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Tour de Force: From workplace to weekend--a selection of this year's best.

PATEK PHILIPPE TWENTY-4 AUTOMATIC

Patek Philippe's new Twenty-4 Automatic collection, introduced at a splashy event in Milan in October, builds on the smashing success of its Twenty-4 ladies' line of quartz watches, which debuted in 1999 and became the brand's undisputed cash cow.

Unlike the original Twenty-4, which was housed in a manchette style, the new automatic models--aka Ref. 7300--come in a 36 mm round case made of either stainless steel or rose gold. They maintain the aesthetic tradition of the series with a bracelet marked by gently cambered central links flanked by two-tiered outside links (the latter with or without diamonds). Additional feminine touches include a refined dial featuring applied Arabic numerals and baton-style hands with luminous coatings, as well as a bezel studded with two rows of diamonds, set in a style known as dentelle, or "lacework."

But it's what ticks inside the new Twenty-4 that makes this collection newsworthy. Powered by caliber 324 S C, a self-winding movement with date aperture and sweep seconds, the models are in keeping with a long-standing tradition at the Geneva watchmaker. Since 2009, when Patek Philippe introduced the Ladies First Chronograph, the brand has maintained a steady focus on satisfying the growing market for women's mechanical timepieces. Gentlemen, eat your hearts out!

$45,361 for bracelet without diamonds and $56,702 for bracelet with diamonds; patek.com

NOMOS GLASHUTTE ORION NEOMATIK 41 DATE MIDNIGHT BLUE AND OLIVE GOLD

When Nomos, the Glashutte, Germany-based brand best known for its classic, almost sober, approach to watch design, introduced its first family of watches in 1992, the Orion model was among its pillars.

Inside the Orion's elegant dome of a stainless steel case ticked a manual wind movement, the only kind thin enough to fit inside the slender casing. When the brand introduced the Update series earlier this year, featuring a new Neomatik date caliber (DUW 6101), allowing the slender Orion to expand to a diameter of 41 mm, the model was finally able to accommodate an automatic caliber complete with a convenient date function.

Earlier this year, Nomos further refined the series with two new dial color variations, to join the traditional white silver-plated dial version: midnight blue and a burnished shade of green, dubbed "olive gold."

Boasting the same generous date window, domed sapphire glass, curved casing, and tailored lugs that have made the Update series to the Orion one of Nomos's bestsellers, the new Orion Neomatik 41 Date Midnight Blue and Orion Neomatik 41 Date Olive Gold are welcome additions to a line synonymous with timeless elegance.

$4,350; nomos-glashuette.com

HUBLOT BIG BANG UNICO RED MAGIC

Hublot calls the material at the heart of its newest Big Bang Unico flyback chronograph edition Vibrantly colored ceramic," but the rest of us call it like we see it: red of the richest fire-engine variety. Regardless of how we describe the Red Magic watch, this much is true: The watchmaker has taken its philosophy of fusion--representing a bold combination of materials and alloys--to a new extreme with this world first, a 45 mm watch case and bezel made entirely of red ceramic.

Four years in the making, the patented material--which also makes an appearance on the flange, indexes, minute and seconds counters, Arabic numerals, and hands of the timepiece--is enriched with a superior hardness of 1500 HVI compared to 1200 HV2 for conventional ceramics. The theme continues with a lined structured red rubber strap.

Meanwhile, the Unico HUB124 manufacture movement and its column wheel, visible on the dial side through the sapphire crystal, does the hard work of powering the watch, whose 330 components, frequency 4 Hz (28,800 Vib/h), and 72-hour power reserve are horologically impressive.

With its proprietary coloration technique, Hublot is poised to introduce even more vibrantly colored ceramics to its range. But don't miss out on this red-hot edition of 500 pieces, sure to be a collector's darling.

$26,200; hublot.com

BAUME & MERCIER CLIFTON BAUMATIC

Long known for making elegant, luxurious and accessibly priced wristwatches, Baume & Mercier can now add technologically advanced to that list of attributes. Thanks to its new Clifton Baumatic collection of timepieces endowed with its first in-house movement--a self-winding caliber with a five-day power reserve and a technically impressive silicon escapement--the brand has created a chronometer worthy of watches with a much higher price tag.

In addition to its superior accuracy, with a precision rate of minus 4/plus 6 seconds per day, and its antimagnetic materials--which have a resistance to at least 1,500 gauss, 25 times higher than the current norm--the Clifton Baumatic movement comes with an extended warranty, meaning no service is needed for 5 years.

The clean-cut appearance of the watches--whose white or black porcelain-like dials are understated and easy to read, with slender riveted hour-markers, slim lancet hands and an oversized date aperture at 3 o'clock--is right in line with the brand's no-fuss aesthetic. The pieces are housed in a 40 mm polished/satin-finished steel case topped with a domed sapphire crystal, and come on a black, brown, or navy alligator strap or a five-row bracelet in polished/satin-finished steel.

Starting at $2,750; baume-et-mercier.com

IWC PILOT'S WATCH CHRONOGRAPH

Fans of lean Bauhaus design in the market for a pilot's watch need look no further than the production of Swiss-German watchmaker IWC Schaffhausen. The firm dates its history in the pilot's watch niche to its 1936 Special Watch for Pilots. Rather than complicating its streamlined dials and cases with redundant functionality, IWC opts to evoke the form-follows-function simplicity of vintage aviation.

Introduced in May, the new Pilot's Watch Chronograph revives an original design from 1994. While not exactly vintage, the piece was IWC's first mechanical Pilot's Chronograph, reference 3706, and helped re-establish the brand as a leader in the pilot's category.

Adorned with an instrument-inspired dial virtually unchanged from the original--including two subdials at 12 and 6 o'clock as well as a day and date display--the chronograph features a quarter-seconds scale for measuring short periods of time, rectangular hands filled with an easy-to-read beige luminous material, and a green textile strap.

In keeping with IWC's commitment to making timepieces featuring authentic codes of aviation, the movement of the watch is protected against magnetic fields by a soft iron cage, and the glass is specially secured against displacement caused by sudden drops in air pressure in the cockpit.

$4,950; iwc.com

PARMIGIANI TORIC QUALITE FLEURIER

The Swiss village of Fleurier is known among watch connoisseurs for being the hometown of Michel Parmigiani, a Swiss-Italian watchmaker and antique watch and automaton restorer who founded his self-titled brand here in 1996.

It's also gained a reputation as a mecca for high-quality watchmaking thanks to the Fleurier Quality Foundation, and its Fleurier Certification, a quality mark established in 2004. In addition to complying with a number of exacting finishing criteria, watches that earn the Fleurier Certification must also pass the Fleuritest, a 24-hour test that simulates typical wear and tear on a finished timepiece.

The new Toric Qualite Fleurier watch from Parmigiani honors both the first timepiece created by Michel Parmigiani and the quality mark his firm helped popularize. As with every Toric model produced since 1997, the wristwatch is characterized by a bezel formed of two gadroons alternating with hand-applied knurling based on the harmonious proportions of the golden ratio. A dial decorated with guillochage, a delicate "rice grain" pattern painstakingly applied by hand, lends the face of the watch its signature shine.

Marking the first time the Fleurier Quality stamp has adorned a Toric watch, the Toric Qualite Fleurier offers watch lovers unparalleled timekeeping in one of contemporary watchmaking's most beloved forms.

$24,500; parmigiani.com

A. LANGE & SOHNE DATOGRAPH UP/DOWN LUMEN PLATINUM

The sporty new Datograph Up/Down Lumen from A. Lange & Sonne, Germany's most prestigious watchmaker, is getting glowing reviews--literally. Thanks to a semi-transparent dial bathed in a luminous display that causes it to glow with a green hue in darkness, the wristwatch is a reliable timekeeper at all hours of the day and night.

The fourth model in the Lumen series, which kicked off in 2010, the Up/Down Datograph is sought after by collectors for its combination of good looks and powerful mechanics.

Blessed with a flyback function, a precisely jumping minute counter and a power-reserve indicator, the timepiece is fronted by a dense but elegantly designed dial that bears the Lange signature: an outsize date display in the framed double aperture, noticeably aglow in green.

The coloration is achieved by a special coating on the semitransparent sapphire crystal dial that filters out most of the visible light, leaving only that part of the UV spectrum which is needed to charge the luminous pigments with light energy.

Befitting its prestige status, the watch comes in a 41 mm platinum case on a black alligator strap with a platinum pin buckle and is available in a limited edition of 200 watches. Glow for it!

$100,500; alange-soehne.com

CARTIER SANTOS DE CARTIER

The Santos de Cartier occupies a special place in the watchmaking hall of fame. Created in 1904 for the Brazilian aviator Alberto Santos-Dumont, the Santos, with its distinctive rounded square case and screw-set bezel, is more than an icon of Cartier--it's one of the 20th century's most recognizable and enduring timepieces.

In 2018, the brand updated the model by streamlining its proportions and focusing on comfort. While the square shape, intended to evoke the symmetry of Parisian architecture of the era, and the eight screws on the bezel remain the same, the rest of the bezel has been made to look sleeker.

The most important change, however, has to do with ergonomics. Cartier has given the Santos a multipurpose, interchangeable strap that comes in steel, gold, calfskin, or alligator skin, and, thanks to the Cartier QuickSwitch system (patent pending), can be removed and replaced with the press of a button.

Ideal for a man who likes the look of a bold wristwatch with a compelling backstory, the Santos de Cartier--particularly in the all-gold medium model seen here--is as close to perfect as it gets.

$33,300; cartier.com

TAG HEUER CARRERA "TETE DE VIPERE" CHRONOGRAPH TOURBILLON CHRONOMETER

TAG Heuer continues to raise its profile in the horological community with its new Carrera Tete de Vipere" Chronograph Tourbillon Chronometer, a limited edition wristwatch that bears a stamp of chronometric excellence endorsed by the Besangon Observatory (the only independent public organization in Switzerland that inspects chronometers, operating on behalf of the International Bureau of Weights and Measures).

Since it was first applied, in 1897, the Tete de Vipere stamp has signified unrivaled precision in a timepiece--watches awarded the stamp, which certifies the watch as a whole and not just the movement, have been subjected to 16 days of testing, in five different positions at three different temperatures. Abandoned in the 1970s, the mark was reinstated in 2006. Since then, it's only been granted to 500 watches.

Available in a limited edition of 155 pieces, in honor of the 55th anniversary of the iconic Carrera model, the complicated chronometer combines chronograph functionality with a tourbillon in a midnight blue ceramic case, accented by a ceramic bezel and lugs. TAG Heuer continues the "something blue" theme on the weight and movement barrel, as well as the blue stitching on the black alligator strap, sewn onto rubber.

The Tete de Vipere" stamp appears on the bridge of the movement, visible through the sapphire crystal of the case back.

$20,400; tagheuer.com

MONTBLANC 1858 MONOPUSHER CHRONOGRAPH LIMITED EDITION 100

The smallest and least known of Switzerland's three major watchmaking centers, behind Geneva and the legendary Vallee de Joux, is the Saint-lmier Valley. But don't let its relative obscurity disguise the fact that the valley is home to some serious watchmaking expertise.

It's a fact well-known to people familiar with the history of a small factory known as Minerva, based in the village of Villeret. Having remained independent until 2006, when it was acquired by the luxury goods conglomerate Richemont, the Saint-lmier Valley manufacture is now affiliated with Montblanc. The brand honors its connection to the historical producer with the new 1858 Monopusher Chronograph Limited Edition 100, an ode to the monopusher chronograph caliber 13.20, specially developed by Minerva in 1920 for use in a wristwatch.

The vintage aesthetic of the chronograph, which comes in a 40 mm stainless steel case, comes through in the smoked-green dial and matching green alligator strap with beige stitching, sourced from the Montblanc Pelletteria in Florence, Italy. Its bi-compax dial with a small seconds counter at 9 o'clock and a chronograph 30-minute counter at 3 o'clock, as well as a tachymeter scale on the outer part of the dial recall the glory days of Minerva's chronograph production.

Price on request; montblanc.com

ZENITH PILOT CRONOMETRO TIPO CP-2 FLYBACK

Zenith's vaunted history as a producer of military chronographs for the Italian Army is on display in the new Pilot Cronometro Tipo CP-2 Flyback, an update to a 2016 model that was itself a tribute to the 2,500 pieces the brand created for the Italian armed forces in the 1960s.

The 2016 model, known as the Heritage Cronometro Tipo CP-2, revived what collectors affectionately call the "Cairelli watch" (because it was commissioned five decades ago by the Rome dealership A. Cairelli). The military chronograph was known by the designation CP, which translates as cronometro di polso, or wrist chronometer.

This year's re-issue houses an automatic El Primero column-wheel chronograph movement with flyback function within a 43 mm case. Despite its fashionable styling, the model has all the attributes of a bona fide military timepiece, including hands designed for readability, easily accessible pushers, and an easy-to-read bezel.

Available either in a bronze case with a matching bronze grained dial on a brown oily nubuck leather strap or in a case of aged stainless steel with a slate-gray grained dial on a green oily leather strap, the Pilot Cronometro Tipo CP-2 Flyback is retro chic watchmaking at its finest.

$7,700; zenith-watches.com

RADO DIAMASTER CERAMOS

Rado, the Swiss watchmaker known for its pioneering experimentation with high-tech materials, is also beloved by connoisseurs of minimalism for its less-is-more approach to watch design. The new DiaMaster Ceramos, available in a steel color as well as a rose gold lookalike, is the perfect embodiment of that style.

The pared-down models are made of a material called Ceramos. Composed of 90 percent high-tech ceramic and 10 percent metal alloy, the material is injected at high pressure into a precision mold before being sintered to achieve its final hardness.

Relying on its vast expertise working with ceramics and other newfangled alloys, Rado was able to perfect the metallic-looking sheen of the silver and rose gold styles, which come on black and brown leather straps, respectively. Endowed with a sleek, futuristic appeal, the 41 mm models are the ultimate expression of everything Rado has achieved in its 101 years as a brand: technological prowess coupled with stylistic simplicity.

$2,250; rado.com

JAEGER LECOULTRE REVERSO TRIBUTE TOURBILLON DUOFACE

As watchmaking icons go, it's tough to beat the Reverso, Jaeger-LeCoultre's timeless ode to the polo-playing elite of the British Raj, introduced in 1931 and still going strong all these years later. Combine the Reverso's signature swiveling case with the Duoface concept, which allows the movement to display two different time zones, one on each side (and therefore acts as two watches in one), add a soupcon of haute horlogerie--a 60-second flying tourbillon--and you've got a recipe for one of the year's collector favorites, the aptly-named Reverso Tribute Tourbillon Duoface.

Introduced to honor the manufacture's 185th anniversary this year, the model bears two complementary faces: The front side features a blue sun-rayed dial, silvered hand-applied hour-markers, and Dauphine hands that cede all attention to the flying tourbillon at 6 o'clock. On the flip side, a second time zone, small seconds and day/night indicator at 2 o'clock are housed on a grained dial complete with a Co tes de Gene ve finish.

Limited to just 50 pieces, the wristwatch comes in a platinum case befitting its rarefied status. Reverso lovers, take a number!

$ 123,000; jaeger-lecoultre.com

HERMES CARRE H

The Carre H, the chic, modern timepiece created by award-winning French designer Marc Berthier for Hermes in 2010, proves that it's unquestionably hip to be square. The model's signature case shape and contemporary aesthetic made it an instant classic. Now, eight years later, the designer has revisited the collection, and finessed a number of details to give the Carre H a fresh new look.

For starters, Berthier enlarged the model by a few millimeters--the case now measures 38 x 38 mm--and added a slew of subtle yet meaningful aesthetic touches that play up the way light reflects off the timepiece. These include adding polished and microbead-blasted finishes to the steel case, right-angled guilloche work to the dial and facets to the hands and numerals.

Overall, he infused the geometric case with a softness, seen in its curved profile and cylindrical crystal, designed to give the piece greater balance. Last but not least, take note of the proprietary font--and its distinctive-looking zero, in particular. Equilibrium was never this fine, nor this sexy.

$7,725; hermes.com
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Publication:Surface
Date:Nov 1, 2018
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