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If you read HODINKEE, you’re likely pretty familiar with watches. And when you see a new watch, you recognize it as, well, a watch. But, sometimes, there are new watches that make us rethink the very definition of what a watch can be. This can be due to a new complication, a new combination of complications, a new approach to watchmaking, or any number of other creative, and sometimes crazy, endeavors that result in a wrist-worn timekeeping device. We asked each of our editors to pick the watch from this year that stands out to them as the most over-the-top, category-redefining watch around. The results are, as you’d expect, pretty wild.
While this might not be a complication in the technical watchmaking sense, it is a complicated watch to make (and it’s a whole lot more fun than a tourbillon in my opinion). The Cartier Révélation d’Une Panthère was first released in 2018 with small gold micro beads that floated through an unknown viscous liquid that had been patented (very complicated!). This past year Cartier replaced the gold beads with diamonds which really added something special. And just before you say this isn’t complicated, just think about how many times they had to test these watches to make sure they sank at the right speed.
Executing a Tourbillon properly is a rite of passage for any manufacturer aspiring to join the ranks of high horology. Executing a tourbillon in a fashion that moves the conversation forward and is truly innovative is something a manufacturer like F.P Journe would do. The F. P. Journe Tourbillon Souverain orients the tourbillon movement on a plane that’s perpendicular to the dial, and that small change completely transforms the watch. It contributes to the 13.6mm height, sure, but what I like most about this watch is the height. There’s a whole mechanical world, with many levels, inside that case. You’ve got to give something like a tourbillon movement some room to do what it’s meant to do. I like that the wearer can peer through the perfectly domed crystal into an entire of gears, springs, coils, bridges, and so forth. If it’s not a tool watch and ergonomics aren’t paramount, then might as well go all out, right? Turning a tourbillon on its side gives the watch another dimension, that’s both novel and visually fascinating. There’s a functional argument for the orientation of the tourbillon as well; for more, check out our technical breakdown in our Hands On from earlier this year.
CHF 244,500 in red gold; CHF 248,400 in platinum. FPJourne.com.