Swiss TAG Heuer has an ongoing history of allowing external designers and artists to leave their mark on their watches. In that realm of quirky timepieces those official TAG Heuer watches “redesigned” by Japanese artists have their own little microcosm – just think of this remarkable Nendo from 2015 that I have very much grown to love and appreciate. Today, a new piece called the TAG Heuer Carrera Heuer 02 Fragment Limited Edition by Hiroshi Fujiwara joins that special niche of TAG Heuer timepieces.
Swiss Jaquet Droz applies its unusual area of specialty – automatons, which it has been making since the eighteenth century – to the Jaquet Droz Lady 8 Flower Watch line. The Jaquet Droz Lady 8 Flower is the first ladies’ collection from the brand to contain an automaton. The mechanism powers the petals of a three-dimensional lotus flower, causing them to open and close on demand. When open, the flower reveals a pistil composed of a 0.25-carat briolette diamond or a briolette sapphire.
The Hublot Big Bang UNICO Magic Sapphire Watch reference 411.JX.1170.RX is one of a few sapphire crystal-cased watches Hublot produces – and to date, it is my favorite. Several years ago the first sapphire crystal-cased watch I was aware of was released by ultra-high-end watchmaker Richard Mille with a price tag of over $1,000,000. I recall seeing it for the first time in a display case – unable to be touched but interesting to look at. No, this material certainly did not look like plastic.
After Baselworld 2017 rolled around I think I had officially given up on Swiss Tudor, at least as a consumer interested in seriously voting with my dollar and adding one of their products to my collection. By then, every possible ounce of creativity and variety had been squeezed out of the Black Bay line and to me, it seemed like an attempt by Tudor to simply shoehorn as many dissonant design variations as possible into the collection. Something has to stick, right?
These days it can be difficult to make an argument for the existence of more dive watches. That’s the bottom line. Sometimes it’s hard to see the point and between what the big brands are offering and the constant wave of ambitious Kickstarter start-ups, it all just seems like pointless noise after a while. What I am interested in, however, is seeing smaller brands work towards overcoming new challenges in a saturated marketplace – and it doesn’t get any more crowded than the space occupied by affordable dive watches.