WatchObsession's favourite watches from 2014
Posted on 18 December 2014
We began creating this list of our favourite watches with a limit of 10. No categories, just 10 watches that we like that have been released in 2014. We couldn't keep to 10 so we had to make it a top 12, as you can tell, we liked a lot of watches from 2014 and even narrowing it down to 12 was tough.
We are fully aware of some of the works of art that incredibly talented watchmakers are producing but costing 6 figures, they are not realistically obtainable by the average Joe. I mean, we can drool over them when we visit watch shows of their boutiques but for us, the attraction in a watch is wearing it day to day. However, our first watch is one that would cost you around £1,600,000. It makes our list due to its sheer magnificence. If you haven't guessed by now, it is the Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime Ref. 5175R. Racking up an incredible 20 complications, this watch is as breathe taking as it comes. Though it may not be aesthetically pleasing to everyone, nobody can deny this is one amazing feet of mechanical watch making. Patek Philippe will be producing 7 of these watches, keeping one for themselves for their museum and you are unlikely to ever see one in the flesh. This watch is for the elite watch collectors of this world and the chances of them being worn often are slim to none.
Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime Ref. 5175R (£1.6m)
The next watch in our list should bring us back down to reality a little. Tudor have, in our opinion successfully reintroduced their brand in to the US and European market with a collection of desirable, affordable and functional watches. Our favourite is one we were lucky enough to get our hands on at SalonQP. Trying it on and seeing it in the flesh confirmed to us that Tudor are back with a bang and ready to stand alone in the watch industry.
Tudor Heritage Black Bay (£2,120)
This year saw many Watch brands capitalise from their archives by basing their new models on previous watches from a previous watch making era. Known as reissues, these watches resurrect the watch they were based on but using new manufacturing techniques. Jaeger LeCoultre used one of their famous watch designs to re produce an icon from their past. The Jaeger LeCoultre Geophysic 1958 is based on JLC's first release of the Geophysic in 1958. The original was only in manufacture for a year before being replace by another model and only around 1,000 pieces were ever made. Dubbed as one of the most legible watches ever produced, the original Geophysic was a brilliant all round watch. Thanks to this reissue, you are now able to buy one for yourself.
Jaeger LeCoultre Geophysic 1958 ($9,800 - $32,000)
From one reissue to another, Omega have this year reissued their Seamaster 300 from the late 1950's. What was back then a pure diving watch, is now a more more refined divers watch that uses all of Omegas latest technology. The watch is slightly larger than the one it was modelled on measuring in at 41mm as apposed to 39mm. The materials used to produce this watch are ones you can find on Omegas other releases such as their trademark liquidmetal technique. The movement as the name of the watch suggests is one of their new master co-axial movements, the 8400 which is anti magnetic to 15,000 gauss. We are a massive fan of this watch and it easily ranks in the top 3 of our list for 2014.
Omega Seamaster 300 Mast Co-Axial (£3,880 - £20,160)
Watch manufacturers can be influenced by almost anything. The designers are mostly incredibly creative and draw inspiration from their daily routine or an iconic moment in history. Bremont is a Watch manufacturer that we have long admired. Their MB series had us at hello and since then they have released some brilliant timepieces including this year when they released The Wright Flyer. The watch is an aviation-inspired tribute to the first powered aircraft from 1903. What makes this watch extra special is that it has part of the original aircraft inside of the watch, embedded in to the rotor and viewable through an exhibition caseback. Not only that but the British watchmaker has introduced their first ever proprietary movement with this release. It is great to see their commitment to British watchmaking and we wish them all the very best for 2015.
Bremont Wright Flyer (£17,950 - £30,950)
Staying on the subject of British watchmakers, another brand we really like is Schofield. Their first release, the Signalman was a hit and last year the impressive Black Lamp project which featuring our friend BlackBadger (James Thompson) produced a innovative carbon case watch with unique glowing inner bezel. This year Schofield came up with the idea of making a watch that will live each day with you and take anything you throw at it. Named the Beater, comes in three different robust finishes, Satin Steel, Bronze and Blued Titanium. Schofield has a fantastic array of watch straps that are compatible with all of the watches they produce. We especially like the distressed leather straps that these watches come with. We were lucky enough to try all of their watches on at SalonQP and they wear great!
Schofield Beater (£2,820 - £2,910)
For the next watch we travel across the channel from England to France, the home of Bell & Ross. The aviation inspired French watch manufacturer has produced one awesome looking watch. The Bell & Ross BR-X1 is their BR-01 model on steroids. During its transformation, the BR-X1 has switched out a solid dial for a skeletonized chronograph dial which looks fantastic. The BR-X1 also gets some armour around the outside of its case protecting the chronographs pushers and the steel case. Bell & Ross went to town on this timepiece, they even ditched the spring bar buckle in place of a screw and tube buckle. Limited to 250 pieces, B&R fans will go crazy for this one.
BELL & ROSS BR-X1 (€15,000)
2014 saw a redesign of the IWC Aquatimer with some brilliant added features. The internal rotating bezel is a great innovation that makes diving very safe as the bezel cannot be moved accidentally. We were lucky enough to try this watch on at the new Watches of Switzerland store on Regent St, seeing the watch up close is a must. The gentleman working in the IWC boutique explained some of the new features in depth. If you're out and about in London it is definitely worth popping in.
IWC Aquatimer Automatic (£4,000)
We couldn't leave Rolex uninvited from this party, in August they surprised the whole watch world with an updated version of its Deepsea tool watch. Dubbed the Deepsea D-Blue, the watch is a celebration of the partnership between Rolex and James Cameron and the solo voyage that took Cameron down to 10,908m to the bottom of the Mariana Trench. With an experimental version of the Deeps attached to the submersibles robotic arm, the watch endured around 12 tonnes of pressure on its decent and the watch survived. This is testament to Rolex and why they are the most recognised and reputable watch brand the world over.
Rolex Deepsea D-Blue (£8,995)
The Blancpain Fifty Fathoms is a watch that has been around since the early 1950's and for 2013 (60th anniversary of the first Fifty Fathoms watch) Blancpain introduced the Fifty Fathoms Bathyscape collection which is a tribute to the original and maintains some design aspects from the original but is also a completely modern watch. Quite a different approach to what Omega took with the Seamster 300. In 2014 Blancpain introduced a Chronograph Flyback version of the Bathyscape and it looks incredible. For me, almost futuristic minimalist design firmly cemented this watch in to our list of favourites from 2014. Just look at it...
Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscape Flyback Chronograph (£11,900)
I know if I had fulfilled one of many childhood dreams and become a fighter jet pilot then this watch would look so immensely cool on my wrist and I hopped in to my jet. Breitling have given their Chronspace the DLC treatment and it looks so awesome. Packed full of features such as 12/24-hour time displays, countdown timer, chronograph, two timezone capability, day/date and month indicator, two timezone alarms, UTC and end of battery life indicator. What more could a fight jet pilot need?
Breitling Chronospace Military (£4,310)
Although this next 'watch' is not actually available at the moment, we had to mention it. I use the term watch quite loosely because I am undecided on how I feel about this watch or smart watch shall we say. Being a bit of a tech nut, there is no doubt in my mind that I will most probably buy it but will I wear it as much as my mechanical watches? I am not sure. It is of course the Apple Watch, packed full of features and able to sync with your iPhone for alerts and much much more. Although the Apple Watch is not the first of its kind, like with all things Apple the Apple fans will come in small armies to purchase this. I can see the novelty of this wearing off for most people that normally do not wear a watch though. This will certainly not revolutionise the mechanical watch industry nor will it damage it in any way but it will revolutionise the 'Smart Watch' industry.