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Feature: 3 Watches To Wear With a Suit

Everyone loves a good sports watch, but there’s nothing quite like a smart timepiece to spruce up a suit and tie. Smart watches can be a little, how do I say this, boring at times however—but that doesn’t have to be the case. Here are three examples to prove it.

IWC Da Vinci Automatic Edition 150 Years IW358102

Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci, or Leonardo da Vinci, was one of those annoying people who’s just good at everything. He painted perhaps the most famous paintings in the world, including the Mona Lisa and The Last Supper; he sketched the first depictions of internal organs ever from bodies he’d dissected himself; he invented paint by numbers as a means to train other painters; and he could even write backwards.

The man never had a day of training in his life; he was the kind of person who, after being demonstrated the results of several hard-earned years of guitar lessons, could immediately repeat what he was shown—but better. He was devastatingly, frustratingly talented. As if that wasn’t enough, he was also a keen inventor, and it was his sharp mind for problem-solving that inspired IWC’s Da Vinci watch way back in 1969.

The original IWC Da Vinci introduced the Beta 21 quartz movement, a first for Swiss watchmaking and the future of movement technology—just as Da Vinci himself progressed the use of springs in clockmaking several centuries prior. IWC’s Da Vinci then premiered the first mechanical perpetual calendar adjustable entirely by the crown, and additionally pioneered the ceramic case, in 1985 and 1986 respectively.

It’s these watches to which this new IWC Da Vinci pays its respects, as well as to the genius Leonardo, borrowing the style for its stepped, rounded case and hinged lugs from the 1985 perpetual calendar. This iteration keeps things clean, open dial demarcated with bold markings and broad hands inspired by the later IW3754 split-second Da Vinci.

The Da Vinci harks back to a sensitive time for IWC, a period where the brand was uncertain of its future, its compatriots falling left and right, and so to fit this modern-day edition with the in-house calibre 82200 feels entirely appropriate in celebrating the fact that IWC did not fall as well. It was a stubborn dedication to mechanical watchmaking in the 1985 Da Vinci that saved the brand after all.

Harry Winston Midnight 450-MA42W

Despite sounding like the lead in a Guy Ritchie film, Harry Winston was actually a respectable jeweller and founder of the eponymous brand. Okay, so he had a bit of an obsession with large gemstones, but unlike Turkish and Tommy, Winston’s ownership of the $250 million Hope Diamond culminated in its donation to the Smithsonian Institution rather than a spell at the vets.

Although the brand has long been established as a purveyor of sparkly things, it has also more recently made a name for itself making watches. And not just any old watches—incredible watches. I’m talking about the Opus collection, a platform for up-and-coming watchmakers to demonstrate high-concept ideas without any kind of budget looking over their shoulders.

You may have heard of some of these watchmakers: there’s François-Paul Journe, Vianney Halter, Christophe Claret, Felix Baumgartner, Greubel Forsey; the list goes on. Of course, these watches are as expensive as you’d expect, if not more, but there’s still an opportunity to own a slice of that incredible story thanks to Harry Winston’s more down-to-Earth watch collections.

This white gold example comes from the Midnight series, and despite being a fairly simple watch to behold, makes good of a handful of quirky little details to carry the essence of the madness that is the flagship Opus series.

Nothing is quite as you’d expect; the 42mm case, for example, which thanks to a thin bezel and almost non-existent lugs, wears exactly how you’d want it to despite its size. Then there are the missile-shaped hands, the logo at twelve, the signature three strips above the crown. It’s not overly dramatic or in-your-face, but you still get the sense that this is something a bit special.

The slenderness of this watch, part of the reason it doesn’t wear as its diameter would suggest, could easily have come from an ETA movement, but instead it is the rather exceptional Girard-Perregaux calibre GP 3300 inside, finished in-house by Harry Winston to a standard befitting a watch of this level. It could have had an in-house calibre instead, but it’s already sweet enough.

Glashütte Original Senator Panorama Date Moon Phase 100-04-05-12-30

Not every watch worth considering need come from Switzerland, as demonstrated a number of times over in the German valley town of Glashütte. As the name suggests, Glashütte Original is one of the watchmakers flying the flag for German watchmaking, originating, as the name suggests again, from a compendium of watchmakers that established watchmaking in the region.

These Glashütte watchmakers had been nationalised and amalgamated during World War II, and this included A. Lange & Söhne, which separated again in 1994. What remained became the Glashütte Original we know today, a partisan for the traditional Saxony way of making watches like this Senator Panorama Date Moon Phase.

Open space and crisp, hard angles are the Germanic way, and the Senator Panorama breaks no new ground in that respect. It’s a look we’ve come to appreciate, functionality setting a precedent over everything else; there’s no mistaking a German watch when you see one. The moonphase and big date complications, for example, may look like they’ve been placed at the convenience of construction—and that’s because they have. And why not? It’s a sensible thing to do.

But it’s not all utilitarian austerity, because behind this serious façade lies something a bit more extravagant, something that gives the watchmakers of Glashütte Original the opportunity to let their hair down and, quite frankly, show off. Well, I call it showing off, Glashütte Original calls it the calibre 100-04.

If you’re not expecting to see the calibre 100-04, it can be quite the surprise. That this sombre watch can be so bold and colourful on the inside is a delightful little secret shared between only the maker and the owner. The use of 22-carat gold on the rotor weight, the striping on the three-quarter plate, and the swan-neck regulator on the balance all lift this watch to a level that’s keeping the Swiss quite firmly on their toes.

If you’ve always fancied a simple, serious watch to add to your collection, but just can’t find something that doesn’t bore you to tears, perhaps these three will give you some food for thought and revitalise your interest in something a bit smart.

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