Vacheron Constantin have been around since 1755 and would not still be here if they’d not been innovative. This is not only in the technical sense but also in design and time display. In 2015 the company revealed the Reference 57260, the most complicated watch ever made and this year their elegant Twin Beat Perpetual Calendar, the world's first and only timepiece with two balances that allow the wearer to switch between high frequency, active mode and low frequency, stand-by mode to extend the power reserve for up to 65 days.
As premium brands continue to present better value propositions with collections in more affordable steel for the younger consumers, I think back to 1972 when Audemars Piguet launched the first all-steel luxury sports watch. That first Royal Oak was the furthest thing from being accessibly priced. Although AP have other collections, none have become as iconic as the Royal Oak and annual releases are usually just updates on existing models.
So one of the big surprises this year is a totally new collection called Code 11.59 (an acronym for Challenge, Own, Dare and Evolve) featuring five complications and three new movements. From the front the 41mm case of the watches appears round, but the side view reveals a hexagonal body that references the brand’s design DNA.
IWC celebrates its historic links to the world of aviation and its first pilot’s watches dating back to 1936. Coincidentally this is also the year in which the iconic Spitfire took to the skies over Britain for the first time. Due to the technical requirements of pilot’s watches, they were by design very bold, robust, essential tools used for navigation and flight timing. The timelessness of this good design is echoed in new Spitfire line, which also celebrates the IWC watches produced Royal Air Force from 1948 and pays tribute to the unique engineering expertise of the designers of the legendary British fighter aircraft.