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These timepieces pay homage to horological history with exceptional vintage aesthetics that’ll turn any modern-day man into a stylish historian

Heritage Pulsograph by Montblanc

Heritage Pulsograph by Montblanc. (Photo: Courtesy of Montblanc)
Heritage Pulsograph by Montblanc. (Photo: Courtesy of Montblanc)
Watchmaking has come a long way since Montblanc was established in 1858. There are hashtags and collectors can “like” pictures of their favourite models. Post a photo online and, bam! you’re Insta-famous. But instead of pushing forward, Montblanc is looking back with the development of its Heritage collection.

Paying tribute to the traditions that first established the brand as a purveyor of exceptional timepieces, Montblanc is bringing vintage aesthetics to the forefront.

The result is subtle and innovative, with six 1940s- and ’50s-inspired models that prove newer isn’t always better.

Pilot’s Watch Timezoner Spitfire Edition

Pilot's Watch Timezoner Spitfire Edition "The Longest Flight" by IWC Schaffhausen. (Photo: Courtesy of IWC Schaffhausen)
Pilot’s Watch Timezoner Spitfire Edition “The Longest Flight” by IWC Schaffhausen. (Photo: Courtesy of IWC Schaffhausen)
With its passion for aviation, IWC Schaffhausen has long been enthused by the Spitfire, Britain’s iconic, historic fighter aircraft.

To celebrate the year in which British pilots Steve Boultbee-Brooks and Matt Jones will attempt the first round-the-world Spitfire flight, the brand is releasing seven new Spitfire-inspired references.

Two different colour schemes are used across the seven references: a black dial paired with a green textile strap recalling the cockpit of an original Spitfire aircraft; and a bronze case, matte olive-green dial and brown calf-leather strap reminiscent of traditional military colours.

The collection features a wide range of options on the table, from the entry-level Automatic to the gargantuan 46.5mm Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar.

Reine de Naples 8918 by Breguet

Reine de Naples 8918 by Breguet. (Photo: Courtesy of Breguet)
Reine de Naples 8918 by Breguet. (Photo: Courtesy of Breguet)
In 1810 Breguet produced the first wristwatch ever, a commission from Caroline Murat, the Queen of Naples and sister of Napoleon. This year, a new version of this timepiece, the Reine de Naples, was released, featuring the same Arabic numerals designed by Abraham-Louis in 1783.

Paying homage to its impressive history of watchmaking from 1775 to the present, Breguet’s dials and case backs continue to be engraved by craftsmen and women using equipment built more than 100 years ago.

Each piece even comes with Abraham-Louis’s hand-engraved signature, which was first etched into dials in 1795. The brand ensures its past translates into the present as its watches gain new technology but maintain timeless, classic styles.

Air Command Flyback Chronograph Limited Edition by Blancpain

Air Command Flyback Chronograph Limited Edition by Blancpain. (Photo: Courtesy of Blancpain)
Air Command Flyback Chronograph Limited Edition by Blancpain. (Photo: Courtesy of Blancpain)
The story behind this elusive watch can be traced back to the 1950s. The French Ministry of Defence wanted a high-precision chronograph that met an ambitious list of specifications—a black dial with luminous hour markers and hands, a flyback function and a smaller seconds hand.

The Blancpain Air Command Flyback Chronograph Limited Edition was subsequently born, but only 12 prototypes were said to have been created, and the watch never made it to serial production.

Until now, that is. A 500-piece limited edition gives the Blancpain Air Command a new lease of life. This vintage military remake will be faithful to its predecessor, with slight modifications to keep the functions present with the times.

Navitimer Ref. 806 1959 Re-Edition by Breitling

Navitimer Ref. 806 1959 Re-Edition and the historical Navitimer Ref. 806 from 1959, from left to right. (PPR/Breitling)
Navitimer Ref. 806 1959 Re-Edition and the historical Navitimer Ref. 806 from 1959, from left to right. (Photo: Courtesy of Breitling)
Unsurprisingly, Breitling, renowned for creating high-precision watches for aviators, has channelled their sense of precision into crafting an almost carbon copy remake of the original 1959 Navitimer.

The Navitimer Red. 806 Re-Edition has a stainless-steel case measuring in at precisely the same dimensions as its original model and an all-black dial with tone-on-tone chronograph counters. With painstaking attention to detail, the modern version even has a rotating beaded bezel with exactly 94 beads, just as the 1959 model sported.

The 2019 watch’s only concessions to modernity are increased water resistance and a Super-LumiNova coating in its 1959 units being produced this year.

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