Childhood is full of stories of fantastical workshops where elves and wizards create magical machines to surprise, mystify and delight. In adulthood, while there is plenty of mystery, that kind of magic and wonderment are harder to come by. There are still, however, places where creating wonderful machines is the work of the day. At the Swiss manufactures of watch brands like Hublot, BVLGARI, and Zenith, watch designers and engineers are tasked with dreaming up ever more elaborate and fanciful ways to tell time, and judging by their latest releases, they’ve been very busy. Here are a few to dream about this week.
Hublot Big Bang Tourbillon Automatic Orange Sapphire
Milling a watch case out of a block of sapphire is absolutely as complicated as it sounds, but Hublot is getting really good at it. While previous releases have showcased transparent, black, yellow, blue and red crystal cases, the new Big Bang Tourbillon Automatic Orange Sapphire, marks a world first. To make this 50-piece limited edition all the more special, they’ve also added an entirely new self-winding tourbillon with a visible micro-rotor on the dial side and three sapphire bridges. This is the farthest thing from an everyday watch, and that’s exactly the point. $212,000
Hublot Big Bang Integral Ceramic
Two to three times harder than steel and 30% lighter, ceramic is an ideal material for watch cases and bracelets. In addition to its strength and lightness, however, ceramic distinguishes itself by being produceable in a limitless range of colours, making it exceptionally versatile as well as good looking. Hublot’s newest trio of Big Bang Integral offers a taste of the possibilities, with models featuring cases and bracelets made of white, navy blue and grey ceramic. With this unique look and feel, they might be the most easy-wearing pieces Hublot’s ever produced. $28,900
Hublot Big Bang MP-11 14-day power reserve Magic Gold
This unapologetically beefy watch is all about putting the in-house MP-11 calibre and its 14-day power reserve on display. In addition to this marquee movement, whose seven barrels are clearly visible through the sapphire crystal, Hublot has upped the stakes by crafting its case out of proprietary 18k Magic Gold. In addition to its deep golden hue, Magic Gold is so-called because – unlike other kinds of gold which are notoriously prone to superficial damage – it’s totally scratch-proof. This isn’t a watch anyone’s going to wear to the gym or the tennis court, but the appeal lies in the fact that you totally could. $112,000 CAD
BVLGARI Octo Roma Carillon Tourbillon
With much of the world’s music available in your pocket on-demand, the idea of a mechanical, chiming watch may seem quaint, but that doesn’t make it any less complicated to produce. Indeed, among the world’s top watchmakers, creating a minute-repeater (as these chiming watches are known) is considered an exceptional feat of haute horlogerie. The Octo Roma Carillon Tourbillon – a limited edition of just 15 pieces – is designed to be just such a flex, with a mechanical tourbillon movement that chimes the time with the push of a button. This brand new calibre features a 75-hour power reserve and titanium DLC-coated bridges. The case is an equally complex creation, combining DLC-covered titanium, ceramic and white gold. This is a watch designed to impress, and it does that in spades. Price on request.
Zenith Chronomaster Sport
The new Zenith Chronomaster Sport combines 50 years of design legacy with a 21st century mechanical movement to create something that strikes an ideal balance between old and new. The dial is inspired by historic Zenith El Primero and Chronomaster models from the 1960s through the 1990s, with a tri-colour design and a contrasting black ceramic bezel. The movement, however, is pure 2021, with a column-wheel chronograph able to measure and display 1/10th of a second and a power reserve of 60 hours. With a 41mm steel case and bracelet, this is a beautiful tool watch with exceptional accuracy. From $12,400