If you read HODINKEE, you’re likely pretty familiar with watches. And when you see a new watch, you recognize it as, well, a watch. But, sometimes, there are new watches that make us rethink the very definition of what a watch can be. This can be due to a new complication, a new combination of complications, a new approach to watchmaking, or any number of other creative, and sometimes crazy, endeavors that result in a wrist-worn timekeeping device. We asked each of our editors to pick the watch from this year that stands out to them as the most over-the-top, category-redefining watch around. The results are, as you’d expect, pretty wild.
Cara Barrett – Cartier Révélation d’Une Panthère
While this might not be a complication in the technical watchmaking sense, it is a complicated watch to make (and it’s a whole lot more fun than a tourbillon in my opinion). The Cartier Révélation d’Une Panthère was first released in 2018 with small gold micro beads that floated through an unknown viscous liquid that had been patented (very complicated!). This past year Cartier replaced the gold beads with diamonds which really added something special. And just before you say this isn’t complicated, just think about how many times they had to test these watches to make sure they sank at the right speed.
Jon Bues – Bulgari Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT Automatic
Before you stop me to say that this watch isn’t really all that complicated, consider the fact that Bulgari’s Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT Automatic surpasses a record set for chronograph thinness that stood uncontested for more than three decades. And that this watch pairs its chronograph with a second complication in the form of a GMT. And that depending on who you ask, ultra-thin watchmaking can sometimes be seen almost as a type of complicated watchmaking in its own right. A few of the many things I love about this watch (there are lots; check out my Week On The Wrist for more) are that it delivers real over-the-top complexity combined wonderful wearability and pretty darn compelling value-proposition.