By Harlan Chapman-Green

It’s the end of the world as we know it (and I feel fine). Well, that’s how this past year has felt, both on a personal level thanks to university stress and whatnot, and on a global scale with so many attacks on places and deaths of beloved celebrities. To help cheer it all up a bit, I’ve trawled through WristReview’s archives to find you a collection of what I feel are five of the best watches we’ve seen come out of the industry so far. There have been some fantastic watches which are ludicrously expensive in recent years, but this year seemed to be a time to overhaul a company’s more affordable lines and our list appears to reflect that.

5. Brellum Duobox Chronometer Chronograph

This one made a stir quite late in the year as a family run watch company based out of Switzerland. The founder of the company, Sebastien Muller, made a real effort to make the most out of social media platforms to advertise his watches straight at the collectors market. Some groups on Facebook may have gotten tired of hearing about this new watch all the time, but that just shows the amount of work gone into representing the company. Each Duobox Chronometer Chronograph is, as the name suggests, COSC chronometer certified and runs on a Valjoux 7750 that’s been heavily decorated to look, frankly, superb. There’s many colour variants available to buy as well, meaning the watch can have a playful young vibe to it or take on a more serious and altogether older appearance. As far as I can tell, the reviews are all pretty positive so far and even people who have seriously high end collections are considering this watch, including WristReview’s own Masthead, for a starter company getting the big boys in watches interested was key, so far it’s paying off. brellum.swiss
4. Rolex Cosmograph Daytona Ceramic Bezel
Rolex-Cosmograh_Daytona_116500LN_005

This one is more management’s idea than mine (I preferred the DateJust, 41mm, and a Jubilee bracelet, come on!), but nevertheless, it was hard to look around and not see someone raving on about their new Cosmograph Daytona. On the inside is a new calibre 4130 movement, precisely re-engineered with fewer components to it as well a column wheel vertical clutch assembly, to make starting and stopping precise and to allow the chronograph to run infinitely without sustaining damage. On the outside, the new talking point was definitely the Oyster Case. A guaranteed depth rating of 100m is great for a non-diver chronograph. Just kidding, the new monobloc ceramic bezel is really what the people wanted, promising to withstand daily life and keep in pristine condition for at least ten years, about when Rolex recommends a service nowadays. rolex.com

3. Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean 600m Master Chronometer “Deep Black”

 

Omega-Seamaster-Planet-Ocean-Deep-Black-GMT-watch-14

Forget a ceramic bezel, how about FOUR ceramic diving watches? The new Planet Ocean Deep Black watches are simply gorgeous to look at and really show off Omega’s (aka Swatch’s) mastery of the ceramic arts. This isn’t simply going to be a limited run of watches either, the Deep Black divers are here to stay with sleek curves and sexy colours. Not to mention this is the first time we see a 45.5mm Planet Ocean with a GMT function, there’s also Omega’s new Naiad Lock system, a patented open caseback that allows for such water resistance and keeps the writing on the bezel in perfect alignment. All these plus the fact that the new Master Chronometer movement inside this watch will keep accuracy high, the dual anchor bridge suspending the free sprung balance (the stuff that makes the Submariner so hardy) of this movement also means it’s ready for everyday life. You can have it in any colour you like, as long as it’s black, or blue, or red, or two tone. omegawatches.com

2. Breguet Type XXI 3817

Type-XXI-3817_Soldier

Breguet undoubtedly has the richest history of any watch company out there, this includes watches for royalty and both pilot watches and even an airplane section (though this was a different company and ended up merging with Dassault, same family though). The 3817 version of the Type XXI is a nod to the historical watches that the company made and issued to the French armed forces at the time. This watch has a grey dial with large, patina numerals and, for the first time on a Type XX model (discounting that weird porthole on the Type XXII) a display caseback. I do quite like the design of the caseback, you can see the movement per se, but I couldn’t help feeling that a little bit more flair on the movement would help, some engraving you’d only see on a Breguet. The rotor is a little ugly for me as well and could be re-designed, but at least they didn’t go with some cliché nonsense where the rotor looks like a plane or some such. Good on them for that, I nearly bought one of these once, true story. breguet.com

1. A. Lange & Söhne Grand Lange One Moonphase Lumen

A-Lange-Sohne-Grand-Lange-1-Moon-phase-Lumen-2

Introduced at this year’s (2016) SIHH watch event was this special edition Lange 1 watch, we loved it so much it stayed in our minds right the way through to the end of this year. We loved how the watch looked in either light or dark settings. In the light, you could clearly see parts of the movement through the dial, at night, the hands and markers glow, as well as the moonphase too. Each star has been painted into position by a caring hand in Glashütte and undergoes the same quality control process as the other moon phases too. It looks like a little part of the universe got stuck in the watch and now it’s left to glow. It’s also extremely accurate, too, with the moonphase only needing to be changed every 122.6 years, and you only need to adjust it by one day. alange-soehne.com

Thank you for following WristReview throughout 2016, let’s do it all again next year!

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