The Coolest New Watches Released In 2021
With the relatively unlamented demise of Baselworld in 2020, just about every major manufacturer turned to the Watches and Wonders Geneva show to roll out their newest wares for this year. So, rather than the grand unveiling from the industry’s most important players being staggered across several different events over the course of 12-months, we got all the biggest arrivals in one great lump at the end of April.
With that many beautiful timepieces being thrust upon us all at the same time, it is easy to miss a few of the most interesting, the most impressive or just the plain coolest models in amongst the crowd.
So below we have picked out a handful of our favorites, watches you can either buy right now (if you’re very quick in some cases) or which will come online at some point in 2021.
Carl F Bucherer Heritage BiCompax Annual
My absolute holy grail watch is, and will likely always remain, A Lange & Söhne’s stunning Datograph Up/Down; a 41mm slice of platinum perfection housing a flyback chronograph with precisely jumping minute counter.
Sadly, it costs $106,100—leaving me just shy of the asking price by about $106,000.
However, Lucerne-based brand Carl F Bucherer arrived at Watches & Wonders this year with this, the Heritage BiCompax Annual, a model which would fool no one as far as its inspiration is concerned.
The watch actually debuted in 2019, with two versions; one in steel and another in rose gold, both with white dials.
For 2021, that range has expanded to include a second piece in steel, but with a Lange-mirroring white on black panda dial.
While there are just enough differences from the Dato to keep the lawyers at bay, there’s no doubting what CFB were going for, and it has certainly worked. This is another stunning looking creation, full of fifties sporting elegance that fits in not only a big date and a chronograph (a regular one this time) but also an annual calendar—you can just see the current month display in the ‘oh-yeah-there-it-is’ position at the 4.30.
Best of all, it costs around $7,200. Yes, that is still a healthy chunk of change, but in comparison to the Lange, it is a giveaway.
Tudor Black Bay Chronograph ref. 79360N
Rolex subsidiary brand, Tudor is seemingly incapable of doing any wrong at the moment. And nowhere is that more in evidence than in their Black Bay range.
It was one of the collections Tudor used to reintroduce themselves to the U.S. market in 2012 after a decade-long absence—a vintage-inspired series of dive watches which has been intelligently expanded on since then until it now contains more than 80 models.
The most recent of these debuted this year, with two excellent updates to the Black Bay Chronograph family which we first saw in 2017.
That original came with stainless steel case and bezel and an all-black dial. The two new pieces for 2021 actually replace that model and again come with a steel case, but this time Tudor has included a black anodized aluminum bezel and a panda and reverse panda dial version.
First things first, this is a pair of extremely handsome watches. All the retro elements—the big crown, the snowflake hands, the riveted bracelet, the high domed crystal—work beautifully, as they do right across the Black Bay range.
However, they are a long way from all show and no go. You also get a date display and 200m water resistance (two thing a certain Daytona can’t boast) as well as a (sort of) in-house movement with a 72-hour reserve. We say sort of because the Cal. MT5813 inside the ref. 79360N started life as Breitling’s B01, and has been subsequently modified by Tudor. Balanced against all that nostalgic styling, the caliber is as up-to-date as they come, with a column-wheel and vertical clutch, a variable inertia balance and a silicon hairspring.
The Black Bay Chronograph is yet another triumph for the brand, one of the few genuine contenders as a Rolex competitor. Best of all, prices start at around $4,200.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Hybris Mechanica Calibre 185 Quadriptyque
Here we go from the affordable to the…well, not.
The only thing longer than this new limited edition JLC’s name is the line of zeroes on its price tag. The first ever wristwatch with four different faces arrived this year costing around $1.5m—which is a lot, even for a model with 11 complications. Among those are a perpetual calendar, a minute repeater and displays of the synodic, draconic and anomalistic cycles (dunno, something about the moon, probably), all within a white gold case measuring just 51mm x 31mm x 15mm.
It has been created to celebrate 90-years of Jaeger’s legendary Reverso timepiece, just one in a long line of iconic watches to emerge from the Grande Maison since they started out in business in 1833.
However, even by their own very high standards, the Quadriptyque is on another level. The model, which also manages to somehow cram in a flying tourbillon somewhere, took six years to develop, generated 12 patents, and each of the 10 examples made took six months to assemble.
And if you were thinking that just accurately setting a watch that can do so much would be a pain (a perpetual calendar and a moonphase can require some real patience if the movement is allowed to wind down) JLC have you covered there too. The incredible presentation box has a built-in mechanism which does it all for you.
It has a two-position crown which can be set for the number of days that have passed since the watch was worn, then, with the Quadriptyque situated inside, the wearer can simply wind the crown and the mechanics brings the watch back to the current date for the calendar and all the astronomical gubbins.
Easily one of the most impressive timepieces ever made, it is difficult to see how Jaeger are going to beat it when the Reverso hits the big 100.
Hublot Big Bang Integral Tourbillon Full Sapphire
Disruptive Swiss brand Hublot rocked up to Baselworld…sorry, Watches and Wonders (still haven’t got used to it) with great armfuls of new Big Bangs this year.
All continued the manufacture’s dalliance with innovative materials, and in particular sapphire, something which has become something of an Hublot trademark over the last few years.
The Big Bang Integral Tourbillon Full Sapphire was perhaps the most fun of the new models introduced, and did a great job of describing itself exactly in its own title.
Top to bottom, everything here is on show—the case, the bracelet and even the bridges of the skeletonized HUB6035 caliber are all completely see-through sapphire crystal. It gives the movement’s components, including the regulating tourbillon at the six o’clock, the impression of being suspended in midair.
The model is the perfect example of the sort of thinking which must go on behind the scenes at Hublot. Someone obviously saw the list of benefits sapphire crystal has as a protective dial covering—lightweight, incredibly hard and extremely scratch-resistant—and thought, why not just make the whole watch out of it?
Of course, there is the one main downside of the substance to take into account, and that is its cost. Manufacturing sapphire crystal is an expensive process, as is shaping, forming and polishing it (due, ironically enough, to that very hardness for which it is so prized) and as a result, the Integral Tourbillon Full Sapphire costs around $422,000.
Still, if that’s within your watch-buying budget, your choice is clear. (Ha!)
— Featured Photo: Pixabay (cc) Archive.