The Time Difference

IPREMIUM has compiled the comprehensive list of this year’s major watch novelties that will  count last minutes to the New Year of 2022. 

Not only women's jewelry models are in pursuit of sparkling cut diamond designs. Men's precious watches with a complex mechanism also get their due. Piaget has completely encrusted the Polo skeleton, including the bridges of the movement, with round and baguette-cut diamonds weighing more than 7 carats, with another 15.5 carats shimmering on the precious bracelet. Hublot's complex integrated tourbillon (484 stones weighing 31 carats) is covered entirely with diamonds. The implementation of 2,251 diamonds using the snow setting technique on one Ulysse Nardin Sparkling Free Wheel takes 120 hours of work - against this sparkling and complex background, UN-176’s wheels of the open mechanism rotate in a dazzling ceremony of time. However, gender differences in the modern world become less and less defined, and therefore all watch brands claim the diamond privilege on equal terms.

Second time zone
The second time zone (also known as GMT, Greenwich Mean Time or UTC, Coordinated Universal Time) became widespread in the second half of the 20th century along with the increasing availability of transatlantic air flights. Now, in the age of globalization, it has become a must-have feature in any respected watch. Technically, such watches feature a second hour hand, which usually differs from the primary hour hand by a tip of a special shape or color, indicating the value of local or “home” time on a 24-hour scale nestled on the outer edge of the dial. Such a second time zone function is present in the super successful aluminum series Bvlgari Aluminum, Vacheron Constantin in the Overseas travel collection, Chopard in the L.U.C. manufactory line, TAG Heuer in the new Carrera three-hand collection.

Watchmakers have long been looking closely at the utilization of the green color, testing it in their special series. But in 2021, a real "green wave" covered the watchmaking world, with customers being put in a tricky position of having to decide how and with what to the newest addition to their wardrobe. Each brand chooses its own shade: Audemars Piguet prefers grassy green, Patek Philippe went for olive green, which adorns a fluted dial of the iconic steel Nautilus watch (Ref. 5711). The new Aquanaut also features a protective green, including a rubber strap with a symbolic checkered texture. The total green appearance looks especially impressive on the wrist with the shade of the strap exactly replicating the tone of the dial. The most well-known examples are the Cartier Tank Must and the Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tribute, built for the 90th anniversary of the Reverso watch.

Dials - "pandas"
Contrasting chronograph dials with round black counters on a light background first appeared in the late 1950s and received the unspoken name "pandas" from watchmakers and collectors for their external resemblance of a bamboo bear’s facial features. The most famous "pandas" belong to Rolex: the company has been producing Daytona models in this ‘oriental’ design since 1963. One such chronograph, owned by Hollywood actor and racer Paul Newman, was auctioned in 2017 for a record $ 17.8 million. As a result, watches of this design turned out to be so in demand that their popularity gave birth to other variations such as a black dial and white counters. This year, we got a chance to witness Audemars Piguet in the Royal Oak Offshore sports collection. You can also find classic versions at Rolex, Tudor, Zenith, and Parmigiani Fleurier. In the "marine" novelty, Ulysse Nardin Marine Torpilleur Panda, dark counters are located vertically, housing the power reserve and small seconds scales.

The rainbow watches continue to delight our eyes with vivid colors. If before the rainbow extended only to the rim of the watch, now the whole case and even the bracelet are laid out with an array of precious stones. Fixed in a specific order, these colored stones correspond to the rainbow spectrum. And nature has made sure that all the necessary shades are featured in the array of precious minerals: rubies, green tsavorites, blue topaz, purple amethysts, and multicolored sapphires. The rainbow design of the Hublot Big Bang Integral Tourbillon watch is adorned with 36 carats of stones (of which 23.6 are in the bracelet), which takes about 1200 hours of manual labor. Audemars Piguet ornamented the sophisticated women's Royal Oak Concept Flying Tourbillon watch with stones as well. The multicolored bezel on the Chanel J12 X-Ray is made from transparent sapphire crystal and echoes the circle markers of baguette-cut colored stones.

Split Chronographs
A simple classic chronograph allows you to measure periods of time and is a fairly common function, but the split chronograph belongs to the category of fine watchmaking. This feature, also known as rattrapante, allows you to detect simultaneously and independently two time intervals, each of which has its own second hand. They are located one above the other and start moving from zero at the same time, which means that one of them can be stopped without interrupting the second measurement. It is clear that only a few manufacturers from the watchmaking industry, virtuosos, are capable of making such complex mechanics come true. Among them are the oldest watch company Vacheron Constantin, which has existed since 1755, and the young Parmigiani Fleurier, which has recently celebrated its 25th anniversary. Saxon craftsmen A.Lange & Sohne have made a Triple Split watch, which allows you to time two events, and measure not only the elapsed seconds but also minutes and hours (up to 12).

Black color in watchmaking became a rival to the classic combination of a silver dial, a metal case, and a leather strap in a natural shade. The new fashionable color required a new design and technological solutions. The steel surface of the case received special types of chemical coating PVD (Physical Vapor Deposition) and DLC (diamond-like carbon), which not only gave it a black color but also made it more durable. The leather has been replaced by a comfortable and practical rubber. The watchmaking industry also got black ceramics. Cases and bracelets made out of it became lightweight, durable, and scratch-resistant. The Chanel house has been working with ceramics for more than 20 years, and the new J12 Caliber 12.2 is made entirely out of it. The Omega Seamaster diving watch has a ceramic case and dials with a laser wave pattern. Designed by Takashi Murakami, this ceramic Hublot Classic Fusion watch boasts black diamonds.

Women's Jewelry Watch
Typically, you can find this category of products in jewelry and watch houses, which are equally proficient in watchmaking and jewelry art. Every year the Swiss company Chopard releases unique pieces in the Red Carpet collection timed to coincide with the Cannes Film Festival. Crafted from ethical gold, this Red Carpet Esperanza watch sparkles with 41 carats of Zambian emeralds. Piaget jewelry watches are part of the High Jewelry annual collection. The Limelight quartz watch is sprinkled with pavé diamonds and colored stones. The house of Jaeger-LeCoultre does not produce jewelry, but amazing jewelers and enamel masters work within the walls of their manufactory.  They created the limited edition Reverso One Precious Flowers watch with a flower miniature on a double-sided case. The Dior fashion house also has its own jewelry branch, which showcases several watches within the framework of annual “high” collections. A stem of engraved gold with leaves serves as the bracelet of the Dior Rose watch, while a bud of pink sapphires and a 2.2-carat diamond covers the tiny dial.

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