This week was headlined by yet another Patek Philippe announcement, with both the Aquanaut and Nautilus lines receiving some colourful new additions. But the latest Watches Of The Week wasn't monopolised by one watchmaker, instead a handful of new watches making some serious waves within the watch community. We had Grossmann celebrating a milestone with some handmade grails, De Bethune dropping an epic spectacle, Chopard unveiling a chiming masterpiece and Ulysse Nardin flexing its horological might.
Many of these new releases coincide with either the Grand Prix of Horlogerie of Geneva (GPHG) which was held earlier this month, and Dubai Watch Week 2023 which is currently in full swing.
Patek Philippe Adds Some Colourful New References
Let me get one thing straight. The above title is as deceiving as it is ambiguous as it is understated. Patek Philippe did add a few colourful new references. A few new Ladies' Nautilus Haute Joaillerie models were added, with diamonds and coloured sapphires adorning the pieces. There were also new smaller sized rose gold and purple dial models introduced, too.
But really, we're all here for the uber-reference 5260/1455R Aquanaut Minute Repeater. Yes, you read that right. Aquanaut and minute repeater. But that's not all. The 5260/1455R is encased in rose gold and is adorned with with 130 baguette-cut diamonds (8.66 cts) on the dial and 779 multicolored baguette-cut sapphires (45.05 cts) forming a rainbow on the bezel, case sides and bracelet using the sophisticated "invisible setting" technique. The dial also features twelve multicolored sapphire hour-markers, a diamond hour ring, a ruby-set hour hand and a blue sapphire-set minute hand. Let's not forget that this is a bona fide minute repeater too, right? Not a bad way to drop CHF2.5 million either.
Verdict: Arab Sheikhs, Mark Whalberg, Kevin Hart and every "hardcorse" rapper, eat your heart out.
Moritz Grossmann Celebrates 15 Year
Moritz Grossmann, the quiet achiever of Glashütte, has recently celebrated its 15th year of operation. The maison encompasses traditional watchmaking heritage combined with eclectic contemporary techniques and total mastery of all facets of haute horlogerie. It's the type of atelier where if you know, you definitely know.
To celebrate its 15th year, Moritz Grossmann has unveiled the Backpage Green in both rose gold and platinum, as well as the Tremblage XV Birthday Edition in rose gold. All three of these pieces epitomise the brand and I cannot wait to see what the next 15 years brings for the maison.
Verdict: A trio of serious no-nonsense quintessentially-German watchmaking.
Chopard L.U.C Strike One
Chopard's expertise in true haute horlogerie is on full show here with the new L.U.C Strike One. What we have is a chiming piece whose technical prowess compliments its very simple and subtle aesthetic. A white gold case surrounds a white gold dial that has a galvanic green-grey colour, hand-guilloché honeycomb centre section with a snailed chapter ring and traditional Chopard-shaped hands.
Of course, the pièce de résistance here is that brilliant in-house calibre L.U.C 96-32-L movement. It features patented Twin Technology (two barrels for 65 hour power reserve), a 22k gold micro-rotor, a balance spring with the Phillips terminal curve, as well as a chiming mechanism with monobloc sapphire crystal gongs. Oh, and it's all COSC certified with Poinçon de Genève hallmark.
Model: L.U.C Strike One
Case Material: Ethical White Gold
Water Resistance: -
Calibre: L.U.C 96-32-L
Verdict: A lot of watchmaking for what is, relatively speaking, not that much dough.
Ulysse Nardin Freak One Ops
The Freak has defined Ulysse Nardin, and since 2001 it has become the maison's namesake piece. As effervescent as it is evolutionary, the Freak is one of the most admired and revered timepieces of our generation. And in its latest variation, it continues to be a marvel of watchmaking.
The Ulysse Nardin Freak One Ops features a DLC-coated titanium case with satin finishing, a Carbonium bezel, a khaki-coloured sunray-finished layer that sits below the flying carrousel movement (not exactly a dial, but also not really a mainplate). The look of the Ulysse Nardin Freak One Ops is rugged, brutish, almost military-like, and it is to date one of my favourite looks for the Freak.
Brand: Ulysse Nardin
Model: Freak One Ops
Case Material: Titanium
Water Resistance: 30m
Verdict: Unapologetically freaky.
De Bethune DBD Evergreen Digital
The De Bethune DBD Evergreen Digital celebrates all things Dubai Watch Week. From the De Bethune striped green dial to the beige textile strap, the De Bethune DBD Evergreen Digital is a deceivingly simple yet wholly impressive piece from the watchmaker.
Perhaps the most interesting point of the De Bethune DBD Evergreen Digital is its digital display, made capable by the manufacture DB2044 movement. We have on display the passing hours and minutes, as well as the day, date and month showcased in a very simple and very pure way.
Brand: De Bethune
Model: DBD Evergreen Digital
Case Material: Titanium
Water Resistance: 30m
Verdict: Divisive and polarising, but damn cool either way.
Raymond Weil Millésime Automatic Small Seconds
Raymond Weil pulled out all the stops with the Millésime Automatic Small Seconds. Sophisticated, classical, timeless, elegant and definitely not what we have come to expect from the maison, the Millésime Automatic Small Seconds is exactly what I personally want to see more of from the brand.
I love this type of watchmaking. Simple, restrained, a nod to dress watches of yesteryear while still utilising the contemporary watchmaking technologies of today. A perfect entry level dress watch that will age just like a fine wine. Oh, and it won an award at GPHG 2023.
Brand: Raymond Weil
Model: Millésime Automatic Small Seconds
Case Material: Stainless Steel
Water Resistance: 50m
Verdict: More of this, please.