With a holiday season left behind, it’s time for our own best-of-the-best list. So, here you go, there’s our ten favorite watches from 2018 chosen with no ties to some particular concepts or price categories, and listed in no particular order. How can love be measured, after all?
The return of the year
The steel GMT-Master II in iconic blue-red was finally updated following the white gold version debuting four years ago. Now it features the latest Rolex GMT caliber 328, a scratch-proof Cerachrom bezel (quite shiny, we might add), and looks rather dressy thanks to the polished links of trademark jubilee bracelet.
Hi-tech watch of the year
Presented at Baselworld 2018, the piece (and bear in mind, it was not a prototype) instantly broke three world records: the thinnest automatic watch, the thinnest tourbillon, and, as a result, the world's thinnest tourbillon with a self-winding movement. And with a sandblasted titanium case going slightly under 4 mm thick bar, you can tell it’s quite a marvel on a wrist.
Complicated watch of the year
The winner for Grand Prix d'Horlogerie de Genève (we won’t pretend we saw it coming, – too many great watches at once, you know) proved to be a real mechanical tour-de-force. It features a retrograde perpetual calendar with double date, a flying tourbillon and a 9-day power reserve.
Independent watch of the year
With this piece Rexhep Rexhepi has started of a whole new collection of more classical designs bearing his own name. As you’d expect from Akrivia, the three-hander is much more tricky from technical point of view that it might seem at a glance. First of all there’s trademark level of second-to-none finishing as well as the overall symmetry in movement construction, then we’ve got a 100-hour power reserve with just one barrel, and finally there’s a hacking-second function for precise time setting.
Over-the-top statement piece of the year
Aside from the namesake tourbillon and a chronograph, the piece features a compass, a massive carbon front cover, a level, and some kind of sealed space for storing water purification tablets. This monster-of-a-watch goes by the size of 50.85mm in diameter and commands almost a $1 million price. But that’s not all, it was manufactured in close collaboration with none other than Sylvester Stallone himself. Surely, it won’t suit everyone tastes, however, it stays true to itself, crossing the ‘are you crazy?’ line and then going for an extra mile.
Museum-level piece of the year
One-of-a-kind pocket piece from 280-anniversary collection truly shows the skills of brand’s watchmakers and artisans. Aside from the main time register, the dial is fully decorated with visuals of tropical life. The 56-mm case is set with tons of pink and blue sapphires, rubies, yellow diamonds, and emeralds, the front cover features hand-carved golden jungle vines, while the caseback is decorated with a hand-painted parrot done in rare enamel technique. The movement is quite on par with the exteriors: the trademark automata birds and an egg come to life with the sounds of minute-repeater.
Guilty pleasure of the year
Cased in polished red ceramic, this Big Bang Unico chronograph is so loud it literary screams. Never before a serious timepiece was so funky and so… red. We just can’t take our eyes over its rich color. And bearing in mind, that ceramics never looses its shimmer with time, chances are we’ve got the brightest red watch in years to come.
Creative twist of the year
Hold the watch horizontally, and you’ve got your solid golden panther figure. Move your hand, and here comes the waterfall: tons of shimmering gold balls start floating across the dial, only to become a panther again, if you so wish. Now ask yourself: how many two-handers contain so much horological fun inside?
The most surprising ladies’s watch of the year
While the trademark case shape is an obvious reference to the familiar Chanel N°5 design, the best part this time is of course hidden inside. Or as we better put it, not hidden at all: the brand doesn’t often go for the in-house movements, and the introduction of a skeletonized caliber with almost symmetrical architecture is surely a huge step to the realm of haute horlogerie. Imagine it without diamonds and with a totally different name, and there’d likely be quite a few men ready to try it out.
Complicated ladies’ watch of the year
First thing’s first: Lady Arpels Planétarium is not just a smaller diamond-set version of Midnight Planétarium from a couple years ago. This watch also features a planetarium module by Christiaan Van der Klaauw, but this time the major update is the Moon circulating around the Earth once a day. So now we’ve got Mercury, Venus, Earth, and the Moon following and timing their real orbits. Want to know hours and minutes? Look for a shooting star.