Beautiful ocean-inspired fine watches to keep on board
by Zoe Dickens
Any fine watch brand worth its salt now offers a roster of diving watches and regatta timepieces showing off technical complications and impressive waterproof capabilities. However, if your marine interests lie more in aesthetics than functionality, a Metiers d’Art timepiece that takes its cues from the ocean could be the perfect piece to add to your collection. Scroll down for our edit of the finest sea-inspired watches…
Ulysse Nardin Classico Zheng He
Created in tribute to Chinese maritime history, the newest addition to Ulysse Nardin's Classico collection depicts the Zheng He Treasure Boat in traditional enamel cloisonné. The Treasure Boat (or Bao-Chuan) was an enormous 137 metre long ship belonging to the fleet of admiral Zheng He, an early-15th century explorer or mariner who led a number of pioneering voyages throughout Southeast Asia, Africa and Arabia. With a 55 metre beam, the ships offered space for 500 crew, nine masts and four decks, as well as the precious cargo Zheng He brought back from his voyages.
Case: 18 carat rose gold, 40mm
Movement: Calibre UN-815 mechanical self-winding
Waterproof: 50 metres
Limited edition: 30
Price: CHF39,800, ulysse-nardin.com
Breguet Marine Équation Marchante 5887
If you’re after something with a more subtle marine influence Breguet’s aptly named collection has much to offer. The 5887 is a particularly fine example and boasts a fashionable blue dial engraved with a delicate wave pattern while the second hand is finished with an anchor pointer. Housed in a 950 platinum case complications include a perpetual calendar, leap-year cycle, power reserve aperture and tourbillon.
Case: 950 platinum, 43.8mm
Movement: Calibre 581DPE mechanical self-winding
Waterproof: 100 metres
Price: $230,400, breguet.com
Van Cleef & Arpels Lady Arpels Zodiac Pisces
Hailing from the Poetic Astronomy range of Van Cleef & Arpels Extraordinary Dials collection, the Lady Arpels Zodiac Pisces timepiece pays homage to the most aquatic of the twelve zodiac signs. Two diamond fish are surrounded by mother-of-pearl waves and yellow gold and diamond stars on an engraved white gold and enamel dial that is, in turn, framed by white diamonds.
Case: White gold, 38mm
Strap: Alligator leather
Movement: Calibre 830P mechanical self-winding
Limited edition: 22
Price: £97,000, vancleefarpels.com
Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tribute Enamel The Great Wave
For its latest range of Métiers d'Art timepieces, Jaeger-LeCoultre took inspiration from some of the world's most famous paintings, including Katsushika Hokusai's The Great Wave Off Kanagawa. The ocean-themed masterpiece has been delicately guillochéd to the dial before being carefully enamelled to achieve the deep blue of the waves and expressive colours of the original artwork. Framed by the Art Deco-style case of the Reverso, the timepiece is a must-have for art lovers and a brilliant showcase of Jaeger-LeCoultre's craftsmanship.
Case: 18 carat white gold
Limited edition: 8
Price: POA, jaeger-lecoultre.com
Blancpain Villeret Shakudo Coelacanth
Unveiled in 2015 as part of Blancpain’s on-going commitment to and mastery of Japanese Shakudo engraving, this unique timepiece depicting the critically endangered coelacanth fish also highlights the brand’s environmental contributions through its Ocean Commitment programme. Crafted in a wide 45mm case, the incredibly detailed engraving is allowed to shine through with little in the way of distractions from date window, tourbillons or other dial ephemera.
Case: 18ct red gold, 45mm
Strap: Alligator leather
Movement: Calibre 15B manual wound
Waterproof: 30 metre
Limited edition: 1
Price: $160,600, blancpain.com