The headline stories from a year in watches proved that blue remains horology’s go-to hue – from Patek Philippe's new cobalt pilot’s watch and Tudor's Black Bay Fifty-Eight Navy Blue, to Rolex's largest-ever, cerulean-and-gold Submariner
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Overseas Perpetual Calendar Ultra-thin, Vacheron Constantin
The skeletonised version of Vacheron Constantin’s Overseas Perpetual Calendar Ultra-thin was named Best Calendar and Astronomy Watch at the 2020 Grand Prix de Haute Horlogerie – aka the Oscars of the Watch World. Like it’s skeletal sister, this solid dial version displays the time, date, day of the week, month of the year and will tell you whether or not we’re in a leap year. It won’t need correcting until 2100. The watch also represents the first time Vacheron Constantin has married a blue-lacquered dial with a pink gold case. Included in the price is a matching pink-gold bracelet, blue alligator leather strap and, most agreeable of all, a blue rubber band (as seen in the main image above).
Submariner Date in Oystersteel and yellow gold, Rolex
Unsurprisingly, it was Rolex's new Submariner that caused the biggest buzz among watch quarters in 2020. Case sizes of both Date and No-date models were upped from 40mm to 41mm – making them the largest Submariners Rolex has ever produced. No-date models now house 70-hour power reserve movements, matching the efficiency of Date models, which received internal upgrades in 2015. The Submariner Date above marries Rolex’s Oystersteel with a yellow gold ringed bezel and sold-link contrast bracelet. Good luck getting your hands on one.
7234G 001 Pilot's Watch, Patek Philippe
Proving that Patek Philippe's repertoire extends beyond pared-back dress watches is the brand’s Calatrava Pilot Travel Time. The watch kicked up quite the stink among Patek Philippe purists when it debuted during Baselworld 2015 – its sporty styling and retro indices charged with being resolutely un-Patek-like (despite the fact that the timepiece was based on a Patek Philippe pilot’s watch from the 1930s). In 2018, the 7234G was slimmed down to 37.5mm and offered in rose gold. This year, the same-sized model arrives in white-gold, a material you'd not typically associate with serious tool watches. Then again, this isn't just a tool watch - this is a Patek Philippe tool watch.
BR 05 Chrono Blue Steel, Bell & Ross
This year, French-Swiss horologist Bell & Ross expanded its BR 05 line (introduced last year) with a slew of new luxury sports timepieces. In addition to a two-tone steel-and-gold number, and a full-on rose gold power watch, the brand also introduced its first chronograph to the collection. In reference to the original luxury steel sports watches from the 1970s, two snailed counters – a chronograph minute counter at 9 o'clock and small seconds at 3 o'clock – lend the new BR05 Chrono a neo-retro look. A polished and brushed steel case contrasts against a midnight blue sunray dial and matching blue rubber strap. A screw-down crown means you can take the watch to a depth of 100 metres. A sapphire crystal case-back displays an automatic ETA-adapted movement.
Black Bay Fifty-Eight Navy Blue, Tudor
If one watch rivalled the ruckus made by Rolex’s new Submariner in 2020 then this was it. With brand ambassador David Beckham helping whip watch areas of Instagram into a frenzy, Tudor’s new Black Bay Fifty-Eight Navy Blue proved to be the affordable tool watch of the year. For £2,520, you get a dive watch that’s waterproof to 200 metres and one that's guaranteed to run to an accuracy of between -2 and +4 seconds a day. You also get the choice of two fabric straps. Little wonder that the timepiece picked up the prize for Best Watch under CHF 4,000 at the 2020 Grand Prix de Haute Horlogerie.
Carrera Sport Chronograph, TAG Heuer
It was through Pedro and Ricardo Rodriguez, two racing drivers from Mexico, that Jack Heuer came to hear of the Carrera Panamericana – a five-day, 3,500km road race initiated by the Mexican government in 1950 to advertise the recently-finished Pan-American Highway. In 1962, the word – meaning ‘race’ or ‘contest’ in Spanish – appeared on the dial of a highly-legible, 36mm chronograph with recessed sub-dials and raised baton hour markers. This year, to mark the brand’s 160th anniversary, TAG Heuer launched a range of new Carreras. This, the Carrera Sport Chronograph, features a 44-mm case in fine-brushed, polished steel with a blue dial and bezel. An in-house, automatic column-wheel chronograph movement boasts a praiseworthy 80-hour power reserve. The watch has form on the track – early models appeared on the wrists of racing stars Jo Siffert and Derek Bell.