Independent watchmakers have a lot in common with today’s top designers.
They’re fearless risk takers, pushing boundaries with new shapes, innovative technologies, and high-tech materials. Preserving that independence allows for true individuality, giving watchmakers the ability to carve out unique identities and, in turn, enabling their products to stand out from the crowd. While many of these watchmaking marvels can stand alone by virtue of their complications and technical prowess, they are nonetheless meant to be worn. Sure, the watch you choose might be the rarest, the most complex, the most unusual. But if it doesn’t pair with your favorite outfit—game over.
Here, we’ve taken some recent standouts spotted at the Carré des Horlogers, the independent wing at the SIHH 2018 watch fair, and paired them up with groundbreaking trends from the spring/summer 2018 menswear collections. Result? The edgiest style inspiration you’ll need this year.
Skeletons from Bell & Ross and Girard Perregaux, a race-inspired TAG Heuer, and more.
F.P. Journe Chronomètre Holland & Holland
Catering to the world’s most discerning sportsmen, Holland & Holland has been manufacturing guns since 1835, in a store that conjures visions of time-honored country life, with its deeply ingrained British traditions and quirks. Joining forces with watchmaker F.P. Journe, they used two 100-year-old barrels from the Holland & Holland museum to create limited edition “browned” Damascus steel–patterned dials using traditional gun-making techniques. The two barrels were registered by hand in the company’s books. Barrel No. 1382, dating back to 1868, yielded 38 dials, while barrel No. 7183, dating to 1882, produced 28 dials.
Third-generation watchmaker Laurent Ferrier plainly states on his website his horological values: simplicity, precision, and pure, uncluttered beauty. These ideals are exhibited perfectly in his limited-edition porcelain-dial Galet Square watch, which houses an exclusive in-house movement developed and assembled in the Laurent Ferrier workshops. The gentle curves of the case bring to mind the shape of a pebble, the direct translation of the French word galet. Breguet numerals with a red 12 o’clock and gold-colored minute outer rail beautifully set off the glossy white dial—so difficult to produce that only 10 pieces will be made worldwide.
Bell & Ross is well known for its aviation association, with distinctive square-shaped watches resembling instruments taken directly from a cockpit control panel. Made of titanium, matte white ceramic, and rubber, contrasting red details provide excellent readability of the automatic skeletonized chronograph movement. The BR-X1 White Hawk looks precisely to business aircraft for its stylish inspiration, the white-and-gray materials taking their cues from private-jet interiors.
First launched in 1975, the sporty and versatile Laureato design from Girard Perregaux continues to evolve with the all-black Laureato Skeleton Ceramic. Brushed and satin finishes enhance the dark surface of the Laureato by intensifying the dramatic black PVD-treated openwork movement with exposed 18-k pink-gold details. The Laureato style is entirely adaptable, the stealth and contemporary look making this version appealing to a new generation.
TAG Heuer AUTAVIA Jack Heuer 85th Anniversary Limited Edition
2017 will go down as the year of the chronograph, especially for styles referencing the golden age of auto racing. The 42 mm polished-steel TAG Heuer reissue, a limited edition of 1,932 pieces, features the new Heuer-02 caliber proprietary chronograph and all the best features of the 1960s original redesigned by Jack Heuer himself. Jack says, “The story of the Autavia is a rich drama, full of twists and turns. It is one of my proudest achievements to have successfully converted chronographs into the Autavia wristwatch in 1962, so this collection has a special place in my heart.”