I’m working from the warm-hearted eThekwini this week and having serious thoughts of staying on quite a while. Durban’s relatively easy-going lifestyle and mild winters make it a very appealing retreat from my overcrowded home city with its ocean as freezing as the shoulders of its residents. On the surface it may seem that things are just ticking along but hit the highways and you’ll soon realise that Durban is moving as fast as a ‘modified’ Beemer M4.
There’s renewed energy here with exciting urban regeneration schemes already on the go on vibrant Florida Road and in the bustling inner city. And its beachfront promenade has got to be one of the most impressive in the world. Unlike the predictably Brooklyn-style Cape, I think that its location and weather makes it a perfect incubator for fresh ideas. Hours spent in its tepid waters waiting for those perfect waves might also have something to do with it.
On my quest for a simplified lifestyle, there are a number of boxes that this city would help me to tick. A perfect timepiece to accompany this lifestyle might be one of the functional vintage-inspired dive watches released this year. I’m thinking of the black PVD coated Longines Legend Diver, a sporty Pepsi-bezeled Tudor Black Bay GMT, Seiko Prospex Diver 300m Hi-Beat SLA025 and with some extra spend, the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Automatic.
However, as much as I aspire for a life less complicated, there are a few complications worth allowing in. Of course I’m talking about the magnificently intricate, multi-functional movements created by the luxury watch brands. It’s the stuff that keeps engineers and manufactures on their toes, eager to outshine each other on innovation, complexity, speed, precision, size, and delivers the excitement for enthusiasts, editors and collectors at the annual fairs.
I featured one of my favourites earlier this year. The charming 41mm stainless steel Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Memovox which is the perfect companion beyond the break where you won’t want the disturbances from a smart watch. This intriguing little bit of magic will chime out a gentle reminder of a meeting onshore.
A more observant lifestyle in the tropics would, however, require an adequate tool to track the tides and the diurnal movements of the Sun. The ocean is at the heart and soul of Officine Panerai and the L’Astronomo Luminor 1950 Tourbillon Moon Phases Equation of Time GMT, although quite a mouthful, certainly promises to do the job. Originally created in 2010, it was dedicated to Galileo Galilei on the 400th anniversary of his first celestial observations of the moon. The 2018 made-to-order skeletonised edition is the first watch by the company to feature moon phase indications and a new system using polarised crystals to indicate the date.
Personalisation extends beyond the case material, hands and engravings. Each skeletonised mechanical P.2005/GLS (Galileo Luna Scheletrato) in-house calibre will be personalised to function according to the client’s chosen geographical location. This is to ensure the accuracy of the moon phase indicator, which is beautifully displayed on the back, as well as the indicators of Sunrise (at 8 o’clock) and Sunset (at 4 o’clock) set according to the specified coordinates of latitude and longitude. And the Equation of Time gauge (at 6 o’clock) will assist in setting any records straight.
The GMT function will be useful should you wish to keep track of time at the home office while you’re looking for ‘new business’ in Bali. The hand-wound calibre has a power reserve of four days and features the Panerai tourbillon escapement, which can be viewed both from both sides of the watch. Featuring the characteristic Luminor device protecting the crown, the watch is water-resistant to 10 bar (about 100m). panerai.com
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