It’s a rare occasion these days when I put finger to keyboard and write, but 2016 was a rather epic year for travel and watches. Lots of watches.
I’m probably most guilty of being one of those guys who would rather spend money on a watch than an appreciating asset. We also tend to encourage our D’Marge readers to do the same. As my mother would say, “you may get hit by a bus tomorrow, so spend up you little jerk!”
So with that, I wanted to share a selection of watches which were released in 2016 that made me say “wow”.
Yes they were unique, interesting, beautiful but also in some cases downright expensive.
For the record this is not sponsored in any way. These are just the timepieces which we think deserve a round of applause this year.
I distinctly remember sitting down with Giles English in Basel and seeing this watch laying in the presentation tray. The model in question features a black face, 43mm high polish stainless case and classic black leather strap.
The Alt1-C has such simplicity about it which is often forgotten with modern brands. There was no bullshit to this timepiece. It was easy to read, beautiful to look at and effortlessly balances dress and weekend watch duties.
The Baselworld brand has a great story and we really appreciate what they’re creating but their watches have never personally grabbed me. However, I can honestly say the Alt1-C is a total winner.
Would I buy one? Absolutely. It’s next on my list. A true British classic.
Rolex Daytona Cosmograph
The Rolex Daytona is probably one of the world’s most iconic models and one which every man should own at some point in his watch collecting life. This year, the brand released two new stainless steel model Daytonas which is a hat tip to their iconic and much loved ‘panda’ style’.
The new models featured both a black and white face with contrast sub-dials and a black bezel. Perhaps a little less dressy than the previous steel brothers, the new variations do make a strong statement and from what I hear are in high demand.
Would I buy one? We love the white dial model, but we would be chasing down a vintage model Daytona (Zenith movement) before grabbing one of these.
Vacheron Constantin Overseas
The rerelease of the Overseas model would perhaps be my favourite from SIHH2016. The blue dials chronograph sat proudly behind a glass case and I distinctly remember thinking, “holy shit, this is one of those timepieces that few could afford but would make an impressive addition to any collection”.
The Overseas comes in three variations (automatic, chronograph and world timer) with various dial colours but the chronograph with the blue face was by far the most stunning watch from the fair.
Would I buy one? Yes, if I had the pennies (around AU$40,000). This is a watch that few people will recognise but those who do will respect you for having killer taste.
IWC Big Pilot Rodeo Drive
Another stand out from SIHH 2016 was definitely the release of the Pilot’s collection with specific attention given to the limited edition IWC Big Pilot Rodeo Drive. All black with an iridescent blue face in a whopping 46mm case.
The Big Pilot is an icon but for those of you who love this watch but want something that’s a touch more sports, then the Rodeo Drive is the model to hunt down.
The IWC Big Pilot Rodeo Drive Boutique Edition is limited to only 250 pieces and will set you back about AU$20,000.
Would I buy one? I would buy this over the classic Big Pilot. There’s something really quite badass about it, but not to be worn for every occasion. Maybe this one’s your third or fourth watch.
TAG Heuer Monza
The old school Formula 1 bogan in me loves it when watch companies give a nod to the times gone by. TAG Heuer have revived a classic from times when racing car drivers smoked, drank, womanised and often died young. The first Heuer Monza (not TAG) was launched in 1976 to celebrate Nikki Lauder’s first world championship and in 2016 it has been given a new lease on life.
Square watches are often seen as the redheaded step child, however it was cool to see something sitting pretty alongside its brother, the Monaco.
Would I buy one? It’s affordable and sporty, however the black case and shape does limit its wearing occasions.
A. Lange & Söhne Datograph Perpetual Tourbillon
This was the one watch from SIHH2016 where you heard the entire press group make that ‘eeeeeeep’ sound. We all knew we were looking at something really special…and totally unaffordable for everyone present, except maybe Bani McSpedden.
In short, this 100 piece limited edition with its black 41.5mm dial, perpetual calendar, moon-phase display, jumping minute counter, flyback function and of course tourbillon movement is simply stunning.
Would I buy one? Think the money would be better spend on those calf implants and a 65ft Sunseeker.
OMEGA Speedmaster CK2998
Lastly, my time at Baselworld was one where the lovely people at Breitling gave me my worst ever hangover. But I also managed to dash over to OMEGA before flying to Cape Town to see this beauty.
The blue theme did continue with the release of CK2998. Limited to just 2,998 models (duh), this is the Speedmaster I had been waiting for. The colour is perfectly understated, the design is iconic and on wrist it can be easily dressed up or down.
The last few years has seen a many different (almost too many) variations of the Speedmaster launched, but I believe this is the smartest one of them all.
Would I buy one? Totally. This one’s going straight to the pool room.