Top 10 Most Spectacular Timepieces We’ve Showcased This Year
In 2014, as expected, the world’s most prestigious watchmakers have delighted us with their stunning creations, many of which, in addition to being technical masterpieces, are also veritable works of art. So we’ve decided to dig up this year’s archive and once again showcase the most spectacular timepieces of 2014.
- 10. Christophe Claret Maestoso
- 9. Arnold & Son Royal TEC1 Tourbillon Chronograph
- 8. Parmigiani Bugatti Mythe
- 7. MB&F Legacy Machine N°1 Xia Liang
- 6. Jaeger-LeCoultre Rendez-Vous Ivy Minute Repeater
- 5. Bovet Amadeo Fleurier Tourbillon Virtuoso III
- 4. Blancpain Tourbillon Diamants
- 3. Vacheron Constantin Maître Cabinotier Astronomica
- 2. Richard Mille RM56-02
- 1. Amazing Van Cleef & Arpels Midnight Planetarium Poetic Complication
Independent Swiss watchmaker Christophe Claret is known for the feats of skill employed in the creation of his watches, yet the Maestoso seems deceptively unremarkable. While the movement of the watch is indeed visible from the outside, at a glance there’s nothing to indicate it is in any way different from the usual high-end timepiece.
What makes the Maestoso special is the detent escapement used by Christophe Claret in its creation, a much more complicated mechanism than the traditional lever escapement, but also significantly more sensitive. This means that three patented inventions and some tricky engineering were needed to actually make it work as a wristwatch.
Arnold & Son has been creating stunning timepieces for royalty and the aristocracy since its very inception. To celebrate this illustrious history spanning back 250 years, the acclaimed British watchmaker has released limited edition TEC1 Tourbillon Chronograph.
Part of the Royal Collection (which is inspired by the pieces created by founder John Arnold for King George III and the members of the royal court), the eye-catching watch features a red gold case with a blue lacquered guilloché dial with the inscription ‘250th Anniversary’ on its 22-carat red gold rotor.
Parmigiani and Bugatti are two prestigious names in their respective fields and their long-standing collaboration has yielded some really remarkable timepieces. To mark the partnership’s 10th anniversary, the remarkable Mythe driver’s watch was created.
Based on the acclaimed Bugatti 370, it features a similar lateral display, a staple of driver’s watches (which makes it easy to read while the hand is on the steering wheel), as well as the unmistakable Bugatti grille on the dial. With a price tag approaching half a million dollars, the ultra-exclusive Mythe makes most luxury cars look affordable!
One of this year’s more unusual luxury watches was MB&F’s special edition Legacy Machine N°1 (LM1), created in collaboration with Chinese artist Xia Liang.
What makes this watch stand out is the unique way it shows you how much of the power reserve is left, which is with the help of a tiny humanoid figurine made of aluminum. When the movement is fully wound and there’s plenty of power left, the “man” sits straight up and is called “Mr. Up”, but as the power levels drop, so do the his head, shoulders, and back, and he becomes “Mr. Down.”
The luxury watch market is dominated by men’s timepieces, but every now and then an exquisite creation intended specially for the discerning ladies out there is released. One of these is the Rendez-Vous Ivy Minute Repeater by Swiss high-end watchmaker Jaeger-LeCoultre.
The timepiece’s central motif is a glittering ivy meandering across a blue dial, making this feminine watch quite a joy to behold. In total, its white gold case is adorned with no fewer than 548 diamonds.
Swiss luxury watchmaker Bovet released the exquisite Amadeo Fleurier Tourbillon Virtuoso III in January, signaling a very good year for watch aficionados. The watch’s Grand Complication consists of a tourbillon with a retrograde perpetual calendar.
To make the calendar easy to read, the large tourbillon has been placed at the six o’clock position, while the hours and minutes can be found on a smaller dial above. The rest of the dial is skeletonized, revealing the timepiece’s inner workings. Also, Bovet has created the timepiece in such a way that it can be easily converted from wristwatch, to pocket watch, to table clock, allowing for great versatility in its use.
The Tourbillon Diamants watch is not so much a timekeeping instrument as it is a display of craftsmanship by the artisans over at Blancpain. The glittering piece features an unusually large number of baguette cut diamonds -480-, which are, furthermore, set in an unconventional way.
Normally when decorating a watch, several cuts of diamond are used, however in this case Blancpain has chosen to only set the timepiece with baguette cut diamonds, an unprecedented achievement for a round dial. As if the hundreds of precious stones weren’t enough to make the Tourbillon Diamants an astonishing creation!
The Maître Cabinotier Astronomica is a stunning one-off timepiece created by luxury Swiss watch brand Vacheron Constantin.
Since the watch is unique, its creators felt they could run wild with its design, so they created an incredibly complex manual-wind caliber comprising no fewer than 839 parts and 15 complications. These include a minute repeater, tourbillon, perpetual calendar (date, day of the week, month, leap years), equation of time, power reserve, sunrise time, sunset time, sky chart, age and phase of moon, sidereal time, seasons, and zodiac signs, while the Hallmark of Geneva on the dial adds an extra dimension of prestige to the piece.
This year Richard Mille has once again wowed watch aficionados with some excellent and very exclusive creations, none more impressive than the RM56-02.
This ethereal timepiece features a case made entirely out of sapphire, which took an astonishing 40 days to create. Its incredibly complex movement is suspended by cables from the case, making it look like it’s floating inside of it. The RM56-02 has also been one of the year’s most expensive watches (and certainly the most expensive on this list), with its staggering $2.02 million price tag!
Jewelry company Van Cleef & Arpels has shown established watchmakers how it’s done with one of the year’s most beautiful (and beautifully named) timepieces: the Midnight Planetarium Poetic Complication.
This horological masterpiece indicates the time via a shooting star that rotates along the edge of the face, but the way this watch has incorporated the significant bodies in our Solar System is even more impressive. The sun and the six planets you can see with the naked eye (from Mercury to Saturn) are each represented by a different precious stone and all the celestial bodies actually rotate in real time. This means that Mercury goes once around the dial in 88 days, while Saturn completes its journey in 29 years!