When we wake to the chilly Monday morning of the new year to find that Christmas has left, we all need something to look forward to, and the most unmissable of pilgrimages to Switzerland does very nicely.
It’s the cusp of Easter, the year’s new watches arrive with the sunshine and everybody’s optimism is shifted quickly through the settings all the way from defrost to boiling hot.
2017’s was a classic edition. A focus on entry-level price points was a feature as the commercial brands looked to provide some resistance to TAG Heuer’s unstoppable charge under £3000, and the heritage theme is surely now no longer just a theme, but a species all of its own. Breitling’s offer encapsulated both these points. They expanded their use of the featherweight “Breitlight” polymer to deliver the “Colt Skyracer”; a cheeky upstart of a watch, priced at just £1810.00, and their wonderful black sheep, the Superocean Heritage got a spring clean, leaving it with a ceramic bezel. Very smart indeed.
Following the recent stampedes for Snoopy, CK2998 and more recently Speedy Tuesday, Omega were no doubt rubbing their (chronograph) hands together when preparing to unleash the superb “1957 Trilogy”, which yields four limited editions in one glorious swoop. This trove included the much yearned for Railmaster, and also a Speedmaster with tropical dials, very well executed with impressive faithfulness to the original classics and more than adequate tribute to mark their 60th anniversary.
There were two watches that stood out for me.
Firstly, OMEGA’s Speedmaster Racing. Amidst all the limited editions and talk of Moon landings it is easy to forget that the core range Speedmaster is a great watch anyway. It has been slightly neglected but the attention it has now been given is well timed. Speedmaster’s classic styling makes it the ideal candidate for the retrospection of mechanical watches which seems lately to be less of trend and more of a given.
At the same time, OMEGA’s two sub-dial configuration is handsome and fresh and I particularly liked the (sassier) versions with orange hands.
My other favourite was TUDOR’s Heritage Black Bay Steel and Gold. This watch proves once and for all the inherent superiority of the Black Bay’s genes. Each new edition is equally as mouth-watering as the last, and to anyone who thinks that a brand can rely too heavily on a watch, I would say why not? Black Bay deserves a whole brand to itself. I took to TUDOR’s website on the Wednesday and spent the next 48 hours lamenting the Steel and Gold’s resemblance to a Submariner. Once I arrived at the show and saw it in the flesh, I was immediately and totally converted. If anyone understands subtlety of execution, it is TUDOR and the gold involved here would be acceptable to even the most ardent sceptic of bling.