The Wonderful Watch Winners At CH24.PL’s Watch Of The Year (WOTY) 2019
The tenth edition of Poland’s Watch of the Year by CH24.PL included all timepieces introduced in 2019 competing across six categories. All of these watches were nominated by an international jury comprising journalists from six countries (including yours truly). Brands did not have to enter their watches; the shortlists were made by the jury.
The winners were celebrated on October 17, 2019 when more than 100 guests attended a gala evening at Warsaw’s Sobanski Palace. The night’s big winners in nine total categories are as follows.
Grand Prix and Innovation in Watchmaking: Vacheron Constantin Traditionelle Twin Beat
The Grand Prix rewards the “best watch of the past 12 months,” chosen from the six regular jury-selected category winners. So after winning its own category – Innovation in Watchmaking – the jury decided that Vacheron Constantin’s Twin Beat also deserved the Grand Prix.
Introduced at SIHH in January 2019, the Twin Beat is a perpetual calendar with an unprecedented function: the ability to switch between frequencies to preserve power reserve. In a nutshell, it adapts to the needs of its wearer by maintaining two frequencies that the wearer can choose between: a 5 Hz frequency for precision while the watch is being worn and a 1.2 Hz frequency when the watch is put down.
This innovative watch certainly deserves to take home both prizes.
Quick Facts Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Twin Beat
Case: 42 x 12.3 mm, platinum
Movement: manually wound Caliber 3610QP with user-controlled dual-frequency capability; 5 Hz/1.2 Hz frequency; up to 65-day power reserve at 1.2 Hz and four days at 5 Hz; two balances and gear trains; 480 components, Geneva Seal
Functions: hours, minutes; power reserve indication; date, perpetual calendar with date, month, leap year; frequency mode
Price: €210,000, boutique edition only
Complicated Watch: Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Grande Tradition Gyrotourbillon Westminster Perpétuel
Jaeger-LeCoultre’s fifth Gyrotourbillon is a great watch to choose for winning a category rewarding complicated watches. In addition to its biaxial tourbillon, this timepiece includes a one-minute remontoir, a perpetual calendar with jumping date display, a jumping minute hand, and a minute repeater that plays a Westminster chime on visible, blued gongs.
Whew, that’s a lot to pack into a 43 mm case!
Quick Facts Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Grande Tradition Gyrotourbillon Westminster Perpétuel
Case: 43 x 14.08 mm, white gold
Movement: manual winding Caliber 184 with one-minute Gyrotourbillon, one-minute remontoir d’égalité, 52-hour power reserve
Functions: hours, jumping minutes, perpetual calendar with jumping date, day, month and year; minute repeater with Westminster chimes
Limitation: 18 pieces
Classic Watch: Grand Seiko Spring Drive Manual Winding Elegance
This beautiful platinum timepiece with snowflake dial and case engraving has been making new friends for Grand Seiko since its introduction at Baselworld 2019.
Currently also still in the running for the best men’s watch of 2019 at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève, it is powered by the innovative Seiko Spring Drive movement.
Quick Facts Grand Seiko Spring Drive Manual Winding Elegance
Case: 38.5 x 9.8 mm, platinum
Movement: Spring Drive Caliber 9R02, 84-hour power reserve
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds; power reserve display
Limitation: 30 pieces
Price: 88,000 Swiss francs
Sports Watch: Carl F. Bucherer Heritage Chrono BiCompax Annual
This is a lovely vintage-style chronograph with large date attached to an annual calendar (which only needs manual correction in February), beautifully designed and executed by Carl F. Bucherer.
Presented at the WOTY awards ceremony in stainless steel with a reverse panda dial (white background, black bicompax totalizers), this stylish and sporty timepiece is a real head-turner.
Quick Facts Carl F. Bucherer Heritage Chrono BiCompax Annual
Case: 41 x 14.05 mm, stainless steel
Movement: automatic Caliber CFB 1972 (ETA base with Dubois Dépraz module), 42 hours power reserve, 4 Hz/28,800 vph frequency
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds; annual calendar with large date, chronograph
Limitation: 888 pieces
Ladies Watch: MB&F Legacy Machine FlyingT
This watch was a clear winner for me at its introduction during Baselworld 2019, and I predict this watch will continue to clean up awards throughout its lifespan.
Creating a proper, high-end mechanical ladies watch is something the best of brands struggle with. Some simply take a men’s watch, make it a bit smaller, add some diamonds or mother-of-pearl, and call it a day. Others create what they think women would like (but are not quite sure).
And while MB&F founder Maximilian Büsser admits openly that designing this was way outside his comfort zone, it is most likely exactly that fact that had it turn out in such a sensational manner.
For the full story of this watch and its creation please see MB&F Legacy Machine FlyingT: A Sensational Ladies Watch Both Technically And Visually Scintillating.
Quick Facts MB&F Legacy Machine FlyingT
Case: 38.5 x 20 mm, white gold, set with brilliant-cut or baguette-cut diamonds
Movement: automatic caliber with three-dimensional vertical architecture, central flying 60-second tourbillon, four-day power reserve, 2.5 Hz/18,000 vph frequency
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds
Price: CHF 108,000 (black lacquer dial); CHF 135,000 (pavé diamonds); CHF 298,000 (baguette-cut diamonds), all prices excluding sales tax
Watch Priced below 10,000 PLN: Oris Big Crown Pointer Date Burgundy
This category is similar to the Petite Aiguille of the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève, where the idea is to honor an affordable watch, but one that also creates interest among the general public (the sum of 10,000 Polish zloty is equal to about $2,700, €2,350, or 2,700 Swiss francs).
This Oris model continues the brand’s lovely Big Crown line, which has been around as long as I can remember. My very first good watch was, in fact, an Oris Big Crown. And though mine is quite a bit smaller than this one in a modern 40 mm case size, its visuals are still remarkably similar. Except for the gorgeous burgundy-colored dial that graces this new version.
Wow, what a great addition. This watch deserves this prize, no question. Great value for a lovely, visually enticing mechanical timepiece.
Quick Facts Oris Big Crown Pointer Date Burgundy
Case: 40 mm, stainless steel with knurled bezel
Movement: automatic Caliber Sellita SW 200, power reserve of 38 hours, 4 Hz/28,800 vph frequency
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds; date
Public Prize: Tissot Heritage 1973 Chronograph
Tissot takes the Public Prize for the third year running here, but this time with an homage to a vintage watch from the brand’s 1973 lineup.
Quick Facts Tissot Heritage 1973 Chronograph
Case: 43 x 14.8 mm, stainless steel
Movement: automatic Caliber ETA Valjoux 7753, power reserve of 48 hours, 4 Hz/28,800 vph frequency
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds; date, chronograph
Limitation: 1,973 pieces
Price: $2,100 / CHF 1,995
Special Jury Prize: Walter von Känel, CEO Longines
Walter von Känel has been with Longines since 1969. He advanced to general manager in 1988, joining the Swatch Group’s enlarged management board in 1991.
The international jury awarded the Special Jury Prize to the charismatic manager for his many, many years in the service of the watch industry and his own brand. He is a true original.
Von Känel could not join the celebration in Poland, unfortunately, but he sent a moving video expressing his gratitude.
For the original CH24.PL post (in English) announcing the winners, see Watch of the Year 2019 – final gala, winners, awards.