CH24.PL Watch Of The Year (WOTY) 2021: 7 Wonderful Winning Watches And One Iconic Personality
The twelfth edition of Poland’s Watch of the Year by CH24.PL included all timepieces introduced in 2021 competing across six categories. The watches in contention were nominated by the 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.
Unfortunately, there was no in-person edition of this charming event in 2020 or 2021 due to the current COVID-19 crisis, so let’s celebrate these winning watches right now!
WOTY 2021 Grand Prix and Innovation in Watchmaking: Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Hybris Mechanica Calibre 185 Quadryptique
The Grand Prix rewards the “best watch of the past 12 months,” which is chosen from the six regular category winners. So after winning its own category – Innovation in Watchmaking – the jury decided that the new masterpiece by Jaeger-LeCoultre also deserved the Grand Prix.
The Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Hybris Mechanica Calibre 185 Quadriptyque is a fitting watch to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the Reverso, and it comfortably romped home with a “best watch” designation from Watches and Wonders 2021 according to the Quill & Pad team. Had it been entered into the 2021 Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève, we are certain it would have walked away with the top prize there as well.
With its 12 patents, 11 complications (including a few brand-new ones like synodic, draconic, and anomalistic lunar cycles), four display faces, flying tourbillon, and seamless minute repeater chimes, it’s impossible for anyone with even a passing interest in mechanical watchmaking not to be impressed with this masterpiece.
And to top all that off, it is completely wearable: it’s one thing to make an ultra-complicated watch, but to make such a complicated watch in such a compact package is a complication by itself. At just a hair over 15 mm high, the Reverso Calibre 185 is ultra thin for such an ultra complication.
This clever watch certainly deserved to take home two prizes at the 2021 edition of the WOTY.
For much more on this watch, please see Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Hybris Mechanica Calibre 185 Quadriptyque: 11 Complications (Plus Flying Tourbillon) Are Impressive, But The Fact That It’s So Wearable Is The Real Magic.
Quick Facts Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Hybris Mechanica Calibre 185
Case: 51.2 x 31 x 15.15 mm, white gold, 30-meter water resistance
Movement: manually wound Jaeger-LeCoultre Caliber 185 with one-minute flying tourbillon, 50-hour power reserve, 4 Hz/28,800 vph frequency
Face 1: hours, minutes, seconds (on flying tourbillon), instantaneous perpetual calendar with day, date, month, leap year, day/night indication
Face 2: jumping digital hours, minutes, minute repeater (with system avoiding dead time)
Face 3: Northern Hemisphere moon phase, draconic lunar cycle, anomalistic lunar cycle (apogee and perigee), month, year
Face 4: Southern Hemisphere moon phase
Limitation: 10 pieces
Price: €1,350,000 (approx. $1,600,000)
WOTY 2021 Complicated Watch: A. Lange & Söhne Tourbograph Perpetual Honeygold Homage to F.A. Lange
In honor of Glashütte’s 175th anniversary in late 2020, celebrated mainly on paper and online as the first wave of the pandemic had just ebbed, A. Lange & Söhne released a 50-piece limited edition of its incredible Tourbograph Perpetual in Honeygold in honor of company founder Ferdinand Adolph Lange.
The peerless mechanics of this watch wrapped up in a 684-component movement are the highlight here, but the three-dimensional black-rhodium-plated 18-karat Honeygold dial is nothing to sneeze at either, particularly considering it was conceived and made inside the manufacture during supply shortages caused by the first wave of COVID-19. The hands, calendar displays, and rhodium-plated lunar disk are also made of the brand’s proprietary Honeygold.
For much more on the 175th anniversary of Glashütte watchmaking, please see 4 Sensational Highlights From Glashütte’s Milestone 175th Anniversary In 2020 Featuring A. Lange & Söhne, Glashütte Original, Nomos Glashütte, And Moritz Grossmann.
Quick Facts A. Lange & Söhne Tourbograph Perpetual Honeygold Homage to F.A. Lange
Case: 43 x 16.6 mm, Honeygold
Movement: manually winding Caliber L133.1 with fusée-and-chain transmission and one-minute tourbillon, plates and bridges in untreated German silver, assembled twice, hand-engraved chronograph bridge, 684 components (chain counted as one component), 3 Hz/21,600 vph frequency, 36-hour power reserve, in-house balance spring
Functions: hours, minutes; split-second chronograph, perpetual calendar with day, date, month, leap year, and moon phase
Limitation: 50 pieces
WOTY 2021 Classic Watch: Patek Philippe Calatrava Reference 6119G
Successfully updating a classic is about the hardest thing any brand can do, but Patek Philippe hit a homerun with its refreshed Calatrava Reference 6119G. From my point of view, one of the best elements of this watch remains one of the most essential to ensure its USP: the traditional clous de Paris guilloche decoration on the gold bezel.
The other stroke of brilliance is the bolder dial design of this classic dress watch in comparison to the Calatravas that went before it, including bigger hands and hour markers, as well as a subdial for seconds at 6 o’clock with a sector-style layout that keeps it from looking dated.
Patek Philippe also launched a new ultra-thin manually wound movement compliant with the Patek Philippe Seal to power it that leaves very little to be desired, running at a 4 Hz frequency and featuring a Gyromax balance fitted with a Spiromax balance spring and hacking seconds.
But the most important achievement of Reference 6119 is that each element is balanced, both in and of itself and in connection with the other elements of this beautiful timepiece.
For much more on this watch, please see Patek Philippe Calatrava Reference 6119: Dressed For Success.
Quick Facts Patek Philippe Calatrava Reference 6119
Case: 39 x 8.43 mm, white (6119G-001) or pink gold (6119R-001), 30 m water resistance
Movement: manually wound Caliber 30-255 PS with 65-hour power reserve, 2.55 in height, 28,800 vph/4 Hz frequency, Gyromax balance with Spiromax balance spring, Patek Philippe Seal
Functions: hours, minutes, (hacking) seconds
WOTY 2021 Sports Watch: Zenith Chronomaster Sport
The Chronomaster Sport is a new take on some of the most popular features of the Zenith El Primero variations over the years and an evolution of the caliber inside. While the aesthetic is technically new, Zenith’s designers have followed the visual codes familiar to the brand’s watches, allowing the observer to slide right into loving it.
The new Chronomaster Sport is still a Chronomaster through and through, though, with triple overlapping subdials (a more than 50-year-old feature) that display the chronograph’s seconds, minutes, and small seconds.
The original A386 El Primero forms the foundation for the aesthetic, as it does most El Primero models, but other editions also play a role in the new Chronomaster Sport. The A277 (a model from before the El Primero) was the basis for the black bezel and dot markers, while the Rainbow El Primero inspired the polished and engraved bezel. The late 1980s and early 1990s De Luca models provided the historical reference for the tri-link bracelet with polished and brushed segments, a widely appreciated style for an integrated bracelet.
But the updates to the movement are what really help sell the new Chronomaster Sport. Using Caliber 3600, a relatively new movement seen for the first time in a regular collection watch, the El Primero shifts from the earlier Caliber 400 into the high gear of the modern era.
For more on this watch, please see Zenith Chronomaster Sport: A Chronograph That Reinvigorates The Senses.
Quick Facts Zenith Chronomaster Sport
Case: 41 x 13.6 mm, stainless steel
Movement: automatic Caliber 3600, 60-hour power reserve, 36,000 vph/5 Hz frequency, column wheel control of chronograph, lateral clutch, officially certified C.O.S.C. chronometer
Functions: hours, minutes, (hacking) seconds; date, chronograph with 1/10th of a second display
Strap: integrated steel bracelet or rubber strap with Cordura fabric texture
Price: $9,500 (rubber strap); $10,000 (integrated steel bracelet)
WOTY 2021 Ladies Watch: Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921 36.5 mm
Vacheron Constantin specializes in taking elements of its long past and revamping them for exquisite use in the present. This traditional maker has been producing timepieces uninterruptedly since 1755 and it often draws on that heritage for the models in the Historiques collection. And in 2021 it made total sense to reintroduce the “American” as it celebrated one century of existence.
“From the beginning I have been a big fan of the 1921 watch, it’s what I love in the Historiques collection,” said Vacheron Constantin’s design direction Christian Selmoni. “Of course, we are a classic brand, but we like to revisit this twist that we have from the past.”
The visually arresting 1921 American is perhaps Vacheron Constantin’s most recognizable watch. Among connoisseurs, it certainly remains one of the most popular – in any size.
For more please visit www.vacheron-constantin.com/en/watches/historiques/historiques-american-1921.
Quick Facts Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921 36.5 mm
Case: 36.5 x 7.25 mm, white gold
Movement: manually wound Vacheron Constantin Caliber 4400 AS; 65-hour power reserve, Geneva Seal, 28,800 vph/4 Hz frequency
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds
Remark: comes with two straps (burgundy and dark brown)
WOTY 2021 watch priced below €2,500: Longines Heritage Classic
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, one that creates interest among the general public.
That Longines occupies a stellar place among top affordable luxury brands is indisputable, but surprisingly the brand has achieved its status with both new and re-edited models inspired by its vast archives, very successfully reinterpreting styles based on its own historical references.
This Heritage Classic model is a great example of revamped 1930s style as evidenced by a well-thought-out sector dial combined with a stainless steel “beads of rice” bracelet, making for a very attractive and affordable watch whose visuals are perfectly positioned somewhere between daily casual and a night out.
For more information, please visit www.longines.com/en-us/watches/classic/watchmaking-tradition/heritage-classic
Quick Facts Longines Heritage Classic
Case: 38.5 x 11 mm, stainless steel
Movement: automatic Caliber L893 (base ETA A31.L91), power reserve 72 hours, 3.5 Hz/25,200 vph frequency
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds
Remark: five-year warranty
WOTY 2021 Public Prize: Tissot PRX Powermatic 80
The public voted among our shortlist, and the highly affordable, rugged, and reliable Tissot PRX Powermatic 80 is what came out on top.
Perhaps it was the pretty cool social media campaign involving Blondie’s 1980s megahit “Call Me” that influenced voters? I know I thought that was pretty darn special.
For more information, please visit www.tissotwatches.com.
Quick Facts Tissot PRX Powermatic 80
Case: 40 x 11.3 mm, stainless steel
Movement: automatic Caliber ETA Powermatic 80.611 (based on ETA C07.111) with a power reserve of 80 hours, Nivachron balance spring; 3 Hz/21,600 vph frequency
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds; date
WOTY 2021 Special Jury Prize: Jack Heuer
Jack Heuer turned 89 on November 19, 2021, but that is not why he was honored here. The WOTY jury has mainly honored him with the Special Jury Prize for his accomplishments in the arena of motorsports marketing.
This fourth-generation leader of Heuer/TAG Heuer has been an integral part of the company since he was in diapers, in his time strongly influencing its history with said marketing and the push for an automatic chronograph. Born in 1932, he joined the company in 1958 and led it from the age of 29 until he was 50. He later became an honorary chairman and consultant after the TAG takeover.
He succeeded in transforming the brand from a small, relatively unknown stopwatch manufacturer into a big name in sports timekeeping, making it well known among sports-oriented consumers with breakthrough activities that included cooperating with Ferrari and silver screen placement beginning with a Monaco on the wrist of Steve McQueen in 1971’s Le Mans.
For the original CH24.PL post in English announcing the winners see en.ch24.pl/2021-ch24-watch-of-the-year-12th-edition-winners.