Diving Watches: From Sports Watches to Certified Icons
Today’s top 10 is all about crazy watches. Whether it’s designed like something from another planet or is more traditional but with highly complicated watchmaking, we made an alphabetical list of 10 extreme watches that look fantastic. Let’s take a look!
We all know De Bethune for their futuristic designs and use of a stunning, deep blue color. The DB 28 ‘Kind of Blue’ Tourbillon is no exception. This essentially solid blue watch only features a few metallic elements like screws, hands, and several parts of the movement. Even the tempered plates are blue and finished with stripes or perlage. Since it’s made of titanium, this 43-mm watch is remarkably lightweight. At 0.2 grams, De Bethune claims that their tourbillon is the lightest in the world. It’s also worth noting the steel and palladium moon phase indicator at 6 o’clock. This stunning watch is limited to a run of only 5 pieces and retails for 250,000 euros (approx. 288,000 USD).
The F.P. Journe Tourbillon Souverain is a much more classic-looking watch. However, looks can be deceiving. This timepiece comes packed with some crazy watchmaking skill. Although the F.P. Journe Tourbillon Souverain might look like your average tourbillon at first glance (if that even exists), its movement features a remontoire and dead-beat seconds. A remontoire creates a constant force of gravity, which helps make the watch even more precise. With a dead-beat seconds, the second hand jumps forward once per second instead of gliding smoothly across the dial. This complicated watch is 40 mm in diameter and comes in either platinum or red gold.
The Greubel Forsey Invention Piece 1 takes crazy watchmaking to the next level. Composed of no fewer than 338 components, this double tourbillon has won multiple awards. Its 43.5-mm platinum case has a more classic design. However, inside you’ll find a world of exceptional watchmaking. The hour and minute displays surround the double tourbillon. Due to the positioning of the numbers, both displays have two pointers, so the correct time is always displayed. To top it all off, the Invention Piece 1 features a small seconds dial and a power reserve indicator. There is also an engraved message on the case back, a typical detail on many Greubel Forsey timepieces.
While the Greubel Forsey may feel like it has a retrograde display, the HYT H1 actually does. The liquid hour display is what takes this timepiece above and beyond. HYT was founded in 2012 and remains the only watch manufacturer to use liquid displays. The two bellows, each containing a different liquid, are clearly visible from both the front and back. Where these two liquids meet marks the current time. Although you could get a rough estimate of the time from the liquid hour display alone, the H1 also comes with a small minutes dial at 12 o’clock. A power reserve indicator and subsidiary seconds display round out this watch’s functionality. At a whopping 48.8 mm, this titanium watch is anything but small. However, having personally worn one for some time, I can confirm that it’s comfortable for its size.
MB&F is the first brand many people think of when it comes to crazy clock and watch designs. Appropriately, nothing about the HM4 Thunderbolt is standard. With an aviation-inspired design, this timepiece strongly resembles a plane’s jet engines. This creation is made of grade 5 titanium and measures 54 x 52 x 24 mm. It’s not something that slips under your sleeve, nor is it meant to be. Both the time and power reserve displays are located on the side of the watch, with the time on the right and the power reserve on the left. The crowns for setting and winding the movement are seamlessly integrated into the rest of the design. Thanks to the sapphire glass, you can view the well-finished movement from all different angles.
The Ressence Type 3 is yet another mechanical watch that comes filled with liquid. However, it’s not used to display time. Instead, rotating discs float in the liquid, giving this timepiece its unique appearance. The way the Type 3 displays the time is as crazy as it is revolutionary. Since the discs revolve around the center of this timepiece, its look and feel are constantly in flux. Its lack of a crown sets the Type 3 even further apart from the rest of the industry. Instead, setting and winding take place via the case back. Printed hands turn while the rings around them remain stationary. I could try to use more words to describe this timepiece, but it is perhaps best explained by watching a video.
Richard Mille doesn’t know the meaning of the word ordinary. They designed the RM 027 Tourbillon ‘Rafael Nadal’ edition to withstand the shocks of hours on the tennis court. It is mostly made out of composite materials and titanium and features special composite glass. Despite measuring 48 x 39.7 mm, the RM027 barely weighs 20 grams. How crazy it that?! This manually wound tourbillon only shows the hours and minutes, but that’s all you really need from a watch anyway.
Moving on to Finland, we find the Sarpaneva Korona K3. Stepan uses the same unique case and hand designs for all his watches. The stylized face found on models with a moon phase display is modeled after that of this quirky watchmaker. His designs always stand out and are easy to recognize. While there are several different editions of the Korona K3, each has skeletonized hour indices and the same moon phase with two faces in common. This 44-mm watch features a sapphire glass case back that offers a view of the finished movement and grid-like rotor with the characteristic moon face adorning rotor weight.
The Urwerk brand can be rather hard to describe. Whether you think it resembles a cinematic predator or something from the future, one thing is certain: The Urwerk UR-210 sure looks crazy. This titanium or steel watch comes with a revolving satellite complication and a 3D retrograde minute hand. It may be difficult to put it into words, but let me try. The UR-210 features 3 arms (or satellites), each of which contains 4 hour displays. The indicator both points to the minutes on a retrograde scale and frames the hours. At the end of every hour, the indicator returns to its initial position. This watch comes with an automatic movement that uses tiny rotors to wind the barrel.
The final watch on this top-10 list is the Vianney Halter Antiqua. It’s perhaps the list’s strangest watch due to its unique, steampunk-like look. This large 46.5 x 42.5-mm timepiece has been made of different precious metals over the years. It also features an automatic movement with a 35-hour power reserve. On the various displays, you will find the time and a perpetual calendar with a day, date, month, and leap year indicator. The use of rivets is an interesting detail that lends the Vianney Halter Antiqua its distinctive, porthole-inspired feel. A ‘mysterious mass’ rotor is visible through the case back and appears to be detached from the central rotor.