The selection of a wristwatch is easily one of the more important style choices a man can make. One wears a watch, not the other way around, so it is best to find something that fits both your needs and your aesthetic. Not so easy when there are so many exceptional timepieces out there to choose from. Like people, watches have personalities, and it is not difficult to project values and characteristics upon them that we can relate to. The more things you have in common, the more suitable it is on your wrist.
MYSTERY IN DESIGN
Roger Dubuis Excalibur 42 Skeleton Flying Tourbillon
By combining both a flying tourbillon and a skeleton build, Roger Dubuis has created a timepiece that is both aesthetically mesmerizing and technically superlative. Though it reveals the inner workings of the timepiece, it still carries a strong sense of mystery and a bit of aloofness. It's attitude that bubbles just under the surface, waiting for the right wrist to set it free.
The sensation of wearing a timepiece that costs more than a Nissan GT-R is a feeling you won't soon forget. Equal parts awe, obscenity, responsibility, pleasure, appreciation, and guilt, the feeling of strapping the Roger Dubuis Excalibur 42 Skeleton Flying Tourbillon on one's wrist is intense and psychological. For most people, the idea of an PHP 8 million wristwatch is incomprehensible. For loons like me who believe that a timepiece is more than just the sum of its parts, the opportunity to hold—much less wear—a watch this precious was an opportunity I couldn't pass up. For its price tag, the watch is surprisingly understated. It isn't studded with precious gems and the rose gold case is discreet. If you prefer a timepiece that people can see from across the club floor, then this isn't for you. But if you like your jewelry low key or stoic, this is up your alley.
The appeal of the Excalibur 42 Skeleton Flying Tourbillon stems from its skeleton frame, which strips away excess surfaces and leaves you with a striking, star-shaped, almost architectural mount for the flying tourbillon and the other components of the RD505SQcalibre. A sapphire caseback lets light stream right through the watch, allowing you to admire Roger Dubuis' masterful use of negative space. The skeleton frame reveals the movement, a technical endeavor with the Celtic cross-shaped flying tourbillon as the centerpiece. Each movement takes about 700 hours to manufacture, some 220 of which are dedicated to fine tuning and embellishment to achieve the Poincon de Geneve certification. Of the total 20 million watches produced in Switzerland, only 24,000 are awarded this hallmark. The movement is hand-wound rather than automatic, which gives the wearer a bit more intimacy with the watch.
GOING ALL IN
Hublot Big Bang Unico World Poker Tour Limited Edition 2018
If there is one thing Hublot can't be accused of, it is bashfulness. The watchmaker favors the loud and attention-seeking, making the brand the raconteur in a roomful of timid timekeepers. By the same token, Hublot's clientele is similarly gregarious; they're playful and outspoken. So, it made utter sense for Hublot to become the official timekeeper and official watch of the Las Vegas-based World Poker Tour and create a limited edition timepiece to commemorate the partnership. While some brands refuse to open stores in casinos for fear of tarnishing their brand, Hublot embraces the association.
Its boutiques and retailers in the gambling capitals of the world have been a great success. After all, high rollers who gamble big and win big are more likely to purchase big ticket items like luxury watches. Hublot's Big Bang Unico World Poker Tour limited edition wristwatch—only 200 pieces have been made—is a statement of one's passion for a game of risk, strategy, deception, and guile.
Its styling deliberately calls attention to itself—the straps are loud and each of the four suits is polished and microblasted on a bezel that's a mix of black, red, and 58 chrome. It's designed to call attention to itself, like Tom Jones's pinky ring, or Vegas itself. This wristwatch demands commitment. Your game must be on, your swag unimpeachable. Otherwise, the watch wears you. If you can't be a player, choose another chronograph.
A WHIMSICAL RITUAL
Hermès Dressage L’heure Masquee
Since the first mechanical clocks appeared in China in 725 AD, watchmakers have sought to improve upon their creations by adding extra functions to them. Over the centuries, we’ve seen repeaters, alarms, sidereal time displays, perpetual calendars, pulsometers, and more. Called complications, largely because they do add to the complexity of a platform, these functions are highly sought after, especially in the realm of luxury wristwatches. Some complications are more popular than others; some of the “greatest hits” include the day/date function and chronograph.
There are occasions, however, when a watchmaker feels the need to flex his creative muscles to design something that is entirely new. This is what Hermès has done with the Hermès Dressage L’heure Masquee. As luxury timepieces go, the L’heure Masquee may seem like a typical expensive dress watch. The face is handsome, legible, with a small window that indicates it’s a dual-time GMT watch. It’s something you would expect to come out of La Montre Hermès. But look closer and you will find an unusual complication.
The watch belongs to the manufacture’s watch series, Le Temps de l’Imaginaire or “Imaginary Time,” which began with the release of two models in 2011: the Cape Cod Grandes Heures and Le Temps Suspendu. These watches present time in unusual, unexpected ways. “L’heure Masquee” translates to “time veiled,” which describes what this novel complication does. This new addition to the series shows a single hand upon the dial, the longer minute hand keeping the hour hand hidden underneath. Both move in synchrony, giving the impression that the watch is one of those clever single-handed ones that require you to figure out the exact minute from the angle of the lone hand. This isn’t the case.
Press a button on the crown and the hour hand reveals itself, jumping into proper position and letting you read the time normally. Simultaneously, the GMT window opens, displaying the time in Greenwich, England, or wherever you’ve set it to. The Hermès Dressage L’heure Masquee presents a playful, clever complication that isn’t quite practical, but what it succeeds in doing is adding a sense of ritual to the process of telling time. In this fast food world where everything zips by in an instant, this “slowing down” of time is a welcome treat.
This story first appeared in Vault Magazine Issue No. 23 2016