Here is our round-up of the year’s finest summer watches from Ulysse Nardin, Vacheron Constantin, Raymond Weil, TAG Heuer and Cartier, just some of the luxury brands available in the new Excelsior watches store in Porto Montenegro village.
Ulysse Nardin | Diver Chronograph Hammerhead Shark
As sponsors of the Artemis racing team in the Americas Cup, Ulysse Nardin continue to reinforce their historic associations with the sea even today, 170 years into their brand’s history. This recently released, limited edition of the Diver Chronograph model named the Hammerhead Shark comes with a powerful new UN-150 chronograph movement inside and a jaunty blue dial with a shark motif.
This particular type of shark is known to set out to feed at nighttime only to return to its earlier spot once it has eaten its fill, something no other type of shark does. Such navigational precision served as the inspiration for this particular model that comes in either stainless steel (300 pieces) and 18-karat rose gold 5N (99 pieces).
At 44m in diameter, this is a watch for large wrists and/or personalities. Even in the rose gold version it has a certain ruggedness to it that will appeal to sailors, as will the red accents that help the key indicators stand out for increased legibility.
The watch comes with a respectable 48hr power reserve, is water resistant to 300m and has both date and chronograph displays. A sweatresistant rubber strap comes with either rose gold or stainless steel folding buckle to match the main case.
Vacheron Constantin | Overseas Chronograph
Vacheron Constantin may be known for their classic complicated watches but they know how to turn their hand to a sports watch as well, as this gem from the newly re-launched 2016 Overseas collection proves.
Taking overseas travel as its core concept, there are a wide range of color and finish options available for this model but for anyone looking for a summer-friendly watch with a sporty edge, the Chronograph with a rubber strap is the way to go.
This is a brand operating at the very pinnacle of the high-end watch sector, vying for position with Patek Philippe for top spot in most unofficial rankings so while the aesthetic and build-quality is second to none, the devil as always is in the detail.
The curved case integrates seamlessly into the strap forming one fluid line while the six-sided bezel is of a quintessential Vacheron design making it instantly recognizable, for cognoscenti at least. Even the rubber strap has a subtle motif inspired by the brand’s emblem.
The dial is punctuated by the three chronograph sub-dials at 3, 6 and 9 o’clock as well as a date aperture between 4 and 5 o’clock. A 42.5mm stainless steel case makes this a fairly generous watch on the wrist, as is often the way with sports chronographs.
Flipping the watch over reveals a 22K gold oscillating weight adorned with a wind rose - the universal symbol indicating the cardinal points for travelers to navigate by. The sapphire crystal caseback also shows off the masterful level of detailing that has earned this collection the prestigious Hallmark of Geneva quality certification.
Raymond Weil | FREELANCER
Established just 40 years ago by Mr. Raymond Weil, a member of the Geneva Yacht Club and an avid sailor, this family-run Swiss watchmaking brand sponsored the Realteam sailing team for this year’s D35 Trophy on Lake Geneva and the GC32 Racing Tour internationally. What better time then to release a new sailing inspired edition of their Freelancer model?
Fitting neatly into the established canon of diving and sailing watches, this particular model weighs in at 42.5mm in diameter with either a polished stainless steel or black PVD coating. The obligatory uni-directional bezel is available in black ceramic with either white, green or orange detailing, according to personal preference.
The rubber strap has a double push folding clasp for greater comfort and security while the watch is also water resistant to 300m and comes equipped with an automatic movement and a 38-hour power reserve. Each watch is subjected to a range of stress tests prior to being released, ensuring its resistance to impact, magnetic waves, pressure and temperature changes.
“Watchmaking and sailing share the same values and requirements, such as performance, precision and innovation”, concluded Elie Bernheim, the brand’s CEO.
TAG Heuer | AQUARACER
No review of the year’s sailing watches would be complete without at least one model for the female reader and TAG Heuer’s latest range of Aquaracer models for ladies in ceramic is the perfect balance between functionality and design.
First launched in 2003, the Aquaracer collection has continued to evolve over the past 13 years, all the while building on the brand’s history as the first watchmaker ever to file a patent for a watertight case back in 1892.
Available in a 35mm case of black or white ceramic, it can also be paired with a rose gold or diamond bezel for a more glamorous look, although at that stage we’re officially pushing the boundaries of what qualifies as a sailing watch. Here we’ve shown the more practical and sporty, all white ceramic version for its fresh, clean lines and summery look.
As always, the Aquaracer is identifiable by its distinctive uni-directional rotating bezel with twelve sides and six studs. The choice of ceramic is a functional one making it incredibly hard, scratch-resistant and hypoallergenic. Ceramic is also considerably lighter than steel meaning the watch, although 3mm larger than previous ladies models of this watch, remarkably light on the wrist.
Cartier | CALIBRE DE CARTIER DIVER
The Calibre de Cartier Diver has been through a number of iterations in recent years so may already be familiar to more attentive followers of this behemoth of a brand’s watch releases.
For 2016 we have a striking new model in 18K pink gold with contrasting blue dial that takes it in a new, more nautical directional, away from the rather stark monotone black models that preceded it.
At 11mm in width this is by no means a thick watch to wear on the wrist and it only weighs 111 grams, meaning it’s not going to dominate a wrist either but it is big, there’s no getting away from it. Although officially 42mm in diameter, once we factor in the crown guard and bezel we end up with something closer to 45mm on the wrist in real terms.
Men with smaller wrists will therefore want to try this one on and spend some time with it prior to making a purchase decision, especially if they are not used to wearing a larger watch.
Cartier’s trademark XII marker at 12 o’clock dominates this particular dial along with the seconds dial at 6 o’clock. There is also a date aperture between 2 and 4 o’clock, giving the dial a pleasingly harmonious look.