilot Big Date Spitfire capturing that heritage beautifully. Clad in bronze and featuring a Spitfire green dial, the Big Pilot Big Date Spitfire marries the worlds of heritage, aviation and modernity in a package that is supreme.
The Big Pilot Big Date Spitfire is an extremely functional timepiece, as well. The big date indicator just below 12 o'clock, coupled with the large lume-filled hands and bold Arabic numerals, all equate to a watch that is super legible and very easy on the eye. Like the proverbial cherry on top of what looks like a very delectable bit of horology is what seems to be the standard bit of kit for every IWC Big Pilot, the oversized crown.
The Big Pilot Big Date Spitfire is a delightful piece that accentuates the relationship between IWC and aviation in a way that appeals to watch and aviation enthusiasts, alike.
IWC Portugieser Yacht Club Chronograph 'Orlebar Brown'
The IWC Portugieser Yacht Club Chronograph 'Orlebar Brown' is a fun-loving, casual summer's watch that still holds its own as a serious piece of watchmaking. It was made to commemorate the partnership between IWC and the British swimwear brand, Orlebar Brown. The piece itself is a beautiful harmony of soft yet bold colours: navies, reds, whites and silvers.
From the outset the Portugieser Yacht Club Chronograph 'Orlebar Brown' seems a very casual watch. The playful yet discreet nature of its dial, accentuated further by the touches of red on the dial and on the chronograph seconds hand, gives the Portugieser Yacht Club Chronograph 'Orlebar Brown' the innate ability to be dressed up or down.
As an admirer of watches with duality, the Portugieser Yacht Club Chronograph 'Orlebar Brown' ticks all of the right boxes. It's functional, it's got the ability to be worn with a suit and tie as well as with a pair of shorts and a t-shirt, and it looks absolutely awesome.
IWC Portugieser Perpetual Calendar 42
IWC's approach to its venerable Portugieser Perpetual Calendar 42 was to reduce its size and alter the dial layout. The end result was a 42.40mm wide by 13.80mm thick case that now lacks a power reserve indicator and makes way with the small-seconds counter with a central seconds sweeping hand. Aside from it dropping some pretty hefty dimensions, the Portugieser Perpetual Calendar 42 also features a new manufacture movement. The model here is my favourite of the new collection, too. Clad in 5N gold and with a silvered dial, the Portugieser Perpetual Calendar 42 marries the worlds of functionality and haute horlogerie exceptionally well. Overall, the IWC Portugieser Perpetual Calendar 42 still carries with it the DNA of the brand's iconic perpetual calendar timepieces, but with a refreshed look that breathes life into the collection.
Cartier Santos de Cartier Noctambule
Clad in ADLC-coated stainless steel, the black on black on black, the Cartier Santos de Cartier Noctambule is a stealthy proposition for those looking for something that is both contemporary and super stealthy. Measuring 39.80mm across, the Cartier Santos de Cartier Noctambule's width is offset but its relative slimness: 9.08mm.
Characteristically full of personality, the Cartier Santos de Cartier Noctambule is as bold as it is discreet. To the untrained eye this looks like any other black watch, but for those who have an affliction towards horology, then the Cartier Santos de Cartier Noctambule stands out like a sore thumb, in a good way, of course!
I love the dark, blackened theme look of the Cartier Santos de Cartier Noctambule. It's youthful, it's fresh and it's an indication of Cartier's disposition to recreate some its most heritage-filled watches to fit in with the modernity of a 21st century market. Absolutely faultless!
Montblanc Star Legacy Orbis Terrarum
The final watch of Part 1 is the Star Legacy Orbis Terrarum from Montblanc. It's a beautiful capture of the traditional worldtime watch, with differing hues of blue being offset but touches of red. I much prefer this version over its 2014 counterpart. It looks a far more sophisticated, well thought out and luxurious offering.
The dial shows thecontinents of the Northern Hemisphere in rhodium and the oceans in a blue flinqué-froissé guilloché pattern that resembles waves. It's a subtle, no-nonsense affair with the slightest of details throughout to keep you intrigued. I particularly love the onion crown and the architectural look of the lugs.
For the discerning traveller, the Montblanc Star Legacy Orbis Terrarum carries itself with poise and character and does well to stand out while still remaining a very discreet timepiece.