When Rolex launches a new watch, you know. When TAG Heuer, Hublot or Zenith launch a watch, you know. When a small independent watchmaker launches a watch however, chances are it won’t even make a ripple in your timekeeping pond, no matter how exceptional – or exceptionally daft – it may be.
Well, horological hipsters as we are, here are some of the coolest recent launches from some spectacular independent brands. You’ve probably never heard of them.
1. Chronoswiss Flying Grand Regulator Open Gear ReSec
Where most makers of haute horology favour classical, if extraordinary, timepieces, with the newest edition of their Flying Gran Regular Chronoswiss do anything but. The black DLC version is one of the most intensely contemporary timepieces they’ve ever built and with it’s bright free flashes and dialside window into the movement, it’s stunning. The ReSec in the name comes from the retrograde seconds. More importantly, this is the first automatic 44m regulator Chronoswiss has ever produced; given how this turned out, it probably won’t be the last. More at: www.chronoswiss.com
2. Reservoir Hydrosphere
It takes a lot to make a diving watch stand out. It’s normally a simple variation on the Submariner theme. The Reservoir Hydrosphere most definitely is not. Based on the Tiefenmesser oxygen pressure gauge used by professional divers, this reverse retrograde minutes imitates the instrument to a tee. The colours along the minute markers show the danger zones and the rotating bezel can be used to mark the necessary decompression stages. It even imitates the shape of the gauge, with no lugs to speak of. Sure, after land and air Reservoir were always going to do a diver, but this is above and beyond. Or below, depending on how you look at it. More at: www.reservoir-watch.com
3. Kudoke 2
Last year Kudoke revealed their first in-house movement, the Kalibre 1 and we’ve been waiting patiently for the watches that would contain it. Now they’re here and it was worth the wait. The Kudoke 1 is a time-only watch with a small seconds unusually at 9 o’clock. It’s the Kudoke 2 however that really stands out. It has no small seconds but instead incorporates a 24 hour disc at 12 o’clock that also doubles as a day / night indicator with an engraved sun and night sky. Other than that disc it’s a restrained, minimal watch, particularly with it’s 39mm case. It’s a world away from the skeleton timepieces Kudoke cut their teeth on and, as far as we’re concerned, it’s a change for the better. More at: www.kudoke.eu
4. Louis Moinet Ultravox
Chiming watches never fail to impress; they’re a rarefied, complicate facet of haute horology. Even in that elite group however, Louis Moinet’s Ultravox stands out. Created to celebrate the 250th birthday of the man himself, this limited edition of 28 is a masterpiece. The dial has been removed to give an unobstructed view of the chiming system itself, which aurally indicates the hour unless silence. Not that you’d ever actually want to silence it; this isn’t some tinny little noise but a beautifully crystalline sound. Set against blued metal and a rose gold case, it’s perhaps even more beautiful to look at. More at: www.louismoinet.com
5. Czapek & Cie Faubourg de Cracovie Sockeye
Czapek & Cie haven’t had nearly the level of recognition they deserve in the past, despite creating some truly outstanding timepieces. That may well change with their latest release, the Sockeye. Sure their tourbillon might be the more horologically-impressive, but the combination here of salmon guilloche and navy blue subdials makes this one of the most handsome pieces of 2019. The Sockeye is part of the Faubourg de Cracovie collection, which includes the inverse, with a mainly blue dial, or pure salmon. What’s better than two of the trendiest colours in watchmaking? Both of them combined. It helps that the chronograph timepiece itself is lovely, too. More at: czapek.com