Much attention is being paid to a certain smartwatch these days. But based on the record crowds that turned out for the annual gathering of traditional watch companies in Basel, Switzerland, last month, mechanical watches are as popular as ever. There may even be a bit of a surge underway, as the world’s media shines a new spotlight on the wrist in general. These five traditional watch brands, which range from more than 150 years old to less than a decade, are all available at Westime’s boutiques in Southern California. Each excelled during this year’s Basel fair at introducing mechanical watches that are innovative, exciting, and completely free of batteries and apps.
Glashutte Original Senator Observer
Returning to one of its pillars of expertise, this year Glashütte Original launches a new observation watch—historically used for navigation at sea—the Senator Observer. Luminous surfaces consisting of white gold and super-LumiNova make this new 44mm stainless steel timepiece easy to read in the absence of light. The matte black dial features a small seconds subdial, a panorama date display and power reserve (55 hours). The automatic movement’s exquisite finishing can be appreciated through the sapphire case back, where the brand’s fans will recognize the characteristic Glashütte three-quarter plate with stripe finish, a skeletonized rotor with 21-carat gold oscillating weight and the gold-plated double-G mark that distinguishes high-end mechanical watches. The Senator Observer is available with a black calfskin strap or with a polished stainless steel link bracelet.
Hublot Big Bang Ferrari Grey Ceramic
Hublot’s 10-year-old Big Bang timepiece forms the perfect foundation for its line of sports watches celebrating the legendary racing cars of Ferrari. A new 45mm model this year is the Big Bang Ferrari Grey Ceramic, inspired by the NART (North America Racing Team) livery. A distinctive Ferrari “grille” – a blackened mesh – dominates the dial and allows a glimpse into the automatic movement at the heart of the watch. The dial also features an appliqué of Ferrari’s prancing horse logo at 9 o’clock, while the minute counter and date window balance it at 3 o’clock. Rhodium-plated hands and indexes complement the grey ceramic case. Other subtle automotive themes include the five-spoke Ferrari wheel design on the rotor, and long chronograph pushers in titanium and rubber affixed much like the pedals of a car. The striped leather strap is equipped with an attachment system inspired by car seat belts, making it easily interchangeable. Only 250 timepieces will be made. For a closer look at this year’s design, please click here.
HYT catapulted onto the mechanical watch scene three years ago by developing a movement that displayed the time via fluid mechanics—fluorescent liquid flows through a capillary in pace with the passing of time. In the new 50-piece Skull limited edition, housed in a DLC titanium case measuring 51 mm, the fluid gives life to the skull-shaped movement itself. The capillary carrying bright green fluid surrounds the perimeter of the assertive skull dial to indicate the hour. It is powered along by the efforts of two vertical bellows that pump continuously. Meanwhile, the skull’s right eye indicates the power reserve with a series of translucent inserts that gradually darken as the watch nears the end of its 65 hours of power. The left eye hides a seconds dial. A subtle honeycomb pattern provides the background and adds depth to the eyes. Purposely omitted: a minutes indication. For a closer look at this year’s design, please click here.
The Omega Globemaster represents the brand’s most advanced mechanical movement in its history. In addition to having an independent lab measuring the performance of the watch in typical daily conditions (COSC), the Globemaster also undergoes tests to ensure it functions properly when exposed to strong magnetic fields. Omega’s reverence for precise performance is captured on the caseback, where an etching of an observatory cupola symbolizes Omega’s success in precision competitions from the last century. This 39-mm timepiece also harkens back to historic models by featuring the iconic pie-pan dial made famous by the Constellation models in 1952. Surrounding the dial and its central hour, minute, seconds hands, and date, is a fluted bezel. The automatic timepiece is available in steel, yellow gold or Segna gold, and presented on a bracelet or leather strap.
Zenith Academy Georges Favre-Jacot
For 150-year-old Zenith to name a watch after its founder Georges Favre-Jacot, a timepiece is bound to be truly remarkable. The so-named watch, Academy Georges Favre-Jacot, features the fusée and chain system more commonly employed in historical marine chronometers to maintain amplitude even as the power reserve winds down (constant force). The complicated, hand-wound timepiece is a COSC-certified El Primero caliber with a 50-hour power reserve. Available in a 45mm 18K pink gold case, this 150-piece limited edition reveals its remarkable movement through its silver dial. The barrel is visible between 10 and 11 o’clock, while the Fusée can be observed between 1 and 2 o’clock. The timepiece is offered on a rubber-lined brown alligator leather strap. For a closer look at this year’s design, please click here.