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Best watches of 2010 - Ideas. Inspiration. Innovation.

Anushya Mamtora | Updated on August 03, 2011 Published on January 25, 2011

Chopard L.U.C 150 ‘all in one’   -  BUSINESS LINE

Dior Christal 8 Mother of Pearl   -  BUSINESS LINE

Hamilton Time Player   -  BUSINESS LINE

Tag Heuer Grand Carrera Pendulum Concept   -  BUSINESS LINE

Vacheron Constantin Metiers d’Art Chagall watch   -  BUSINESS LINE

Zenith Christophe Colomb   -  BUSINESS LINE

2010 has been an interesting year for watches. Doing away with hairspring for a mechanical movement, eliminating the slightest error in timekeeping by including rare complications and letting you check the time of eight time zones in one dial. These are but a few.

Technology and horology have had a raging love affair since Louis Audemars invented the stem winding and setting mechanism in 1838 and continued through the invention of quartz, perpetual calendar, minute repeater and a host of other features and complications over the years. Even as we glance at our humble wrist watches, there is a one-second error that is being eliminated or the sunrise time during winter solstice that’s being accommodated along with efforts to make the watch the slimmest or the lightest.

For watch connoisseurs who are on the look out for collectibles and for watch lovers who want to be clued in to the most innovative minds in the world of horology, here’s what the best brands had to offer this year.

Tag Heuer Grand Carrera Pendulum Concept

Ever since the hairspring was invented by Christiaan Huygens in 1675, it has served as the regulating organ of all mechanical watches. However, it came with its own design limitations like sensitivity to gravity and thermal expansion. Tag Heuer’s Pendulum Concept is the world’s first oscillator in a mechanical movement without hairspring, replacing it instead with an invisible or virtual spring derived from magnets. It works at 43,200 beats an hour (6 Hertz). It eliminates the problem posed by the effect of gravity due to mass, there is no loss of amplitude and the movement’s frequency can be modulated on a very large spectrum of frequency without overburdening power supply. The result? Spectacular increase in precision and performance. Patents have been filed and are pending but the world is waiting for it to be unleashed in the commercial market.

Chopard L.U.C 150 ‘all in one’

The invention of the perpetual calendar was in itself a commendable feat. Automatically adjusting the watch’s calendar to accommodate for months with different lengths and leap years was a complication that found it to the feature list of exclusive watches. But Chopard has gone a step ahead, a few rather, to feature a major complication – Equation of Time- which shows the difference between true solar time (that of nature) and mean solar time (or civilian time). The period of time between two passages of the sun is 24 hours just four times in a year (April 15, June 14, September 1, December 24) and the rest of the year, the elapsed time is sometimes shorter or longer. This difference between true solar and mean solar time varies from minus 16 minutes and 23 seconds (on Nov 4) to 14 minutes and 22 seconds (Feb 11) and is called the equation of time – and is featured on the lower dial of the new L.U.C. Highly complicated for sure, but a marvel, it is.

Zenith Christophe Colomb

The first thing that strikes as you glance at the Christophe Colomb is the sapphire glass dome that bulges out from the dial and caseback. This ‘excrescent’ covers a unique gryroscopic system made of 166 components, 10 conical-geared wheels (with six spherical wheels) and six ball bearings, and ensures perfect horizontal positioning of the regulating organ. Going a few notches ahead of the precision seeking tourbillon, Zenith aims for exactness by minimising rate variations due to the position of the watch on the wearer’s wrist. The best position for an escapement is the horizontal position which ensures the best amplitude for the balance and on which gravity is perpendicular to the components and does not disturb their rotation. Based on the design of a marine chronometer – the Christopher Columbus – Zenith’s latest ensures the stable horizontal position of the exclusive timepiece despite the wearer’s movement and makes it an inviting buy for absolute precision seeking watch lovers who indulge in sporting activities.

Hamilton Time Player

Have you ever played a puzzle on your wrist? Time Player lets you play a game of its own with its finger-operated timekeeping. Hamilton’s latest watch boasts a futuristic design where a totally flat 48mm by 42mm titanium case is split into nine squares, eight filled with movable counters and one left empty like a sliding puzzle. “These counters, separated by lines symbolising those of latitude and longitude, enable the wearer to set and measure time in the current location, plus three others.” The brand logo marks the current time and those of Dubai, Tokyo and New York are identified by colour coded printed names to match the colours of the individual watch dials. To set the time in a desired time zone the wearer moves the corresponding miniature watch to the central square and adjusts with the crown. The remaining squares can be moved around for some fun!

Dior Christal 8 Mother of Pearl

For globetrotters who shuttle between continents on business trips, the dual time zone feature in watches came as a blessing. Dior takes it to another level with the new Christal 8, which displays the direct day-night reading in eight time zones simultaneously – London, Paris, New York, Los Angeles, Dubai, Mumbai, Tokyo and Hawai. So whether you want to take a peek at the time in Paris before you call your client or wrap it around your wrist as you hop in and out of charter jets, Dior Christal 8 fulfils your timekeeping needs. The timepiece dazzles in sapphire crystals and mother-of-pearl dial in hues of grey, white and gold. The back of the dial completes a full tour in 12h, the disc which indicates the 8 time zones in 24h.

Other innovative timepieces that made it to the wrists Seiko E-Ink: The world’s first EPD watch with an active matrix system, the E-Ink uses Electrophoretic Display with electronic ink technology but now with an active matrix display. This means strikingly clear display, richer range of imagery and a four-shade grey scale for rich graphical expression with perspective. Piaget Altiplano: Piaget has set the record of crafting the thinnest self-winding movement in the market at 2.35mm. Moreover, the movement is cased in the Altiplano watch which is 5.25mm thick, setting another record of being the slimmest in its category. Harry Winston Opus X: Moving away from the traditional fixed dial and watch hands, this watch uses a display of rotating indicators mounted on a revolving frame. It further strengthens the challenge by ensuring that the dials of each indicator turn in the opposite direction as the frame completes a full rotation, to ensure that the orientation remains constant. Vacheron Constantin Metiers d’Art Chagall watch: Artistic brilliance rather than a technical one, Metiers d’Art’s dial features a ‘faithful’ replica of the ceiling of Garnier Opera House by Chagall, using the Geneva technique of ‘grand feu’ enamelled miniature painting. Breguet Tradition Fusee Tourbillon: This Breguet in platinum gets a silicon balance spring with the brand’s iconic terminal curve.

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Published on January 25, 2011
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