Time on His Hands

New men’s watches shone at 2005’s Swiss watch fairs—literally. There are more men’s timepieces this year with diamond bezels and accents, like those in Wittnauer’s Orpheum series and Marine Star Collection, the classic square Roman Time watches of Pippo Italia, and Longines’s automatic tonneau Evidenza Diamond chronographs. “We’re seeing interest in diamond bezels in all [geographic] markets,” noted Lisa Roman, Breitling USA marketing director. “Generally, the interested consumer is older, in his 40s, and wants to add a little sparkle” to his accessories and lifestyle.

Hank Edelman, president of Patek Philippe USA—whose rectangular black Gondolo with diamond bezel and matching cufflinks is one of its three new men’s diamond watches—agreed there is increased acceptance. “More men now are looking at dress watches and watches with diamonds than in the past,” he noted, “but we find it’s the simple, elegant designs that work best.”

For Men. Meanwhile, brands that are usually associated with women’s timepieces are widening their market reach by adding some men’s watches to their offerings. Chanel, for example, has launched its SuperLeggera, with aluminum bracelet. Burberry has several men’s lines, including its midprice Heritage series. Michele, the innovative fashion brand, unveiled the Turbina collection, its first automatic watch and its first for men. It includes a pavé version with 2.5 cts. of diamonds. Hermès’s Tandem Maxi has a larger size and dial (37 × 30.4 mm), to “underline the masculine character” of the watch.

Others are adding lines targeting successful young men. Ebel’s pink-gold Ebellissimo chronometers display their chronograph functions through apertures rather than counters. Baume & Mercier’s 39 mm automatic Classima Executives retro chronograph is based on a 1948 one-push-button chronograph, (also in a pink-gold limited series of 175 watch pieces to celebrate the brand’s 175th anniversary). Ritmo Mvndo, known for its stylish oversize unisex luxury watches, has added the automatic 41 × 50 mm Impero, its first watch exclusively for men. Rolex’s rectangular vintage-style Prince is a chronometer in gold. And for the man who wants a watch for all occasions, Dunhill’s automatic 40 mm Bobby Finder SP25 features interchangeable bezels for road or dress.

Platinum watches for men, though a tiny niche, are also increasing. Brands creating them include Rolex, Louis Vuitton, Tiffany, A. Lange & Söhne, Bulgari, Cartier, Chopard, Harry Winston, Jaeger-LeCoultre, and Franck Muller.

Big Designs. Big and oversize designs remain important to today’s masculine timepieces. Among many newcomers this year are Hublot’s powerful 44.5 mm automatic Big Bang chrono, with a ceramic bezel, lateral Kevlar inserts, carbon-fiber dial, and a tungsten oscillating weight (featuring cavities with black PVD treatment); Elini’s 47 mm Jumbo Diamond, with or without diamonds, with multicolor dials; Charriol’s extra-large Actor XL square chrono; Bell & Ross’s eye-catching 46 mm automatic BR 01 Instrument series, with rounded-square stainless-steel case and round dial based on cockpit gauges; Roger Dubuis’s limited-edition automatic 45 mm rose-gold Excalibur grand complications; and Glycine’s 46 mm automatic stainless-steel Lagunare, a COSC (Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres)–certified chronometer, with dials in black, blue, or orange. But the largest watch to debut this year is certainly Nautica’s N-MX 62, with a 62 mm case combining a chronograph (with date and second time zone) and an analog compass.