Chinese New Year begins on Saturday 25 January — and this year marks the Year of the Rat. The first of all the zodiac animals, people born in the year of the rat are said to be optimistic, quick-thinking and clever. If you’re celebrating the occasion and hoping to treat yourself with a smart investment, we’ve picked out a selection of show-stopping timepieces just for you
A watchmaking icon
If you’re really looking to reward yourself, the new Rolex Datejust is the perfect choice. The watch has been a favourite since its launch in 1945, when it became the first self-winding wrist chronometer to display the date in a window on the dial at 3 o’clock. So the Datejust played a big part in the contemporary prevalence of the date function, and has become a must-have among discerning watch collectors.
This luxurious Datejust 31 ladies’ timepiece is cast entirely in Everose Rolesor – a combination of Oystersteel and 18-carat Everose gold (Rolesor has been a signature feature for Rolex since the early 1930s). It features an elegant rosé dial set with 18-carat gold and diamond hour markers, a fluted bezel and the trademark date window under a Cyclops lens. Inside ticks Rolex’s high-performance calibre 2236, with a Rolex-patented Syloxi hairspring in silicon that’s impervious to magnetic fields and remains up to 10 times more precise than a traditional hairspring should the watch be exposed to shocks. For the ultimate comfort, the watch is set on the brand’s supple five-link Jubilee bracelet, which was specifically designed for the launch of the original Datejust in 1945 (£10,200).
Style that lasts
This iteration of OMEGA’s De Ville Prestige is a great dress watch choice thanks to its classic round case, red-gold Roman numeral hour markers and brown leather strap
With its elegant, pared-back design, the OMEGA De Ville Prestige collection is always a hugely popular choice among gents — and this particular example is a real winner. The steel 39.5mm dress watch features a sun-brushed silvery opaline dial with red gold-coloured Roman numeral hour markers. There’s a discreet date window at 3 o’clock, and it comes on a classic brown leather strap (£2,700).
Inside ticks OMEGA’s automatic calibre 2500 Co-Axial escapement movement, which boasts an approximate 48-hour power reserve. The Swiss brand launched its first Co-Axial mechanical movement in 1999 – and it’s been a game-changer for the brand. It was invented by British watchmaker George Daniels and acquired by Nicolas G. Hayek, the founder of the OMEGA’s parent company, the Swatch Group, in the 1990s. Put simply, it transmits energy to the oscillator using lateral impulses rather than a sliding motion, which significantly reduces the friction in the escapement of the movement, meaning less wear and tear, longer service intervals and greater precision.
A thin line
At just 3.65mm thick, this 18-carat white-gold Piaget Altiplano is truly discreet although its partially-openworked dial ensures it still turns heads
Svelte dress watches are a great choice for sophisticated gents — and Piaget is arguably the master of ultra-thin watchmaking, having manufactured the world’s thinnest mechanical watch, thinnest chronograph, thinnest hand-wound movement and thinnest self-winding mechanical movement at one point or another in its history. The brand’s first ultra-thin movement, and the first in its now-signature Altiplano collection, was launched at Baselworld in 1957. The hand-wound 9P movement was developed by Valentin Piaget (the grandson of Piaget’s founder, Georges-Edouard Piaget), and measured an incredible 2mm thick. Three years later, the maison invented a clever micro-rotor concept that enabled it to introduce the world’s thinnest automatic movement: measuring a mere 2.3mm thick, the 12P confirmed Piaget as the king of high-performance ultra-thin watchmaking.
We’re huge fans of this 18-carat white-gold Altiplano (£24,100). Its 38mm case is just 3.65mm thick, making it one of the thinnest watches on the market. It’s powered by Piaget’s 900P, an ultra-thin hand-wound movement that somehow powers an off-centre hours and minutes display while boasting a 48-hour power reserve. Piaget has achieved this feat by designing the case back to serve as the mainplate on which the movement’s 145 components are affixed, fusing the movement to the case. Its intricate architecture means the 900P’s sunburst chamfered black bridges are visible through the dial, and the entire mechanism and hands are contained within the thickness of the balance. Available on a black leather strap, this is one elegant choice.
Lady in red
Inject a burst of colour into your life with Vacheron Constantin’s Patrimony Self-Winding model on a bold red alligator-leather strap
Female watch-lovers looking to add a splash of colour to their watch collection should go for this eye-catching Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Self-Winding (£21,600). The refined and minimalist Patrimony collection takes its design cues from round models dating back to the 1950s in the luxury Swiss watch marque’s archives.
This 36mm 18-carat white-gold model oozes vintage appeal with its clean, classic white dial and 18-carat white-gold hands and markers, punctuated by a date window at 6 o’clock. At just 8.10mm thick, it will also slip under the sleeve of a dress with ease — although, with its vibrant and lucky red alligator-leather strap, this is one elegant timepiece you’ll want to wear with pride.
We always love Longines’ offerings, and this shimmering model is no exception. With a beautiful mother-of-pearl dial, it’s a truly ladylike creation
If a red leather strap isn’t your style, the classic Longines Elegant collection might be more suitable. We love this dainty 25.5mm automatic model, which is cast in stainless steel and 18-carat pink gold. It features a shimmering mother-of-pearl dial with diamond indexes and a date window, and is water-resistant to 30m (£1,850). With this on your wrist, you’ll embody Longines’ strapline – ‘Elegance is an attitude’.
Discover more luxury watch stories on Calibre Online here.