Top 3 Most Surprising New Watch Models Of The Recent Past
The watch industry acts conservatively. Too much innovation is considered risky. Accordingly, many new watch models are, to a certain extent, predictable. As much as we love to be presented with what we hoped for, real surprises make our hearts beat faster. So, let’s take a look at those less anticipated novelties that made us sit up and notice. Let’s explore the three most surprising new watch models of the recent past.
In 2020, watch brands are even more cautious than in 2019. Unemboldening sales numbers have slowed the flow of new models. The closing of facilities due to Corona has nearly stopped the delivery of newly produced watches.
That was different in 2019. Remember the riot-like reaction of the press to Audemars Piguet‘s Code 11.59 collection? Another watch that only insiders saw coming was the Citizen AQ 6010-06A Caliber 0100. For anyone that might have forgotten, that was the watch with record-breaking accuracy delivered by an autonomous (without being externally synchronized) movement. Or what about A. Lange & Söhne‘s Odysseus? Lange presented its first sporty watch with a steel bracelet. The surprises in 2020 are a bit subtler. But they are no less surprising.
1. The Surprising Bvlgari Octo Finissimo Automatic 100M Satin Polished Steel
There is an immense interest in the Bvlgari Octo Finissimo Automatic 100M Satin Polished Steel — also among the Fratello team. As this watch is so ubiquitous at the moment, some of you may have forgotten what attention it caused when presented at the LVMH Watch Week in Dubai in January (2020).
In the past years, Bvlgari has collected much appreciation for its record-setting ultra-thin movements and watches. Bvlgari created the thinnest chronograph, tourbillon, minute repeater, and the thinnest automatic watch movement. All these watches came in the brand’s edgy Octo Finissimo design with a sandblasted titanium case and dials bearing the same material and finishing. As such, this look became Bvlgari’s signature design.
Altogether, Bvlgari introduced some significant diversions from its well-established brand identity, which is a quite brave move.
With the Octo Finissimo in satin-polished steel, Bvlgari audaciously changed this successful style. By using satin-polished steel, the brand gave that watch a more familiar look. But there are also more details to discover in the interplay of polished and brushed surfaces. Also, the contrasting dial color added another noticeable change. The alteration that broke with the brand’s philosophy, even more, is the increase of the case thickness. This alteration yields a considerably improved water resistance at the expense of yet more thinness records. Altogether, Bvlgari introduced some significant diversions from its well-established brand identity, which is a quite brave move. And the best is: It was exceedingly well received.
Learn all the details about the Bvlgari Octo Finissimo Automatic 100M Satin Polished Steel in Robert-Jan’s review.
2. Oris Hölstein Edition 2020
The theme of Oris‘s surprising Hölstein Edition 2020 is bronze. Oris had started to use bronze in 2016 with the Carl Brashear Limited Edition boasting a bronze case with stainless steel back. At 2019’s Baselworld a new model created some agitation: The Divers Sixty-Five “Bico” with a bicolor bracelet made of steel and bronze. The audience registered this watch. Some mentioned potential problems regarding skin irritations caused by the bronze parts. But, this watch was neither frenetically welcomed nor strictly rejected. In January of this year (2020), Oris presented a watch with a bronze dial, the Big Crown Bronze Pointer Date.
On its 116th birthday, Oris dared to present a version of the Divers Sixty-Five with a bracelet almost entirely made of bronze. Only the screws connecting the bracelet’s links and parts of the folding clasp are made of steel. The brand candidly confirmed that this bracelet would leave marks of oxidization on the wearer’s wrist. While many other brands would be afraid of customer complaints and returns, Oris predicts that its customers are aware and will appreciate this imperfection as part of the watch’s charm.
A watch that leaves dirt on your skin when wearing it was and actually still is unthinkable. Oris simply did it.
A watch that leaves dirt on your skin when wearing it was and actually still is unthinkable. Oris simply did it. Oris even engraved a friendly teddy bear — the Oris bear — on the case back to indicate the tongue-in-cheek attitude embodied by this watch. Observers will either love this watch or just not understand it. Hating it is not an option. According to Oris, this watch sold better than the brand had expected. It seems that love has dominated
Find out more about the Hölstein Edition 2020 in Jorg’s review.
3. H. Moser & Cie. Streamliner Flyback Chronograph
H. Moser & Cie. has, for a long time, been associated with its elegant high-end watches. Most notable is the brand’s fundamentally simplistic representation of the indications of a perpetual calendar. In 2017, Moser presented its first sports watch, the Pioneer Centre Seconds, with a steel case and a rubber strap. Moser had always exclusively used its in-house movements for which a sister company even produced the hairsprings.
This watch has a case shape that is different from everything else Moser has created so far, and this watch came on a steel bracelet.
This January (2020) Moser presented something new: The Streamliner Flyback Chronograph. This watch has a case shape that is different from everything else Moser has created so far, and this watch came on a steel bracelet. Also, the movement of this watch differs significantly from the brand’s other movements. The brand’s signature on the gray fumé dial is all that reminds you that this is a watch from H. Moser & Cie.
The organic shape of this watch’s bracelet is extraordinary and has been very well received. The movement, which Moser designed in collaboration with Agenhor, which also created a similar movement for Singer Reimagined, is a feast for the eyes. The price of this watch is high but justified. It is a pity that this watch is limited to just 100 pieces. Almost everything about this watch has been done just right.
Read more about the Streamliner Flyback Chronograph in Balazs’s review.
I have presented my selection of the three most surprising new watch models of the first half of this year, which is particular not only regarding watches. Does this selection match your impressions? Or were the watches that surprised you entirely different models? Share your opinions in the comment section!