Luxury watch brands are riding a vintage-inspired trend at the moment and have started introducing watches inspired by vintage designs from their history.
We investigate the latest designs by some of the most luxurious brands in the world:
The TAG Heuer Monaco 1969
Launched simultaneously in Geneva and New York on 3rd March 1969, the Heuer Monaco was the first square, water-resistant automatic chronograph watch in the history of Swiss watchmaking.
Named by Jack Heuer following the Monaco Grand Prix, the watch represented a complete break from the aesthetic codes of traditional watchmaking, with its large square case, metallic blue dial, bright red minute hand, dome plastic crystal and, most notably, its crown positioned on the left which, at the time, meant the watch did not need winding.
With its track debut in 1970, on the wrist of the Swiss driver Jo Siffert, the following year it shared the cinematic limelight with Steve McQueen, who insisted on wearing it during filming for Le Mans in 1971.
Instantly recognisable and often copied, the McQueen Monaco has since become a much coveted watch on the auction and collectors’ circuit. The 2015 Monaco Calibre is a direct descendant of the 1969 original. The 39 mm size, the crown on the left, the legendary petroleum blue dial with two white counters, the date window at 6 o’clock, the diamond-polished horizontal hour indices the inscribed vintage Heuer logo, the calibre 11 automatic chronograph with date and water-resistance to 100 metres – all the attributes of the Monaco.
The three-part steel case is slightly more square on the 2015 version and closed with 4 screws, the two push-pieces at 2 and 4 o’clock are rectangular, the lugs a little larger, its calfskin strap perforated, the sapphire crystal and an open case-back, which reveals the gears of the calibre, are all features of the updated version.
Hermes Arceau Chrono Titane
It was in 1978 that Henri d’Origny created the Arceau model: a round watch that he decided to associate with asymmetrical lugs featuring a shape inspired by stirrups along with a distinctive and singular font. Since then, interpreted through countless evolutions and variations, the line has been perpetually renewed while remaining true to its original spirit.
Equipped with a chronograph function and a 41 mm beadblasted titanium case, this sportier version radiates an appealingly light air. Its sloping numerals give the impression of having been blown in on a playful breeze. The three counters and the date are harmoniously arranged.
Aesthetic characteristics inspired by saddle-making are showcased on both models, fitted with a natural Barenia calfskin strap, or with a black embossed Barenia calfskin strap, on which the saddle stitching and inimitable feel testify to the tradition of leather-making excellence cultivated by the Maison.
BVLGARI BVLGARI Lady
A watchmaking and stylistic revolution at its launch in 1977, the Bulgari Bulgari watch has since become a reference model. A sign of recognition among elegant ladies of Italian high society in the late 1970s, it has since returned to the forefront on their daughters’ wrists.
Its singularity lies as much in its style imbued with a timeless architecture recalling the columns of Ancient Rome, as in its extremely current, lively appeal, making it both a fashion accessory and a contemporary design piece. It now comes in three sizes – 26, 33 and 37 mm in diameter – fitted with alligator leather straps in vivid colours inspired by the precious stones for which Bulgari is renowned.
Each strap is easily interchangeable thanks to the system available on the straps of this new collection, so as to match every style. The cases are available in steel, 18kt pink gold/steel and 18kt pink gold versions. Several dial colour variations, and a version with gemset bezel, round off the many possibilities of adorning the wearer’s day and the result is an exquisitely playful and joyful way of approaching feminine watching as only Bulgari knows how.
La D de Dior
Barely after being unveiled in 2003, La D de Dior was set to become a women’s loyal companion. Easy to live with, it colours everyday life with its ornamental stone dials in green or lavender jade, turquoise, lapis-lazuli, opal and white or pink mother-of-pearl.
Designed in joyful contrasting or matching shades, its metal ribbon bracelets or lacquered leather straps display a very communicative happy mood. This year, La D de Dior Satine is adorned with a jewel bracelet made in Polish mesh.
Inspired by a handcrafted metalwork technique, the interweaving of chased gold threads with polished ones creates a precious piece of passementerie as supple as a fabric. Decorated with a sun-brushed dial and bezel set with brilliant-cut diamonds, La D de Dior Satine Tressee embellishes the wrist with a hypnotic gold ribbon.
Like one of the Maison’s meticulously lined garments, the reverse side of the bracelet reveals a décor identical to the topside that intensifies the pleasure of wearing the material. For its seasonal edition, La Mini D de Dior is more gourmand than ever. Lacquered in orange or bright pink right up to its dial, it abandons its horns in order to sport a wraparound strap.
Chopard Happy Sport
To celebrate its 25th anniversary, the collection enriched the repertoire of its stylistic versatility with the strength of a self-winding movement: the 09.01 C calibre specially developed for 30 mm feminine cases by Chopard Manufacture.
Equipped with this movement, new interpretations are being introduced in 2018 with the Happy Sport Manufacture, featuring a dial combining the tender charm of textured mother-of-pearl with dainty pastel shades; as well as the Happy Sport Oval Automatic which gives new life to the oval design of the Happy Sport in a revamped and incredibly contemporary version.
This creation bears witness to Chopard’s ever more seamless integration of its two centres of excellence – the result of a unique combination of the myriad skills and expertise contributing to the grandeur of watchmaking and jewellery.
The combined talents at the peak of their craft thus give rise to fresh Happy Sport interpretations, notably featuring the ancestral art of Urushi lacquer for the dials and Fleurisanne engraving for the movements.