This is a guest post by Ben Winstanley, Deputy Editor at the London-based luxury lifestyle publication Square Mile. It is meant to announce the winners of their latest watch awards.
Square Mile Watch Awards 2019
In Association With Rémy Martin | Meet The Winning Watches
Watchmaking is an artform. The bare bones of it may consist of nothing more than a smattering of precious materials — some no larger than a grain of rice — but the journey that transforms these tiny pieces into the watches we wear proudly on our wrists is a thrilling confluence of science, craft, and history. Few walks of life offer this unique balance — and that’s what keeps us watch geeks hooked.
As with all art, however, it’s a daunting world for the uninitiated: plenty of people can appreciate a good timepiece, but wouldn’t necessarily know where to start in buying one for themselves.
That’s why we created the Square Mile Watch Awards in 2018. We wanted to compile an annual list of the latest and greatest examples of watchmaking, chosen by a panel of 12 industry experts, to help watch-lovers of every age and experience decide on their next timepiece.
This year’s winners were announced at a gala ceremony in the City of London on 17 October, attended by some of the biggest names in the industry, including honorary guest Jean-Claude Biver.
Feast your eyes on the winners below:
Watch Of The Year, In Association With Creed
The 2019 Watch of the Year rethinks one of the classic complications — bringing true functionality, innovation and cool design to the world of perpetual calendars. In the words of our judges, Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Twin Beat Perpetual Calendar will have made its competitor brands deeply envious.
The Icon, In Association With Heathrow VIP
The Icon award is one of the most hotly contested categories in the Square Mile Watch Awards, pitting the classics of watchmaking against one another. This year, the award goes to a timepiece that started as a concept watch in 2018 and is now one of the most genuinely exciting models in the brand’s collection.
The Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar Ultra Thin was in development for five years. It was worth the wait.
Military-Inspired, In Support Of Help For Heroes
Inspired by a rare and little-known vintage piece, the winner of this year’s military-inspired watch award goes to a timepiece that has kept all the right design cues from the original in a more contemporary case size.
It’s particularly exciting to see Blancpain reach out of its dive watch comfort zone.
Technical Innovation, In Association With TUMI
Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Twin Beat Perpetual Calendar
Vacheron Constantin has come up with a brilliant solution to a perennial problem and presented it in a typically elegant package.
The Traditionnelle Twin Beat Perpetual Calendar might solve a niche problem, but its solution is as ingenious as it is beautiful to look at.
Best Value, In Association With CV Villas
This was the year that confirmed once and for all the belief that the Black Bay collection is the most significant of the last decade. When a new model lands, everyone pays attention — including our judges.
The Tudor Black Bay Bronze was a raving success when it launched in 2016, but the new slate-gray colorway is an altogether different prospect — bringing an austere elegance to this excellent-value timepiece.
Women’s Watches, In Association With Rob Van Helden
All too rarely do the high-end independent watch manufacturers take on women’s watches, but this brand has executed theirs with wit, flair and exquisite finishing. It’s everything we’ve come to expect from MB&F.
The Legacy Machine Flying T is in a field of its own.
Best Complication, In Association With Swiss Kubic
Bulgari makes incredible horology seem effortless — and, once again, it has found the perfect blend of engineering and design genius.
The Octo Finissimo is rapidly becoming a new horological icon, and the Chronograph GMT Automatic might just be the best — and is certainly the most practical — addition yet.
Heritage, In Association With Ettinger
Breitling has given the fans what they were crying out for, with a reissue of one of the most important watch designs ever — and they’ve done it beautifully.
More perfect imitation than brand-new timepiece, the Navitimer Ref. 806 1959 Re-Edition is sure to be a smash hit.
Independent Watchmaker, In Association With Innerplace
Comparisons in this category are almost impossible, but the consistent ambition, quality and volume of Chopard watch output, for both men and women, has been deeply impressive in 2019.
Readers’ Award, In Association With Oeno Wines
In a year of phenomenal new timepieces and pristine reissues, Square Mile’s readers have selected their favourite new watch. The winner is a brand that needs no introduction, other than this: Here, Patek Philippe has taken an already incredibly coveted design and made it even better.
The Ref.5172G-001 Chronograph is the perfect blend of contemporary and vintage good looks.
Urban Jürgensen Jürgensen One Collection
Rewriting the blueprint of how a sport watch looks and feels isn’t easy. That’s mainly because watchmaking royalty Gerald Genta remains the preeminent influence behind almost every sporty watch nearly 50 years after his feverish creative period in the 1970s, but Urban Jürgensen has resisted his magnetic pull to create something altogether different in 2019.
The sports watch is a timeless timepiece, but in the new Jürgensen One it has a fresh face that stands proudly apart from its forebears.
Lifetime Achievement Award, In Association With Remy Martin
This year, our lifetime achievement award goes to an individual whose influence on the watch industry is simply unrivaled.
This is the man who was responsible for the rebirth of Blancpain, for the monumental growth of Hublot, for putting the first Omega on James Bond, and for helping save the luxury watch industry from the quartz crisis. Harvard Business School has devoted a two-part case study exclusively to his career. There are, frankly, not enough superlatives.
He is, of course, the incomparable Mr Jean-Claude Biver.
Square Mile magazine was created in 2005 and is the leading luxury lifestyle publication for the City of London. It is distributed every month to nearly 60,000 affluent business people working in the financial services industry.