The watch market is structured by price segment. Above the CHF 2,000 threshold you start to see the appearance of watches in exclusive categories and from prestigious brands. Climbing further up towards the CHF 5,000 mark, you are in the biggest, most diverse and most hotly contested price segment of all. Almost all the big names in watchmaking are here, with the exception of the purely high-mech brands.
The choice is accordingly vast, in both men’s and women’s models, and there is a plethora of tempting offers. One of the most interesting options for women is the Classic 28 mm by Chopard. This diminutive quartz watch, with a gold case (including the caseback) and a classically elegant dial (as its name would suggest), is one of the best-value gold watches available, and it doesn’t skimp on the precious metal. Another possibility is the Bulgari Lucea 28 mm, whose steel bracelet is the result of an unprecedented amount of work. Its polished, curved links arranged like overlapping scales, as well as its sunburst dial, make this watch stand out from the crowd.
The sportier Admiral’s Cup Legend by Corum also exists in a 32 mm diameter for women. Its mother-of-pearl dial features the twelve pennants that are a signature of the Admiral’s Cup line, in an upmarket “sport chic” version with rose gold bezel. Staying with the sporty chic aesthetic, Louis Vuitton’s new Fifty Five in a 36 mm version is an excellent choice. The silver monochrome elegance of this all-steel watch is accentuated by the green touches on its cutout hands. The watch is meticulously executed with numerous refined details, and the added advantage of an automatic movement.
Where men’s watches are concerned, automatic is definitely the way to go. At this price point, it’s even possible to get hold of a complication or two, or a manufacture movement, as is the case with Frédérique Constant. The Geneva watchmaker has always endeavoured to provide its in-house calibres at an accessible price. The Classic Manufacture has a refined aesthetic with delicate Roman numerals and a deep black dial. The Ronde Croisière by Cartier also comes with the in-house automatic 1847MC calibre. It represents a significant gesture from the luxury jeweller, particularly in its steel version, which combines a black dial with gold accents. This sporty and affordable watch benefits from all the attention to detail that has helped to cement Cartier’s watchmaking reputation over recent years.
The detailed execution of the 18-karat golden Roman numeral constructions and rivets that surround the movement are extremely cool to look at it – it seems like something King Midas would approve of.The rhodium-plated, baton-shaped hands provide a wonderful contrast with the golden structures, and also to keep things simple, the movement only signifies the time with hours and minutes. There’s a sapphire crystal with anti-reflective treatment over the skeletonized dial and a screw-in sapphire case-back that can help keep the watch’s water-resistance of 30 meters. The crown itself is a distinctive signature and something I can love for the sake of symmetry and equilibrium. On account of the motion’s orientation, it’s located at 6 o’clock and includes deep grooves for easy operation.The Corum Golden Bridge Rectangle is a wristwatch which is going to be catering to a very specific pair of watch enthusiasts, to say the least. An art-deco, golden watch with a skeletonized dial which still feels as strong as, well, a bridge blends together a genuine manly perspective of luxury with a refinement that’s abundantly and obviously made clear.The Corum Golden Bridge Rectangle watch comes on a brown alligator leather strap with an 18k rose gold triple-folding clasp. When there are surely a great deal of alternatives in the way of timepieces in its budget, the Corum Golden Bridge Rectangle watch offers something unique with its spacious dial and linear motion display. In ways, it reveals the brand’s commitment to continuing the Golden Bridge heritage while exercising restraint that’s both tasteful and innovative. The Corum Golden Bridge Rectangle watch will probably be priced at $36,900. The first Corum Bubble watch came out in 2000, but for whatever reason, it was eventually discontinued. And today, it’s one of their main collections, so much so that they decided to make a unique piece using the iconic Bubble layout. This is actually the Corum Bubble 47 Flying Tourbillon watch, featuring not just a tourbillon but a menacing skull to get a dial.
Looking at complications, Montblanc brings its aggressive pricing to the Heritage Chronométrie Dual Time, with two time zones and date and an impeccably understated dial. But at CHF 5,000 and even less, there are already quite a few chronographs to be found. This is the core domain of companies such as Bell & Ross, whose BR126 Aéronavale ticks all the boxes: automatic chronograph, royal blue sunburst dial, universal diameter, meticulous finishing, cool name. IWC has just redefined its pricing targets, and the new Pilot’s Watch Automatic 36 is its best-value proposition. Functional to the point of being utilitarian, readable, even spartan, this small-diameter pilot’s watch is designed to fit small wrists, but wears equally well on a larger frame.
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