At Tag Heuer, Patek Philippe And Audemars Piguet, Brand Favourites Get A Makeover
2020 has been a pretty unusual year with two of the major Swiss watch fairs getting postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak. Some brands have gone ahead to introduce novelties but Patek Philippe has kept mum. Until now.
To celebrate the completion of its new Plan-les-Ouates manufacture in Geneva, it has released a Calatrava in stainless steel (Ref. 6007a-001). Yes, you read that right. Stainless steel. The commemorative piece is a limited edition of 1,000 and the choice of its case material is a rare one, as any watch collector or fan will tell you.
Looks-wise, this 40mm Calatrava has unique design, starting from the grey-blue dial. It’s a muted colour but still striking in its own way and the face is matched by a calfskin strap in the same shade for a clean and uniformed aesthetic. A carbon pattern in the centre of the dial gives the watch a little more detail, as does the railway track scale of the hour circle. Turn it around and you will find the words “new Manufacture 2019” inscribed on the sapphire case back along with the Calatrava cross. The watch is powered by the caliber 324 S C – the same movement used in 29 Patek Philippe pieces including its icons like the Nautilus and Aquanaut.
To mark the 160th anniversary of the brand, Tag Heuer has given the Carrera an overhaul that brings the racing chronograph back to its roots. The new cleaner, modern design is exactly what then-CEO Jack Heuer had originally envisioned back in 1963 when the watch was first created. He had wanted a racing watch that was clean and well-proportioned – a high-performance piece that a driver could read at one glance in the middle of a race.
For this year’s models, the lugs have been shortened for extra comfort and the 44mm stainless-steel case has alternate polished and fine-brushed finishes to give the watch a sleeker and thinner look. To draw the wearer’s attention to the time at just one glance, the flange is also bevelled and the indexes slant towards the centre of the dial. Four interpretations are currently available – blue or black dial with matching ceramic bezel, green dial with steel bezel, and a dressy black dial with black bezel version that features rose gold accents.
The latter is only one that comes mounted on an alligator strap; while the rest use a new H-shaped bracelet that is designed to be thinner so the watch feels slightly lighter and more ergonomic. The Calibre Heuer 02 movement powers the redesigned Carrera collection and turbocharges it with a whopping 80-hour power reserve. Four more core novelties will be announced in Sep, followed by two special editions at the end of the year.
3. Audemars Piguet
Audemars Piguet’s Royal Oak collection needs little introduction. It’s a mainstay for the Le Brassus brand even though of late, some of the marketing push and focus has been turned to the newer Code 11.59 range. Royal Oak fans, however, will be pleased to know that a slew of new models from the sportier Offshore family has been announced recently.
All three new chronographs have received a bit of a facelift and come in black ceramic cases and textured rubber straps. Both the blue and green dial versions feature matching ceramic bezels and bands, and titanium push-piece guards. The third has a smoke grey dial with 18-carat pink gold bezel and pushers. Like the case, the pushers and crown are made from black ceramic.
Audemars Piguet’s trademark Mega Tapisserie continues to take centrestage but look carefully and you’ll also notice that the redesigned dial now has Arabic numerals. All three 44mm pieces will be sold exclusively in the brand’s boutiques.