A few days ago, the most famous watchmaking houses had an appointment (online) at Watches & Wonders to present their 2021 novelties. Not surprisingly, yesterday’s icons remain today’s stars. Overview of the most beautiful timeless.
By Olivier Müller
The less there is, the more we want. The laws of supply and demand are sometimes incongruous but fairly inescapable. In this game, it will be necessary to fight to take possession of the new Tank Cintrée ” 100ème anniversaire ” of Cartier. Published in only 150 copies, they were all sold…even before the show opened! Although the case is now 6.40 mm thick, it has preserved all its identifying features: a railway track, Roman numerals, apple hands, a circular-grained winding mechanism adorned with a sapphire cabochon, and a bracelet with a pin buckle. An aesthetic signature unchanged since its birth in 1921, that of a great watchmaking classic, now equipped with the hand-wound Manufacture movement, the 9780 MC calibre.
Another great lady of watchmaking: the Reverso by Jaeger-LeCoultre. Official custodian of the sport-chic watch (invented for polo in 1931), the most famous rectangular watch is celebrating its 90th anniversary this year. The name of its 2021 vintage? The Nonantième! On the lower half of the dial, the moon sphaes display is located inside the circle defined by the small seconds counter. Under the 12 o’clock position is the large date. On the reverse side, the top opening displays digital semi-self-explanatory hours. This complication, a first for the Reverso, recalls the digital displays developed by the Manufacture for wristwatches in the 1930s. The second opening offers a rotating minute disc, partially hidden in a blue lacquered three-quarter plate. Within a circle in the center, a golden sun and moon act as a day/night indicator.
Montblanc acquired the famous timekeeper Minerva at the turn of the century. The latter, author of some of the most beautiful chronographs ever built, brought with him a colossal heritage from which Montblanc draws inspiration with as much greed as respect. The proof is the latest 1858 Monopoussoir Chronograph, “Origins” edition. Inspired by a 46 mm Minerva military monopusher chronograph from the 1930s, it retains its diameter, with an officer’s back and a bronze alloy case. We find the black dial and vintage hands. The main thing, however, is the dazzling beauty of the caliber itself, a reconstruction of its ancestor, the 19-09CH of 1909. It features the iconic V-shaped bridge, the column wheel, its horizontal clutch and the traditional frequency of 18,000 vibrations per hour. As a tribute to historical movements, the Minerva spear is visible at the end of the chronograph “blocker”.
Patek Philippe, timeless
Finally, let’s mention Patek Philippe’s icon, the one through which the majority of its enthusiasts enter the collection (or even the watchmaking religion): the Calatrava. Launched in 1932, it has established itself as the quintessential classic round wristwatch by Patek Philippe. Today, the piece brings up to date a finish developed in 1934 on its bezel, the Clou de Paris. Without being a strict reissue (the models announced at Watches & Wonders benefit from a brand new caliber), the Calatrava remains a piece that crosses the centuries with an insolent ease.