Black tie watches may look slick with a suit and the best diving watches certainly have their uses but, if you're really looking to turn heads, investing in one of these show-stopping futuristic watches is the way forward, says Simon de Burton.
Max Büsser doesn’t make watches, he makes “horological machines”, and the F in his company’s name represents the friends who help to design them. The HM8 was inspired by the early years of Can-Am car racing, with a side-on time display for easy reading at the wheel and a framework reminiscent of a roll cage.
Case: White gold and titanium, 49x51.5mm
Movement: HM8 automatic
Price: £78,000, mbandf.com
Harry Winston Midnight Big Date
Harry Winston’s “fine timepieces” division pushes horological boundaries by using new materials such as Zalium (its own patented alloy) and developing innovative, high complication movements. The Midnight Big Date in white gold is one of its more conservative creations.
Case: White gold, 42mm
Movement: Calibre HW3101 automatic
Waterproof: 30 metres
Price: £19,600, harrywinston.com
Founded by a tycoon whose loves include high tech and motorsport as well as watches, Rebellion runs its own endurance racing team and produces a low-volume range of complex wristwatches. Its new T-1000 boasts a power reserve of 1,000 hours – it will run for more than 40 days without being rewound.
Case: Titanium, 46.7x46.9mm
Movement: REB T-1000 manual winding
Price: £125,000, rebellion-timepieces.com
Greubel Forsey Art Piece 2
Many aficionados believe Greubel Forsey makes the finest watches in the world – and it does so at the rate of no more than 100 per year. The second of its Art Piece watches demonstrates its mastery of the tourbillon (the mechanism that contains the escapement in a tiny, revolving cage to counteract the effect of gravity).
Case: White gold
Movement: Double tourbillon 30 degrees
Price: £590,000, greubelforsey.com
De Bethune Dream Watch 5.2
Watches don’t come much more futuristic than this De Bethune, which is said to have been inspired by the shape of a precious stone. Formed from half spheres of steel and titanium, it contains a minimalist mechanism that displays the time digitally through a pair of revolving discs set with a gold, revolving miniature moon.
Case: Black zirconium, 30mm
Movement: Calibre DB2144 mechanical
Price: £176,400, debethune.ch
Urwerk EMC Time Hunter
Urwerk’s remarkably unorthodox watches mix sci-fi design with brilliant micro-engineering. The EMC Time Hunter combines a mechanical movement and a battery-less, electronic device that monitors the accuracy of the watch, enabling the wearer to adjust the amplitude of the escapement to his or her lifestyle. Genius.
Case: Titanium, 51mm
Movement: Calibre UR-EMC2 manual wound
Waterproof: 30 metres
Price: £110,000, urwerk.com