5 New Unisex Timepieces Presented At Watches & Wonders 2021 From Jaeger-LeCoultre, Nomos, Cartier, Chanel, And Vacheron Constantin
by Martin Green
Unisex watches are the future. As watches continue the trend to smaller sizes, unisex styles are a natural progression allowing brands to market their watches to more people.
Why aim precious marketing budget at only half the population when you can address everybody for the same money? Let customers make up their own minds whether they like a watch and want to wear it.
While in essence every watch might be considered unisex, case size often limits how far this goes. In general, men have larger and women smaller wrists so watches toward the large and small ends of the size spectrum automatically become more gender focused.
The following new watches introduced at Watches & Wonders 2021 have been made in sizes that can potentially please everyone.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tribute Small Seconds Green
For regular readers of Quill & Pad, it won’t come as a surprise that I have a soft spot for green watches. So the new Reverso Tribute Green is right up my alley – and even more so as it has my favorite case shape: rectangular.
As some might recall, this is not the first time that Jaeger-LeCoultre has fit its most iconic model with a green dial. In 2015 the brand celebrated the opening of its flagship boutique in London with a Grande Reverso Ultra-Thin 1931 sporting a green lacquered dial.
Watch connoisseurs from the Middle East might also remember the limited edition Jaeger-LeCoultre Grande Reverso commemorating the 55th National Day of Kuwait, also fitted with a green dial, but unfortunately rarely seen outside that part of the world.
The new Reverso Tribute Small Seconds Green stands out by offering a cool, forest-green hue that really comes to life thanks to its sunburst finish. Yes, I could go into detail about how this hue is omnipresent in the forests surrounding the Jaeger-LeCoultre manufacture in the Vallée de Joux, but the color is so stunning that it doesn’t need more help to sell it.
As the watch is both well-proportioned and quite slim at 8.5 mm in height, it suits all genders with similar grace. The matching green strap is made by Casa Fagliano, the famous Argentinian polo boot maker that Jaeger-LeCoultre has been working with since 2011.
All these details combine to make a watch Jaeger-LeCoultre is certainly happy to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the Reverso with.
For more information, please visit www.jaeger-lecoultre.com/mo/en/watches/reverso.
Quick Facts Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tribute Small Seconds Green
Case: 44.6 x 27.4 x 8.5 mm, stainless steel
Movement: hand-wound Caliber 822/2, 3 Hz/21,600 vph frequency, 42-hour power reserve
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds
Nomos Glashütte Club Campus
I have a particular soft spot for Nomos Glashütte, which was only founded in 1990 but quickly developed into a true manufacture. Despite this incredible achievement, Nomos Glashütte is far from cocky and welcomes young, new watch lovers with watches like its entry-level Club Campus.
While the Club Campus is the most basic Nomos, no corners were cut in its making. It is a robust watch with a solid case back on which 88 characters can be engraved free of charge.
The Club Campus is unisex, and Nomos Glashütte focuses its marketing at graduates – the engraving option makes it the perfect gift while simultaneously welcoming the recipient into the world of fine watchmaking.
The Club Campus’s prices start at a relatively affordable €1,100, and despite that it is still fitted with the manufacture manual-wind Alpha caliber.
Of the four new models joining the Club Campus collection during Watches & Wonders 2021, two are housed in a 36 mm case while the other two come in a 38 mm case. Nomos also introduced two new dial colors, both in reference to the lockdowns and other restrictive measures due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Absolute Grey” takes a tongue-in-cheek look at the past year, while “Orange Future” is a bold and vibrant color symbolizing positive thoughts for the time ahead. Both colors make statements in their own ways, connected to each other by the bright orange color of the small seconds hand.
While the California-style dials of the 36 mm and 38 mm Club Campus Orange Future models are identical, those in Absolute Grey are not: the smaller version’s numerals and hour markers are outlined in Future Orange, making this watch slightly bolder than its larger sibling.
All four new watches are available at the end of May at Nomos retail partners and at the brand’s own online boutique.
To learn more about the California dials of the Nomos Glashütte Club Campus introduced in 2017, please see Nomos Glashütte Club Campus With Manufacture Movement Proudly Wears A California Style Dial . . . Price Must Be Seen To Be Believed!
For more information, please visit www.nomos-glashuette.com.
Quick Facts Nomos Club Campus
Case: 36 mm x 8.2 mm or 38.5 x 8.5 mm, stainless steel, 10 atm water resistance, domed sapphire crystal, stainless steel case back can be engraved with 88 characters
Movement: manual winding Caliber Alpha, 23.3 x 2.6 mm, 43-hour power reserve
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds
Price: starting at €1,100
Monsieur de Chanel Diamond Edition
The 2021 Monsieur de Chanel features a 40 mm white gold case set with baguette-cut diamonds.
While this diamond setting could have been over the top for a men’s watch, Chanel dialed back the bling with a restrained dial in black oven-fired enamel. This results in a watch that is perfect to wear with a tuxedo jacket or a simple yet exquisite little black Chanel dress.
There is a touch of irony in calling the Monsieur de Chanel a unisex watch, though, both because of its name and because the brand launched it back in 2016 as its first timepiece dedicated to men.
The Chanel J12 might be more a unisex creation, but I wouldn’t keep the new Monsieur de Chanel off the radar for female watch enthusiasts as I think it would look stunning on any woman.
There is also a lot to enjoy mechanically as the watch features a retrograde minute hand combined with a jump-hour complication.
For this, a dedicated movement was developed by Romain Gauthier, which was not entirely a coincidence as Chanel has a 20-percent stake in his company. Especially in terms of movement architecture, this caliber is a benchmark as it visually tantalizes with its shapes.
All this makes the new Monsieur de Chanel such a gorgeous watch, inside and out, that it would simply be criminal if one sex were to lay exclusive claim to it.
For more on the original introduction of the Monsieur de Chanel, please see Surprising Ties That Bind: Chanel And Romain Gauthier.
For more information, please visit www.chanel.com/lv/watches/p/H6456/monsieur-diamond-edition-watch.
Quick Facts Monsieur de Chanel Diamond Edition
Case: 40 x 10.4 mm, white gold, set with 68 baguette-cut diamonds (2.95 cts)
Dial: black oven-fired enamel
Movement: hand-wound Caliber 1 with twin serially operating spring barrels, 4 Hz/28,800 vph frequency, 72-hour power reserve
Functions: jump hours, retrograde minutes, small seconds
Limitation: 20 pieces
Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921
Vacheron Constantin is a brand with history, and that’s putting it mildly. Its history is long and richly filled with charismatic watches like the American 1921, which was produced a century ago for the booming North American market.
The brand re-introduced the American 1921 at SIHH 2009, at that time housed in a 40 x 40 mm case, and is now celebrating this watch’s one-hundredth anniversary with three new models.
This new trio includes a 40 mm white gold model and an exquisite 40 mm version in Vacheron Constantin’s Collection Excellence Platine, but I especially like the new 36.5 mm in white gold.
While 36.5 mm sounds small, the size works quite differently with a cushion-shaped watch like the American 1921. As it is in essence square, it wears quite substantially on the wrist. As my wrist measures 18 cm in diameter, I always loved the 40 mm version of the watch but found it to be too much of a good thing, while the 36.5 mm version is spot on.
This is only the second time that an American 1921 is introduced in this size, following on from the first 36.5 mm variation of 2017 in pink gold.
In white gold, the watch is a bit more understated, giving it a sporty vintage style that brings classic cars to mind. Vacheron Constantin has also forgone the traditional alligator leather straps in favor of patinated calf leather in brown or burgundy made by Italian leather goods manufacturer Serapian: a clever choice that makes the 36.5 mm American 1921 all the more desirable.
For more on the original introduction of the 36.5 mm Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921, please see Vacheron Constantin’s New Historiques American 1921 Small: Transforming The Traditional Into The Modern.
For more information, please visit www.vacheron-constantin.com/en/watches/historiques/historiques-american-1921.
Quick Facts Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921
Case: 36.5 x 7.41 mm, white gold
Movement: hand-wound manufacture Caliber 4400 AS, 65-hour power reserve, 4 Hz/28,800 vph frequency, Geneva Seal
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds
Cloche de Cartier
Another brand with a rich history and heritage is Cartier. And in 2021 the brand is relaunching the Cloche, one of its shaped watches that is less well known to the general public.
That is a pity as the watch’s unique bell shape (cloche is French for “bell”) is very charismatic as the six new versions, all part of the Cartier Privé collection, highlight.
They all share a 37.15 x 28.75 mm case, perfect for men and women alike. Three of them feature solid dials, while the remaining three are skeleton models with bridges shaped like Roman numerals, a modern Cartier signature style.
Their characters are all quite different, with the dialed version of the Cloche offered in yellow gold, pink gold, and platinum. Each limited to 100 pieces, it is the color of the dial that significantly influences how each model looks. The almost cream-colored dial of the platinum version gives it a very vintage feel – as if it came directly from 1921, the year in which the watch was first launched (although that model was set with diamonds).
The matching dial of the yellow gold model exudes a warmer look than is customary with this precious metal, while the pink gold variation shows bold contrast with its anthracite-colored dial.
Of the skeleton models, two are in platinum and one in pink gold. The difference between the two platinum models is the setting with brilliant-cut diamonds. That diamond-set version is the only new Cloche de Cartier that I don’t consider unisex, but rather profoundly feminine.
With baguette-cut diamonds I might feel different, but that’s not an option (not yet anyway). Between the pink gold and platinum model without diamonds, preference is just a matter of taste.
The pink gold makes the watch more classically inclined, while the platinum is slightly more understated if such a thing even exists for a watch with a skeleton movement in such a case shape.
For more information on the Cartier Privé collection and its history please read The Rise And Fall Of Fine Watchmaking At Cartier: It’s Been Surprisingly Complicated.
For more information, please visit www.cartier.com/en-gb/watches/men-s-watches/cartier-prive.
Quick Facts Cloche de Cartier
Case: 37.15 x 28.75 mm, white, pink, or yellow gold, platinum, and platinum set with brilliant-cut diamonds (1 ct)
Movement: hand-wound manufacture Caliber 1917 MC, 3 Hz/21,600 vph frequency, 38-hour power reserve; skeleton hand-wound manufacture Caliber 9626 MC, 3 Hz/21,600 vph frequency, 38-hour power reserve
Functions: hours, minutes