Going DigitalDigital displays, once found primarily in low-priced mass-market watches, are being used by more upscale watchmakers in inventive designs, combined with analogs and even as high-fashion watches. “The digital watch has returned to fine Swiss watchmaking,” declared Pierre Nobs, chief executive of Ventura, whose upscale, patented V-Tech Alpha is a sleek, minimalist multi-function watch. The wearer scrolls through functions—shown on the display’s lower line, with the hour on the upper—by turning a small roll bar in the case and pressing it for what he wants.
A notable analog/digital is TAG Heuer’s reversible-case Monaco 69, a “concept watch” due out next year. The classic Monaco analog design (mechanical) is on one side, with a high-tech digital chrono (quartz) on the other. Other interesting analog/digitals include Fendi’s gent’s Grand Tonneau, whose small digital at “12” has alarm, second time zone, and chrono features; Tissot’s seven-time-zone chrono; Junghans’s solar-powered Spektral Mega Star; and Hamilton’s limited-edition movie tie-in “SWAT” watch.
In fashion, a stylish time-only digital is Danish designer Jacob Jensen’s bracelet series for men and women. Youth-oriented designer Marc Ecko’s Vintage LED is an oversized digital under a rhino-logo cover. Chanel’s chic bracelet Chocolat (some with diamonds) shows time in 24-hour format in four tiny windows, two atop the others, the same size as its gold links. Its control button is in back. “We wanted to create jewelry that tells time, in a jewelry bracelet where others can’t see the watch, but the wearer can,” said Nicolas Beau, Chanel’s international director of horology.