Much like the 1970s, the all-to-familiar protests around racial injustice and women’s rights, global political mayhem, populism, fractured societies and gender politics are once again at the fore. Even if the past wasn’t really a better place, add the nostalgia for an era pre-internet as we nurse our Zoom-fatigue and we will no doubt see even more interest in the nature-lead fashion and décor styles of that era. ∼
And, when it comes to choosing your timepieces it should be about longevity — and not fleeting fashion or trend — but we can expect to see more vintage-inspired watches on the market such as Seiko’s Prospex 1970 Diver’s Modern Re-Interpretation with its distinctive asymmetrical shape and powered by the Caliber 6R35. In 2020, Tudor also celebrated the 50th anniversary of its very first chronograph and the grey/black Heritage Chronograph with period orange accents certainly hits the mark.
There are numerous new watches offered in a rainbow of uplifting, healing colours with dominant hues and calming pastels. Pantone also announced its colours for 2021 recently with “Ultimate Gray” and “Illuminating” yellow being proclaimed as “practical and rock solid but at the same time warming and optimistic ... a union of strength and positivity”.
Rolex has made some standout appearances in movies over the decades, most notably in those early Bond thrillers. But what’s a decade without a thrilling scandal? A Submariner “Red” was worn by Robert Redford in the 1976 film All the President’s Men, which was about the Watergate scandal that led to the resignation of US President Richard Nixon.
But the new-generation Oyster Perpetual 41 and 36 are also attention-grabbers with their joyous array of colourful lacquer dials, which include coral, turquoise, candy pink and yellow reminiscent of the Rolex Day-Date “Stella” collection of the 70s and 80s. For an extra dash of orange, there’s the stainless steel Doxa SUB 300 COSC with its “Doxa Professional Orange” dial inspired by the original SUB 300.
Gucci was ahead of the curve when it launched the genderless 70s skater scene-inspired Grip collection with rounded square case design at Baselworld in 2019. The latest updates blend a steel case and bracelet with fluorescent pink or blue GG symbols, and matching pink or blue rotating disks. There is even something 70s about the aerodynamic styling of the 2020 Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève award-winning H Moser & Cie Streamliner Flyback Chronograph Automatic with its cushion-shaped steel case and integrated bracelet. This 42.3mm stunner was updated recently with a dial in “Funky Blue” — you don’t get more 70s that that.
Whether it’s a cheeky acknowledgment of the Swiss watch industry’s ability to survive the quartz crisis of the late 70s and early 80s or commentary on the overly connected digital age that followed, the Rado True Square YOY “Undigital” by Japanese design duo YOY puts a lighter spin on things. One of the three recent designer collaborators, YOY play with the distinctive shapes of the seven-segment digital watch display and transfers them to the analogue hands. Inside its 38mm matt black high-tech ceramic case there is an ETA calibre C07 automatic movement, the replacement for the much-loved ETA 2824-2.
The one-off Zenith Chronomaster Revival Lupin the Third fetched an incredible Sf189,000 (approx R2.8m) during a Phillips’ fundraising auction in November. The watch is a faithful rendering of the one depicted in the anime series of the same name and is based on the A384 worn by the character Daisuke Jigen from the Japanese series. For us mere mortals though, the 37mm tonneau-shaped Chronomaster El Primero A384 Revival, based in exacting detail on the of the very first Zenith watch to feature the El Primero high-frequency automatic chronograph calibre, retails for about R122,000 with steel ladder bracelet originally designed by Gay Frères. New watches are updated with domed sapphire crystal and display casebacks, which reveal the splendid El Primero calibre 400 in its most modern form.
The “Shadow” revives a 1970s prototype, which was originally presented as a 41mm sporty all-black PVD piece. Perfectly aligned with Pantone’s Ultimate Gray, the new version has a 37mm micro-blasted titanium case on black rubber strap.