A passion of superlative craftsmanship has been at the heart of Frédérique Constant ever since it was founded by husband-and-wife team Peter Stas and Aletta Bax in the late 1980s; today, its calibres are created in-house and its watches assembled by hand. For this model, the Dutch-owned Swiss-based company found a perfect partner in Hungary’s Zsolnay Porcelain Manufacture, a producer of ceramics since 1853. The Classics Art of Porcelain, limited to 188 pieces, plays to both brands’ strengths, combining a handmade porcelain dial with automatic FC-302 calibre, a 42-hour power reserve and a sapphire-crystal case back, with black crocodile strap.
Switzerland remains the standard-bearer in the watchmaking world, but a number of British brands are making genuine inroads when it comes to mechanical mastery. Leading the charge is Bremont -the Henley-on-Thames-based horology brand founded by two oppositely named brothers, Nick and Giles English – which has been challenging the status quo since 2002. Its B2 Marine Chronometer is a case in point. Created to mark the company’s involvement as official timing partner to the American’s Cup, the English-made water-resistant timepiece has several ground-breaking features not usually seen on chronometers, including a display with three time zones, a 30-day power reserve and a 90-day chronograph.
Is fine watchmaking an art or a science? According to Saxony-based Glashütte Original, it is both. That belief is manifest in its new white-gold Senator Moon Phase Skeletonized display (incorporating a moonphase indicator), which reveals complex micromechanical engineering. Equally impressive is the artistry of the intricately decorated components – including plates with hand-engraving, winding wheels with double-sunburst designs, and gold chatons with blued steel screws.
“Day-to-night” has been a buzz phrase in the fashion industry for a while. Now, heavyweights from the world of horology are following suit. Swiss brand Baume & Mercier’s latest addition to the Promesse collection is a perfect example, featuring a round mother-of-pearl dial offset with an oval bezel set with 44 diamonds. The limited-edition 22mm timepiece is much more than just a pretty face, though; this is a watch that works double time, with an option to swap the sleek black calfskin strap for a coloured version – including an exclusive wraparound pink strap – allowing the wearer to segue seamlessly from day to evening.
There’s a classical elegance to the new L.U.C. XPS 1860 from Chopard that belies its somewhat clinical-sounding name – so don’t be put off by all those letters and numbers. The 1860 refers to the year in which Louis-Ulysse Chopard (the L.U.C of the moniker) founded his watch manufacture, and this latest addition to the collection named after him retains the romanticism of the era that inspired it. When the L.U.C line debuted in 1996, it foreshadowed the trend for ultra-thin models – a trend followed by this new timepiece, measuring just 7.2mm. The stainless-steel incarnation (an 18kt rose-gold version is also available) features an unencumbered silver-toned dial with sunburst satin-brushed centre; a small seconds dial and a date display at 6 o’clock complete the crisp design.