Patrick Dempsey (TAG HEUER)

The Porsche 963 is a winner. Racking up podium finishes in over two-thirds of its races, the vehicle is, quite simply, built to succeed. Hailed as “the pinnacle of Porsche’s engineering expertise,” the race car notably celebrated its first major endurance race with a win at the 24 Hours of Daytona this year. Having dominated the racing world, the Porsche's appetite for winning has bled into the realm of horology by partnering with TAG Heuer to transform the Porsche 963 into a limited-edition chronograph.

Porsche on your wrist, ya catch my drift?

Fittingly limited to just 963 pieces worldwide, the TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph x Porsche 963 features sub-dials with four Super-LumiNova blocks—a ceramic-based compound that captures and stores light to produce luminescence in the dark—echoing the iconic night-time visibility of the Porsche 911. This feature captures the thrill of 24-hour endurance races where drivers battle from dusk till dawn, and uncompromised legibility is vital.

Taking a page from the Porsche’s playbook, the 44mm watch features a bold skeletonised dial with tubular structural elements evocative of the race car's high-performance chassis. Forged from lightweight yet robust carbon, the bezel mirrors the engineering ethos behind the Porsche 963’s construction. Lift the hood and you’ll find a TH20-00 Calibre, a vertical clutch chronograph movement similar to the systems found in cars connecting the engine’s flywheel with the transmission. This ensures a smooth, "jump-free" chronograph operation. Y'know, like a Porsche.

While its technical specs are impressive, true beauty lies in the details. The red index at 4 o’clock isn’t just a splash of colour; it's a symbol of the surge of adrenaline as a race counts down. The watch’s rubber strap takes inspiration from NACA-style low-drag air inlets found in legendary Porsche race cars like the record-breaking Porsche 917. Even the oscillating mass—a hidden treat for watch enthusiasts—features the iconic Porsche steering wheel motif, further blurring the lines between wristwatch and race car.

TUDOR

It began with a challenge from the TUDOR Pro Cycling team: design a watch capable of enduring the demands of professional cycling whilst remaining a realistic option for the road. What came after is the birth of the Pelagos FXD Chrono "Cycling Edition".

“If you know what you want to be, then you inevitably become it.”
– Oscar Wilde.

The latest addition to the Pelagos FXD catalogue mirrors the very DNA of the world’s fastest bikes. Featuring a 43mm matte-finished case crafted from carbon composite, it's akin to the carbon fibre found in high-speed bicycles. The integration of titanium elements promises greater robustness to the timepiece, preparing it for even the most extreme circumstances.

TUDOR

The “Cycling Edition” of the Pelagos FXD Chrono graduates from its nautical predecessor by introducing a cyclist-focused tachymeter scale tuned specifically for speeds relevant to cycling, rather than that of cars. A fixed 60-minute bezel wraps around the scale to thoughtfully direct focus to the home of the watch. There, a black dial sits with striking red accents to ensure legibility at first glance.

Peer beneath the surface of crystals and carbon and you’ll find the Manufacture Calibre MT5813. This is the same pulsating movement that gave life to the first FXD Chronograph. Featuring an automatic 4Hz movement, it offers a suite of complications including a 45-minute counter, date, and stop-seconds for precise time-setting. Its power reserve of 70 hours coupled with 100m of water resistance makes it a reliable partner suitable for any occasion.

HUBLOT

What do you do when you're an artist fascinated with the past, present and future? You poetically merge all three to fuel your art. New York-based artist Daniel Arsham is celebrated for crafting modern-looking artifacts or figures that appear eroded, mimicking the effect of casts being burried for centuries. Future relics, if you will. Given his penchant for time, it makes sense that his next project will involve a watch brand like Hublot. The matrimony between his artistic perspective and Hublot's technical expertise yields something that feels modern and otherworldly, the Arsham Droplet.

The Arsham Droplet reimagines the classic pocket watch by building on antique forms using the latest production methods and materials. These updates challenge watchmaking norms, fashioning a timepiece that looks straight out of Ex Machina. Drawing inspiration from nature's water elements, the Arsham Droplet employs titanium, rubber, and sapphire crystal to create a tactile experience that feels like whatever the antithesis of grasping water is.

True to the concept of fluidity, the Arsham Droplet can be shown off in more ways than one. As a necklace to a pocket watch, or displayed as a statement piece on its titanium and mineral glass table stand, Hublot’s patented double "one-click" system ensures seamless attachment.

The Specs

HUBLOT

A timepiece without a heart is merely a shell and the Arsham Droplet comes alive with Hublot's Meca-10 manufacture movement. It flaunts an impressive 10-day power reserve shielded by two domed teardrop-shaped sapphire crystals measuring 73.2mm in length and 52.6 mm in width. Fortified with a titanium case and a custom Arsham green rubber bumper, it's double encased with 17 O-ring seals to ensure nothing contaminates the quiet and intimate environment of the calibre. Featuring Hublot's signature H-shaped screws, the pocket watch bears a stamp of the artist's monogram on its crystal surface. Adding to the Arsham Droplet's theme, it has a water resistance of 30m, impressive for a pocket watch this intricate.

Given the complicated construction of the Arsham Droplet, it's no surprise it's limited to just 99 pieces world-wide.

Barry Keoghan has been made a ‘friend’ of Omega—with a pair of new Speedmaster Moonwatch watches announced to officially welcome him to the brand.

Keoghan has been bossing red carpet coverage for the past 18 months, with a succession of internet-grabbing outfits including a black Stella McCartney suit worn with a frilly white dress shirt, a red Louis Vuitton evening jacket plus matching checkered trousers and an arm-bearing green Givenchy vest.

Simone Tadiello. OMEGA

But he’s been no slouch in the accessories department, either.

There have been jangly keychains. There have been pearl necklaces. There have been Oliver Twist-style top hats.

Watch spotters have also enjoyed his wrist-wear. Keoghan has frequently been kitted out in—and presumably by—Omega.

He wore a handsome burgundy Speedmaster ’57 to last year's BAFTAs.

And a 1930s Art Deco Lépine ‘Sideros’ pocket watch to last month’s Met Gala, to name two.

Today Omega makes the love-in official, with Keoghan announced as the new face of the brand—with two new Speedmaster variants launched to coincide with the happy news.

New bi-colour Speedmaster, as worn by Barry. OMEGA

The first of the new Speedys is a bi-colour version that combines stainless steel and the brand’s own 18ct yellow gold alloy known as Moonshine Gold. It features a sun-brushed silvery dial framed by a black ceramic bezel, with a tachymeter scale in Ceragold, another proprietary Omega material. The contrasting subdials also come in 18ct Moonshine Gold.

Stainless steel and Sedna Gold Speedmaster. OMEGA

The other Speedmaster is being released in yet another Omega material—18ct Sedna Gold. Both models are available now.

Originally published on Esquire UK

Every watch wearer knows that the tourbillon is considered as one of the heights of watchmaking. Like many things, timepieces aren’t spared from gravity’s cruel anchors. But watchmakers, in the bid for accurate timekeeping, push back.

Thus, the tourbillon. This marvel has an escapement and balance wheel that are fixed on a rotating cage. This provides a uniform weight against gravity’s pull. ZENITH gives the humble tourbillon a modern spin that's exemplified in the DEFY Skyline Tourbillon.

The Specs

Nestled in a 41mm case, faceted and bold, and with a matching bracelet (stainless steel or black ceramic), the DEFY Skyline Tourbillon houses the new El Primero 3630 automatic high-frequency manufacture calibre. It has a generous power reserve of 60 hours and operates at a high-frequency rate of 5Hz (36’000VpH) to resist shocks. The Côtes de Genève stripes on the bridges are arranged in a sunray pattern that seem to dart out of the tourbillon.

Dial-side, at six o’clock, the movement is visible through an aperture of this intricately-designed dial. (The sapphire-equipped case back lets you see the rotor as well.) The tourbillon cage is in the shape of an open four-pointed star—the same futuristic lines found in other DEFY pieces with tourbillon mechanisms. Turning around its own axis, the tourbillon completes one revolution every 60 seconds. And radiating from its mesmerising dance is the engraved starry sky pattern on the dial. Luminescent-applied markers and hands further contrast the dial—rhodium-plated indices for the blue dial and rose gold-plated indices for the black dial.

And like the other DEFY Skyline models, the DEFY Skyline Tourbillon comes with a second rubber strap (in blue or black) coupled with a folding clasp. If you're like me and are in a fickle mood, the straps are easily exchanged, thanks to the quick strap-change fixture on the caseback.

Last year, former Bond (the spy, not the female string quartet) and Omega aficionado Daniel Craig set the rumour mill working overtime after he was spotted wearing a mysterious Omega timepiece at the Planet Omega event. It was the iconic chronograph, Speedmaster. But it was with a white dial, nothing that had been seen before. Well, until (cue first five notes of “Also Sprach Zarathustra”)... now.

Displays of the Speedmaster needed to be easily readable: white markers on a black dial. There were several Speedmaster models but those were in limited runs. A piece that came close to the Speedmaster Moonwatch Professional in Canopus Gold aka white gold. But “white gold” isn’t the same as “white-white”.

Thus, the white dial Speedmaster Professional aka Moonwatch. Now, as part of Omega’s main collection, not only is the dial white, it is lacquered as well, a finish that’s never before been used on a Moonwatch’s step dial. This new steel case, white dial piece has black detailing and applied indices. Coupled with a vintage-inspired five-link bracelet; the anodised aluminium bezel sporting the “Dot over Ninety” on the tachymeter scale; and powered by the Co-Axial Master Chronometer Calibre 3861, makes this model a more attractive get.

A Return to the ALASKA I

It’s easy to assume that the selected colours served as inspiration for an astronaut spacesuit. But there’s another deeper significance to it. Let’s turn the clock back to the 1969 ALASKA I prototype. Omega was working on creating a timepiece that was optimally suited for space travel. To reflect the sun’s heat, the white dial chosen for the ALASKA I. The removable protective red case? That is now an homage to the red “Speedmaster” name on the Moonwatch white dial.

It’s said that “space is the final frontier” but that’s not the case with Omega as it pushes against its limitations to find what else can keep it ticking.

AUDEMARS PIGUET

Multi-Grammy-winning musician John Mayer’s relationship with watches goes far deeper than your average celeb horologist. He’s been a collector of watches since 2001 (very early in his musical career). And his passion for and critically deep understanding of high-end watches has paralleled his musical success ever since. It's also made him something of an oracle for collectors. For much of his collecting life, Audemars Piguet has been a firm favourite.

In Milan last week, Audemars Piguet unveiled with Mayer a collaboration two years in the making. It was the white gold Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar John Mayer, limited to 200 pieces. The insider gossip about this impending Mayer launch ahead of the event did nothing to stem the excitement when the new watch was unveiled. Instantly eye-catching, it was given a decidedly modern vibe with a dial described as "crystal sky" for its granular blue surface. The dial was created by electro-forming the 3D surface one atom at a time, then individually polishing each of the hundreds of facets before applying a deep blue PVD coating. The result is a mesmerising light show. Whichever way you look at it, over which the all-important sub-dials float with ease. For a watch as complicated as a perpetual calendar—regarded as the pinnacle of high watchmaking—it's surprisingly legible.

AUDEMARS PIGUET

According to company lore, this special edition was born when Mayer approached then CEO François-Henry Bennahmias with an idea. An idea for a one-off watch for himself. Bennahmias liked it so much that he countered with the idea of making it a limited edition instead. Given that the movement that drives this grand complication is retiring, it’s a fitting and collectable send-off. The movement in question is the 5134. It's a self-winding, ultra-thin movement launched in 2016 but based on a legendary movement—the 2120—created in the mid-1960s.

In Other News...

Alongside the release of the watch came the announcement of Mayer taking on the Creative Conduit role for the brand. Somewhere between a brand ambassador and a collector, Mayer functions as a bridge between the house and its most passionate collectors.

AP also timed the Milan launch of the Perpetual Calendar John Mayer to unveil the city's upgraded and relocated AP House, a luxury space for fans and customers of Audemars Piguet to meet away from the store. Naturally enough, the latest—the 20th to open around the world, and just a stone's throw from the storied via Montenaploeone and its fashion and watch flagships—is the best yet. Spread over multiple floors in a repurposed multistory garage the Garage Traversi was built in 1938, the space features dining rooms, lounges, and meeting spaces. There’s a bar or two and a grand piano. Roof terraces wrap around the sinuous deco-style building, overlooking the rooftops of the San Babila district. One hidden dining room was designed with wall-mounted display cabinets for collectors to show off their collections over dinner. No doubt the Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar John Mayer will make a showing at such gatherings.

As true horology nerds know, provided you keep it wound, this watch will tell the correct time. Specifically, the month, week, date, day, leap year, and even the current phase of the moon, all without adjustment. That is until March 1, 2100, when the Gregorian calendar is obliged to skip a leap year. It’s a Monday, by the way.

Originally published on Esquire US

When you are racing across open waters at speeds closing in on 50 knots (which is just under 100kmh), you feel the crest of every wave as your vessel cuts through it. It is rough, as though the sea resents the intrusion and is ferociously trying to throw you off. By you, we mean anyone aboard the speedboat. If you are not strapped into a seat or holding on for dear life, you are likely to get lifted off your feet and dumped overboard. Holding on is exactly what I am doing as the Luna Rossa attempts to demonstrate the speeds that its foiling monohull can achieve.

Of course, the Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli team tells us that experiencing stomach-churning speeds on a powered vessel cannot really compare with what it feels like to sail aboard a foiling monohull. For one thing, even at the speeds we manage here off the coast of Cagliari, Italy, we would still be trailing behind the AC75 racing yacht that Luna Rossa will be fielding in the 37th America’s Cup 2024. Yes, speedboats can be outpaced by five-tonne sailing yachts, and—for some context—that is like saying a mechanical watch could be more precise than a quartz watch. This, of course, is a segue because we are here at the Luna Rossa base in Sardinia at the invitation of Panerai; the Swiss Made Italian watch brand is an official Luna Rossa sponsor.

Now, before you go accusing us of having too much Franciacorta—not to mince words about it—besides having our brains baked by the Sardinian sun, you should know that the AC75 monohulls have been known to achieve speeds in excess of 50 knots. Google it. In any case, the America’s Cup represents peak sailing, both from the perspective of sailing the monohulls and engineering them.

The legendary regatta is the Formula One of the sailing world and has been since before the motorcar was even a gleam in Karl Benz’s eye. Like the development of the automobile, the America’s Cup has quite a rich narrative and so we give it its own section. While the contemporary reality of sailing is far removed from its roots, some context is still useful. Just so you know, the America’s Cup is the world’s oldest sporting competition of any kind, with the first having taken place in 1851.

ABOVE THE WAVES

If you are in the mood to have your mind boggled by some sailing yacht facts, here's the low-down on the standard monohull hydrofoil that will be used in the coming America’s Cup. The AC75 (or America’s Cup 75 footer) is also the basis of the prototype that Luna Rossa is using, but more on that in due course. It helps to first know what in the world a hydrofoil monohull sailing yacht is, and how it manages to just glide above the waves.

The simple answer is that there are wings called hydrofoils attached to the hull, left and right, and these do what wings normally do. The tips or ends of these two wings and a rudder are the only elements that are in contact with the water when the yacht is at speed. Which makes it look for all the world like it is flying across the waves. Such a vessel should easily move at twice the prevailing wind speed, and might even go faster. This is difficult to grasp because the yacht is wind-powered after all, but it is what happens.

Here is what we have been able to glean from official sources on the technical details. The aforementioned wings are canting ballasted T-wing hydrofoils mounted on the port and starboard topside longitudinal drums; there is a centreline T-wing rudder, and no keel (source: Wikipedia).

The base of the Luna Rossa yacht.

All of the above is certainly standard fare but the America’s Cup race did not start using the hydrofoil design until 2017, and the monohull variant dates from just two years ago (2021). Team Luna Rossa itself is working on a new prototype, the LEQ 12, with the following publicly declared specifications:

This puts the LEQ 12 at an apparent disadvantage as far as top speeds go, because the AC75 has been clocked at speeds beyond 50 knots. But then of course, that is straight line speed, and the thing about sailing boats is the way they turn. Again, perhaps counterintuitively, sailing vessels can and do sail into the wind, and have been doing so since some clever sailor somewhere figured out how to angle the sails just right.

On that note, consider that the Luna Rossa team considers itself pretty clever too since it opted to create its own boat from scratch to challenge team New Zealand, the defender of the America’s Cup. The 10,000 sqm Cagliari base camp is where Luna Rossa is doing most of its development work, which is not inconsiderable. There is also a 4,000 sqm site in Barcelona, Spain, which is where the AC75 Challenger Selection Series will begin next year. In fact, Luna Rossa was one of the teams that developed the aforementioned AC75 foiling monohull standard.

Luminor Luna Rossa BiTempo.

AMERICA’S CUP HISTORY

Given that it predates the first Olympic Games by 45 years, the America’s Cup (also known as Auld Mug) is really the world’s oldest international sporting event. The first race was held in 1851 while the Summer Olympics began in 1896. It was originally a showdown between two yacht clubs or organisations in Great Britain and the United States, and what we call the America’s Cup today is named for the schooner that won the first race in 1851, the America.

The first defence of the America’s Cup only took place in 1870, by which time the New York Yacht Club, which was the steward of the Cup, was already under one of the most famous of the competition’s rules. That the holder of the America’s Cup is obliged to defend its right to steward Auld Mug (as it was originally called) should any qualifying club issue a challenge. This remains the case to this day. That is why the America’s Cup champion is called the Defender, while its rival is called the Challenger of Record. Until 1967, there was only one Challenger but from 1970, multiple clubs issued qualifying challenges. This was the beginning of the Challenger Selection Series. For this leg, all America’s Cup challengers competed until a victor emerged as the Challenger of Record to take on the Defender.

The race between the Challenger and Defender has evolved over time too, but the affair is still relatively stately, with the Defender and Challenger agreeing to terms prior to every challenge.

PANERAI LUNA ROSSA

Watch collectors will be more familiar with Panerai as the military secret that equipped Italian navy divers with precision instruments than anything else. The contemporary Panerai watchmaking brand has been associated with all manner of marine activities for the better part of this century. Since 2017, Panerai has created wristwatches with the sorts of materials that America’s Cup teams were experimenting with. One might even say that Panerai’s penchant for material innovation makes it an ideal partner for a racing team such as Luna Rossa, which is precisely how team Luna Rossa describes the watchmaker.

Of course, Panerai recognises its own virtues in exploring new frontiers in watchmaking, as Ficarelli told us, citing just the example of PAM01039. The brand knows to maximise on the emotional qualities of being innovative, which points to a certain spirit of boldness. Here, we enter the realm of character. As Panerai connects the dots between past and present, it hopes to build bridges with a community of watch lovers. “Storytelling is pivotal in cementing Panerai’s legitimacy, intertwining its deep-seated maritime roots with its modern identity,” said Ficarelli. “By chronicling its journey from creating robust instruments for the Italian Navy to embracing the adrenaline of performance boating, Panerai underscores its heritage and authenticity. Each watch, steeped in historical value and innovative prowess, symbolises a continuity of tradition and a forward-looking vision, fortifying the brand’s connection with enthusiasts who value both the legacy and the ongoing maritime saga.”

Panerai had a dedicated Luna Rossa series of watches that span a number of ranges. This includes the Submersible (although the 1309 is currently unavailable). Panerai watches are typically in-demand so the availability of Luna Rossa watches should be monitored closely. Currently, our pick includes the Luminor Luna Rossa Chrono Carbotech PAM01519 and the Luminor Luna Rossa Quaranta BiTempo PAM01404. The impressively named latter watch is especially notable for its automatic P.900 GMT calibre, which has a three-day power reserve. The chronograph is powered by calibre P.9200 and is currently the only available Luna Rossa watch cases in Carbotech. This is important for this watch because it is a 44mm whopper. The GMT model is a more reasonable 40mm watch in steel. There are also two Luminor Due references worth taking note of: PAM 01378 and PAM 01381.

Just as Formula One is an expensive sport, so too is the business of the America’s Cup. It's estimated that operating the teams running up to US$200 million for each competitive run. This is evident in the Luna Rossa base camp. There are at least two simulators, two prototypes (a slightly scaled-down model that we saw and another full-size model that takes to the waves), in-house manufacturing capabilities and engineers and technicians of many stripes all working together to develop the LEQ 12 that will eventually be the Luna Rossa racing yacht. In total, there are approximately 118 people on the distinctly Italian team. That includes the Skipper and Team Director Max Sirena and Circolo Della Vela Sicilia President Patrizio Bertelli.

If there is one Panerai watch that embodies the story here, it must be the Submersible Luna Rossa PAM01039. Panerai chief marketing officer Alessandro Ficarelli explains: “(The watch) stands out due to its use of innovative materials like Carbotech (a specially developed material used by the brand), representing the brand’s adventurous spirit and its watchmaking expertise. Moreover, its aesthetic intertwines sporty resilience with elegance, including details like the incorporation of actual sail material, which symbolises a forward-thinking vision that aligns with Panerai’s maritime legacy and its future aspirations.”

Leonardo Fioravanti (middle) having the Panerai Luna Rossa Surf Experience.

Those aspirations are on show on this visit to Sardinia, which was actually part of Panerai’s now-famous experiences. The Luna Rossa vessel itself might be a very expensive closely-held secret that amateurs have no business messing with. Although there are all manner of maritime activities that can be associated with the competitive team’s preparations. Popular on this particular occasion was water-skiing. But Panerai also went the distance with a surfing experience with the brand’s ambassador, surfing champion Leonardo Fioravanti. Of course, everything will pay off nicely for Panerai should Luna Rossa be on top form during the America’s Cup. First though, whether the Luna Rossa team will become the Challenger of Record in 2024. That will be determined when the season begins in Barcelona.

Photographs courtesy of Panerai and Luna Rossa

"Fly By Fruiting" by artist and sartorial style enthusiast, Samara Shuter

It’s a new year, and there’s a good chance you’re looking for a new job. Maybe you’re pondering going freelance or starting your own business. You are not alone. Statistics suggest that a third of the workforce switches jobs every 12 months nowadays. Witnessing wave after wave of layoffs, people have learnt that companies aren’t loyal to staff any more if indeed they ever were, so why should employees display blind loyalty to their bosses?

Even here in status-obsessed Singapore, where a stable and well-paid office job has long been seen as the ideal, more and more people are looking for “meaning and purpose in what they do, not just for good salaries,” per the gahmen’s recent Forward SG report. Giving new meaning to the phrase ‘Money no enough,’ today, we want jobs that are rewarding on a level beyond remuneration—jobs we’re passionate about. Often, that means creating a job for yourself.

Many of Canadian artist Samara Shuter’s super-detailed paintings celebrate the type of peacock sartorialism seen at the Pitti Uomo menswear fair. Why the passion for men’s style? Shuter’s family has deep roots in the garment trade—she grew up amongst bolts of colourful cloth, and she says her father’s dapper dressing when she was a young girl also left a lasting impression.

De Bethune's DB28XP Kind of Blue. If you've got a "crazy, leftfield" idea, "just go and do it," says watchmaker Denis Flageollet

“My father had an incredible appreciation for style. He had the most amazing collection of ties,” she recalls. Her dad’s struggles to support his family in various corporate sales roles, which required the Shuter clan to regularly relocate—“We moved every year or year-and-a-half; I was kinda like an army brat, it felt very unstable,” Shuter says of her peripatetic upbringing—also left an indelible mark.

So, when she set out to forge her own career, Shuter says, “It was important to me that I could do something that I love, but where I was in control.” Having seen her father suddenly lose jobs and the turmoil that caused for her whole family, she says, “It was important that what I did, nobody could take away from me.” So she became an artist. Back in the mid-’00s, Shuter took the money she’d saved waiting tables and tending bar and hired a booth at an art fair in Toronto. It was a big gamble, several thousand dollars, everything she had. “But that weekend, all the works I’d painted sold out. I couldn’t believe it.”

Soneva Jani

Three years later, Shuter was selling sufficient volume, at high enough prices, that she was able to quit pouring pints and focus on her art practice full-time.

Leading independent British bespoke shoemaker Nicholas Templeman says it was an invaluable experience mastering his craft as an employee of one of the most legendary firms in the trade. But to make the sort of shoes he was passionate about, he had to set up his own business. “I trained at an established bootmaker—I worked at John Lobb for seven years before going it alone,” he explains. “I had a great time there and there’s a lot I look back fondly on, I don’t think I could have learnt as much about shoes and bootmaking anywhere else in the world.”

Eventually, though, Templeman reached a point where to be fulfilled, he needed full creative and quality control over the footwear he made. “That’s only really possible when your name is stamped on the soles,” he says. Having his signature on the product also means Templeman is especially punctilious about quality. “I’m pretty fastidious about what I make, no shortcuts, even if, as currently, it makes the lead times longer than I’d like.”

Master watchmaker Denis Flageollet, cofounder of De Bethune and a godlike figure in the world of watches, reckons passion—and the confidence to express that passion—is an essential attribute in anyone aspiring to stand out in haute horlogerie. “I love talking to young independent watchmakers to see whether they have that spark inside them, that passion that will allow them to really grow their vision of what watchmaking can be,” he says.

“For several years now, I’ve realised I need to pass on the knowledge I have, not just to train new watchmakers for De Bethune, but to share what I know and my experiences with a larger audience,” Flageollet says. The advice he habitually gives young watchmakers is, “You have to be brave, you have to be bold. If you think you’ve got an idea, but it’s maybe a bit of a crazy idea, or it’s a bit left-field, just go and do it. The only way you’re going to know is to try it, and then see what the world thinks of it; it could be the next great idea.”

He says creatives have got to trust their instincts. “You shouldn’t be scared of not being understood. Maybe they’ll understand you in 10 years’ time—or after you’re dead! The most important thing is that you do what you believe in, what you’re passionate about.” Flageollet encourages rising watchmakers to place a bet on themselves. “I tell them to gamble, try and do something that they believe in, take a leap of faith because that ultimately is what’s going to make them happy.”

Independence is brilliant, but as any start-up entrepreneur, small business owner or freelancer will tell you, there’s also much to be said for a reliable monthly salary. However, those who choose to go the regular wage route are increasingly opting to work for purpose-driven businesses, where the sense of fulfilment goes beyond merely cashing that wonderfully predictable pay cheque.

Sonu Shivdasani says people are attracted to working for his Soneva resorts because the job comes with an authentic sense of purpose, above and beyond profits

“To be a successful organisation in the 21st century, to attract the best people, you need to be authentic,” says the co-founder of Soneva luxury resorts, Sonu Shivdasani, OBE. “You can’t be saying one thing and doing something different, because people will vote with their feet now—they don’t need the work. So if you aren’t authentic, you’re not going to attract the best people.”

In Soneva’s case, that authenticity comes down to what Shivdasani calls “a very clear focus, an undiluted philosophy” he has dubbed SLOWLIFE, an acronym standing for Sustainable, Local, Organic, Wellness, Learning, Inspiring, Fun, Experiences. “Essentially, offering luxuries, while minimising our impact on the environment and enhancing the overall wellbeing of our guests,” Shivdasani sums it up. Soneva is considered the gold standard in sustainable tourism.

The brand’s founders, Shivdasani and his wife Eva, believe a business must have a purpose beyond simply making money, if it hopes to generate high levels of employee engagement and as a flow-on effect, happy customers. “In our industry, in hospitality, the definition of luxury is the magic created by our people, the hosts—we don’t have employees at Soneva, we have hosts. And I believe that magical service has to come from the gut; you can’t train it, it has to be instilled. By having a core purpose that our hosts are aligned with, they become more engaged, more passionate.”

Preparing to open a new wing opened at Soneva Jani in the Maldives a couple of years ago, Shivdasani recalls, “We had 80 vacancies. And within a week, we had 3,000 applicants for those 80 vacancies.” When the successful candidates arrived and Shivdasani was performing their induction, he joked with the fresh hires, “You know, it’s actually tougher to get into Soneva Jani than it is to get into Goldman Sachs or Oxford—and that’s because people really were passionate about joining us.”

We’ll grant you that the prospect of working in a tropical paradise probably didn’t harm Soneva’s recruitment efforts. Nevertheless, there’s a potent lesson in the anecdote for organisations trying to engage people who’ll stay on for more than 12 months. Showing you care about something beyond the bottom line—demonstrating you care about your employees, your customers, and the world—has its advantages. Think about it, boss.

Recognised for its expertise and the quality of its products, Rolex stays true to the notion of perpetual excellence instilled by its founder, Hans Wilsdorf. This led to a slew of watchmaking innovations. Such as the Perpetual 1908, a masterpiece that’s inspired by the iconic Oyster Perpetual from 1931.

With its legacy ever in the rear-view mirror, the 1908 is a testimony of historic codes with ground-breaking watchmaking innovations. “1908” is the given name of the model. It's an homage to the year Wilsdorf devised the name “Rolex” to sign his creations and registered the brand in Switzerland. It is also a promise of unparalleled performance. Imagine the Oyster Perpetual timepiece but in a slimmer, sleeker design that’s replete with the brand’s signature style.

Crafted in 18k yellow or white gold, the slim case aggrandises a transparent back; a window into its beating heart—the movement finishings within. The innovative calibre 7140 is what powers the watch. A brand-new self-winding movement that is meticulously developed and manufactured by the Swiss Manufacture’s engineers. With two centre hands and a small seconds display, the calibre 7140 is a pinnacle of innovation, backed by five patent applications.

The Perpetual 1908 caseback reveals the calibre 7140 movement.

Caged within the sleek watch case is the essence of Rolex’s engineering prowess: the innovation of the oscillator, the Chronergy escapement, the Syloxi hairspring and Paraflex shock absorbers, just to name a few. The 1908 offers a substantial power reserve. Approximately 66 hours of chronometric performance (–2/+2 seconds per day) to keep it ticking without worry of pause.

Distinct Arabic numerals 3, 9 and 12, along with a small seconds subdial at six o’clock beautifully reinterprets the 1931 Oyster Perpetual style. It paints the timepiece in a contemporary allure.

The 1908 is fitted on an alligator strap that comes in either matte brown or matte black. This elegant strap with a green calfskin lining and tone-on-tone stitching, is individually tailored for the new watch. It is equipped with a Dualclasp, a double folding clasp, in 18 ct yellow or white gold. Thanks to its carefully designed shape, the Dualclasp always sits centred on the wrist.

The double folding dualclasp.

The 1908 is a timepiece, yes. But it is also a milestone, a testament of a brand’s storied mastery and its perpetual quest for excellence. 

SWATCH

Following in the footsteps of many a cinematic franchise (Marvel StudiosFast and Furious, Ice Age etc.), the Blancpain x Swatch collaboration has gone galactic after covering all ground – or rather, oceans – on planet Earth.

First stop: the moon.

Introducing... the Blancpain x Swatch Scuba Fifty Fathoms 'Ocean of Storms'.

'Ocean of Storms' is Swatch's sixth take on a Blancpain Fifty Fathoms watch – a seminal Swiss-made diving watch line that emerged in the mid-fifties – and the first to release after the September launch of the initial pack based on Earth's five oceans.

It's named after our moon's largest 'sea' (that's space nerd talk for those dark, flat water-less plains on its surface) which spans more than – now, get this – 2,500 kilometres.

For the sake of your wrist, the timepiece itself is of a much more humble size: 42.33mm in diameter and 14.4mm thick.

It's almost completely pitch black, a design choice inspired by the New Moon of its release date, 11.01.24. So too is the provided NATO strap that's crafted from recycled fishing nets.

Thus, from the front, it's a rather sensible-looking accessory; the rear is where things get slightly more extraterrestrial.

SWATCH

Here, an exhibition caseback peers upon the timepiece's inner workings which are tricked out with a realistic moon graphic.

And along with the watch's moniker, the sapphire glass is adorned with a digital print of an Okenia Luna.

Hold up. A what now? An Okenia Luna: a very-alien-looking species of nudibranch (or sea snail) discoverable in the seas around Peru and Chile.

It's a decorative addition which only makes sense in the context of the entire collection, so allow us to give you some insight.

SWATCH

Each of the original five Blancpain x Swatch watches is embellished with a unique nudibranch chosen because it resides in the timepiece's eponymous ocean.

Atlantic (the blue one) is paired with the Glaucus Atlanticus; Arctic (the orange one), the Dendronotus Frondosus; Antarctic (the white-ish one), the Tritoniella Belli; Indian (the green one), the Nembrotha Kubaryana; and Pacific (the black and yellow one) the Chromodoris Kuiteri.

It's safe to assume that the Earthbound Okenia Luna was selected for this release because – as we all know – 'luna' is the lovely sounding Latin word for 'moon'.

Personally, we respect the commitment to consistency.

SWATCH

Other noteworthy details include the inscribed inspirational mottos (e.g. 'protect what you love' and 'licence to explore') that circle the caseback, the dual-branded crown and the debossed 'Fifty Fathoms' wordmark on the strap buckle.

Oh, and speaking of fifty fathoms, we can confirm that, yes, the watch is actually capable of withstanding such depths (91 metres/300ft).

Unfortunately, we doubt it'd survive a minute on the moon. Bad luck, Bezos.

Originally published on Esquire US

Gilet and hoodie, BREITLING X DEUS. Avenger B01 Chronograph 44 Night Mission, 44mm ceramic case on leather strap, BREITLING

When the Wright Brothers pioneered the first successful motor-operated aeroplane, little did they know that it would also change the face of warfare. Aeroplanes used in warfare initially were used to scout for enemy locations. But adding guns and aerial bombing capabilities, and you have a formidable presence in the air. A thunderbolt from the heavens; a fury from the skies.

Pilots manning these fearsome aircraft need all the help they can get. Tool watches were useful during the stressors of combat: readable dials; navigation; altitude signalling, and so on. Since Georges Kern’s appointment to Breitling as CEO, one of his mandates was the revitalisation of the Avenger series.

The Avenger series was a homage to Breitling’s link to aviation. In the world of timepieces, where innovation meets timeless elegance, Breitling took the reimagined Avenger series to new heights. Eschewing the adage of “the sky’s the limit,” Breitling’s Avenger watches isn’t just for daredevil fighter pilots navigating the air; it has now gripped the attention of grounded aficionados with its striking design, baton indices, reduced case sizes and unparalleled functionality.

T-shirt, BREITLING X DEUS. Avenger B01 Chronograph, 44mm stainless steel case on leather strap, BREITLING

Among the series stand the 44mm chronograph, the 44mm automatic GMT and the 42mm automatic models. Each offers the choice between a robust military leather strap or a stainless steel bracelet and a water resistance of up to 300 metres—testament to the resilience of the aviators who sport them.

The Avenger B01 Chronograph 44 holds the beating heart of the Breitling Manufacture Caliber 01, a COSC-certified chronometer boasting a remarkable 70-hour power reserve and a five-year warranty. Adorned with a diverse range of coloured dials—azure blues, lush greens, classic blacks, and desert sands—the Avenger series breaks away from its conventional colour palette. The inclusion of rotating 60-minute bezels in stainless steel, complemented by baton indices and a highlighted red-tipped chrono hand, accentuates the watch’s dynamic appeal. Not to be overlooked are the innovative square pushers designed for seamless timekeeping, aligning effortlessly with the crown and bezel.

For those inclined towards a bolder statement, the Avenger Night Mission chronograph presents itself in scratch-resistant ceramic, available in striking yellow or carbon black dials. Sharing the same Manufacture Caliber 01, the Avenger Night Mission is crafted from solid titanium, its robust structure symbolises strength, with a black dial crafted from resilient carbon fibre, paying homage to precise aircraft design.

Embraced by pilots and adventurers alike, the Avenger Automatic GMT 44 offers quick, at-a-glance readings facilitated by its distinctive red GMT hand and 24-hour rotating bezel. With a profile matching its chronograph counterpart, encased in steel and available in black or naval blue dials, this timepiece embodies both utility and sophistication. A COSC-certified Breitling Caliber 32 powers this marvel and promises an approximate 42-hour reserve and is backed by a two-year warranty.

Top, BREITLING X DEUS. Avenger Automatic 42, 42mm stainless steel case on stainless steel bracelet, BREITLING

The Avenger Automatic 42 stands as a testament to refined robustness within its 42mm frame. Fashioned from steel and available in bold hues—classic black, deep naval blue, or adventurous camo-green—this watch is both a balance of yin-yang of strength and style.

Housing the COSC-certified Breitling Caliber 17 automatic three-hand movement, the Automatic 42 is guaranteed up to 38 hours of uninterrupted power, ensuring reliability and enduring performance.

Breitling and Deus have teamed up on a line of adventure-ready clothing and accessories that fans of the brands can only get their hands on at Breitling flagships worldwide. From a range of T-shirts and carriers and caps, the collection is only available at Breitling Flagship Boutique Raffles City.

Overshirt and T-shirt, BREITLING X DEUS. Avenger B01 Chronograph, 44mm stainless steel case on leather strap, BREITLING

What used to be a tool watch, the Breitling’s Avenger collection transcends its station as a mere timekeeping companion. Now, it is the embodiment of the spirit of aviation—a tribute to the thrill of flight, the legacy of precision and dogged innovation.

Photography: Shawn Paul Tan
Styling: Asri Jasman
Photography Assistant: Xie Feng Mao
Grooming: Zoel T using KEUNE and CHANEL BEAUTY
Model: Spencer L at MANNEQUIN

crosschevron-down