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  3. Best New Watches of 2012
December 18, 2012updated Dec 20, 2023


By Chris Boyle

Ivresse / badollet

Ivresse, meaning “intoxicating” in English, is a new release by Badollet that jump-starts a whole new concept for the brand spearheaded by CEO Philippe Dubois.

An elegant 53.8 by 30mm case of understated platinum and a dark blue satin-brushed dial masterminded by star designer Eric Giroud reveal nothing of the inner workings concepted, developed and manually created by exceptional watchmaker David Candaux. These remain a mystery until the watch is turned over and the unusual movement comprising German silver plates and bridges and a flying tourbillon becomes visible through the sapphire crystal. Manually wound, yet boasting 120 hours of power reserve, this timepiece is the ultimate expression of understated elegance.

The Serpent Calendar by Speake-Marin combines the best elements of watchmaking—and founder Peter Speake-Marin’s own style—and puts them together in one fantastically aesthetic timepiece with reliable and beautiful automatic mechanics. Like every Speake-Marin timepiece, it is customizable to your wishes. Although spectacular, it is notably more affordable than other collectible timepieces unveiled by the boutique brand thus far. To date, Speake- Marin watches have been very collectible and rare— and thus expensive—but the new Serpent Calendar, which comes in stainless steel or rose gold in a 38 or 42mm case, while rare in number as well, is more attainable price-wise.

Maîtres du Temps’s Chapter Three carries the surname Reveal, and there is good reason for it: When the wearer pushes a crown button, panels at 12 and 6 o’clock slide open to reveal a second time zone display and a day/night indicator. According to this company’s philosophy of combining independent watchmakers’ talents to result in an extraordinary watch, Chapter Three—the third such watch to be released by Maîtres du Temps—is a coproduction by Swiss talent Andreas Strehler (who developed the “Reveal” panels among other elements) and Finnish master Kari Voutilainen. Limited to 50 pieces in white gold and 50 in rose gold, this 42mm timepiece powered by manually wound Caliber SHC03 is a functional and beautiful watch for the elite traveler.

Tantalum is not often used in watchmaking, and there is a good reason for this: Even though it is a beautiful material with a special silvery patina of its own, it is difficult to machine. Urwerk, no stranger to creating special tools for the machining of hard and uncommon materials, now introduces tantalum in the case of the automatic UR-110 TTH.

“Tantalum is a rare metal whose name comes from Tantalus, a Greek mythological figure synonymous with temptation,” explains Urwerk co-founder and head watchmaker Felix Baumgartner. “We decided to use its natural color, while satin-finishing and sandblasting helped enhance the natural beauty of this intriguing material.” Naturally, this incredible timepiece features the unusual, yet easy-to-read side display of the hours and minutes using revolving cubes and satellite arms characteristic of this ultramodern brand.

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