The past year hasn’t been terribly kind to the luxury mens replica watch market. Business news sources continue to report a grim future, but a recent trip to Geneva’s Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) painted a very different picture. The invitation-only trade show, presented by luxury goods company Richemont, not only showcased the latest creations from top watch brands but also presented innovative collections from courageous, independent watchmakers. For admirers of exquisitely beautiful timepieces, this was a banner year.
From affordable quartz watches to mind-blowing complications, irresistible temptations for the casual shopper to the world’s top watch collectors were all on display. Appointments seemed laser focused, brand identities were sharpened, and sprawling collections were edited down to the essentials, making the year’s top watches look better than ever before. Significant trends brought about new slimmer sizes, innovative materials, and often surprisingly competitive pricing.
But the real news of the show, at least to me, was the exceptional beauty. The copy watches being shown for the year ahead were some of the most beautiful in recent memory, proving that when the going gets tough for Swiss watchmakers, the tough get busy.
Replica A.Lange & Sohne
For lovers of complicated watches, A.Lange & Sohne never ceases to amaze. This year brought out some excellent examples, but the pocket watch-inspired 1815 Annual Calendar was one of the most beautiful. The date, day of the week, month, and moon-phase tell you all you need to know—and the display remains accurate for 122.6 years.
Replica Audemars Piguet
A yellow gold Royal Oak is a grail luxury sports watch for most serious collectors, and the 8.1mm-thin case brings all the classic elements of the 39mm Royal Oak “Jumbo” together into one wearable and intensely desirable package.
Cartier had a major hit on its hands with the introduction of the men’s Drive de Cartier in 2016. This year, two 7mm Extra Flat gold versions make their promising debut, the very appealing 39mm case size now 40% smaller than last year. Available as seen here in pink gold, or a limited edition of 200 pieces in icy white gold.
For the past few years, IWC has had a knack for presenting the perfect watch at the perfect moment. With a surprising glance to a popular model from the ’80s, the 40mm steel Da Vinci Automatic adapts all the right details for today with gold-plated hands and numerals for a very attractive proposition.
In the category of need-it-on-my-wrist-immediately, Jaeger-LeCoultre introduced a collection of three watches for the 25th Anniversary of the Master Control collection—a Master Control Date, a Chronograph, and a Geographic with a dual time zone function. The simplest of the three, the Master Control Date with a graphic sector dial, might be based on a watch from the past, but its sharp appearance looks totally contemporary.
Two-tone bronze and steel elevate the military styling of the Montblanc 1858 Dual Time, a handsome 44mm dark dial with a day/night indicator at 12, and small seconds and date at six. The dual time zone is indicated by a second skeletonized hour hand that cleverly hides behind the main hour hand when the function isn’t needed.
A personal favorite watch from the show, the Luminor Submersible Oro Rosso from Panerai instantly conjures the good life on the Italian Riviera. This is the first time the watch has been made in red gold, and the black bezel contrasts with the luminous precious metal, creating an stunning combination—you simply can’t take your eyes off it.
Celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Altiplano, Piaget pays homage to its groundbreaking ultra-thin watch with a smaller 38mm manual-wind version with a minimalist blue dial. It looks as modern today as it did when the watch was launched in 1959.
Vacheron Constantin looked to the skies for inspiration this season, presenting astronomical complications that were mind-blowing, to say the least. Continuing with that theme, a highly detailed moon phase was added to the Patrimony style with Retrograde Date (the indicator snaps back to 1 after a month-long journey to 31) taking a personal favorite watch to an entirely new level.
Showing off-site to preview its upcoming Baselworld offerings, Zenith presented a stunning vintage-style chronograph, the minimalist blue-dial Heritage 146. Inspired by the 1960s, the watch features Zenith’s El Primero Chronometer movement, a tachymetric scale, and a 30-minute counter at three o’clock. If you can find a more beautiful chronograph, let me know.