After so many weeks of being housebound, trading our sweatsuits for tailored suits may be a shock. Similarly, if you haven’t been wearing your watch much while on lockdown, you may find that strapping a big, heavy piece of metal to your wrist takes some getting used to. Some watches, however, thanks to advanced materials and ultra-thin movements, are designed to feel almost as though you’re not wearing a watch at all, and might help ease the transition. These are some of the best of them.
Hamilton Khaki Field Titanium Auto
This modernized version of a WWII field watch combines the looks of the 1940s with 21st century technology. It contains an H-10 automatic movement that will run accurately for up to 80 hours between wears, with a scratch proof sapphire crystal and a sturdy calf leather strap that will patina beautifully with age. Most notable, however, is a 42mm titanium case that’s lighter and stronger than steel.
Roger Dubuis Excalibur Spider Carbon Flying Tourbillon
There’s nothing subtle about this watch, despite its blacked-out colour scheme. Still, for a 45mm-wide tourbillon, it cuts a remarkably svelte figure thanks to its skeletonized dial and liberal use of multi-layered carbon in the case, bracelet and even parts of the movement.
Panerai Luminor Marina Fibratech
Among the new releases to mark the 70th anniversary of Panerai’s Luminor line, this brand new PAM01663 shows off some very impressive material technology. In addition to Carbotech, the brand’s proprietary carbon fibre composite, and sandblasted titanium, this Luminor’s case is made using Fibratech, a new aerospace material made from unidirectional mineral fibres derived from basalt rock.
Vacheron Constantin Overseas Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin Skeleton
Before quartz movements changed the game, watchmakers like Vacheron Constantin were locked in a race to create the thinnest, finest, most complicated movements possible. This 2020 release calls back to that age, with a movement as impressive as its slim profile. While just 8.1mm thick, there’s nothing lacking in either the dial, which is skeletonized, and the movement itself, a self-winding perpetual calendar. Don’t let its thinness fool you, this is a serious watch from a serious watchmaker.
Grand Seiko SBGK009
In honour of the brand’s 60th anniversary this year, Grand Seiko has released a slew of new models and movements. The most understated of them (if not the most beautiful as well) might be this Elegance model in steel, with a manual-wind Caliber 9S63 movement inside. The combination of its slim profile (perfect for slipping under a shirt cuff) and austere black dial, plus the unexpected touch of the seconds subdial at 9 o’clock, ensure this watch will look jut as good 60 years from now.
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Selfwinding Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin
If its name is a mouthful, perhaps that is in part to make up for this watch’s remarkably brief dimensions. Look at it face-on, and it has all of the hallmarks of a Royal Oak, from the visible screws to the baton-style hands. See it in profile, however, and it almost disappears thanks to a case that’s just 6.3mm thick. This makes it not just the world’s thinnest automatic perpetual calendar wristwatch, but a true marvel of modern watchmaking.
Richard Mille RM 67-02 Extra Flat Automatic
The secret to Richard Mille’s miraculous 32 gram, 7.8mm thick RM 67-02 is the use of Carbon TPT and Quartz TPT, proprietary composite materials chosen for their spectacular strength-to-weight ratio and shock resistance. Appropriately for such a high-performance watch, previous editions honour Olympic track stars, skiiers and tennis champions, while this recent version is dedicated to French World Rally Champion Sébastien Ogier, and liveried in his flag’s colours of of red, white and blue.
Rado True Thinline Les Couleurs le Corbusier
These limited-edition pieces celebrate the colour theory pioneered by Le Corbusier in a rainbow of eye-catching hues. Just as impressive as their palette, however, is their thinness and lightness on the wrist. Thanks to a slim quartz movement and a case made out of high-tech ceramic, this watch and bracelet weigh in at just 80 grams.
Nomos Tangente Neomatik 38
Nomos is a German brand known for understated modern watches with high-quality mechanical movements. At 38.5mm-wide and 7.2 mm thick, this slim dress watch is a good example of Nomos’ signature aesthetic, and the movement inside (the Nomos calibre DUW) 3001) is among their latest and most advanced.
Chopard LUC XP
A 3.3mm thick movement is the heart of this timepiece, designed and built by Chopard at their manufacture in Fleurier, Switzerland. With a satin-finished silver dial, rhodium-plated hour markers and a double-faced cashmere and alligator leather strap, this watch may be thin, but it’s definitely not missing anything.