By the time you’re slapping down $5,000 or more on a watch, your focus should shift to the finer details. Your movement could be in-house, or at least a beautifully re-embellished ETA or Selitta, or perhaps a prized caliber such as the El Primero, or the Co-Axial Chronograph. You can expect to witness some beautiful finishing, be it Cotes de Geneve, Clous de Paris, Guilloche, always with expert polishing, even if the watch is just 316L Stainless Steel. Also of course, you are starting to leave behind the mid-level brands such as Hamilton and Tissot, and enter the vaunted price range of some of the most coveted brands; Chopard, OMEGA, Zenith, even entry level Rolex. Essentially, it’s a price range at which you can afford to be fussy and expect, nay demand, a thoroughly decent watch. Here are some watches we admired or found amusing in this price category for this year.
CHOPARD MILLE MIGLIA 2017 RACE EDITION
One of the most famous models in the highly desirable Chopard catalog, this year’s Mille Miglia is limited to 1,000 pieces. The watch is notable for its engine-turned dial finish, chronograph counters inspired by vintage car dashboards, chrono pushers influenced by car engines, and large, fluted crown resembling a fuel cap. Like all Mille Miglia special editions since 2015, when the collection was reinvented by Chopard as Mille Miglia GTS (Gran Turismo Sport), the watch is powered by a COSC-certified chronometer movement and bears vintage style elements drawn from the 1940 to 1957 rally era. The steel case is 44 mm in diameter, 13.79 mm thick, and water-resistant to 100 meters. This edition is priced at $6,840. Visit Chopard
CORUM BIG BUBBLE
Haha, this watch may well cause derision and, in some cases, outright baseball bat grabbing watch rage among some readers, but this is the Corum Big Bubble. Corum describe it as creative craziness, fun and bold, not for all, yet all for some – special watches for special people in an oversized dreamlike Bubble watch. Big Bubble opens the door to further creativity, with interpretations from a number of artists willing to exhibit their conceptual works in their chosen medium encapsulated within the 52mm bubble. The UK price is £5,200. Visit Corum
D. DORNBLUTH & SOHN CENTRAL SECONDS POWER RESERVE
German watchmaker Dirk Dornbluth released this model in time for Baselworld. It’s inspired by the vintage JLC Memovox, but it runs on an entirely in-house movement. The brand story is worth reading, it’s a true father and son success story. Price: €6,900. Visit Dornbluth & Sohn
GRAND SEIKO SBGR305
To the uninitiated this could look just like a run of the mill Seiko automatic. How wrong can you be! While inheriting the ethos of the first Grand Seiko created in 1960, this contemporary model features an advanced design philosophy, new materials and the Caliber 9S68 large-diameter mechanical movement.
The case width is slighter larger at 40.5 mm, but its design belies its actual diameter and makes it feel slimmer. It is made from brilliant hard titanium, a beautiful and resilient new material. It’s finished with a unique Zaratsu polishing technique, which gives the finish a brightness that conventional pure titanium lacks. The Grand Seiko logo at the 12 o’clock position is pressure-embossed. The price will soon convince you there is something more than an ordinary Seiko afoot, it’s $7,200. Visit Grand Seiko
GRAND SEIKO HI-BEAT 36000 PROFESSIONAL 600M DIVER’S LIMITED EDITION
Dedicated desk diver, Watchuseek Senior Editor Bhanu Chopra, thought this new offering from Grand Seiko would make a wonderful bath time accessory to accompany his rubber ducks. This professional diver’s model features the Caliber 9S85 movement, which has a precision of +5 to -3 a day. It is built to withstand pressures encountered in saturation diving, down to a depth of 600 meters.
The groove on the rotating bezel ensures a firm grip even with thick diving gloves. Luminous markers at every ten second point on the dial ensure the legibility on which the safety of the deep-sea diver depends.
For ease of servicing, the case, stem and crown are designed for easy access and even the bezel has a four-part design that makes for easy disassembly and re-assembly. The dial is made of pure iron in order to protect the movement from the harmful effects of magnetism. It delivers safe and secure use during diving and thanks to the lightness of the titanium, every-day usability is also assured. There are only 500 pieces available in the blue dial edition. Price: $9,800. Visit Grand Seiko
KONSTANTIN CHAYKIN JOKER
If you like a sense of humor with your $5,000 + watches, then the Konstantin Chaykin novelty Joker could be the watch for you. Moscow-based Konstantin Chaykin is the only Russian member of the AHCI. His other creations include the more serious Lunokhod and Cinema, but his latest watch is deliberately lighthearted and affordable.
The 42mm Joker wristwatch has a regulator-style dial that resembles a jester’s face. The time displayed on separate sub-dials form the eyes of the clown. Hours are at 10 o’clock and minutes are at two with the pupils pointing to the time. A moon phase creates the effect of grinning, open mouth at six o’clock. As the time and age of the moon progresses, the expression of the jester changes. For all that, the watch runs on the workhorse ETA 2824 movement with a 38-hour power reserve. The watch is available directly from the watchmaker for around $7,510, and yes, it’s a lot to pay for an ETA 2824. Visit Konstantin Chaykin
OMEGA SPEEDMASTER RACING MASTER CHRONOGRAPH
The new Omega Speedmaster Racing Master Chronometer in stainless steel with a matte black dial with orange accents is fitted with a black matte liquid metal bezel with tachymetric scale and a matte black dial with alternating minute-track in racing style. Made in stainless steel, there are stand out orange square markers and orange hour, minute and seconds hands. To guarantee excellent readability, the applied hour markers are wider than those on other Speedmasters and with a new arrowhead shape. The watch runs on the Co-axial chronograph movement with a 60 hour power reserve. Price: $8,450 on strap and $8,550 on bracelet. Visit OMEGA
OMEGA RAILMASTER NON-LIMITED EDITION
This new Railmaster from OMEGA forms part of a new but small Railmaster Collection. It is not to be confused with the limited-edition OMEGA 60th Anniversary Trilogy model. It is therefore not limited edition, and it is not listed anywhere on the OMEGA website or the OMEGA press releases. They throw these things in with the express (no pun intended) intention of driving watch journos nuts trying to get the correct information. The watch is 40mm in diameter, features a subtle curved lug design, a cross-hair, and a great looking dial design with Arabic numerals at 3, 6, 9 and 12. The dial is in steel instead of bronze with vertical brushing. The hands are luminous with a luminous dot on the seconds’ hand. Powered by the excellent Co-axial chronometer movement originally developed by the late George Daniels, the watch retails at just $4,900 on the strap, or, pushing into this category, $5,100 on the bracelet. Visit OMEGA
PERRELET TURBINE PILOT
Inspired by the world of aviation, this Perrelet Pilot watch is another addition to the Perrelet Turbine collection. Since it was first launched in 2009, the Perrelet Turbine watch has been one of the brand’s most distinguishing designs which has now been developed into another high flying collection. The 48mm bold stainless steel and brown PVD case of the Perrelet Turbine Pilot watch houses the P-331 automatic movement that has been made completely in house by the brand. The striking brown turbine rotor defines the model and spins over the black and yellow striped under dial and brown outer ring. The Arabic numerals, hands and propeller style indices are decorated in a luminous paint for easy readability. To complete the watch, a brown PU alligator leather strap is added alongside a stainless steel and brown PVD buckle. The UK price is around £5700. Visit Perrelet
ZENITH CHRONOMASTER HERITAGE 146
The mighty Jean-Claude Biver says his prime focus this year will be on Zenith, and this is one of the new releases for 2017. The new vintage series Heritage 146 chronograph is inspired by a 1960s watch and now comes powered by an El Primero column wheel chronometer movement. It features a retro look, in either a tropical brown or blue dial, with a toned down 38mm case. The watches are priced at around CHF 6,900. Visit Zenith
ZENITH CHRONOMASTER EL PRIMERO GRANDE DATE FULL OPEN
Framing fascinating glimpses of its sophisticated technical nature, this sturdy stainless steel chronograph catches the eye in order to draw it into the very heart of a cutting-edge Zenith mechanism. The crystal-clear sapphire dial features two transparent blue and gray tinted counters, the signature of the original 1969 model, and shows the moon & sun phases on twin discs at 6 o’clock. A silver-toned inner bezel ring surrounded by a blue ring, a black and white minute scale, along with luminescent faceted hands and hour-markers, all contribute to ensuring optimal legibility without obscuring the view of the inner workings. The large date at 2 o’clock, shown by two concentric discs with cut-out numerals, is read against a bright red background in an engraved aperture, while the slim red-tipped central sweep-seconds hand adorned with the emblematic Zenith star sweeps over the display. The lowest price point for this watch is just a shade over $10,000, but with a little bargaining we know you can get it to within the $10,000 threshold. Visit Zenith