The 10 Best Watches of 2018
It was a great year for the luxury watch industry with record-breaking sales in the U.S. and much of the world. As a result the output of new watches for the year was quite impressive and diverse. The selection below shows both this high quality and the diversity. They include watches with mystery movements, modern recreations of iconic timepieces and designs emphasizing thematic concepts. Some of the watches were created to honor anniversaries and milestones. There are chronographs, classic watches and world timers. And they include pieces from some of best-known luxury brands and lesser-known small independent brands.
So enjoy these watches as the industry is already producing pieces for 2019.
Rotonde de Cartier Skeleton Mysterious Double Tourbillon
The mysterious double tourbillon movement, first created by Cartier in 2013, shows a tourbillon that appears to be suspended in mid-air with no connection to the rest of the movement. As a double flying tourbillon, it completes a rotation in 60 seconds, while the tourbillon cage performs a second five-minute rotation. On the dial skeletonized bridges are in the shape of Roman numerals with the mysterious tourbillon encased in the transparency of the skeleton. A subdial at 12 o’clock indicates hours and minutes with blued steel sword-shaped hands. The watch is housed in a 45 platinum case and powered by the Caliber 9465MC manual movement with a 52-hour power reserve.
Tag Heuer BWD Monaco
Tag Heuer teamed with George Bamford of Bamford Watch Department to create a radically altered version of the classic Monaco watch, one of the most recognizable racing chronographs in the world. Bamford is known for customizing and personalizing aftermarket luxury watches. This 2018 Monaco still has the square 39mm dial, the crown positioned on the left, and chronograph push buttons at 2 and 4 o’clock. However, it now has a textured black carbon case and a black dial with Bamford’s signature details, including its “Aquablue” color for the chronograph counters at 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock, date window at 6 o’clock and indices. The Monaco watch was introduced by Heuer (prior to its merger with Tag) in 1969 for the Monaco Grand Prix. It was revolutionary for being what is believed to be the first automatic chronograph and the first square-case chronograph. Steve McQueen wore the watch in the 1971 feature film, Le Mans. More recently, the Monaco played a prominent role in the TV series, Breaking Bad.
H. Moser & Cie. Endeavour Tourbillon Concept
A flying tourbillon positioned with skeletonized bridges at 6 o’clock is the standout item on this true minimalist timepiece. The tourbillon and leaf-shaped hour and minute hands, are the only items on the “funky blue” fume dial, giving the watch a pure and minimalist appearance. It is housed in a 42mm 18k white gold case and is powered by the in-house built HMC 804 automatic movement. This independent Swiss watchmaker is known for producing aesthetically refined timepieces with superior mechanics.
IWC Tribute to Pallweber Edition 150 Years
IWC Schaffhausen turned 150 years old in 2018 and to celebrate the company unveiled its first wristwatch to feature the original digital hours and minute display as it appeared on the Pallweber pocket watches back in 1884. It shows the hours and minutes in large numerals on rotating discs, has an 18k red gold case, white dial with a lacquered finish, white display discs, and a blued seconds hand. As a reference to the design of the historic Pallweber watches and a tribute to F. A. Jones — the American watchmaker who founded IWC — the windows of the digital display are labeled as “Hours” and “Minutes.” It is powered by the IWC-manufactured 94200 caliber.
Franck Muller Vanguard World Timer GMT
A raised sunray brushed world map is on the center of the dial. It references the major cities for each of the 24 time zones through a disc that includes a day/night indicator. It displays the hours, minutes and seconds along with a separate GMT hand with red arrow that points to the time in a second time zone. A three-position crown and separate push button operate the functions of the watch. The tourneau shaped 18k rose gold and stainless steel case measures an extra-large 53.70 mm width, 44 mm length and 14.50 mm height.
Montblanc Star Legacy Nicolas Rieussec Chronograph
Nicolas Rieussec is credited with inventing the first chronograph in 1821. Since 2008, Montblanc has presented various monopusher chronographs that reinterpret the original invention. This 2018 version has a 44.8 mm stainless steel case with a reworked silvery-white dial. The off-centered hour-circle and the chronograph’s titanium turning discs are domed, giving it a three-dimensional effect. Slim black Arabic numerals are surrounded by a railway minute track. The date is at 6 o’clock and enhanced with a display applied on the dial with blued screws. The dial is finished with a guilloché pattern. Two rotating vertically-aligned discs on the dial serve as 60-second and 30-minute counters that turn below a blued fixed double index. This design is inspired by Rieussec’s original inking chronograph. In addition, a second time zone is displayed by a skeletonized hand on the off-centered dial. The chronograph is powered by the Caliber MB R200 automatic chronograph movement.
Nomos Glashütte Tangente Bauhaus group of watches in three sizes with three color rings
The German watch brand has quietly earned an international following for its timepieces that combine watchmaking precision with a design esthetic inspired by the Bauhaus movement of the early 20th Century. It seems fitting that the company would celebrate the 100th anniversary of the short lived but highly influential Bauhaus German art school with a nine-piece special edition of its Tangente watch. The watches for men and women are available in 33, 35, and 38 millimeters. The overall beige tint of the dial is described as “sketch paper” by Nomos. This is offset by black numerals and hands, encircled by a simple thin line of red, yellow, or blue—the three primary colors used by Bauhaus. The design was inspired by the sketches of Bauhaus artist, Paul Klee. The watches are powered by the Alpha in-house built Nomos manual caliber with a stop-seconds mechanism, Glashütte stopwork and Glashütte three-quarter plate.
Audemars Piguet 25th Anniversary Royal Oak Offshore
Audemars Piguet is celebrating the 25th anniversary of its iconic Royal Oak Offshore. The Swiss watchmaker presented three new versions of the sports watch: a re-edition of the original 42 mm Royal Oak Offshore Selfwinding Chronograph; and a new 45 mm Royal Oak Offshore Tourbillon Chronograph with a contemporary dial design in stainless steel and pink gold. Since it was introduced in 1993, the Swiss watch brand has launched more than 120 references of this highly popular 42 mm model in various materials, including stainless steel, titanium, gold and platinum.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tribute Duoface
This limited edition interpretation of the iconic Reverso watch has a pink gold case with a two-tone cordovan leather strap crafted by celebrated Argentinean boot makers, Casa Fagliano. The watch offers two contrasting dials. A slate grey sunray dial with hand-applied hour markers that echo its dauphine hands and small seconds dial in a round minute track brings. On the other side the local time is displayed on a silvered dial with two finishes — a Clous de Paris guilloché on the background, and an opaline finish in the centre with a day/night indicator.
Ulysse Nardin Marine Torpilleur Military
The Ulysse Nardin Marine Torpilleur Military is a direct descendant of the pocket chronometers prized by sea captains of 19th and early 20th century, redesigned for a modern era. Available with a white or black dial, both models have an oversized crown, 44mm case with a steel sand-blasted finish, are water-resistant to 50 meters, and stamped on the back with the distinctive torpedo boat. It is powered by the UN-118 in-house automatic movement featuring Ulysse Nardin’s proprietary silicon anchor escapement.