12/22/2023
 4 minutes

My Fantastical Timepieces of 2024: Between Fantasy and Reality 

By Kristian Haagen
2-1-Author

When asked what watches I’d like to see in 2024 but most likely won’t come to market, as I am merely fantasizing, I came up with two timepieces, Tudor and Rolex, inspired by my early days as a watch geek. The other two, Audemars Piguet and Vacheron Constantin, are wishful thinking inspired by extraordinary modern timepieces. Nevertheless, these are four excellent timepieces that I would love to see launched in 2024.

Let’s daydream about what’s to come

Watches were a big deal for me, even as a kid. If you caught my December 4, 2023 article, you’d know that my love affair with timepieces started early. Those National Geographic ads with watches worn by mountain climbers, deep-sea divers, and explorers were like comic book heroes to young me.

Obviously, Rolex’s, Patek Philippe’s, and Omega’s were way out of my childhood budget. Instead, I daydreamed about them, hoping I’d snag a GMT-Master, Moonwatch, or Nautilus someday. Fast forward from my teen years filled with fake Submariners and look-alike Cartier Tanks, and luck smiled on me.

Tudor Chronograph “Big Block”

A stint in advertising as an Art Director not only fulfilled my horological dreams but also padded my pocket quite nicely. Tudor Chronograph “Big Block” When the Internet made its intro in the late 1990s (I guess you can call me a slow mover when talking tech), I discovered various watch forums and realized I wasn’t alone in my deep interest in timepieces. Some of these forums had sales sections, and one day, a Tudor Chronograph ‘Big Block’ caught my eye. Not just because of its robust case and fantastic dial layout, but because it looked like the – already then – unattainable Rolex Daytona. A watch that felt way out of reach to 23-year-old me.

Will Tudor bring back the "Big Block"
Will Tudor bring back the “Big Block”

Fast forward to today, and I’m throwing my wish into the horological universe: Bring back the Tudor Big Block in 2024. Considering Tudor’s recent tease with the Only Watch (R.I.P) Prince Chronograph One – a Big Block in 18k gold with an automatic calibre MT59XX (double XX indicating a prototype movement), there’s even a glimmer of hope. The horological oven is baking something special, which could be a 2024 revival of the iconic 1976 Big Block Chronograph.

Rolex Milgauss

Returning to the iconic watches that graced the pages of National Geographic in the 1970s and ’80s, the Milgauss ref. 1019 stands out as a true gem. With its quirky 38 mm diameter – a feature distinct to this model introduced in 1960 and discontinued in 1988 – this anti-magnetic marvel was purpose-built for scientists navigating magnetic fields.
Much like its counterpart, the ref. 1655 Explorer II aka Freccione, tailored for spelunkers, the Milgauss found itself more as a window display than adorning the wrists of scientists in places like the CERN nuclear facilities outside Geneva.
Watches that didn’t steal the spotlight upon launch often enjoy a resurgence in popularity decades later. This holds true for the Explorer II aka Freccione, and you guessed it, the Milgauss ref. 1019.
A peek at Chrono24 prices reveals that the once-unwanted become collectible with time. So, here’s my pitch: Facelift the Milgauss to look like the ref. 1019. Rumor has it that it might take the case of the 2023 Air-King with those nifty protective shoulders, but we probably have to wait until 2026 for the Milgauss’s 70th anniversary to see radical changes.
The Rolex Milgauss
The Rolex Milgauss

In the meantime though, a revival of the 38 mm ref. 1019 would definitely top my wish list – with black and silver dials, of course.

Audemars Piguet Offshore Triple Calendar

We all acknowledge the Audemars Royal Oak from 1972 the first luxury watch with an integrated bracelet. However, the Royal Oak Offshore from 1993, designed by the ingenious Manu Guiet in 1989, isn’t just a game-changer for Audemars Piguet; it’s a cornerstone in modern horology.

The Offshore offers a bolder design, adding three millimeters to the diameter of the original Royal Oak. Yet, not all early Offshore models showed the chunky trend, and the Triple Calendar is a testament to that. Sporting a modest diameter of 38 mm, the Offshore Triple Calendar traded the usual chronograph complication for a day, date, and month display, turning heads when it hit the scene in 1996.

Audemars Piguet Offshore Triple Calendar
Audemars Piguet Offshore Triple Calendar

With smaller watches being plate du jour in the current market, people are moving away from the chunky Offshore line. With this in mind, I see it only fitting that AP returns the 38 mm Offshore Triple Calendar.

Are small watches really back in fashion?

In terms of movement used, I am okay with AP reusing the moduled automatic movement used in the original from 1996, cal. 2127/2827, which was based on Jaeger-LeCoultre calibre 889.

Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921 Perpetual Calendar

As a proud owner and hence a biased fan of the stunning Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921 in pink gold, I can’t help but daydream about the Maison’s limited editions based on this exceptional model. Not least the jaw-dropping, ultra-limited edition of 20 pieces in platinum, boasting a perpetual calendar and the ultra-slim calibre 1120. This rare gem was exclusively available in Vacheron Constantin boutiques in Geneva, Moscow, Hong Kong, and Shanghai and fetched CHF113,400 at Phillips Auctions in May 2021.

The Historiques American 1921, already a darling with long waiting lists, has been offered as a Time Only watch since the (re)launch in 2008. Since 2021, it has come in two sizes, 36.5 and 40 mm, and the metals in the 1921 line are white, pink, and yellow gold, plus limited platinum editions.

With an array of materials already in play, it’s high time to introduce an unlimited Perpetual Calendar version. Alas, I will not be able to afford it if it hits the market. However, let’s not bring my poor economy to the table. Instead, imagine this intricate complication on such a fantastic watch, as it would surely make any watch enthusiast’s heart skip a beat and emphasize the importance of the Swiss Maison and their incredible timepieces.


What do you think about this article?


About the Author

Kristian Haagen

I've been collecting watches since I was about 20 years old. I like vintage watches most; they often come with a fascinating history or a cool provenance. Provenance makes a watch far more interesting than any brand-new watch.

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