Now Reading
Swisswatches Magazine 24 Days of Christmas: Top Watches of 2021

Swisswatches Magazine 24 Days of Christmas: Top Watches of 2021

24. December 2021

It’s been another extraordinary year for us all, and the watch world is no exception. That is why the Swisswatches team sat down once more to comprise a list of our top watches of 2021. From horological giant OMEGA to independent watchmaker Armin Strom, we are presenting you with 24 special highlights to emerge from the ever-surprising Swiss watch industry in 2021. Here’s to yet another year of innovation and beauty in watchmaking – and a very Merry Christmas from all of us at Swisswatches.

OMEGA Speedmaster Chronoscope Bronze

Creating a watch that measures heartbeat, distance and speed – yet is nevertheless highly elegant – is no easy feat. The watchmakers at OMEGA clearly understood the assignment when they dreamt up the new Speedmaster Chronoscope Bronze. Alongside its two steel siblings, this exquisite edition is simultaneously sophisticated (both in terms of technicality and aesthetics) yet fairly affordable. At 43 mm, it is slightly larger than your average Speedy, yet this makes sense for a model with such a lot packed into its dial. Despite this “snake” dial with three scales, which references models from the 20th century, the Chronoscope remains understated thanks to the subtle faded white lettering used for the scales. Also, the ceramic bezel with a “vintage” enamel finish adds to this OMEGA watch’s old-school appeal. Despite its youth, it already looks like a timepiece that holds a story.

The Chronoscope has an excellent movement to match: in-house calibre 9908. Fitted with a Co-Axial escapement, benefiting the longevity of the manual-winding movement, it also has two barrels that work to provide a power reserve of 60 hours. Speaking of the Co-Axial escapement, it only makes sense to give a quick shout-out to a strong contender for the top OMEGA watch of the year, the Speedmaster Moonwatch Professional Co-Axial Master Chronometer 42 mm Calibre 3861. Appearing in January of 2021, the latest generation of Moonwatch differs both inside and out from its predecessors, from the Co-Axial calibre to the case to the bracelet. Nevertheless, the Chronoscope Bronze trumps it all for its high-quality, alluring and adaptable design, as is evident on the wrist of Kristian Haagen (above).

Price: 13,800 euros.

IWC Schaffhausen Big Pilot 43 mm

This purist Big Pilot model (Ref. IW3293) from IWC downsizes from 46 mm to 43 mm. It keeps things simple without a date or power reserve window, while still offering hours, minutes, and seconds. Still showcasing that unmistakable big conical crown, the blue dial is delightfully uncluttered and, from the rhodium-plated hands to the bold hour markers, undeniably IWC. The highly legible design (not to mention a powerful and high-profile marketing campaign, by the way) make this IWC pilot’s watch a very compelling choice.

Powering this sporty interpretation is the calibre 82100, visible in all its glory via the caseback. Unlike its larger siblings, it has a power reserve of ‘only’ 60 hours, rather than seven days. All the same, this is an automatic calibre that is often credited for its robust design.  It integrates the IWC’s highly efficient IWC Pellaton automatic winding system, which uses both directions of the rotor to wind the mainspring. Furthermore, components in the system subject to pronounced stress, such as the pawls, the automatic wheel, or the cam, are ceramic, making them pretty much immune to wear over time.

Price: 8,850 euros (leather strap) or 9,850 euros (steel bracelet).

TUDOR Marine National No-Date Pelagos FXD

Next on our list of our top watches of 2021 we have a gift from TUDOR; its Marine National No-Date Pelagos FXD. The matter of whether such a diver’s watch needs a date is an eternal question amongst enthusiasts, and in this case, our answer would be an unequivocal ‘no’. Milled from a single block of titanium – lugs included (‘FXD’ refers to the fixed lugs) – this piece has a strong ‘tool watch’ feel. The slightly duller, if you will, tone of titanium as opposed to steel, allows the strong blue dial and matching titanium bezel with a blue ceramic insert to take centre stage.

While no doubt proving popular across all walks of life, this is a down-to-earth, highly focused piece. This makes sense given that it was developed to a set of unique specifications created in collaboration with a specialist unit of the French Navy. Designed for underwater navigation and optimised for professional use, there are no unnecessary frills or fancies. Powering it is the reliable, COSC-certified calibre MT5602 with a bidirectional rotor system and silicon balance spring. Nonetheless, this watch not only delivers technically but also aesthetically, from its smart navy matt blue dial to the matching navy and grey one-piece fabric strap.

While the Marine National No-Date Pelagos FXD is ultimately the winner for the Swisswatches team, the stealthy Black Bay Ceramic introduced back in May, featuring a matching black METAS-certified movement, is also worth a mention for its excellent calibre and striking appearance.

Price: 3,620 euros.

Oris Divers Sixty Five ‘Cotton Candy’

The Oris Divers Sixty Five ‘Cotton Candy’ watches are undoubtedly a very happy kind of highlight to emerge in 2021. While they had tight competition from Oris’ own Carl Brashear Caliber 401 Limited Edition, these unapologetically colourful pieces ultimately had to take priority. From their feel-good dials to their ‘intentional’ unisex design, they truly encapsulate Oris’ playful and open attitudes to watchmaking.

The trio follow the example of the Hölstein Edition 2020 with an all-bronze case, bezel, crown and bracelet combination. Housed in 38 mm cases, these glowing diver’s watches are unisex and eye-catching, while the pastel dials are pure, unadulterated fun. Inside ticks the automatic Oris calibre 733, with a 38-hour power reserve and frequency of 4 Hz. Additionally, they are water-resistant to 100 m.

Price: 2,100 euros.

Vacheron Constantin ‘Everest’ Dual-Time

Our detailed look into this piece earlier this year seems to be well worth it, given the amount of attention the ‘Everest’ editions attract. As we said in our review (linked above), the sporty Overseas models are always ready for adventure, from the robust case design to resilient movement – and Vacheron Constantin’s casually elegant Overseas is metaphorically the “Everest” of the horology house right now; it is easily one of the brand’s most talked-about and best-selling collections.

For us, the adventurous and handy Dual Time stands out in particular, displaying the home time with an arrow-tipped orange hand that matches the small day/night indicator arrow at 9 o’clock. While typical Overseas models are either skeletonised or featuring an elegant silver or deep blue sunburst dial, this model (like its sibling) has a blue-grey grained dial. Like several pieces emerging from brands in the last year (read on for more examples), grained dials appear to be a trend cropping up on a number of limited models right now.

Price: 30,700 euros. Limited to 150 pieces.

Patek Philippe Nautilus 5711/1A-014

It’s impossible to write an article on our top watches of 2021 without mentioning the Nautilus. It was tempting to crown the Ref. 5236P-001, with its perpetual calendar and original in-line display, our favourite Patek. Likewise, the “Advanced Research” Fortissimo Ref. 5750P is truly an unexpected, thought-provoking way to round off the year. Yet the Nautilus 5711/1A-014  is too hot a topic, and too much of a resounding success, to miss off the list. It was a difficult, if not impossible, task: create a Nautilus equal to the beloved, now discontinued blue dial 5711-1A-010.

Yet Patek pulled it off seamlessly with the model’s handsome and on-trend olive dial replacement. Bringing a brand new dial to the Nautilus table, it’s no wonder that the 5711/1A-014 remains the talk of the town. The dial is simply the main talking point. Its sunburst finish complements the green hue perfectly, shimmeringly picking up on the light reflections from the steel case. The olive-green tone contrasts pleasingly with the white-gold hands and indices.

Interestingly, what we have here is not a ‘limited edition’, but rather a piece than will be produced for a limited time of only one year. The 5711/1A-014 is bound to remain a Holy Grail and unobtainable dream amongst legions of Patek Philippe’s Nautilus fans for years to come.

Price (listed): 30,100 euros.

Carl F. Bucherer Manero Minute Symphony Triple Peripheral

Next on our top watches of 2021 we have a piece from Carl F. Bucherer. This extraordinary minute repeater, surfacing in July this year, combines three elements – oscillating weight, tourbillon and regulator – with peripheral mounting. Despite its classic appearance, it is in fact the most complex watch to ever come from the horology house. It’s well worth clicking on the link above to get to know this über-complicated piece in more detail.

While horologists played around with the peripheral mounting in the 20th century, it was not until 2008 that Carl F. Bucher made history by applying it to a serially produced watch for the first time, using its calibre A 1000. Ten years later, the horology house’s T3000 calibre combined peripheral winding with a peripherally mounted tourbillon, appearing to float due to the lack of bridges. Meanwhile, the 2021 model at hand integrates a minute repeater with a peripherally mounted regulator, alongside the tourbillon (held by three invisible ball bearings) and oscillating weight.

Impressive mechanical feats aside, there are numerous aesthetic characteristics to enjoy on this watch, too. Take the 18-carat white gold dial, which has a galvanised, finely grained surface that is apparently increasingly becoming a trend on limited edition Swiss timepieces. Or take the 18-carat rose gold minute hand, reaching elegantly right up to the seconds scale. Additionally, there’s the charmingly different window at 9 o’clock, indicating when the crown is pulled out with a dot, or alternatively with a miniature music note when the minute repeater is in action.

Price: 340,000 euros. Limited to 88 pieces.

Parmigiani Tonda PF Micro Rotor

The inaugural Tonda PF collection by newly instated CEO Guido Terreni is already enjoying success, and while home to an array of impressive and complicated pieces, one solid highlight for us remains the PF Micro-Rotor. It embodies what Terreni calls the ‘rich minimalism’ that defines the line. The guilloche dial is incredibly simple, featuring only two hands (no seconds), moving away from the PF logo in favour of the company’s more subtle seal. The same seal can be found on the exquisitely finished caseback. By the way, Terreni informed us, the horology house quickly realised that this was not a new men’s piece, but unisex; particularly in the case of the lustrous rose-gold version.

Meanwhile, as the name suggests, the calibre is also of importance. Visible through the caseback, the automatic PF703 is an ultra-slim, 3.07 mm thick movement with a full platinum micro-rotor. Interestingly, it is integrated inside the movement’s structure, rather than lying on top of it. The result of the incredibly thin calibre is that the height of the Tonda PF Micro-Rotor watch measures a mere 7.8 mm.

Price: 49,000 euros.

 Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Hybris Mechanica Calibre 185 Quadriptyque

It would, of course, be impossible not to mention Jaeger-LeCoultre’s masterpiece of 2021. Naturally, the brand has produced countless Reverso showstoppers in 2021 (marking 90 years since the Reverso), from chic, colourful new models to its gorgeous 90th anniversary edition. But the Reverso Hybris Mechanica Calibre 185 isn’t just attractive, nor impressive – it’s a part of watchmaking history.

The timepiece has no less than four dials. Dial one offers hours, minutes, flying tourbillon (indicating seconds), and instantaneous perpetual calendar (date, day, month, leap years, night & day indicator). Meanwhile, on dial two, we find jumping digital hours and minutes plus a minute repeater. Elsewhere, dial three displays the Northern hemisphere moon phases, draconic lunar cycle, anomalistic lunar cycle, plus the month and year. Finally, dial four displays the Southern hemisphere moon phases. Powering this hyper-complicated beacon of horological skill is the Jaeger-LeCoultre calibre 185, offering a 50-hour power reserve and frequency of 4 Hz.

Price: 1.610 million. Limited to 10 pieces.

Blancpain Tribute to Fifty Fathoms ‘No Rad’ Limited Edition

Next up on our list of top watches of 2021, we have a piece from Blancpain. This limited Fifty Fathoms reissue pays homage to the original model from the 60s, which was first and foremost destined for the combat swimmers of the German navy. The most unusual feature has to be the ‘No Rad’ stamp on the dial, indicating the absence of radium. Keeping things old-school, the hands, indices, and scale on the bezel have an ‘old radium’ coating of Super-LumiNova. With its beige-orange hue, it evokes dials of the past, while lighting up in a rich green at night.

The calibre is also definitely noteworthy. The automatic in-house calibre 1151 has two barrels that work to provide a power reserve of 100 hours. Its silicon balance spring improves its resistance to magnetic fields, while the oscillating weight has an opening in the shape of a cartridge. This unusual shape gives a nod to the very first Fifty Fathoms, showcasing the very same feature. It’s a Fifty Fathoms watch that offers Blancpain fans both a story and style.

Price: 13,070 euros. Limited to 500 pieces.

Breguet Classique Tourbillon Extra-Plat Anniversaire 5365

Any tourbillon watch from Breguet is bound to be brimming with beauty and history – not least the Classique Tourbillon Extra-Plat Anniversaire 5365, which also earns a place on our top watches of 2021. Radiating elegance and watchmaking expertise in a refined manner, it celebrates 220 years since Breguet received a patent for his tourbillon (which, as it happened, only lasted a mere ten years). There are only 35 pieces available – a nod to the 35 tourbillon pocket watches produced by the master watchmaker.

A 41 mm masterpiece crafted from rose-gold, the tourbillon watch features a polished bezel, a typical Breguet finely fluted middle case, and a polished c;aseback exposing the movement. By contrast, the exquisite guilloche dial is made of 18-carat silver-plated gold. Above the tourbillon at 5 o’clock lies the inscription ‘Brevet N°157’ in reference to Breguet’s patent number for the invention. This watch encapsulates what Maison Breguet always has and will long continue to do best; tourbillons and exquisite decoration.

Price: 156,200 euros. Limited to 35 pieces.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph Automatic

It’s been a big year for Audemars Piguet’s sometimes overlooked Offshore collection. Fortunately, AP have ensured that its chunkier, divisive sibling to the Royal Oak is enjoying some time in the limelight. Alongside its excellent new 43 mm additions, this is in part thanks to its Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph Automatic models. These watches are an interpretation of the original Royal Oak Offshore from 1993 – and the edition that stands out has to be the steel and blue dial version. Alongside a blue dial, blue counters, and blue inner bezel, the watch features white gold applied hour-markers plus typical Royal Oak hands with luminescent coating. The pushers and crowns also use blue rubber.

The reason we love it? Its dial is highly similar to the original, using old-school Petite Tapisserie decoration. The watch also unapologetically continues the steel-sports-watch-blue-dial trend into 2021, as green dials hold their place as the latest hype. Additionally, there are other nice nods to the original. This includes counters arranged vertically as in the 1993 archetype, although the hour counter has been swapped with the small seconds. Powering the model is the state-of-the-art manufacture calibre 4404, with an integrated chronograph and flyback function.

Price: 37,400 euros.

Laurent Ferrier Square Micro-Rotor

First and foremost, Laurent Ferrier’s Square Micro-Rotor is just gorgeous to look at. Housed in a 41 x 41 mm case of warm 18-carat 5N red gold, it is paired with quite a sultry anthracite grey dial. The case is a watchmaking feat in itself, with its contours, symmetry and dynamic curves bringing out an Art Deco vibe. Spear-shaped hands indicate the hours and minutes, while small seconds lie curvaceously at 6 o’clock.

As the name suggests, though, this is a watch with quite a movement. The in-house calibre FBN 229.01 is automatic winding and, of course, uses a micro-rotor. The powerful component winds the barrel up to an impressive maximum power reserve of 3 days (72 hours). Furthermore, the calibre’s silicon escapement with double impulse means that the spring is driven twice per swing, thus improving efficiency. This is implemented with the addition of two escape wheels and an appropriately shaped lever. From the fine watchmaking to stylish design, it’s a definite watchmaking highlight for us, which undoubtedly earns its place on Swisswatches’ top watches of 2021.

Price: 55,000 Swiss francs.

Armin Strom Tribute One First Edition

It’s steel, it’s sleek, it’s Strom – Armin Strom’s 38 mm Tribute One First Edition takes the dress watch for a contemporary spin. Undoubtedly the finest of the models is this one with a black dial, which, like its siblings, subtly showcases the mainspring barrel on the dial. On it lies the boldly inscribed words, ‘MANUAL WINDING – ONE HUNDRED HOURS OF POWER RESERVE.’ Speaking of components – the increasingly popular horology house, best known for skeletonisation and engraving, produces the majority of its components in-house.

Despite its large power reserve, the modern and minimalist timepiece houses an ultra-thin calibre. The AMW21 calibre is manual winding and visible via the caseback. This allows for a view of the three-quarter plate and the regulating organs. Last but not least, returning to the dial, another highlight is the attractively contrasting rough periphery of the dial versus the smoother hour and minute subdial with exposed screws. It’s a yes from us.

Price: 13,900 euros. Limited to 25 pieces.

Cartier Tank Louis

As ever, it’s been another year of painfully chic wristwatches from maison Cartier. One that stands out in particular is the Tank Louis Hand-Wound Ref. No. WGTA0058. This 33.7mm 18-carat pink-gold beauty comes with a matching alligator strap and is very suave. More explicitly Art Deco than its predecessors, this limited (also available with a burgundy and silver dial and yellow-gold case) model comes with a blue and grey dial. Interestingly, this 20s-style dial actually takes inspiration from Cartier’s 1980s Les Must de Cartier Tank.

What’s more, the distinctive dress watch is home to an in-house Cartier mechanical calibre, the 1917 MC movement. This is important given that the majority of its predecessors are quartz. Originally conceived for ladies’ pieces, the small (2.9 mm height) but powerful calibre has a 38-hour power reserve and it beats at a frequency of 3 Hz.

Price: 13,300 euros. Limited production.

 A. Lange & Söhne: Lange 1 Perpetual Calendar

Next on our list of Swisswatches’ top watches of 2021, we have a piece from A. Lange & Söhne. Housed in a white-gold case, this model reminds us why we are still all so enamoured with salmon dials. The limited perpetual calendar watch, with the brand’s recognisable decentralised dial, displays the date, day of the week, month and leap year, plus moonphase.

Yet it is not all about the dial – the caseback reveals the true mastery of A. Lange. It reveals the in-house calibre L021.3. There’s also nothing quite like the finishing on the L021.3; the 24-carat gold unidirectional winding rotor carries an additional oscillating weight made of platinum. The plates and bridges, decorated with Glashütte ribbing, are made of German silver. Thermally blued steel screws fix five gold chatons into place.

Amazingly, all indications of the perpetual calendar – including the month ring – jump instantly. All displays can be adjusted together or individually via correctors. From start to finish – or front to back – this is a resplendent, exquisitely crafted watch.

Price: 109,000 euros – limited to 150 pieces.

Breitling Super Chronomat 44 Four-Year Calendar

So what comes next on our top watches of 2021? Well, according to CEO Georges Kern, the Chronomat is the company’s bestseller after the iconic Navitimer, and is now a powerful, recognisable collection that is able to hold its own. Its Super Chronomat came into action back in May of this year, with Breitling calling it an ‘extension’ of the main line. Unlike the Chronomat, the Super Chronomat cases are a significantly larger 44 mm.

The real surprise, however, was the Super Chronomat 44 Four-Year Calendar. The COSC-certified chronograph watch offers day, date, months and moonphase display. The semi-perpetual calendar mechanism needs adjusting just once every leap year (every 1,461 days). Overall, the watch is pretty a lively piece; despite its lowkey colours (blue or black), there’s a lot going on.

Red accents prove helpful in keeping the chrono legible, while those looking for beauty will find it in the attractive yet down-to-earth moonphase at 3 o’clock. Of course, this watch is rather big, and it’ll only truly work on larger wrists. But given all it can do, plus the increasingly high status of Chronomat models, it also seems pretty fairly priced. For us, this complicated yet characterful Super Chronomat is well worth a place in our top watches of 2021.

Price: 14,000 euros with strap, 14,600 euros with bracelet

Roger Dubuis Excalibur Countach DT/X

As CEO Nicola Andreatta told us in an in-depth interview last year, Roger Dubuis is using its Q-Lab to ‘foster creativity and innovation, discover and experiment, and unleash every possibility.’ It seems that its Q-Lab is proving to be a worthwhile investment. Created in collaboration with Lamborghini for the launch of the Countach LPI 800-4 super sports car, it’s a watch that pushes limits, from materials to movement.

The Countach DT/X has a case is made of Mineral Composite Fibre (MCF) material, and consists of 99.95% silicon dioxide. If this means nothing to you: the material is 2.5 times lighter than ceramic and 13% lighter than carbon. Meanwhile, the ring dial mirrors the geometry of the car, with a sort of replica Periscopio roof. There are also rectangular structures beside the watch’s two flying tourbillons, evoking the tail lights from the Countach Lamborghini. Additionally, the two tourbillons are at a 90° angle, cancelling out the effects of gravity vertically as well as horizontally. Proudly carrying the Geneva Seal, this is certainly a ‘super-watch’ of 2021.

Price: 809,000 euros – limited to 8 pieces.

Tissot PRX Powermatic 80

Some watches are clearly there to cater to a broad audience, and that is no bad thing. The Tissot PRX Powermatic 80 will evoke the popular Royal Oak for many, but you know what? Tissot do their steel sports watch extremely well, and at a very good price point. What’s more, it can stand for itself thanks to its excellent movement.

The impressive calibre has a strong 80 hours power reserve and integrates a silicon hairspring, helping it to deliver in terms of reliability and precision. Furthermore, it is not only technically impressive for the price point, but also aesthetically very pleasing, from the handsome dial to the open caseback. The sapphire crystal caseback reveals finishing including a wave pattern decoration on the oscillating weight, and the movement is very neatly crafted overall.

As our fellow editor Nico put it, ‘I quite like its industrial rough look. Very simple engineering, but strong design.’ It’s true; perhaps this is a watch for those very simply looking for something good quality, reliable, attractive, that need not be a status symbol – all for a more than reasonable price. Finally, it seems to sit incredibly well on the wrist and has a definitively masculine look that is impossible not to like. It is likely not just one of our top watches of 2021, but also a bestseller at Tissot.

Price: 660 euros

Panerai Submersible e-Lab-ID

Panerai made history this year with the Swiss watch industry’s first recycled mechanical watch, the much-discussed Submersible e-LAB-ID PAM01225. Sustainability is an absolute focus, and even part of the business strategy, at the horology house – and this exciting, impressive piece marks the start of something new. The only downside is that only 30 pieces were made; hopefully, as recycled watches become more common, we will start to see such pieces being produced in larger quantities.

Made out of 98.6 percent recycled materials, the remaining 1.4 percent of the watch uses a small piece of rubber that would use more energy to recycle than reproduce. Meanwhile, the case, strap, and 161 components that make up the calibre, are all recycled materials. The 44 mm case, iconic sandwich dial, and bridges are made of EcoTitanium. The hands and indices use 100 percent recycled SuperLumiNova, while the balance spring uses 100 percent recycled silicon. The strap is made with recycled Grigio Roccia fabric, which comes from the Italian manufacturer Morellato.

Price: 60,000 euros – limited to 30 pieces.

1858 Monopusher Chronograph Origins Limited Edition 100

We have been convinced for some time that Montblanc watches are bound to be the next hot thing for collectors. One piece that convinces us of such is the 1858 Split Second Chronograph Limited Edition 18 with its distinctive lime-gold hue. For us though, the true highlight has to be 1858 Monopusher Chronograph Origins Limited Edition 100. A pretty much direct reissue of a 46 mm monopusher military chronograph from the 1930s, famously powered by the calibre 19-09 CH, its movement is arguably the star of the show.

Concealed until opened by the wearer, the seemingly solid caseback opens to reveal a sapphire crystal viewing window. Herein lies the in-house, manual-winding calibre MB M16.29, offering hours, minutes, and 30-minute column-wheel chronograph. Operated using a monopusher, the highly decorated movement measures a very broad 38.4 mm in diameter.

While the original case was steel, the reissue’s glowing 46 mm bronze case is, if anything, an improvement in our opinion. The timepiece exudes a traditional charm that will make this a watch able to maintain its appeal through the ages. In a highly elegant font, the inside of the case reads: Ré-édition du chronographe militaire Minerva des années 1930 doté d’un calibre fait main dans la pure tradition horlogère suisse – or Re-edition of a Minerva military chronograph from the 1930s equipped with a hand-made calibre following the Swiss watchmaking tradition. A final fetching quality is that the bronze case will develop a handsome and unique patina over time.

Price: 30,000 euros – 100 pieces

Bulgari Octo Finissimo Perpetual Calendar

Another record-breaking (not to mention award-winning) watch to emerge from 2021 is the world’s slimmest perpetual calendar. Bulgari’s Octo Finissimo Perpetual Calendar in titanium is perfection from start to finish; there’s the streamline case; the way it sits so satisfyingly well on the wrist; the monochrome sandblasted titanium; the futuristic feel; the list goes on. It is just utterly perfect, and proves that Bulgari is well and truly a brand that understands style.

The 40 mm x 5.8 mm watch looks extremely modern, from the nearly laid out dial with printed black indications, to the well-finished and low-key titanium case. Via the caseback, the wearer can admire the ground-breaking automatic in-house calibre BVL 305. Despite measuring a mere 2.75mm in height, its perpetual calendar complication provides an indication of hours, minutes, retrograde date, day, month, and retrograde leap year. As if that weren’t enough, it has a strong 60 hour power reserve.

Price: 57,000 Swiss francs

 Zenith Chronomaster Sport 

This has been the talk of the town this year, not least because it’s a viable alternative for those sick of waiting for the Rolex Daytona. Zenith’s Chronomaster Sport is first and foremost an incredibly appealing option because of its calibre, the El Primero 3600. Visible via the caseback, this new and improved calibre is capable of measuring to a tenth of a second. Additionally, the watch also offers a date function, adding to its everyday appeal.

For Zenith fans, the 41 mm chronograph watch is also a walk through time. The Chronomaster Sport combines details from the A386 from 1969 (sloping lugs and subdial colours), the Chronomaster De Luca (case shape), A277 (bezel with dot marker), to name but a few. To match the calibre, the black polished ceramic bezel has a 10-second scale instead of the usual tachymeter scale.

The El Primero 3600 movement uses the calibre 400 as its base, then adds several improvements; this includes a stop-seconds mechanism and an increased power reserve of 60 hours. The adjusted architecture of the 3600, with its open rotor and Zenith star, also means the wearer has a better – not to mention both highly educating – view of it via the caseback.

Price: 9,700 euros (with steel bracelet)

Richard Mille McLaren Speedtail 40-01

Last but not least on our list of the top watches of 2021, going out with Jamiroquai’s Cosmic Girl (incidentally one of my top songs of 2021, says Spotify), we have this wonderful watch that enjoyed an equally excellent marketing campaign by Richard Mille in collaboration with Ferrari (view the reimagined ‘Speed Tale’ video below).

Genius marketing aside, there’s a lot to get us excited about the Richard Mille RM 40-01 Automatic Tourbillon McLaren Speedtail. The new hyper-watch, which accompanies the new 2.37 million Speedtail supercar, was no easy feat to create. In fact, the case alone took 2,800 hours to design. There are nods to the supercar across the whole watch; the notches on the bezel evoke the openings on the car’s hood; the pushers are reminiscent of the air outlets behind the front wheels; the orange stripe at six o’clock, continuing onto the rubber strap option, is classic McLaren.

Powering the 40-01 is an all-new calibre, the CRMT4 calibre, featuring an in-house power reserve display with oversized date plus function selector within a manufacture calibre with a tourbillon. The function selector allows the wearer to switch between the neutral, winding, and adjustment settings – similar, of course, to the gearshift in a car. The calibre took another 8,600 hours to conceive and, like everything about this watch, is well worth reading up on.

Price: 900,000 Swiss francs – limited to 106 pieces.

To find out more about our top watches of 2021, click the links in the subheadings. To see the highlights of last year, click here.