Best watches to buy in 2013
29th Apr 2013 | 20:40
The original incarnations of the Superocean were launched by Swiss watchmakers par excellence Breitling in 1957. Now, over half a century later, Breitling has again revamped their ultra tough maritime showpiece. Water resistant to 1,500 meters (a bends-inducing 5,000ft), the watch features sapphire crystal glare-proof casing and is available with black, silver, blue, red or yellow dials, either with the 'diver pro' rubber strap or 'ocean racer' steel.
Price: £2,000 (rubber); £2,300
The watch so good they named it twice has an automatic chronograph sitting in a reassuringly weighty, 42mm steel housing engraved with the Bulgari name. The blue and rose gold dial looks reassuringly expensive and the look is completed with a crocodile leather strap.
Designed with Italian style and put together with clinical Swiss engineering, the polished stainless steel folding buckle strap and elegant stainless steel case make this watch a great choice for black tie shindigs. Offering the choice of mechanical (with 42 hour power reserve) or automatic winding, the Diagono features the Roman numeral inspired 'BVLGARI' logo embossed around the 40mm dial.
Bulova's landmark tuning fork movement (used in the panel clocks and timing mechanisms in NASA's moon mission crafts) and exhibition dial of the 1960s is here recreated for a classy 50th anniversary limited edition timepiece. Stainless steel, curved sapphire crystal, four-screw caseback, luminous hands, alligator strap and water resistance to 30m together make a watch that make you look like management material.
The C600 includes a helium release valve that acts like a decompression chamber, allowing the watch to function at great depths. It also includes super-bright GTLS luminescence and a diamond hard PVD finish; all high-end, cutting-edge features at a more than reasonable price.
Link: Christopher Ward
Launched for the British Grand Prix earlier this year to celebrate the partnership between Graham and the Mercedes GP Petronas F1 Team, with the colours of the watch and team logos complimenting each other, the GP Trackmaster features a rubber tyre-detail strap, is water resistant to 100m, has an automatic movement, fixed bezel and delightfully chunky start/stop lever and reset buttons. An exquisite watch from centuries-old English watchmakers.
The self-winding Aquatimer has 12-bar waterproofing, meaning you can take it scuba diving without incurring damage. The display is framed by a luminescent mechanical bezel and treated with an anti-reflective coating to limit glare. A durable and stylish watch.
Designed to master extreme situations, whether Arctic cold, Amazon humidity or Sahara heat, the Mission Earth is a rugged and reliable companion for those of you with a wild side. With an integrated shock absorber, water resistant to 12 bar and resistance to extreme magnetic fields, the watch is fitted with either a stainless steel bracelet or black rubber strap and uses anti-reflective sapphire glass.
Price: £4,850 (rubber), £5,550 (stainless steel)
The Squelette's metallised sapphire crystal skeleton dial displays almost all of its movement's complex workings, while remaining waterproof to 100m. A crocodile and calfskin leather strap adds class. A limited run of just 250 adds exclusivity.
The RAID was created to mark the 20th vintage car rally from Suisse to Paris. The watch's dial resembles the rev counter on the dashboard of the 1952 Jaguar XK 120, which won the RAID rally in 2009. Only 500 of this model have been made.
The most impressive of Tag's rugged Monaco remakes sports a stout PVD-coated case housing a Calibre 36 movement, built to resemble the cockpit cage of a 24-hour race car. The stripes on the watch face match the colours worn by Steve McQueen in the film Le Mans.
Link: Tag Heuer
The Ultra Thin is so named for a reason: the stainless steel or 18kt rose gold casing is only 7.6mm thick. Inside that svelte frame, the Tungsten rotor and movement is made up of 128 moving parts. Like your watches exclusive? Only 250 of these exist.
When keeping track of the moon is as important as keeping track of your schedule, look no further than the Arnold and Son True Moon. With a separate movement tracking the moon's 29 day month, the moon's phases are displayed through 18 revolving moon-shaped discs at the bottom of the face - we don't know how we lived without this.
Link: Arnold and Son
The Ball Engineer (quiet at the back) Hydrocarbon is crafted from stainless steel and titanium for extra hardiness. All Ball watches use tritium gas instead of luminescent paint, which Ball claim glows 100 times brighter than typical glow-in-the-dark paint and will keep your timepiece illuminated for over 25 years - even at minus 40 degrees or 300m below sea level.
Link: Ball Watch Engineer
No complicated bells and whistles here; the Bell and Ross BR01 has its roots in aviation, a heritage the folks at B&R have clearly channelled into the BR01's straightforward, seconds-minutes-hours design. Now happily available to those of us without our wings, the BR01 packs a sapphire crystal face and a hard-wearing rubber strap.
Link: Bell and Ross
Forget fancy bezels and chronographs - we've always known the future was digital. Packing some serious sci-fi cred, the Guru watch displays the time on a panel of LEDs set into a titanium frame. The strap is made from resin, and closes with a traditional clasp.
Link: Black Dice Industries
What's the point of splashing out on the car if no-one you meet knows about it? Breitling's joint venture with Bentley solves the problem of how to spot a Bentley owner out and about without their wheels. Bringing all of Breitling's horological know-how together with Bentley's designers, the Breitling for Bentley range is every bit as luxurious - and, ahem, pricey - as you'd expect.
Link: Breitling for Bentley
Breitling's first ever timepiece, still going strong today (albeit no longer restricted to the wrists of pilots). Launched in 1952, Breitling say its circular slide rule allows its wearer to perform "all airborne navigation calculations" - don't worry, it tells the time, too.
Link: Breitling Watches
With ownership generally restricted to members of HM armed forces, civvies wanting to sign up for a tour with the British Army's official timepiece have to go through its lone authorised retailer, Silvermans. As you'd expect from a watch that's seen action from Bosnia to Baghdad, it's pretty hardy, with an acrylic face, a steel body and a Swiss-made quartz movement.
Link: Cabot Watch Company
A special edition of the feature-heavy Citizen Skyhawk, this timepiece gets the blessing of the Red Arrows - surely the last word in aviation credibility. It's got chronometers, digital displays and spinny bezels coming out of its ears, but for our money the coolest feature is the time-keeping accuracy which is guaranteed by constant radio updates.
Link: Citizen Watches
A sporty, stainless steel-encased model from Dunhill, the Moonphase comes with a rubberised leather strap and a day-and-date display, as well as T3's new favourite feature in a watch: the all-important moon tracking display.
Another sharp-looking fashion watch, the Armani Ceramica is built from specially hardened ceramic with rose gold flourishes on the face and buttons. Its movement is Swiss-made Quartz and it rocks three chronographs, and despite its designer looks it won't cost you the Earth.
Link: Armani Watches
For the price you could be picking up a Rolex or a Tag, but Franck Muller's watches have that special something other luxury watches don't: madness. Available in a range of colours (but we like the slightly saucy red and black number above), the Conquistador Grand Prix packs two chronographs and hand-stitched croc leather strap into its delightfully gaudy package.
Link: Franck Muller
If you're just a sucker for all things massive, look no further than the Swordfish Booster. Those over-sized dials on the front count 30 minutes and twelve hours separately from the main face, which is protected by steel and sapphire crystal, and the whole thing is held in place on the wrist by a rubber or crocodile leather strap.
Link: Graham London
A super-tough digital timepiece, the GShock range has always stood out on account of its chunky design and oversized casing. GShock's Classic line offers waterproof protection down to 200m, shock resistance and a range of colour schemes to suit sporty types and fashionistas alike.
Link: G Shock
The smartest in Boss' fashion watch lineup, the Red Gold Chronograph houses a quartz movement inside a black steel casing with red gold accents. On the face, Boss has furnished us with three chronographs, and the strap is black leather.
Link: Hugo Boss Watches
A perfect stocking filler for the man who is geeky, yet punctual. The Icon Watch emulates the blocky, pixelated look of yesteryear's Apple Macs - specifically, the "thinking" icon that cropped up when the machine was freaking out over some processor-intensive task. Of course, it's all about the spinning rainbow wheels these days, but nostalgic Apple fans can now at least buy a little token to remind them of the teeth-grinding frustration that went with watching your stone age computer try to do... well, anything, really.
Looking more like an ankle bracelet from a futuristic prison city than a watch, the Sensai Pure uses a combination of three colours of LEDs to report the hours, minutes and seconds in place of hands. The manufacturers website has a whole page explaining how to actually tell the time on the thing, but we're shallow enough to love it on looks alone.
Bringing a little bit of New York comic book colour to the Marc Jacobs watch line, this special edition 10th anniversary piece is so cool it has lightning bolts for hands and eschews numbers almost altogether. In their place, we get a funky stencilled skull design - less practical, but oodles more fashionable, dahling.
Link: Marc Jacobs Watches
Blacker as a particularly black night, the Black Ion Plated Chronograph is crafted entirely from black steel, from the bezel to the strap. There's also three chronographs lurking behind the mineral crystal face - some squinting may be required.
Link: Michael Kors
Inspired by the full-sized clocks in Swiss railway stations, the Mondaine Railway Evo is as minimalist a watch as you can get without removing the hands. Powered by a quartz movement, the iconic black-on-white design and red second hand has graced the London Design Museum and New York's Museum of Modern Art, and now your wrist.
Link: Mondaine Watches
A funky, retro-looking timepiece available in a range of day-glo colours, the Newton uses two rotating dots in place of hands (a big one for hours, a little one for seconds) and an LED to light up the face. While it might look light-hearted, under the hood its powered by a Swiss quartz movement for all the accuracy you'd expect from a watch that looks like it was designed on Tracey Island.
Link: Nixon Watches
The only modular watch on the list, the Nooka Zub 40 offers the discerning geek a choice of four coloured wrist bands and watch faces for some truly gaudy possibilities.
Link: Nooka Watches
What's cooler, astronauts or James Bond? It's the stuff playground arguments are made of, but when it's a toss up between Omega's Speedmaster moonwatch or the timepiece flaunted by Britain's sheckshiest shecret agent, we reckon its an even match. Features a sapphire crystal face for scratch resistance and a body waterproof to 600m. Does not feature a laser or remote detonator.
If you're popping off for a weekend jaunt into space, best be punctual about it. The Omega Speedmaster was the first watch on the moon, sported by the crew of Apollo 11 and of every NASA space flight since. In its fifty year career its had only minimal updates from the original steel-bodied Speedmaster, making this about as close as you're likely to get to your own small step for man.
Link: Omega Watches
Limited to just 3000 pieces, Oris' Bob Dylan tribute watch offers a stainless steel square case and a sapphire crystal front covering the silver signature of the man himself. But that's not all: as an extra incentive, Oris will also throw Bob Dylan's signature instrument - a Hohner Marine Band harmonica.
Link: Oris Watches
And now the wildcard; the watch with a pricetag to make oligarchs wince and sheikhs shake. At a staggering 1.5 million dollars, the Sky Moon Tourbillon calls itself the "world's most complicated watch", with 686 parts and a whole other face on the back of the casing for keeping track of the moon's phases. Alternatively, spend the money on a subscription to T3 for 24,030 years - you won't believe the watches we're reviewing in our 288,557th issue.
Link: Patek Phillipe
Powered by the sun's rays (the face is one big solar panel), the guru of Brit style Paul Smith reportedly took inspiration from bicycle spokes to come up with this latest word in horological design. Comes with a red and black rubber strap and - of course - the Paul Smith signature on the face.
Link: Paul Smith Watches
Another timekeeper straight off the set of Blade Runner, Phillipe Starck's Unisex Digital Watch has the honour of being the only watch on our list without a proper watch face. Instead, the LED time display emanates eerily from the watch's resin case. Phillipe Starck? Tony Stark, more like.
Link: Phillipe Starck
Hewn from solid titanium, Porsche's traditionally understated design is all present and correct on its P'6530 chronograph. As sleek as it is hardy (the face is, of course, sapphire crystal), it's water resistant to 60m, but would-be owners will have to get in quick - Porsche are releasing just 911 pieces, in honour of the original Porsche chronograph's 30th anniversary.
Link: Porsche Design
Pioneering the current fashion for ceramics in watch design, the Rado Ceramica is ceramic right down to the strap. Rock-hard construction aside, there's three chronographs on the face and the strap and back are specially treated for comfort on the wrist.
Link: Rado Ceramica
Before Omega started looking into sending watches into space, the bods at Rolex had a more humble goal: to create the first water resistant watch. Invented in 1926, Brit swimmer Mercedes Gleitze swam the channel in ten hours wearing a Rolex Oyster in 1927, and it's been the darling of big business types and shady internet resellers ever since.