Five Attention-Grabbing Wristwatches

At its core, the watchmaking industry is defined by innovation, but all horological accomplishments are not created equal. The following timepieces shine thanks to a bevy of noteworthy features, and the design and engineering triumphs required to create them.

Gravitational Forces

For more than a decade, Claude Greisler and Serge Michel, co-founders of Armin Strom, have dedicated themselves to enhancing the production of complex mechanical timepieces. In fact, the mission statement for the brand specifies that every new Armin Strom timepiece must be innovative in some way.

The brand’s latest creation, the Gravity Equal Force, boldly adheres to that mantra. Inspired by a pocket watch and equipped with a motor barrel design, the timepiece features a stop-works declutch mechanism, the first time such a mechanism has been added to an auto-winding movement. Essentially, the mechanism reverses the way a barrel operates, producing greater accuracy and a 72-hour power reserve. “We have reinvented the whole functionality of an automatic watch movement to bring another level of precision,” Greisler says, “and to offer our collectors more assurance for reliable daily wear.”

The Gravity Equal Force introduces a new collection for the brand—called System 78—and carries a price tag of about $17,300.

Emergency Response

Twenty-five years ago, Breitling launched the world’s first wristwatch equipped with an emergency microtransmitter. In 2013, the Swiss watchmaker further enhanced the model and unveiled The Emergency II, the world’s first wristwatch with a built-in dual-frequency distress beacon. Not only is the timepiece an electronic, multifunction chronograph, it’s also equipped with a revolutionary rechargeable battery and miniaturized dual-frequency transmitter.

It also features an integrated antenna system, which complies with the International Cospas-Sarsat Programme, a network of low-altitude, earth-orbit satellites and geostationary-orbit satellites that has saved more than 26,000 lives since its deployment in 1985. Breitling’s Emergency II features two extendable antenna sections that are manually deployed on each side of the case. One antenna transmits signals at 121.5 MHz analog frequency—receivable in the air, on land, and by sea—while the other antenna transmits signals at 406 MHz, a digital frequency with enhanced security that is received by Cospas-Sarsat satellites.

The timepiece ranges in price from $15,685 to $19,650, based on color and finish options.

Cinematic Spectacle

When Maximillian Busser, founder of MB&F, enlisted revered watchmakers Eric Coudray and Kari Voutilainen to collaborate on a limited-edition timepiece, he gave them only one directive: make “the craziest, most cinematic three-axis tourbillon ever.” Introducing MB&F’s Legacy Machine Thunderdome, a timepiece that lives up to those open-ended and lofty marching orders.

The Legacy Machine Thunderdome is equipped with three axes that hover above the dial plate, each one revolving at different speeds and on different planes. The innermost axis spins at a record-breaking 8 seconds, the middle cage rotates at 12 seconds, and the outer cage completes a revolution in 20 seconds. The visual spectacle is one that the watchmaking world has never before seen.

Only 33 pieces will be produced in platinum 950 with light-blue guilloche dials, each one commanding $280,000.

Kinetic Partnership

Venezuelan artist Carlos Cruz-Diez, who specialized in kinetic and optical art, first collaborated with Hublot in 2015. According to Hublot CEO Ricardo Guadalupe, the brand’s most recent (and final) collaboration with Cruz-Diez—completed just before the artist’s death in July 2019—is the culmination of numerous developments made between the horological house and the artist since that first partnership.

The Hublot Classic Fusion Cruz-Diez, which costs between $10,800 and $26,600, features a two-level dial treated in saturated Pantone colors. Both the hour hand (on the first level) and the minute hand (on the second level) drive the rotation of a transparent disc printed with black lines. The system creates a visually striking watch face, one whose pattern of colors continuously evolves with each passing second. The effect embodies the creative philosophies of the late artist. “Color is light, time, and space,” Cruz-Diez once said. “Color is not in the past. It is a continuous present.”

When the watch was unveiled on December 5, 2019, Guadalupe reflected on the success of his brand’s partnership with Cruz-Diez. “Together,” he said, “we have created a working piece of art that can be worn on the wrist.”

Spherical Illusions

Greubel Forsey’s latest creation, the GMT Sport, is a lightweight, ultra-strong, 45-millimeter titanium wristwatch that boasts the brand’s patented hand-wound movement (three patents pending). Like its predecessor, the GMT, this highly complex timepiece features a spinning globe that accurately replicates earth’s rotation and provides an intuitive view of time around the world, including night and day indications.

The piece also features the brand’s signature open-worked architecture and Tourbillon 24 Secondes; however, this timepiece is distinguished from other Greubel Forsey watches by an inventive case design, one that appears perfectly spherical from above but reveals an accentuated arched and ovoid shape when viewed from other angles. According to Greubel Forsey co-founder Stephen Forsey, the timepiece was designed with ergonomics in mind; while it may not be suitable for high-impact sporting activities (despite its name), the GMT Sport is water resistant to a depth of 100 meters (about 328 feet).

Only 11 of the GMT Sport are available, each one costing $500,000.