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Out of the box: Remarkable watches crafted from unusual materials

There are some watches - say a great diving watch or sturdy everyday timepiece - the require tough materials like stainless steel or titanium. There are other times (weddings, black tie events etc) when only gold or platinum will do. However, if your collection is already brimming with these then perhaps it's time to invest in something a little more unusual. Show the world what makes you tick, with a watch crafted from remarkable and unusual materials, says Simon de Burton...

Richard Mille RM 50-03 Tourbillon McLaren F1

Weighing just 40g, the RM 50-03 celebrating Richard Mille’s long-term partnership with McLaren is the lightest, split-seconds chronograph in the world. Its case is made from a carbon-based material called Graph TPT which is claimed to be six times lighter than steel and 200 times stronger.

Case: Graph TPT, 44.5x49.65mm
Strap: Fabric
Movement: Calibre RM50-03 manual winding
Limited edition: 75
Price: £737,000, richardmille.com

Bulgari Octo Finissimo

Bulgari has created numerous versions of its eight-sided Octo during the past couple of years, including several thin and ultra-thin variations. This skeletonised titanium model is ultra light, scratch- and corrosion-resistant and powered by a simple and robust self-winding movement that makes it suitable for daily wear.

Case: Extra-thin titanium, 40mm
Strap: Titanium
Movement: BVL 138 automatic
Waterproof: 30 metres
Price: £11,900, bulgari.com

Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Meteorite

Pierre Jaquet-Droz was an 18th century watch and automaton maker whose mechanical marvels were popular in the Far East. The modern-day brand remains big in Asia – hence the “lucky eight” layout of this model’s off-centre display, which is mounted on a dial made from a sliver of genuine meteorite.

Case: 18k red gold, 43mm
Strap: Alligator
Movement: Jaquet Droz 2663A.P self-winding
Waterproof: 30 metres
Limited edition: 88
Price: £20,450, jaquet-droz.com

Hublot Big Bang Meca-10

This version of the celebrated Big Bang gets its Meca-10 name from the fact that it contains an in-house movement featuring 10 days of power reserve. It’s also unusual in having a case and bezel made with Hublot’s own scratch-resistant material that is created by reinforcing pure gold with ceramic.

Case: Magic gold, 45mm
Strap: Rubber
Movement: HUB1201 manual-winding
Waterproof: 100 metres
Limited edition: 200
Price: £28,700, hublot.com

Ulysse Nardin Freak Vision

Ulysse Nardin’s Freak caused a sensation when it was unveiled at the Basel show in 2001, debuting a movement that rotates on its own axis to indicate the time. This latest version uses a silicium and nickel balance and the brand’s special “grinder” self-winding system that is activated by the slightest of movements.

Case: Platinum, 45mm
Strap: Leather or sailcloth
Movement: Calibre UN-250
Waterproof: 30 metres
Price: CHF95,000, ulysse-nardin.com

Zenith El Primero Range Rover Velar

Zenith’s homage to the Range Rover Velar takes the form of an El Primero chronograph with a ceramicised aluminium case and a brushed dial highlighted by copper-coloured details. The strap is made from the same leather used for the car’s upholstery and is subtly patterned with a Union flag design.

Case: Ceramicised aluminium, 42mm
Strap: Rubber coated with calfskin
Movement: El Primero 400 B automatic
Waterproof: 100 metres
Price: £7,200, zenith-watches.com

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