Despite what you’ve heard, the anti-“big watch” backlash has failed to temper our lust for massi ve timepieces. Yes, the flurry of ultra-thin models from 2010-2011 has resuscitated that format, with dress watches coming in at under 7mm thick. Yes, the time is up for watches 50mm or more in diameter. And it is absolutely true that there’s a groundswell of connoisseurs unimpressed by complications such as minute repeaters and perpetual calendars: the next wave of timepieces is rife with classic styles that only tell the hours, minutes and seconds, maybe with date thrown in for good measure.
Sport watches, though, remain immune to the downsizing craze, as seen in this selection of timepieces from the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH), recently held in Geneve. Its 18 exhibitors range from the “high jewellery” of Van Cleef & Arpels, Piaget and Cartier, to the blatantly butch offerings of Panerai, Richard Mille and IWC. In-between are tourbillons, diving watches, every manner of chronograph, classics like Jaeger LeCoultre’s Reverso and eye-openers such as Greubel Forsey’s GMT, with its tiny rotating globe to show you the time zone in 3D.
Call them dinosaurs, the Hummers of the watch world, but the big/bad/ bold and probably unbreakable chunks of steel or titanium or even gold that would stand proud on the wrists of Sly or Arnie continue to tempt us. After all, it’s the only jewellery a man can wear without causing raised eyebrows, even in these liberated times. So, allow us this one indulgence, eh, ladies?