Watches & Wonders: Eye-popping pieces with knights and crystal gongs

Roger Dubuis' Knights Of The Round Table collection is a feat of engineering. PHOTO: ROGER DUBUIS

SINGAPORE - The Watches & Wonders trade fair in Geneva earlier this month saw some truly impressive releases by participating brands. Here is The Straits Times' third round-up of marvellous tickers.

Roger Dubuis Knights Of The Round Table Monotourbillon

Roger Dubuis' Knights Of The Round Table collection is a feat of engineering, marrying the brand's watchmaking prowess with traditional craftsmanship.

The eighth edition of the collection sees a monotourbillon in the centre of the watch, not unlike a shield defying gravitational forces. Twelve knights bearing shields and fashioned from pink gold represent each hour and are placed strategically around the "table".

Every 6mm-tall knight is lovingly micro-sculpted by hand and given a different armour and accessories.

The timepiece's heart is the manual-wind caliber RD115 - the first central tourbillon movement created by Roger Dubuis, housed inside a 45mm pink-gold 750/1000 case.

Limited to just eight pieces, each 45mm watch features two gold markers that use a double-disc rotating system to circle the tourbillon and indicate the time.

Boasting artfully placed Murano glass blocks and eight layers of decor, the timepiece has been given the Poincon de Geneve certification, one of the oldest horological independent certifications.

Price: $823,000

Vacheron Constantin Overseas Tourbillon Skeleton


Some makeovers just make you go wow. Such is the case with Vacheron Constantin's Overseas Tourbillon Skeleton.

Already a handsome, if low-key, sports watch to begin with, this iteration gets the skeletonised treatment which turns it into a truly classy and gorgeous timepiece.

Its stately case - 42.5mm wide and 10.39mm tall - houses the caliber 2169 SQ, which is based on the caliber 2160 powering the standard model.

The mesmerising 186-component architecture includes hand-drawn flanks as well as base plate and bridges specially treated to imbue them with an anthracite grey tint.

Interesting details include a Maltese cross-shaped tourbillon cage and guilloche engraving for the dial.

There are two models: 18K rose gold and titanium. The titanium version is the brand's first timepiece - including crown and bezel - to be completely made from the metal.

The watch comes with a matching rose-gold or titanium bracelet and two extra straps in calfskin and rubber.

Price: $226,000 (titanium) and $263,000 (rose gold)

Montblanc 1858 Iced Sea Automatic Date


The lore surrounding Montblanc watches has always revolved around mountains, but the brand has taken a plunge into the deep blue to come up with its first modern dive watch.

The 1858 Iced Sea Automatic Date is inspired by the glacial Mer de Glace, or Sea of Ice, around Mont Blanc massif in south-eastern France. There are three versions, with a black, blue or green dial.

The dials make one think of glacial ice and, to evoke the texture, the Montblanc watchmaking team used an almost-forgotten technique called gratte boise, where a wooden tool is used to scrape the surface.

Very competitively priced, this model has solid diving watch credentials - ISO 6425 standard, ceramic bezel and 300m water resistance.

Each watch has also passed the Montblanc Laboratory 500 Hours test, which has stringent requirements pertaining to, among others, shock resistance, magnetism and depth.

The 41mm timepiece is fitted with the automatic MB 24.17 movement, based on the Sellita SW200. Engraved on the closed caseback is a scuba diver.

Price: The watch comes either with a fitted-lug rubber strap ($4,400) or steel bracelet ($4,700).

Altiplano Ultimate Concept


Call it dope, call it lit, but Piaget's new Altiplano Ultimate Concept (AUC) is one insane watch.

To understand it, a history lesson is in order. Piaget has, since the 19th century, been known for its ultra-thin watch components. In 2018, it stunned the horological world with the AUC, which was just 2mm thin.

A stellar example of micro-engineering, it nabbed the prestigious Aiguille d'Or prize at Grand Prix d'Horlogerie de Geneve - the Oscars of the watchmaking world - in 2020.

This latest version is Piaget's tribute to the AUC, boasting details that chronicle the groundbreaking watch's journey.

At the top of the dial is the Piaget logo, rendered in the same font used in the logo above the watchmaker's home and watchmaking facility in La Cote-aux-Fees in Switzerland.

Two circles sit among the dots of the minute ring, marking the time of "birth" - 7:47 - of the AUC prototype in La Cote-aux-Fees.

The date of birth - 7th February 2017 - is inscribed in a small window at the 2.30 mark.

The La Cote-aux-Fees inscription is engraved onto the ratchet wheel, as are its GPS coordinates.

The dial's background is dotted with Super-LumiNova stars, reminiscent of the sky above La Cote-aux-Fees at the exact date and time of the AUC's birth.

The 41mm timepiece is powered by the hand-wound 900P-UC movement, which boasts 40 hours power reserve. It is fitted with a slim dark blue alligator strap.

Price: Upon request

Chopard L.U.C Full Strike Tourbillon


In 2016, Chopard came up with the L.U.C. Full Strike, a minute repeater which was revolutionary for its ingenious use of sapphire crystal gongs to strike the time. The resulting gorgeous crystalline sound apparently took Chopard more than 15,000 hours in the laboratory to achieve.

The watch's superb construction, including its openworked dial, won it the Aiguille d'Or prize at the Grand Prix d'Horlogerie de Geneve in 2017.

To celebrate the L.U.C collection's 25th anniversary, the watchmaker has now released an 18K ethical rose-gold Full Strike model, which boasts a tourbillon with a sapphire bridge added to the minute repeater. The mechanical hand-wound L.U.C 08.02-L is a new chronometre certified movement.

The two complications are visible through openings in the dial. The base plate, rendered in 18K rose gold, features a ruthenium grey hand-guilloche floral pattern.

Positioned between 9 and 11 o'clock, the first cut-out highlights the two mirror-polished steel hammers that strike the gongs tuned to the C sharp and F notes. The other, at 6 o'clock, showcases the tourbillon of the L.U.C 08.02-L calibre.

The polished and satin-brushed finishings and overall magnificent construction has earned the 42.5mm watch the Poincon de Geneve hallmark.

Price: $550,000

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