Our Head of Watches, Neil Hollier selects his Top Five Watch Picks for 2016
Want to start 2016 with a Horological bang and breathe new life into your collection? Head of Watches Neil Hollier selects his top five picks to start off the New Year and set the tone for the next twelve months of your watch collecting habits.
Into The unknown
Mühle Glashütte Handaufzug
Even being one of the founding families of one of Germany’s most famous and recognised towns doesn’t guarantee you worldwide recognition and major brand following. What wins you the hearts of watch collectors is quality and a set of core values that are unshakeable. This is something I have found in abundance with Mühle. In particular the Handaufzug (hand wound) Teutonia III. It’s the bold white enamel dial immediately softened by the coin edge bezel which gives you the first impression of something that was built to be an instrument and also a timeless gentleman’s watch. These are serious watchmakers, who have been manufacturing instruments since 1869. They know how to make things work. They have executed it perfectly with the MU9412 calibre. This is the first movement to be fully constructed in house by Mühle and it is exclusively in the Handaufzug. You have the serious no nonsense dial, engineered case, and an original movement resulting in a glorious timepiece. The final piece of the puzzle is to fit it with blue steel hands and a lovely navy crocodile strap and you have one of the best value additions to any collection. Did I mention this comes in at a rather delightful £1680!
Patina your fancy?
Zenith Type 20 Pilot Extra Special
There is nothing like adding something new to your collection that looks vintage and more distressed than your oldest family heirloom. The Type 20 does certainly just that. Obviously with Zenith you get a fantastic movement and with this there is no exception to the rule. Fitted with an automatic Elite 679 calibre this is one of the thinnest ever produced, coming in at 3.85mm. The beauty of this watch however is all in the case. The 45mm Bronze case is just utterly brilliant. You can’t get a timepiece that becomes as personal to you as a Bronze one does. Each, over time, will develop its own patina, so yours and everybody else’s will look distinct making it more and more unique to you as each month passes. The oversize crown is lovely to use and with the ridged effect very tactile to your hands. Finally the oily Nubuck leather strap is a great finishing touch to a piece that is a quintessential pilot watch. For the quality this watch comes in a relatively mild £5200!
Don’t lose your marble
Giuliano Mazzuoli Carrara Marble
Simple but incredible, reserved yet eye-catching. Four of the hardest things to squeeze into something that is small enough to fit on your wrist. Well, the renowned watch designer Mr Mazzuoli can cross this achievement off his list! The Carrara Marble features all of these with the utmost ease. It also features unrivalled architectural heritage. Giuliano Mazzuoli has used the same marble that was used by Michelangelo when sculpting ‘David’. Every grey vein running through each perfectly sculptured ring that forms the case is testimony to the fact of this material being a work of nature and now appearing in art in so many forms. As a watch it works like all watches should be made of it. It is surprisingly light and un-cumbersome to touch. Each watch has been polished to have a perfect curve the whole way around and is fitted with a steel bar to provide strength. Even the block like indices represent the marble in its truest form. This is a very unusual piece to add to a collection and is sure to provide many talking points, not just from watch enthusiasts but artists, architects and historians. The true beauty can only be fully appreciated when handled and worn. Despite the craftsmanship and ETA Swiss movement this comes in at £3450, very modest when you consider what you are getting in return.
Be the Rebel
Heuer Cal 11 Monaco Re-edition
I shouldn’t have to advise anyone that one of these should be in your collection but I couldn’t resist as its one of my all-time favourites. Who didn’t dream of being Steve McQueen when growing up? War hero, racing driver… what more could you want? Well, his watch springs to mind. Ever since he wore the Calibre 11 in the film ‘Le Mans’ in 1971 it has become one of the most iconic watches ever built. It’s not just the fact that he wore it, but adding to this it was the first self-winding chronograph and the first square water resistant case. Tag have executed this re-edition beautifully, emblazoning it with the original Heuer logo, having the hour markers horizontal rather that diagonal, reverting back to that gorgeous shade of blue we’ve all been pining for and finally putting red back in all the right places on the dial. The crown on the opposite side, just as on the original, is back in place after various other attempts at recreating a modern original with the crown at 3 o’clock. As an enthusiast I could never feel my collection was complete without either the 1969 original or this model. TAG Heuer can finally say they have successfully re-released the 1969 Heuer Monaco 1133b. To start or complete your collection, at £4450 it doesn’t sound too bad to me!
Kalpa interest you in a watch
Everybody needs that WOW piece in their collection, when your eyes scan over the box and your focus is drawn to that glorious watch in the middle - immediately you want to pick it up and walk away with it. This is that watch! Parmigiani are at the pinnacle of case production and movement manufacture. Housed inside a Tonneau 18ct Rose gold case is the 68 jewelled calibre PF334 automatic chronograph with a 2 series coupled barrel system to give it a 50 hour power reserve and limit the drain on that reserve when the chronograph function is in operation. This is really a “stand up and notice me” watch with its case dimensions at 44.5mm x 39.2mm and a depth of 12.8mm, so be sure to be feeling strong the day you wear it. For a build quality that is close to Patek Philippe and Audemars Piguet a premium price is expected but is more than worth the outlay for something that has so many different aspects of appeal. Alongside this you’re going to feel pretty exclusive with this, as the brand only produces 5000 watches per year. Give your collection that major talking piece it’s been waiting for and hand over the £23,500 - you’re just about guaranteed to have the most dazzling watch in the room!