2021! It’s the beginning of a new era that feels very much like the previous. You are entitled to enervation. However, empty fuel tanks don’t apply everywhere. The big-ticket Swiss watch brands aren’t affected by a pandemic. Our 2021 year is shaping up to be a great year for new watches.
These watch brands do plan their major releases well in advance. The Swiss are punctual and it’s not unusual to see every lab-coated watchmaker arrive at their workplace at 9am. It’s no surprise then that they have good stuff – good stuff from Rolex and Tagheuer, Breitling, and so forth.
These are our top picks for new watches, along with a few we expect to see in the coming 12 months. Things are getting better. You might actually have the best year ever in 2021 – here are the top watches of the year to prove it.
Longines watches are well-made and affordable. This is why they have become one of the most popular watch brands worldwide. The youngwatch2.com Spirit collection, which was launched in 2020 to honor Longines’ love of aviation, features a clean aesthetic that makes it easy to read. The newest version is available in titanium and comes at a fraction of the price of PS2.5k. A steal for a chronometer-certified watch.
Top Time Classic Cars chronographs pay tribute to three iconic mid-century American motoring icons. It features watches that were inspired by the Ford Mustang, Chevrolet’s Stingray Corvette and the AC Shelby Cobra. All of them are great, but we have to choose one. This is a tribute to Carrol Shelby’s car that combined British chassis design and American racing engineering.
The 265-year old company is known for making high-end dress watches with intricate complications and hand-polished dials. In 2021, it released a sports watch. It is, however, very expensive. Cory Richards, mountain-ascending adventure photographer, endorses The Overseas Limited Editions Everest. It has a titanium-steel case and a blue-grey dial. There are two versions: a dual-time and a chronograph. Both have bright orange details on the strap and hands. It still looks very Vacheron Constantin, most impressively.
Swatch released a line of watches based on 1984, four years before its 40th anniversary. For this it has worked with a new material called Bioceramic, a tough-but-smooth-to-the-touch substance that is two-thirds ceramic, one-third bio-sourced plastic. There are 18 different styles, sizes, and colors available for the watches. All come in decade-appropriate designs.
The titanium perpetual calendar from AP is big in Japan. It was so popular that it was not available in the far east for quite some time. This metallic piece has now arrived in the shops – and there are good reasons to believe that it will be equally popular.
The salmon dial is the first and most important. The salmon dial is a rare shade on Swiss watches and should not be confused with rose. It caps an impressive calibre. Grab one of the 300 watches (or browse Japanese resale websites, depending on your preference).
The Aquaracer Professional 300 series by Tag Heuer got a revamp earlier in the year. This was evolution, not revolution. It included tweaks that made the watch more popular (date window at 6 o’clock!) It was a great improvement, but it didn’t make it any less valuable.
The Nightdiver joins the eight models that were announced in April. It has an all-black appearance with a unmissable lume dial. The DLC-coated model in black clay is available in three options. It’s a tough, heavy-duty remix of a well-loved watch.
Can you survive nine ejections by an aircraft flying at 600 knots with forces of 30G and speeds of 600 kph?
Is your watch able to keep up?
These were only two of many tests that the Bremont watch company put the MB Savanna through.
The MB-II line was developed in collaboration with Martin-Baker (british ejector seat makers) and has been a popular choice with pilot watch enthusiasts and real-life military pilots. The latest grey/tan version features pops of colour (red and yellow), but it still wears its desert military spec with distinction.
The display case back is water-resistant to 100m and offers a view of ruthenium-plated wheels.
The watch industry, like all other businesses, has been pursuing sustainability. However, there have been mixed results. Oris watches, which already offer some of the most value for money in luxury timepiece markets, has been leading the way for many years by supporting ethical practices on land and at sea.
It has been announced that it will be “climate-neutral” by 2021. This means it’s not only its factory, but also its boutiques and watches. They have zero environmental impact.
It has created a limited-edition Big Crown ProPilot to celebrate the 10th anniversary Botswana’s aeromedical rescue organization Okavango Air Rescue. It was inspired by nature, which is fitting.
It’s also green, which is fitting.
Junghans is not like other Swiss watch brands. You can be sure it has Swiss-made credentials. It feels more mid-century. Instead, it chooses to celebrate its German heritage, Max Bill, founder of Concrete Art and Bauhaus, which lends his name this blue chronoscope.
It was created in tribute to the iconic artist.
It’s easy to mistakenly treat expensive watches as if they were a sacred relic. It makes sense to purchase a cheaper watch that is just as stylish as a top-end Swiss watch. Rotary is a great choice for this.
The Automatic GB05410/05 is a watch that blends well with many events. It’s perfect for weekend use. It is sporty but not too much. It’s still casually stylish, but it can also be worn in the office. A navy-on-steel palette is a good choice for almost any outfit.
Bell & Ross
The BR 03-92 Diver Military combines professional quality and functional aesthetics. It continues the brand’s tradition of making rugged, military-inspired watches. It is water-resistant up to 300 meters and resists shocks as well as magnetic interference. The exterior is made of steel and the interior is made from ceramic. In low light, the indices glow brightly green. The olive dial, which mirrors the military uniform at night, reflects its origins in the daytime.
The watch comes with a flight-case that includes both a black rubber strap as well as an olive drab Velcro Strap. Limitations: 999 watches
For the past half-century, personalization has been an integral part of streetwear and trainer culture. It has never been adopted by any luxury watch brand, at least not officially. Bulgari’s Octo Roma Naturalia watch is customizable and high-jewellery. The buyer can choose from black onyx, lapis li or malachite, as well as case materials (titanium or rose gold), while the back of the watch can be personalized in any way you want. This makes it a truly unique piece.
All of this is done through an app called the Bulgari Maestria Application Configurator. This app is available for purchase in Bulgari boutiques and, who knows, maybe even your smartphone.
This year marks 10 years of Mr Porter, the men’s fashion and lifestyle website. Esquireback 2011 reported that the top trends in 2011 were dressing like Jean Michel Basquiat, “parakeet Green” and pilots’ watches.
We would like to believe at least two-thirds have lasted the test of time. So it is fitting that Mr Porter kicks off its anniversary year by collaborating with IWC, experts in professional-grade pilot watches.
This 41.1mm Pilot Automatic Chronograph has sub-dials for 30-minutes and 12 hours, luminescent hands, and a luminescent numeral “10” (as in, 10 years). It is limited to 110 pieces. This bronze beauty is as timeless as timepieces can get. It will go well with just about anything. Yes, even “parakeet green” – honest. Pre-order available now
This watchmaker is so revered in Germany that Angela Merkel was there when the factory opened in Glashutte in 2015.
Although we can’t confirm if the German chancellor was present at Harrods’s new boutique this May, it was an important moment for the brand.
Anyone can now have hands-on experience with the watches in Knightsbridge’s Fine Watch Room.
This is a chance that could be both a blessing and a curse. It’s nearly impossible to not fall in love with models such as the pink gold Lange 1 Perpetual calendar. Your bank manager will decide if you take the plunge.
Gucci doesn’t believe in casual understatement. This philosophy is equally applicable to its watches and clothes. The Gucci 25H is a new model for 2021, named so because Alessandro Michele, Gucci’s creative director, believes that the number has symbolic power (his 25th birthday falls on 25 November).
This watch marks the company’s first venture into fine watchmaking. It also features its first Swiss-made in-house movement, which sets it apart from other “fashion” watches. The watch features a tourbillon, and is available in platinum or yellow gold versions.
Watchmakers have taken inspiration from the Sixties and Seventies. It was a golden era for watch design, and it is. Carl F Bucherer’s Heritage Collection turns the dial back a little more to the elegant and refined Fifties.
The Heritage BiCompax Annual has a new version with a reverse dial. This gives the classic, mid-century design a sportier edge. This is the watch for you if you are looking for a retro-inspired sports watch that will stand out from the rest but won’t need a new mortgage.
Pilot watches must be legible and durable. Both of these requirements are met by the Big Pilot’s Watch Top Gun Edition “Mojave Desert”. The first of IWC’s Big Pilot line to be made in sand-coloured ceramic it comes in a not-for-the-faint-hearted 46mm case, while its insides have been engineered to endure maximum acceleration forces in supersonic jets, such as the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet. It can also be used to commute by bicycle to work. A seven-day power reserve is also available.
Copenhagen outfit NN07 is the kind of minimalist, cool Nordic menswear brand that you will see a lot outside Soho offices. Timex is the coolest, most storied, minimalist watch that you will see around Soho offices. Combine them all and you’ll get the SYNERGY that you often hear about in Soho offices.
It’s a wear-anywhere watch that is affordable and plays to the strengths each marque. It’s also limited to 777 pieces so you won’t find it anywhere else.