2019 was a particularly good year for timepieces. Some of our favourite brands released game-changing new designs and complications, some reached deep into their archives to pull out fresh versions of cherished (and highly sought after) classics, while still other fresh designs announced bold new players in the space. There were many more notable watches than could ever possibly fit on a best-of list like this one. Still, these are the pieces that stood out for us most of all — and that have us excited for another year of watch releases soon to come.
Read Part One of our list for even more of our favourites.
Alberto Santos-Dumont was an aviation pioneer who—depending on whose story you believe—achieved sustained flight before the Wright brothers. While the Wrights may get all the glory, Santos-Dumont is remembered with this historic watch from the Cartier collection, which was renewed this year with a rounded square case in two-tone steel and 18k pink gold. As consolation prizes go, you could do a lot worse.
Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet Selfwinding Chronograph
A lacquered, mirror-finished dial, double-curved sapphire glass and an octagonal midsection to the 18-carat pink gold case are a few of the standout details on this totally new model from one of Switzerland’s most respected watchmakers. That, however, is only the beginning: closer you look, the more you’ll find to love.
Tutima Flieger Automatic
Tutima has a fine history of underrated German watchmaking going back almost a century, and none of its creations is more famous than the Grand Flieger pilot’s watch. This year’s update is equipped with a gradated green dial and an automatic German-made movement.
HYT H20 “Time is Fluid”
This Swiss brand is known for using liquid-filled capillaries to tell time, and their latest skews philosophical. Clearly visible under a glass dome, next to a set of mechanical bellows and 18k gold minute and seconds discs, the words “TIME IS FLUID” are written in floating letters.
Urwerk UR-100 SpaceTime
It’s clear at a glance that this timepiece is up to something unusual, even by the standards of this eccentric watch brand. In addition to displaying the time via rotating discs (a system called “wandering hours”) it also keeps track of the distance the earth has traveled along its orbit.
Frederique Constant Yacht Timer Regatta Countdown
As watch complications go, the yacht timer is a bit of an odd duck. You might conceivably use a chronograph to time an egg, but how often are you counting down the start of a yacht race? No matter. Frederique Constant made this watch, and now you have a good reason to take an interest in yachting.
$3,395 at Knar Jewellery
TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre Heuer 02T Nanograph
The Carrera is a tried-and-true watch that’s been in production for more than 50 years, but the latest edition is anything but a throwback. The new Nanograph features a matte-black titanium case with a carbon bezel and lugs, but the real star of the show is the Heuer 02T movement, which is the first in history to use a carbon hairspring.
Breitling Avenger Chronograph 43
The entire Avenger family has been updated for 2019, adding modern design improvements and new colours, while hanging on to the watch’s proven cockpit-inspired looks. This model, with its meaty pushers, chronograph dials and contrast-stitched black strap is a perfect combination of old and new.
Of the many tributes to the Bauhaus centenary this year, this brand’s BAU SWATCH collection was among the most spiritually in tune. This Bauhaus-inspired chronograph celebrates the punchy red, yellow and blue primary colours favoured by the school’s avant-garde designers, in a simple, stylish and functional package.
Richard Mille RM 16-01 Citron
Made in an exceptionally limited edition of just 30 pieces, the Citron is as rare as it is unusual. Made from Carbon TPT and yellow Quartz TPT—two proprietary industrial materials—the case shows off a basket’s worth of tiny hand-painted fruit over a titanium dial, appealing to anyone with both a penchant for exceptional timepieces and a sweet tooth.
Chopard Alpine Eagle
Chopard’s new Alpine Eagle is a bold rejuvenation of a quintessential 1980s watch. The case is made from a new, ultra-tough steel and holds a Chronometer-certified movement, both developed by Chopard, while the textured dial resembles the eye of an eagle.
Hamilton Ventura Skeleton
There’s nothing else out there that looks like the Ventura, but even after 50 years in the Hamilton lineup, the brand is still finding ways to make it even more unique. This edition — first worn by Robert Downey Jr. in Spider Man: Homecoming and now available in limited numbers — shows off its decorated automatic movement through a skeletonized “spiderweb” dial.
Rado True Thinline Les Couleurs Le Corbusier Box Set
In addition to his architecture and furniture design, Le Corbusier was also a pioneer in colour theory. This limited edition pays homage to that legacy in a set of nine watches with cases and bracelets made from colourful (and scratch-proof) high-tech ceramic. While they’re available individually, the full set (and the handsome display box it comes in) ensures you’ll have something to match everything in your wardrobe.