Our Tudor Predictions For Watches & Wonders 2024

We do it every year not because it’s obligatory. We predict because we love the game, we’re addicted to the game, and – to be honest – the game is pretty damn fun. And so each show season (be it the former Baselworld, SIHH, and no Watches & Wonders) we try to guess (or wish) what Tudor and Rolex – the two brands who stay as secret as an Oscar ballot until day one of W&W – will release. Today we start with Tudor as we look inside our crystal ball, analyze the current catalogue, and make very personal choices about what we think we’ll see and what we’d individually like to see.

As Managing Editor, this is one of my favorite exercises of the year because our whole editorial team comes together with ideas that come from each of their own sensibilities as watch writers. Some of those ideas stretch my own capacity as a user of Adobe Photoshop, but I digress. This is all about having a bit of fun before we take off for Geneva and enter the wild world of W&W. Will we be right? Probably not, but that’s hardly the point. We are mere days away from seeing what both of these brands have in store for us and we can’t wait. Let us know in the comments what you think about our choices, and if you’ve got predictions of your own, let’s hear em! www.highluxurystore.ru
Tudor Ranger II: James Stacey
Black Bay 54 Yellow Gold: Malaika Crawford
Black Bay Pro ‘Polar’: Tony Traina
Tudor Big Block Chrono In Steel: Mark Kauzlarich
North Flag Refresh… In Titanium: Danny Milton
31mm ‘Mini’ Black Bay 58 Pink Dial: Erin Wilborn
However, given the already storied downsizing in the watchmaking world, and Tudor’s recent release of the pink dial Tudor Black Bay Chrono, maybe my prediction isn’t all that far fetched after all. If micro miniskirts are having a resurgence in the fashion world, Tudor could consider adding a micro mini BB58 to its repertoire. I find there to be something really exciting from a design standpoint in the contrast created by executing something so sporty and traditionally masculine in bite-sized form. The 31mm Black Bay already exists, so is this idea really so unattainable? I think not. Tudor’s design and manufacturing team may staunchly disagree, however.

The Futuristic Hamilton Ventura Edge Dune And Ventura XXL Bright Dune Limited Editions

For the release of the second movie of the Dune trilogy, Hamilton teamed up with Legendary Entertainment and Warner Bros. Pictures. At the special request of filmmaker Denis Villeneuve, the brand created a special “Desert Watch” featured in the movie. So, to celebrate the release of the Dune: Part Two and the brand’s part in it, Hamilton is now releasing the futuristic Hamilton Ventura Edge Dune and Ventura XXL Bright Dune. These two limited editions are inspired by the watch from the movie. They make for a remarkable duo that proves once more that Hamilton does big things as part of the movie industry.

My first introduction to Dune dates back to the late 1990s when I became a big fan of a hardcore band called Shai Hulud. It’s not a very obvious name for a band, so I had to find out what it was all about. That’s when I discovered that the Shai Hulud are large sandworms that live on the fictional planet Arrakis, the home of the Fremen people and where the Dune books take place. It’s a weird way of getting familiar with Frank Herbert’s science-fiction novels. But by choosing that band name, I suspect many people unfamiliar with Dune were introduced to the remarkable series. I have to admit, though, that I never finished it. I started passionately but quit for some reason while reading the fourth part and never came back to it. It’s one of those things that I would have done differently now.
But luckily, we now have the movies. While the Dune trilogy on the silver screen can never be as detailed and impressive as the books, I was genuinely excited about the release of the first Dune movie. Over the decades, the series of books had always been deemed impossible to transfer to the silver screen but not necessarily because it is unfilmable. Many of the books’ iconic passages make for great cinematic moments. Rather, it was due to the sheer volume, the different narrators, and how much individual character development would need to be crammed into one movie. Still, the first movie set the stage for the story perfectly. Hopefully, the second and third parts will further deepen the story in a way that does the Dune novels justice.
For Dune: Part Two, Dennis Villeneuve requested to have a watch specially made. This led to Hamilton working with the movie’s prop master Doug Harlocker. The goal was to create a watch that defies the shapes and functions of a traditional one. It was to become an instrument that did not have a specific set of functions.
But inspired by Frank Herbert’s books and Dennis Villeneuve’s artistic vision for the movies, the Hamilton design team developed the “Desert Watch.” The result is a distinctly Fremen device fitting Harlocker’s creative ideas and getting Villeneuve’s blessing to be used in the movie.
The Desert Watch inspired Hamilton to create two limited editions based on the watch from the movie. Because the movie watch is not a working timepiece with traditional functions, the Hamilton designers needed to find a way of integrating the style of the Desert Watch into a more traditional canvas. And what better canvas than the brand’s Ventura? This Hamilton classic lends itself perfectly to two futuristic watches inspired by the Desert Watch prop.
The first is the Ventura XXL Bright Dune, featuring a curved, oversized version of the characteristic Ventura case. It features a black PVD coating and measures 52mm wide, 46.6mm long, and 11.8mm thick. Technically, it also has a 23.5mm lug spacing, but the proprietary strap’s diagonally cut ends render standard aftermarket straps a no-go anyway. Nevertheless, this black rubber strap contributes to a rather low-key appearance, allowing the dial to take center stage.
At its core, it is a traditional black dial with regular white markers and brass hour, minute, and second hands that have received special black treatment. But the special blue pattern on the dial stands out immediately. The blue color takes inspiration from the eyes of the Fremen, the people who play a pivotal part in the Dune stories.
With a movie like Dune: Part Two, that potential is huge. That’s why I do not doubt that Hamilton will sell all 5,000 pieces in no time. Plenty of dedicated fans would gladly pay for a watch like these two. They are the perfect reminder that I should finish the books. Realistically, though, I’ll probably watch the movies first, especially with Dune: Part Two coming out soon. The film debuts on the 29th of February here in the Netherlands. Other countries have different release dates, so check for that and spot the cool Desert Watch that inspired these two limited editions on the silver screen.

For more information, visit the official Hamilton website. Let us know your thoughts on these two timepieces in the comments section. Are you a fan of Dune, and can you relate to these two limited editions? I would love to find out.

A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 Perpetual Calendar and Patek Philippe Ref. 5004

One of my favorite elements of watch design is the myriad ways in which a given complication can be formatted onto the surface of a dial. It’s what draws me to the many permutations of multiple time zone watches, and it’s something that is also highlighted by the not-so-humble perpetual calendar. Sure, the standard format is a host of tiny subdials that breakdown the date and phase of the leap year – but that’s far from your only option.

A. Lange & Söhne makes one of my favorite re-thinkings of the QP in the charming Lange 1 Perpetual Calendar. It’s a design that completely subverts the traditional layout of the QP but manages to do so while also respecting the specific design language of the Lange 1. The dual-digit grand date is complemented by a retrograde hand indicating the day of the week (with the weekend at the top, as it should be). Then, the months are displayed at the dial’s edge via a rotating ring that shows the active month at six o’clock. Finally, nestled just above the indicator for the month, there is a tiny aperture for the leap year. Chef’s kiss https://www.highluxurystore.ru.

With a quick glance, you might not even notice it’s a QP as the complication takes a backseat to the Lange 1’s beloved asymmetry. While I wouldn’t call a 42mm platinum-cased watch specifically subtle, this is a very low-key take on a traditionally flashy complication, and I just love it.
It’s the Patek 5004. Need I say more? Apparently, I’m told I do, but I’ll keep it brief.

Split-seconds. Perpetual calendar. Lemania-based movement. Take your pick of metals or dial indices: this is the ultimate Patek Philippe of the last thirty-odd years, bridging the gap between vintage and modern. Many people call it “the last great Lemania-era Patek.” But what does that even mean? It wasn’t until 2009 that the great Patek Philippe launched their first in-house chronograph wristwatch caliber. Before that, they only used three chronograph calibers as a base. The caliber 27-70, based on the Lémania 2310 ebauche, was the last of these three and, with the introduction of the 5004, brought the rattrapante and perpetual calendar together in a Patek wristwatch for the first time. And if you can count on one thing from watch lovers, even if something new is “technically better,” they certainly miss “the good old days.”
The only real complaint I’ve ever heard about this watch is it’s a bit thick, but that doesn’t stop it from being an incredible piece. It’s been my number-one grail for a long time, though I’ll probably never afford one. I got to test drive that experience, however, for about eight hours last spring, and I still think about it – and how uncomfortable I was with everyone asking me about my (very expensive) watch. That’s what happens when you wear an icon.

There’s something so nostalgic about a watch that innovates as the 5004 did while sticking to a core of the brand’s history: using someone else’s quality work and taking it to a new, nearly perfect level. And to top it all off, Patek gave the watch a perfect production send-off in 2011 with a steel case model, ref. 5004A (only 50 of them planned in total), and a unique piece in titanium for Only Watch. I’ve also been lucky to handle the ref. 5004A a few times, and it feels smaller because the case is much lighter than the precious metal versions. There are around 250 of the reference 5004 made, and if I had to pick one, you could do far worse than the rare few with Breguet numerals, like Eric Clapton’s or Roni Madhvani’s, but beggars can’t be choosers. Like Ben said, in platinum, white, yellow, or rose, you can’t go wrong https://www.highluxurystore.ru.

The Watches Of The 2024 NBA All-Stars

The old timers may say that they don’t play defense anymore (and they may be somewhat right), but the talent level in the NBA, top to bottom, has never been higher than it is at present. And at the very top, the talent is downright ridiculous – so much so that the greatest shooter in the history of the game, Steph Curry, is coming off the bench in this year’s All-Star Game.

On top of that, the NBA watch game has arguably never been better. The overall interest in and appreciation for the timepieces we talk about every day seem to have grown amongst NBA players in the days since we sat down with the likes of J.J. Redick and Andre Iguodala. To demonstrate, we zoomed in on the wrists of 16 of this year’s All-Stars (including a very recent Talking Watches guest) to see what they’ve been wearing over the past few years.
An NBA champion, two-time NBA MVP, eight-time All-Star – and Breitling ambassador – the “Greek Freak” is one of the most unique and dominant players in the game. Here he is at All-Star Weekend 2024, sporting the SuperOcean Automatic 44. During the Dunk Contest, it was hard to miss this one as Giannis donned Shaquille O’Neal’s blazer just before Mac McClung leaped over him to take home his second straight victory.
Last year, then-teammate James Harden gifted Embiid this Rolex for winning the league’s MVP award. While we know teammate Tobias Harris is the 76ers real watch guy, an engraved Day-Date from a teammate for winning the league’s top individual award is something pretty special. We’ll be thinking about this iconic watch moment as we wish Embiid a speedy recovery. While we won’t be seeing him take the court for the All-Star game tonight we hope to be watch spotting him in the playoffs.
The four-time All-Star appears to have a growing Richard Mille collection; here he is wearing the RM 010 in titanium with an on-brand green strap. It’ll be interesting to see which model he picks up after the Celtics win the 2023-24 NBA Championship (just a bit of attempted title manifestation from Will Holloway: Resident Celtics obsessive).
No player’s star has risen more this year than Tyrese Haliburton (with apologies to New York Knick Jalen Brunson). His game is unorthodox but very, very good, just like his Cartier Crash. In fact, this Crash has a bit of a back story that played out in a Mike Nouveau TikTok. He and Four + One alum Zoë Abelson personally delivered the watch to him after a home game in Indiana earlier this season. Clearly, he’s loving his new watch.
It’s Dame Time. And these days, when eight-time NBA All-Star Damian Lillard checks the time, it’s on the just released 40mm Tissot PRX Powermatic 80 Damian Lillard Special Edition. This brand new take on the PRX format features a dial texture made up of the number 0, his number, and a silhouette of Lillard in his “Dame Time” pose on the caseback. This watch collaboration from the official timekeeper of the NBA is about as fun as it gets, especially for hardcore fans of the game.
He may not be the first name that comes to mind when you think of NBA superstars, but we get the feeling that Mitchell’s time is coming. His watch game is already there – here he is spotted wearing what looks to be a Patek Philippe Nautilus 5712 at the 2023 U.S. Open in New York City. When we filmed Talking Watches with Julius Randle last year, we came away thinking that Julius is really, really into two things: basketball and watches. He bought the AP Royal Oak Music Edition to celebrate last year’s All-Star appearance. One wonders how he’ll commemorate this year’s selection. A three-time All-Star, “Ice Trae” is known for his unlimited shooting range and the depth of his interest in watches. Here he is sporting a gold Day-Date with a gold dial and what appear to be quite fitting diamond indices while arriving at a game in Toronto last year. We’ll keep our eyes peeled during his tunnel walk tonight.

Nomos Has Three New Black Orion Watches

The Nomos Orion Neomatik is back in a new black, and while it’s been too long since I’ve written about the brand, I’m glad to be back. So, I’m going to let loose here and get you all the details. At first glance, it could be mistaken as just a black dial and steel case, but there’s a little more going on here.
While the Orion might seem like a simple watch with not a lot that can be done to differentiate it from model to model, Nomos Orion Neomatik has made a number of subtle updates here across the three different sizes. First, you’ll notice that the black galvanized dial is streamlined due to the lack of a sunken subsidiary seconds. Instead, the sub-seconds is flush with the rest of the dial creating a cleaner design. That cleanliness continues across the 36mm and 38.5mm (39, they call it) models with no date, powered by the DUW3001 movement with 43 hours of power reserve. On the 41mm version, you get a color-matched date with gold font.
I was recently gifted a pair of my late grandfather’s gold cufflinks. My grandma thought it would go well with the tuxedo I have (and wear maybe once a year). While I would love to wear them and remember my granddad, my first thought was: I don’t really wear gold watches, so what kind of black tie watch could I wear that would pair well with yellow-gold cufflinks? Apparently, Nomos has solved that problem here by subtly mixing and matching steel and gold.
These Nomos Orion Neomatik watches are a great fit for dressy situations because they’re relatively thin (8.4mm, 8.7mm, and 9.4mm) for automatic calibers at the price thanks to their really solid calibers (the DUW3001 and DUW6101) with Nomos’ swing system escapement. Some people might find the price a bit high, edging into Tudor territory, but I think it’s worth it for Nomos’ design, watchmaking, and nice finishing which you can see through the display caseback. And while it’s not a massive upgrade, the brand has been able to eke out an extra bit of water resistance in the case, upping it from 30m to 50m, taking it from splashproof to what I would call “splash-proof-plus.”

I’m generally a fan of sunken subdials, though I also prefer any sub-seconds over none – I’d much rather take a Lange 1815 over a Saxonia Thin from an aesthetic standpoint, for instance. But here, the flat dial works with the austere Bauhaus design of the Nomos, possibly even better than previous releases. My only criticism is that by mixing and matching the touches to each watch in gold, you potentially will find a few customers who will find their preferred combination in a different size case. What if you wanted gold hands in a 36mm case? Well, then you’re frankly stuck with having to decide between the still-solid options before you.

U-BOAT Classico 45 Tungsteno

In exciting news from U-BOAT, the timelessly iconic U-BOAT Classico 45 Tungsteno is set to be refreshed and re-released in three stunning new versions. The stylistic elements that originally cemented the Classico Chrono’s status as a symbol of timeless design elegance have been respected but in 2024 the iconic design will be presented in three dial colour variations.

Each of the three new iterations express their own distinct style and unique character without any threat to the instantly recognisable elegance of its predecessors. All three of the new designs are bound to stand out for the unique three-level design U-BOAT Classico 45 Tungsteno have architected and their appearance in beige, green and black.
The three models (ref 9568, 9567, 9581) have a case size of 45mm crafted of 316L stainless steel with anti-reflective sapphire glass sitting atop. One of the world’s hardest metals has been utilized on the polished tungsten bezel for each of the new colourways.

The first of the three new variations is the Classico 4 Tungsteno CAS2, which has already made waves following its selection by Hollywood actor and singer, Jeremy Renner, for use in the music video for his debut single “Wait”. The watch features a beige metal dial with black SuperLumiNova used to treat the indices and numbers which creates a stunning visual contrast with the three round counters in black. This in itself is a beautiful opposition to the style choices made on the next of the three releases, the U-BOAT Classico 45 Tungsteno CAS1. This model stands out in its own way due to the beige SuperLumiNova treating the indices and numbers which are set against a gorgeous, glossy back dial and contrasting round counters in beige.
Finally, the U-BOAT Classico 45 Tungsteno CAS Green dazzles with an attractive green dial and matching counters of the same shade. The indices, numbers and spheres have again been treated with beige SuperLumiNova to tie the model in with the rest of the Tungesteno family.
The back of the cases in each variation has been sealed tight with exactly 7 screws which ensures the wearer is able to maintain water resistance up to 100m. The sapphire glass window on the back has been skillfully laser-cut in a U shape which offers an intriguing view of the Swiss Sellita SW500 movement and the custom rotor.

The range of new chronographs each come with a naturally aged leather strap which has been laser-engraved and comes in cognac, dark brown or black. The new range of 45mm U-BOAT Classico 45 Tungsteno models re-affirms U-BOAT’s iconic status as a main character among chronograph watches offering timeless style and elegance. All three styles are available to purchase now.

Corum Bubble 47 Dragon Eye

With the Chinese New Year also around the corner, coming up in February 2024, a host of watch brands are beginning to unveil their newest zodiac watches that honor this holiday. Corum is no exception. This brand, though, is no stranger to creating dragon watches. It has done so for years – artfully carving gold and gemstones into dragons that grace the Golden Bridge and other watches. Now, though, in time for the Year of the Dragon, Corum releases two avant-garde versions of its iconic Bubble Watch.
The two different Corum Year of the Dragon Limited Edition Bubble watches offer an intriguing perspective of the famed dragon. A powerful symbol in Chinese culture, the dragon evokes a sense of awe, honor, luck and nobility. The dragon is the all-seeing creature that comes to life when it hears thunder (as the myth goes). As such, Corum has chosen a very interesting motif for the dial of the Bubble 47 Dragon Eye: depicting the dragon’s eye smack in the center, surrounded by dragon scales and skin.
The eye and surrounding dragon folds are created using hand-crafted metal casting, into which an artisan creates depth and texture via relief engraving. The center of the eye, with an almost sunburst effect is colored in orange/red hues by hand. The eyelid and surrounding eye is created in golden to brown hues to emulate the scales. The time markers are in red for the hours and white for the minutes along an outer track on the dial so as not to interfere with the meticulous craftsmanship.
For the other Bubble Year of the Dragon watch, Corum goes more classic, but still with a twist. On the midnight black sunray dial background, a hand-carved gold dragon is etched at 12:00, with its fiery tail coming into view on the lower half of the dial — moving off the dial and then back onto it for majestic appeal. In its paw, the dragon holds a mother-of-pearl globe (at 9:00 on the dial), which is designed to emulate the moon.

Both Year of the Dragon versions are powered by the CO 082 automatic movement, that offers 42 hours of power reserve and beats at a frequency of 28,800 vibrations per hour (4 Hz). The 47mm watch cases – for each of the versions – are crafted in black PVD stainless steel. Naturally, the front crystal is the raised dome indicative of the Bubble, treated with an anti-glare coating.
Corum launches two limited edition Bubble watches in celebration of the Chinese Year of the Dragon, which commences in 2024. One debut, the Bubble 47 Dragon, highlights a fanciful golden dragon hovering in a dark night sky.
Black lacquered clouds and a mother-of-pearl moon join the dragon, which is essentially depicted according to the Chinese legend that when dragons hear thunder, they rise to the clouds and “circulate in the sky.” The second watch, the Bubble 47 Dragon Eye, is a close-up of the year’s star character. The artisanal metal-cast eye on the dial is meant to represent the dragon’s strength and is fashioned in high-relief with hand-painted colors and gold scales.
On both watches, the magnifying effect of the sapphire bubble crystal enhances the multi-layer effect, allowing the viewer a close-up view of the precision artwork. The effect is particularly notable on the Dragon Eye model, which appears to stare directly at the viewer.
Corum explains that both new watches are powered by automatic CO 082 movement, a Soprod automatic caliber that offers a forty-two-hour power reserve. Both watches also sport steel cases darkened with a black PVD finish and a sapphire crystal caseback. Corum will attach a vulcanized rubber strap to each watch.

U-Boat Capsule

The luxury watch industry is gearing up for a grand return this spring as is leading showcase event in the world, Watches and Wonders. Between March 27th and April 2nd, the 49 top brands at global scale will gather in Geneva, Switzerland, to reveal their newest timepieces and discuss the trends set to dominate the sector in 2023. Among them is U-BOAT!
An important happening not to be missed for the Tuscan Maison. Italo Fontana, U-Boat Capsule designer and founder, is ready to astonish fair visitors, buyers and journalists at booth 9 at La Place, or virtually on the fair’s website, with his novelties.
Perfectly combining Italian craftsmanship and styling with precise Swiss movements ensure U-Boat’s success. Amongst the most recognizable watch brands, U-Boat Capsule credits this character to its large crown design. In the twenty years of the brand’s existence, U-Boat has grown exponentially to an internationally sought after watch brand.
To better understand’s the brand’s legacy and birth, we must start in the year 1942. The Italian Navy commissioned wristwatches for its pilots with precise technical specifications. A pilot’s watch is an important and integral instrument in the cockpit. As a result, the task itself was quite a challenge. More importantly, watchmaker Ilvo Fontana drew up designs that guaranteed optimum visibility and waterproofness. The unique design was unlike anything before. However, Ilvo’s designs never made it to production, and the designs remained shelved.
Meanwhile, decades passed and the new millennium arrived. In the year 2000, Ilvo’s grandson chanced upon the designs and blueprints of his grandfather. Subsequently, grandson Italo Fontana founded the U-Boat brand with his grandfather’s designs proving to be a great source of inspiration. Above all, Italo envisioned the brand with the motto – ‘A new dimension in time’. This marked the beginning of the brand as we know it today. Meanwhile, Italo Fontana elevated these designs with his own personal signature. His contemporary vision, design aesthetics, and personality combined with the vintage designs presented the brand with a distinct USP. Italo Fontana’s creative drive and perseverance to innovate stand out through the brand’s timepieces and success story. “I’ve always been fascinated by design, I create in total freedom, I don’t follow any trend. I try to do what other brands don’t do. I don’t have an obligation to always create the same things.” His quote, even to date, stands as a testament to his creativity.
Currently, the U-Boat Capsule brand offers nine very distinct collections to choose from. In addition, the brand garners acclaim for the extensive configuration options available under each collection. Under Italo Fontana’s leadership, U-Boat embraces modern and unusual techniques. In a similar vein, the brand also explores a host of materials to manufacture its watches. Above all, U-Boat watches feature the crown at a unique 9 o’clock position. We will look at such examples as we detail the collections. The Chimera collection stands out with its iconic case design, large buttons, and unique crown cover. For instance, the case features five screws that bind the bezel, side, and rear case together. The large and intricately designed case bestows the watch with a masculine character. The Chimera collection makes up four subcategories – Net Skeleton, Pearl, Bronze, and Sideview. We discuss these categories in detail, for it is one of the most loved collections by watch aficionados.
Head to the U-Boat Capsule brand’s official website to check out their current collections and updates. Watches are available for purchase directly on the website. However, if you want to pick up your U-Boat model in person, check out the brand’s store locator to find an official retailer close to you. The brand has multiple single-brand boutiques called U-Boutiques. In addition, several multibrand retailers also offer watches for purchase.

Greubel Forsey Balancier 3

Greubel Forsey consistently defies convention, ensuring that each of the brand’s timepieces is nothing short of intriguing. In 2019, Robert Greubel and Stephen Forsey ventured into the sports watch category with the GMT Sport – a distinctive creation that integrated a world-time indication with an inclined tourbillon, but mostly an entirely new convex case design. Following this groundbreaking release, the Balancier S emerged in 2020, offering a simpler model while maintaining shared aesthetics and unparalleled craftsmanship. This time-only piece set the stage for subsequent sports-oriented creations, exemplified by the Balancier S2 in 2021. The latest addition to this innovative collection is the Greubel Forsey Balancier 3, a new watch meticulously crafted following the brand’s distinctive design and finishing language, and said to be more accessible (or less unreasonable…)
The novel Greubel Forsey Balancier 3 is introduced in captivating black or blue variants, housed within a 50m water-resistant titanium Convexe case with a 41.5mm diameter. The slightly larger bezel extends the measurement to 43.6mm. Standing at 13.55mm in height (13.35mm without the crystals), the case impeccably follows the wrist’s natural curvature, evident on both the dial and back sides. The variable geometry bezel is embellished with a mix of polished and straight-grained finishes, and this finish also adorns the titanium crown with the Greubel Forsey logo. Departing from the traditional Greubel Forsey Balancier 3 style, the lugs eschew screws.
The dial presents an iconic Greubel Forsey aesthetic, continuing the theme of variable geometry on the hour ring with the engraved and lacquered minute track and three-dimensional, Super-LumiNova-treated hour indices. The large (12.6mm), adjustable-mass (6 gold mean-time screws) balance wheel takes centre stage at 5 o’clock, and the fast-rotating barrels, turning in 3.2 hours, boasting circular-grained, black-treated decoration with relief-engraved text, take their positions at 1 and 10 o’clock. The curved hour and minute hands are gracefully held by a wide hand-polished bridge with a three-dimensional open-worked design, leading to the small-seconds display at 8 o’clock, showcasing a fixed red indicator and a rotating satin-finished, marked disc underneath. Signature Greubel Forsey finishes, including polished bevels and screws, accentuate the main and minor bridges.
The curved sapphire caseback unveils finely finished, large bridges adorned with typical Greubel Forsey details, including jewels in chatons, yet without the writings. Notably, the power reserve indication (72 hours) makes its caseback debut in this collection.
Available in blue or black the Greubel Forsey Balancier 3 is offered with matching straps crafted from non-animal material and rubber secured by a titanium folding clasp. An optional three-row titanium bracelet with a folding clasp and fine adjustment is also available. Positioned as a “more accessible timepiece,” the Greubel Forsey Balancier 3 (a limited edition of 88 pieces per colourway) is priced at CHF 160,000, reaffirming Greubel Forsey’s exceptional standing in the world of haute horlogerie. An entry-level to the brand that remains an unattainable dream for most watch enthusiasts. But that’s how Greubel Forsey has always been positioned.

MB&F Horological Machine N°11 HM11 Architect

There’s something poetic about MB&F’s choice to launch the MB&F HM11 “Architect” the day before Dubai Watch Week in a country Büsser has called home since 2014. It is, paradoxically, a watch that seems furthest from home of Büsser’s recent Horological Machine designs which have become (and I hate to say this) often predictably automotive. But this is, as the brand has told me, “a home for the wrist.”

No, that’s not a commentary on the typically enormous size of any MB&F Horological Machine N°11 HM11 Architect watch, though here, measuring a relatively small 42mm wide by (still pretty hefty) 23mm thick. It’s not even a jab at the cost of the HM-11, a cool $230,000. Most of MB&F’s Horological Machines look like “things” (many of them automotive, some of them unintentionally – well – like an eggplant emoji). This time, the watch draws inspiration from the futuristic architecture of the 1960s and 1970s that incorporated modernism and organic architecture philosophies. And it’s undeniably one of the brand’s most creative and interesting designs.
It’s not a far cry from Matti Suuronen’s Futuro house – the Finnish designer’s 1970 fiberglass-reinforced plastic design – which was met with some of the same hostility (or at least incredulousness) I often see for MB&F’s HMs. Adjusted for inflation, the Futuro cost less at around $105,000. The apertures look a little more like Antti Lovag’s “Palais Bulles” (without the water features) meets Charles Haertling’s “Brenton House.” In fact, Büsser admits that while his wife wouldn’t love to live in these buildings, he would. It was an Instagram post of “Brenton House“ that made Büsser think “that would make a good watch.”

Just like any of the above buildings, I wouldn’t say I ever really felt like any HM was really for me (save for maybe the HM5 or HM8 Mark II). But I still do my best to at least interpret them and understand the appeal. Looking back to the 1960s and 1970s, architects of the day often attempted to break free from traditional design language that, while comfortable and accessible to mass audiences, had failed to evolve to take advantage of modern building techniques, materials, and engineering capabilities. If that sounds familiar, it shouldn’t be a surprise that the efforts of these architects and their approach to modernizing design have (unsurprisingly) fascinated Büsser for years. The same challenges Büsser’s team have had to learn to overcome – nearly impossible shaped sapphire crystal, hard-to-machine titanium – all come into play here. But rather than looking to the automotive industry as the team has in the past, Eric Giroud, the design leader, drew on his architectural background to inform the layout of HM11. Büsser and Giroud have envisioned the HM11 as a house with four rooms. It’s somewhat like Monsanto’s “House of Tomorrow,” with a central area and branching useful spaces built off of it. In that middle space on the MB&F Horological Machine N°11 HM11 Architect is a one-minute reverse-rotation central flying tourbillon under a double-domed sapphire. The watch will come in two colors, one with PVD-coated “ozone blue” plates, and the other in 5N gold – 25 pieces each. But as eye-catching as they are, the real party is being held in the side rooms of the HM11 house.
On a practical level, the HM11 is read similarly to every Horological Machine since HM3: at an angle on the wrist. To that effect, this may be the least legible Horological Machine that MB&F has ever made. I’m lucky to have 20/20 vision and am generally the last to decry legibility with even the most unusual combinations of dial colors, handsets, or odd displays like the Cartier Tank à Guichet. It’s actually something I struggle to remember in these reviews – call it a “forest for the trees” situation. But in both those instances – and here – the redeeming factor is that these aren’t so much practical watches as sculptural horological machines – as the name explicitly states – for the wrist. If you want legibility and practicality, head to the “Legacy Machine” lineup from MB&F Horological Machine N°11 HM11 Architect and pick your poison. Even the LMs aren’t the most legible watches on the market, but that’s not what you’re buying anyway. In this case, what you’re actually buying is a brilliantly thought-out homage to some of the greatest designers of the 1960s and 1970s, a design that goes further than the overall pod-like design. Case in point: in the first of the four rooms, you can see a small display with two white arrow hands featuring red tips. And they are quite small, about 0.6mm. Those hands point to metal balls on short rods radiating from the center of the display – silver-colored for the quarter hours and brass at the other five-minute intervals. Its timekeeping is drawn from American industrial designer George Nelson’s “Horloge Vitra” Ball Clocks, a design so deeply embedded in my memory that I had never questioned who created it until I saw the HM11. All that is housed in a window about 11.45mm tall, so it’s not the largest face for a watch, to say the least. To translate the horizontal plane of the tourbillon movement to a vertical display for the watch (and the other rooms, which we’ll get to) the brand continues to lean on conical gears which are more visible here than any other HM I can remember, which makes it a perfect way to study the ingenuity that makes MB&F Horological Machine N°11 HM11 Architect watches so compelling. As with most modern architectural projects, energy efficiency is key, and the HM11 acknowledges that in two ways. First is in room two. There, you’ll find a similar display for the power reserve, counting down the 96 hours of power reserve held in the mainspring. To get to the second room from the first, there’s no contortion required. Instead, the watch – rather intuitively rotates unidirectionally around a central axis with an easy twist, locking into position every 45 or 90 degrees so it won’t freely spin. In fact, if you turn it only 45 degrees, it’s almost even more easily viewed as a “driver’s” watch. All of this is suspended on a lightweight titanium frame with long lugs. Room three is something novel and unusual these days: a thermometer, available in either Celcius or Fahrenheit. In fact, this makes it one of maybe a handful of mechanical modern watches with a thermometer. While these kinds of complications used to be made in pocket watches (I seem to recall seeing a number by Jules Jurgensen, for instance) I can only think of one other, by Ball, on the modern market. That watch requires the wearer to remove it from their wrist for a period of time or their body temperature will impact the thermometer’s function – essentially it’ll read your body’s temperature all day. The new HM11 doesnot have that problem. It’s a pretty smart (though maybe less useful) inclusion, all things considered, if for no other reason than the fact the design of the thermometer takes advantage of MB&F’s watchmakers’ existing skills. The watch uses a spring thermometer, with a coiled metal that expands when the temperature rises and contracts as it cools. Just as watchmakers learn to work hairsprings, those skills apparently apply just as well when it comes to regulating a thermometer. The final “room” sits at what would be three o’clock on a normal watch – if the watch is set for viewing the time, at least. Instead of another function, the room is a see-through crystal crown for time setting, a room the brand calls the watch’s front door. It’s the appropriate place for a crown, but this isn’t any ordinary crown.

While a normal crown needs a 2mm gasket, the large size of this crown required some rethinking. Instead, two sets of gaskets are used, creating a kind of double airlock, with eight gaskets total for the crown (19 are used in the watch). This gives the watch 20m of water resistance. But the size of the crown caused a problem. With the initial design of the watch, any attempt to pull the crown out immediately caused it to be sucked back in by the vacuum of the small amount of air inside the domed crystal? The solution was to make the crown’s volume bigger, lessening the impact of a small change in volume when the crown is pulled out. With most brands working to make their watches thinner, it’s a funny but smart and necessary change. One thing you’ll notice while wearing the watch is that the crown doesn’t actually wind the movement. And yet, it’s a manually-wound watch. I mentioned that energy efficiency is key and the fact that the “house” rotates on its foundation isn’t just a parlor trick. Each 45° clockwise turn not only gives you a tactile click, it delivers 72 minutes of power directly to the barrel. After 10 complete rotations, HM11 is at its maximum power. For all the technical specs and creative features, I’ve probably missed a few things. But I’ve also glossed over one important question: how does the watch wear? Well, I’m guessing that even with its steep price tag, there are 50 eager buyers out there for the MB&F Horological Machine N°11 HM11 Architect , many of whom have probably seen a preview of the watch just like I did and have made up their own minds on that question. I doubt buyers really care that much about how the watch wears. For people who can’t afford the watch, I’d bet a lot of people would glibly say that the wearability doesn’t matter much. I could tell you that I was surprised at how comfortable it was on my wrist at 42mm (2mm thinner than the Sequential Evo) and how it didn’t feel nearly as thick as the 23mm specs. It even fit under a shirt cuff. But you’re right. None of that matters much. The most important fact is that Büsser is doing what he’s always done: thinking so far outside the box that it challenges what we even consider a watch anymore. It might not be as technically innovative as last year’s Sequential Evo, nor would it be what I would consider the quintessential distillation of Büsser’s designs in the way an LM-101 might be. But in an age where so many brands are homogenizing their releases (and trust me, I get constant press releases from new brands creating the same watches as so many others), or falling into complacency, at least something is comforting in knowing I can yet again expect to be surprised by Büsser and his team.