Haute Curator: Greg Simonian’s Favorite Independent Watches


It is one thing to develop an innovative mechanical watch with the help of a large corporation. It is quite another thing to do on your own. Research and development, manufacturing hundreds of tiny parts per watch, finishing and assembling, quality control…watchmaking at the high end requires a lot of resources and a fair number of sleepless nights! But a handful of independent manufacturers, who are not owned by big publicly traded companies, defy the odds year after year and produce the most exciting watches around. Westime is proud to champion the independents, and carry the collections of the best of them. The following timepieces by independent manufacturers can be found at Westime’s boutiques in Beverly Hills, West Hollywood, Malibu and La Jolla.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak 41mm Chronograph 18K
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak 41mm Chronograph 18K

Based in Switzerland’s Vallée de Joux since 1875, Audemars Piguet is the oldest fine watchmaking manufacturer still in the hands of its founding families. And that long history is filled with prestige, including a number of world firsts, masterpieces, and one-of-a-kind creations. Its sporty Royal Oak line became a collector’s classic as soon as it was launched in 1972. This new 41 mm version in 18K pink gold features a self-winding chronograph movement with date display, and small seconds at 6 o’clock. It is presented on an 18K pink gold bracelet with folding clasp.

De Bethune DB27 Titan Hawk All Black - Haute Time
De Bethune DB27 Titan Hawk All Black

The small Swiss village of L’Auberson is home to the workshops of 12-year-old De Bethune. Youthful in the centuries-old industry of watchmaking, De Bethune is fiercely self-reliant (manufacturing nearly every watch part on its own), and with numerous patents and multiple Grand Prix awards it is clearly an over-achiever. The DB27 Titan Hawk All Black embodies De Bethune’s quest to reveal beauty through readability and functionality. Its 43mm brushed zirconium case sits comfortably on anyone thanks to De Bethune’s signature floating lugs, which bend to follow the curve of the wrist. The dial of this automatic timepiece displays the hours, minutes and date via unusually-shaped cut-out hands.

MB&F Horological Machine No. 6 Space Pirate  - Haute Time
MB&F Horological Machine No. 6 Space Pirate

Since its founding in 2005, MB&F has been committed to designing and crafting a radical and original horological “machine” on an annual basis by gathering together a different collective of artists and watchmakers. Under the leadership of Creative Director Max Busser, the evolving groups of “friends” develop timepieces that are both shocking and beautiful. The new Horological Machine No. 6 Space Pirate in titanium features four sapphire crystal spheres, which display hours, minutes, plus the two turbines connected to the automatic winding system. A flying tourbillon perches high above the movement, where a retractable shield can protect it with the turn of the crown. [Haute Time’s Full Hands-On Review…]

Richard Mille RM 011 Automatic Flyback Chronograph Orange Storm  - Haute Time
Richard Mille RM 011 Automatic Flyback Chronograph Orange Storm

When Richard Mille arrived on the scene in 2001, his watches immediately embodied a 21st century aesthetic while respecting the time-honored methods of traditional watch-making. When others prized watches that were heavy, Richard Mille strove to make the lightest watches ever; when others added embellishments, Richard Mille eliminated anything superfluous from his watches in the spirit of Formula 1 race car design. The new RM 011 Automatic Flyback Chronograph Orange Storm is light and strong thanks to its TZP ceramic and NTPT carbon case. The skeletonized movement powers a 60-minute countdown timer, 12-hour totalizer, annual calendar, oversize date, and month.

Urwerk EMC Black  - Haute Time
Urwerk EMC Black – Haute Time

Felix Baumgartner and Martin Frei share a unique vision for measuring and portraying time, and in 1997 it led to the formation of a company dedicated to creating unique timepieces. Rotating satellites, oil change indicators, winding efficiency indicators…Urwerk watches bear features you won’t find in any other timepieces. The EMC Black in DLC-treated titanium and steel is a 100 percent mechanical watch displaying traditional hours, minutes, seconds, and power reserve, plus a patented electronic performance indicator that allows the wearer to make his timepiece perfectly precise. [Haute Time’s Full Hands-On Review…]

For more information, please visit the official Westime Watches website. 

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