Best Watches of 2013 by Michael Weare

Michael Weare’s Personal “Best Watches of 2013″


by Michael Weare

As this is a personal review of watches for 2013, I am going to give my reasons for liking the watches I have chosen, rather than the product points the manufacture would like you to emphasise. Choosing 20 watches would have been easier than five, and I just couldn’t stop at five so I have chosen seven. You may not think it’s a magnificent seven, but it’s my seven.

My choices could have been easily overlooked in the rush to pore over some of the major watch releases of this year, many of which were superlative, but I love watches which determinedly plough their own course, often at the expense of harsh criticism and withering put downs. The selection below is also an honest selection, not one to impress fellow watch journalists, but my genuine, like it or loathe it choices.

Best Watches of 2013 – Pierre DeRoche Grand Cliff Pure

This addition to the Grand Cliff series by Valle de Joux watchmakers Pierre DeRoche was released in April of this year. It’s a brand founded by star crossed lovers Pierre and Carole Dubois, who met at watchmaking school and gazed at each other dreamily through their loupes. I love the fact that this watch is so blessedly simple. While I admire complications I never have any use for them. I sit at a computer all day, I don’t need a split second Flyback chronograph or a gravity defying tourbillon to assist in split second edits on Microsoft Word, and I have yet to meet anyone who has used a tachymetre. The watch retains the signature lugs of the GrandCliff series and I love the strident blue hands against the brilliant white dial and the simple power reserve indicator. It is indeed pure. (www.pierrederoche.com)

Pierre Deroche Grand Cliff Pure

Pierre Deroche Grand Cliff Pure

Best Watches of 2013 – March LA.B AM3 Shelby Cobra LE Watch

March LA.B is a Swiss-made luxury timepiece brand with headquarters in Los Angeles, California and Biarritz, France. Earlier in the year they released a watch paying homage to the legendary Shelby Cobra’s 50th anniversary. Called the AM3 50th Anniversary Shelby Cobra watch, this special piece was produced in a limited run of just 50, one for each year of the vehicle it celebrates. It features a beguiling black case and matte black dial with custom Shelby Cobra Anniversary logo and Carroll Shelby signature in gold. I love it because it mirrors the dashboard of the sports car, and I long to take an American road trip powering along empty dusty trails in just such a car. Powered by an ETA 2892 A movement, like other watches in the AM3 range, it’s not a large watch, just 38mm, and at only $2,993 it is also something of a bargain. (www.march-lab.com)

March LA.B AM3 Shelby Cobra LE watch

March LA.B AM3 Shelby Cobra LE watch

Best Watches of 2013 – Linde Werdelin Oktopus II Titanium Red

The London based boys really pulled this one out of the bag. It’s the most gorgeous Linde Werdelin watch to date in my humble opinion. The Linde Werdelin Oktopus II Titanium Red is an excellent new look for a superb series. The watch features a titanium colour dial while the case is crafted in lightweight titanium with a satin finish and a black ceramic bezel to afford powerful scratch resistance. The titanium colour dial serves to heighten the finishing and enhance the contrast between the red details and the black ceramic bezel. A big date in double wheels is powered by a highly finished Dubois Depraz custom-made automatic movement. Who wouldn’t gaze in awe at the lustrous depths of this watch on your wrist, quite unlike any diver’s watch that’s out there. (www.lindewerdelin.com)

Linde Werdelin Oktopus II Titanium Red

Linde Werdelin Oktopus II Titanium Red

Best Watches of 2013 – Bremont Codebreaker

Having said I don’t need a Flyback Chronograph, this watch has one. It’s inspired by a classic 40’s officers watch. The back story to this watch is even more interesting than the watch itself. It contains elements taken from the supposedly undecipherable German messaging machine the Enigma, but the Germans reckoned without Alan Turing and his team at Bletchley Park. They secretly cracked the codes and were able to end the war at least two years early. The Bremont Codebreaker is a Flyback Chronograph GMT automatic movement watch released in 240 pieces in stainless steel and 50 in rose gold. The caseback of the watch is designed to replicate the drum of the bombe machine that aided in the cracking of the codes. Bremont continue to go from strength to strength, and being just a five minute walk from GCHQ where the old punchcards for the bombe machine were found, I feel an affinity with this watch. (www.bremont.com)

Bremont Codebreaker

Bremont Codebreaker

Best Watches of 2013 – Vacheron Constantin Toledo 1951

The shape, the colour, the elegance, the simplicity, the era, the brand. This watch has everything going for it. Please, please buy me this watch. (www.vacheron-constantin.com)

Vacheron Constantin Toledo 1951

Vacheron Constantin Toledo 1951

Best Watches of 2013 – Original Grain Wooden Watch

As major Swiss watch brands continue to explore precious metals, ceramics, plastics and metal derivates, Original Grain is a fledgling American brand that seeks the reassuring timelessness of wood, introduced to their watches very much in the same way as walnut dashboards in vintage sports cars. I have always wanted a car with a walnut dashboard, so for me this watch is a placating substitute. I was asked to assist in the launch of these watches on Watchuseek and I was impressed by the passion, the care and the quality that has gone into the making of them. The watches are 43mm in size powered by a Japanese Miyota quartz movement, used to power a number of ultra reliable Citizen watches. It will be interesting to see how the brand fares. (www.originalgrain.com)

Original Grain Wooden Watch

Original Grain Wooden Watch

Best Watches of 2013 – Manu Propria Splendor Sangre Date

Flinally, this watch received plenty of flak when I featured it a few months ago, but my inner magpie likes the blood red dial against the shimmering mirror polished stainless steel as well as the pillow shaped dial of the Splendor series. Angular Momentum and Manu Propria is an exclusive one man brand based in Bern, Switzerland. The watches are bespoke and made by hand by Martin Pauli. He doesn’t advertise, all his commissions come by word of mouth. Even though the watch looks simple and straightforward, it will be costly due to the massive amount of work that has gone into the making of it. As Michael Caine once observed about Savile Row suits, it doesn’t matter if others think it’s just a suit, only you will know and love the astonishing level of craftsmanship that went into creating it. (www.angularmomentum.com)

Manu Propria Splendor Sangre Date

Manu Propria Splendor Sangre Date

This article is part of “Best Watches of 2013” series for DreamChrono Blog :

http://blog.dreamchrono.com/2014/01/best-womens-watches-of-2013-by-tracey-llewellyn/ (2013 Picks of Tracey Llwellyn)
http://blog.dreamchrono.com/2014/01/best-watches-of-2013-by-matthew-boston/ (2013 Picks of Matthew Boston)
http://blog.dreamchrono.com/2013/12/best-watches-of-2013-by-amr-sindi/ (2013 Picks of Amr Sindi)
http://blog.dreamchrono.com/2013/12/best-watches-of-2013-by-angus-davies/ (2013 Picks of Angus Davies)
http://blog.dreamchrono.com/2013/12/best-watches-of-2013-by-ken-kessler/ (2013 Picks of Ken Kessler)
http://blog.dreamchrono.com/2013/12/best-watches-of-2013-by-eduard-osipov/ (2013 Picks of Eduard Osipov)

    Author Bio

    Articles by Michael Weare

    CONTRIBUTOR

    Michael Weare hails from an international advertising agency background where he handled several well known and highly desirable watch brands; handled, but sadly never got to keep. However it's this exposure that gave him a lasting fascination for watches. Michael was Editor of Click Tempus for over 2.5 years and is now in the same role at Watchuseek, the web's largest watch forum.