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More notables of 2019
01. A perpetual calendar model which gives a bigger play to the moon indication, set against a dark blue aventurine dial and subdials that recall a star-lit sky, Audemars Piguet Code 11.59 Perpetual Calendar fits the description of "an astronomical watch par excellence". The complication, which automatically adjusts short months and adds a day to February each leap year, is one of the six timepieces in Audemars Piguet's new Code 11.59 collection. If worn permanently, it requires an adjustment only in 2100 – and only for February 29th to be set to March 1.
02. IWC Schaffhausen has expanded its Pilot Watches collection to include a new Spitfire line, with watches powered by IWC inhouse movements and their look based on the puristic instrument design of the iconic Mark 11 navigation timepiece. The Big Pilot's Watch Perpetual Calendar Spitfire (Ref IW503601) is one of the first of these watches. A limited edition of 250 pieces, the perpetual calendar has a big (46.2 millimetres wide) bronze case framing an olive green dial with gold-plated hands. The watch is strapped with brown calf leather and runs on the 52615 IWC-manufactured calibre with a 7-day power reserve. The movement has a Pellaton winding with parts made from wear-resistant ceramic. Any adjustment of the perpetual calendar is easily made with the crown. The double moon display depicts the correct position of the moon in the northern and southern hemisphere. Adjustment is only required after 577.5 years – and only by one day.
03. A whimsical take on the moon-phase watch with an intriguing movement, Hermes' Arceau L'heure la lune presents a pair of fixed mother-of-pearl moons with a pair of floating lacquer sub-dials floating over the top and rotating around the dial once every 59 days. While rotating, it covers and uncovers the moons, revealing the current moon phase in both the southern and northern hemispheres at once. One floating dial depicts the hours and minutes, while the other the date. The moons are inverted with the top one showing the southern hemisphere and the lower one the northern hemisphere. The lower moon features a transfer of the lunar surface on top and the upper moon bares a subtle pegasus motif by artist and designer Dimitri Rybaltchenko. The Ardeau L'heure la lune has two versions: one with a meteorite dial and graduated grey lacquered discs; another with an aventurine dial and white lacquered discs. Both dials are framed in a 43mm wide gold case. Each version of the watch is limited to 100 numbered pieces.
04. Harry Winston's Histoire collection celebrates its 10th birthday by rolling out the Histoire de Tourbillon 10, the first wristwatch to have four tourbillons. And it comes in three models: white gold, rose gold and platinum. Each of the gold model is a limited edition of 10 watches. The platinum model is a unique piece. A 53.3mm wide and 39.1mm high rectangular case is needed to accommodate the four gravity defying mechanisms. Together, the case and the four tourbillons make the Histoire de Tourbillon a highly accurate time-measuring watch – with a unique design.
05. Blancpain has never put a blue ceramic on its iconic Fifty Fathoms diver's watch – until now. The latest Fifty Fathoms Automatic model – the first was introduced in 1953 – also comes in a 45mm wide rose gold case and is water-resistant to 300 metres deep. The DNA of the watch remains identifiable at first glance: numerals, hour-markers and hands coated with luminescent material, a slightly curved scratchproof sapphire crystal and a ratcheted unidirectional rotting bezel.
06. Rugged, shock and robust water resistant as well as luminous – these are the features that qualify the Luminox ICE-SAR Arctic timepieces for search and rescue duty, which can mean dealing with volcano disruptions, avalanches, shipwrecks and mega storms. As the official partner of the Icelandic Association for Search and Rescue (ICE-SAR), Luminox is committed to create watches that meet these needs. The new Luminox ICE-SAR Arctic 1200 Series is a collection of stainless steel models, complete with interesting details – such as a textile strap – and colours. Apart from Luminox's unique self-powered illumination system – providing constant glow for up to 25 years – the dial of the watches has a printed world map. Their bidirectional turning bezel can be used as a sun compass.
07. Jaeger-LeCoultre has been around since 1833, creating over 1200 movements, building up 180 different watch-making skills and accumulating over 400 registered patents. Its latest Master Grande Tradition Gyrotourbillon Westminister Perpetual is the product of the 186 years of experience and watch-making skill. A well-balance chronometric performer and visual spectacle, the timepiece is the first multi-axis tourbillon with a constant-force mechanism, Westminster chime and perpetual calendar.
08. Piaget's Altiplano Ultimate Concept represents a real push in the boundaries of innovation. It's the world's thinnest mechanical hand-wound watch. "It's almost nothing, just two millimetres thick, but it took a lot of work and passion," says Marc Menant, Piaget's watch-marketing manager from Geneva. To be precise, "four years of research and development and involved a team of three engineers working in close cooperation with watch-makers, designers, case and movement constructors at every stage of its creation", says Piaget. "It also called for the implementation of unprecedented technical solutions pushing the boundaries of micro mechanics and for the filing of five patents." To produce this concept watch, still not ready to be sold, the R&D team was told to achieve this "simple and yet difficult" goal: Make "the construction as compact as possible so as to reduce its thickness to the limits of feasibility, while making no concessions in terms of its reliability and aesthetic appeal".
09. Grand Seiko's Spring Drive is a unique movement that combines the high torque of a mechanical watch with the high precision integrated circuit control system of an electronic watch. Twenty years after its launch, Seiko is celebrating Spring Drive's anniversary with a new design in its sports collection – a design based on the Grand Seiko lion, long the brand's symbol for precision, durability and beauty. The new design is seen in three new limited edition models with specially adjusted Spring Drive movements – including the Spring Drive Chronograph GMT 9R96 (SBGC230), limited to 100 watches.