The 20 Most Essential Watches of 2017

Here it is. Our discerning roundup of the very best timepieces to have arrived in stores over the last 12 months. Just in case you’ve been looking for something to spend your bonus on.

Chopard L.U.C Time Traveler One


Despite all the watchmaking wizardry that goes into them, a lot of fancy complications, like minute repeaters and tourbillons, don’t actually offer much to your daily life. A world timer like this one, however, can come in quite handy. Thanks to the 24 time zones arranged around its rotating bezel, the L.U.C. Time Traveler One lets you see what time it is in Rio, Tokyo, or Los Angeles at a glance, a useful tool for anyone doing business in far-flung locales. Paired with a handsome black alligator strap, it’s the perfect accent to your favourite navy blue travel suit. $17,460,

Gucci Le Marche des Merveilles


With a face adorned in hearts, bees, stars, and Gucci’s trademark cat’s head at 12:00, this watch is just as eccentric — in the best possible way — as everything else coming out of the Italian brand of late. A must-have accessory for the serious Gucci fan. $3,970,

Oris Divers Sixty-Five


After making dive watches for more than half a century, Oris has a deep archive of designs to plumb for inspiration. Among such pieces of buried treasure is the Sixty-Five, a revamp of a 1965 model equipped with 100 metres of water resistance and a domed sapphire crystal. $2,550,

Tudor Heritage Black Bay Chronograph


Tudor — the younger sibling brand to Rolex — could have ended up a Stephen Baldwin to Rolex’s Alec, but watches like this no-nonsense chronograph suggest that a Solange/Beyoncé comparison is, in fact, far more apt. The newest Black Bay is pure functionality on its steel bracelet, with aesthetics pulled from Tudor’s deep archive of classic designs. Rolex may be the king, but watches like this suggest Tudor doesn’t plan on living in its shadow. $5,470,

Victorinox Maverick Black Edition


While the wine-bottle-opening, belt-hole-punching merits of their Swiss Army knives speak for themselves, Victorinox’s watches make for equally reliable and durable tools. This sleek interpretation of the rugged diver features a 316L stainless steel case coated in scratchproof PVD will stand up admirably to the knocks of everyday use, plus its sturdy quartz movement promises years of faithful service without missing a beat. It also boasts a stylish monochrome package, which feels primed for a covert mission — or your next dinner party. Think of it as a multi-tool for your wrist. $595,

Panerai Luminor Due


Though sought after for its more robust wristwear, Panerai’s update on its classic Luminor 1950 is one of the brand’s slimmest timepieces yet. Its finessed frame makes it lighter on the wrist, and thereby easier to pair the brand’s distinct masculine lines with a tailored suit, which given its handsome anthracite dial, you definitely should. $14,300,

Hublot Big Bang Steel Blue


It’s unclear whether the folks at Hublot are familiar with Zoolander, but their Steel Blue is just as ridiculously good looking as that movie’s title character. The juxtaposition of a chunky 44-millimetre steel case and a rubberized alligator strap strikes a perfect balance between beauty and brawn. $12,900,

Breitling Superocean Heritage II


For all their prowess making Navitimers and Professional pilots’ chronographs, Breitling still o ers some of the nicest looking dive watches around. Based on a 1957 model, this one is updated with an automatic movement and an impressive 70 hours of power reserve. Rated to 200 metres, this Superocean is equipped for serious undersea exploration, while at 42 millimetres it’s still everyday wearable. In addition to its distinctive and scratch-proof blue diving bezel, the most visually striking feature here is the linked-steel Ocean Classic bracelet, a “Milanese” strap that calls to mind classic divers of the 1970s. $5,605,

Baume et Mercier Clifton Club Shelby Cobra


This limited edition chronograph pays homage to the record-breaking 1964 Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe and Peter Brock, who designed it alongside Carroll Shelby. With its bi-colour dial, Cobra logo, and pushers modelled after the car’s foot pedals — all designed in collaboration with Brock — you can wear a piece of automotive history on your wrist. $9,990,

Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Caliber Minute Repeater Tourbillon


This timepiece’s astronomical price begins to make sense when you consider its platinum case containing both a tourbillon and a minute repeater (two exceptionally specialized complications), plus the lineage of the world’s oldest watchmaker. Suffice to say, it’s a serious watch for serious collectors. $686,600,

Bulova Special Edition Lunar Pilot Chronograph


The lesser-known “moon watch,” this chronograph made history when it went to the lunar surface with Captain Dave Scott on the Apollo 15 mission in 1971. Half a century later, you’d be hard-pressed to find a cooler looking, better pedigreed quartz watch — on this planet or any other. $695,

Rolex Cosmograph Daytona


There are a lot of nice chronographs in the world, but it’s generally understood that this one is the greatest of them all — and it keeps getting better. The Daytona was originally released in 1963, and Rolex has spent decades adding technical improvements while leaving the watch’s clean aesthetics largely intact. New for 2017 are three cases in 18-carat yellow, white or Everose gold, plus the addition of Rolex’s new Oysterflex bracelet, a flexible metal blade sheathed in tough black elastomer. Given how well the Daytona has endured the last 50 years, expect this watch to age better than you will. $31,550,

Louis Vuitton Tambour All Black Seconde


There’s no doubt that the primary function of this blacked-out watch is to look badass, but it also happens to contain a highly functional Swiss-made automatic movement. You’ll have no trouble reading it in the dark, either, thanks to Superluminova-coated hands and dial markers that glow bright white. $6,190,

Frederique Constant Flyback Chronograph Manufacture


Frederique Constant has been disrupting the Swiss watch industry for decades, o ering meticulously crafted mechanical timepieces at exceptional value. The latest example is the Flyback Chronograph Manufacture, a classically styled watch featuring a specialized “flyback” timer function. If you’re in the market for a Swiss-made timepiece with first-rate craftsmanship, you won’t find anything else remotely this well made for the money. $4,295,

TAG Heuer Link Calibre 5


While TAG Heuer makes some of the world’s best sport watches, a big square Monaco chronograph or Aquaracer dive watch doesn’t always look right with a suit. The new Link, with its sleekly redesigned bracelet and case, bridges the gap between sporty and refined—a link, if you will, between two aesthetics. (See what they did there?) The streamlined exterior is accompanied by a robust Calibre 5 automatic movement with a 38-hour power reserve visible through the sapphire crystal case back. It’s also equipped with 100 metres of water resistance in case you decide jump in the pool with your tux on. $2,900,

Jaeger-LeCoultre Atelier Reverso Tiger Eye


The Reverso is a pretty distinctive looking watch on its own, but thanks to six new dial options, including this one, in amber “tiger’s eye,” it stands out that much more. Add a broad selection of straps in various materials and colours, and you’ve got hundreds of ways to make this watch your own. $13,700,

IWC Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar Edition “Antoine De Saint Exupéry”


This pilot’s watch for the literary set pays homage to Saint-Exupéry, the famous French author and pioneering aviator. In addition to the time, it also displays lunar cycles, date, day, month, and year, and won’t need to be readjusted until the year 2100 — more than enough time to catch up on your “to read” pile. $44,100,

Cartier Rotonde de Cartier Flying Tourbillon Reversed Dial


Like most pieces of haute horlogerie, this Cartier is all about the details. The case and folding clasp are 18-carat white gold, as are the curving Roman numerals on the dial, while the winding crown is adorned with a single polished sapphire. The individually numbered movement contains 167 hand-finished parts, including a “flying” tourbillon, so-called because it appears to float within the case. Even at 46 millimetres across, this watch’s most important features (and the things that make it worth its lofty price) appear only to those privileged enough to get a closer look. $177,000,

A. Lange & Söhne Zeitwerk Decimal Strike


As impressive as the “jumping numerals” this watch uses in place of hands are, the star feature is a set of gongs that ring every hour and at every 10-minute interval between. If you spend this much on a timepiece, you’d be forgiven for wanting to call attention to it at least that often. $150,000,

Montblanc 4810 ExoTourbillon Slim


The “4810” in this watch’s name comes from the height, in metres, of Mont Blanc, Europe’s tallest peak. With a white gold case, a shimmering aventurine dial, and a tourbillon (a highly specialized complication that counteracts the effects of gravity), it’s more than deserving of the metaphor. Price upon request,

Photography: Joseph Saraceno