Luxury Watches For 2012

Sara Fifi Castany

The world’s leading watchmakers present their latest pieces.


Most of the luxury houses unveiled several new models, which made choosing just a few standout pieces an almost impossible task. Here are our picks for the latest must-haves in men’s watches.

Transocean Chronograph Unitime by Breiting

Breitling reasserts its mastery by launching the “universal time” Transocean Chronograph Unitime. It provides readings of 24 time zones at-a-glance, from anywhere in the world. When changing time zones, simply turning the crown forwards or backwards enables instant correction of the hour hand, the city disk and the 24-hour disk – while automatically adjusting the date to local time. The city bezel is available in several languages.

The H1 by HYT

The H1 is one of the most unique watches launched this year. It is world’s first hydro-mechanical piece of fine watchmaking that has succeeded in telling the time with water, something not seen since the pharaohs. HYT, the upper luxury brand known to watch connoisseurs for their exclusive hybrid mechanical timepieces, worked their magic to have a fluorescent liquid show the time. As one of the two reservoirs at 6 o’clock compresses, the other expands, and vice versa, to push the fluids they contain through the tube. As the hours pass, the luminescent liquid moves up or down the face of the timepiece. The H1 is available in red gold and titanium.

WWII Bomber Regulator by Bell & Ross

The oversized notches on the bezel of this watch are designed to make it easy to turn while wearing heavy gloves, as did bomber pilots of WWII. Bell & Ross has always been passionate about aviation history, and how the bomber navigators of the ‘30s and ‘40s used precise timekeeping as a key navigational tool. The WWII Bomber Regulator emphasizes the minute display, essential for aviators in calculating their position or flight speed.

Tag Heuer Carrera, Jack Heuer

Jack Heuer is the reason why Tag Heuer is a power player in the watch industry, and why sporting one on your wrist will assuredly increase your cool factor. In 1963, he began work on the Carrera, a chronograph specifically designed for drivers and motor-racing enthusiasts. Heuer knew it needed an easy-to-read dial and a shock-resistant, waterproof case tough enough to withstand road wear. In 1969, Tag Heuer became one of the first nonautomotive sponsors of the Formula One racing circuit, followed by a successful partnership with Ferrari in Formula One. Jack Heuer turns 80 this year, and to celebrate the company gave him total control over a new, vintage-inspired Carrera that will bear his signature. This Carrera is limited to 3,000 pieces, and the first four numbers of the series are reserved for Jack, his two sons and son-in-law.

Ulysse Nardin Blue Toro limited edition

Collectors around the world consider Ulysse Nardin’s marine chronometers coveted treasures. In business since 1846, this Swiss watch manufacturer continues to delight their fans with innovative timepieces. Their newest winner is the limited edition Blue Toro. With a high tech perpetual calendar, dual time function and their legendary in-house self-winding movement, this watch is perfect for travelers who need to adjust to the new local time without a lot of fuss. It sports a transparent, sapphire crystal back that lets you see the movement, and its modern outer persona in royal blue and 18kt rose gold makes Ulysse Nardin’s Blue Toro a fashion hit.

Omega Speedmaster “First Omega in Space”

On October 3rd, 1962, astronaut Walter Schirra wore a Speedmaster he purchased from a jeweler in Houston during his Mercury Atlas 8 mission. A few years later it became the official watch of NASA and was renamed Speedmaster Professional. To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first Omega to orbit the earth and to pay tribute to Schirra, the company created the Speedmaster “First Omega in Space”. This chronograph is water resistant to 50 meters/167 feet, and its hour markers and hour and minute hands are illuminated with Super-LumiNova. Embossed on the stainless steel back of each numbered edition are the words “THE FIRST OMEGA IN SPACE OCTOBER 3, 1962”.

Rolex Sky Dweller

Sky Dweller, the latest addition to the elegant Oyster collection by Rolex is fast becoming one of the most popular models. Rolex lovers have waited for nearly a year to see it, and even Tiger Woods and Roger Federer took time off from their busy practice schedule to try it on. With 14 patents – five of which are new –Sky Dweller provides the world traveler with two time zones and an innovative annual calendar. It is available in 18 ct white, yellow or Everose gold. Time will tell if this model will also join the list of Rolex classics.

Blancpain Villeret Collection

Known for its ultra luxury elegant watches, Blancpain was one of the few brands to offer his-and-hers sets at this year’s Baselworld. The new additions to the Villeret Collection feature a hand-worked blue dial cased in white gold. The women’s model features .75 carats of white diamonds on the bezel and dial. Housed inside the 40-mm white gold case, the ultra-slim 7663Q calibre offers a 3-day power reserve. This new automatic movement displays hours, minutes and date, shown by a central serpentine pointer. The blue alligator strap with an 18k white gold folding clasp beautifully compliments this timepiece.

Hermès Dressage

Recently honored for their men’s timepieces by the prestigious Geneva Grand Prix, the luxury leather goods brand known for its high quality designs, can now add respected watchmaker to its portfolio. Hermès has made watch aficionados and industry insiders take notice with their latest innovations. This year they presented both his and her models of Dressage, deliciously luxurious timepieces equipped with new mechanism Hermès designed with the company Vaucher. The barrel-shaped case with beveled edges and the Havana alligator strap stamp it with Hermès sporty and elegant equestrian signature. In honor of the 175th anniversary of the company, 175 Dressage Gold watches with a different version of the leather strap and black dial are being released as a limited edition.

Patek Philippe Nautilus

To the delight of connoisseurs and admirers of haute horlogerie, Patek Philippe presented a broad selection of debuts this year. When the company launched the Nautilus thirty years ago, the unusual concept of the watch and its striking statement of casual elegance instantly developed a cult following. Now he prestigious watchmaker has introduced a subtle redesigned of its Nautilus collection that includes a chronograph endowed with a self-winding movement crafted entirely in-house. The biggest refresh in the line is the silvery-white dial which has pleased many watch enthusiasts.


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