Steel In The Game: How Luxury Sports Watches Are Pushing The Envelope – Tatler Thailand

While the Streamliner draws its cues from aerodynamic 1930s locomotives, Chopard’s new Alpine Eagle is inspired by the eye of the great bird of prey its moniker references, and the active lifestyle enjoyed in the Swiss mountains. The BR05 from Bell & Ross, meanwhile, aims to satisfy the needs of the metropolitan adventurer. Boasting B&R’s signature aviation-inspired circle-within-a-square aesthetic, according to the company’s creative director Bruno Belamich the model possesses “a graphic style that is both striking and modern”.

Best of Both Worlds

The first serial-production steel watch from Germany’s A Lange & Söhne, whose timepieces are generally of a more formal nature, the Odysseus was created to allow Lange aficionados to sport their favourite marque while at play.

“Our customers would say to us, ‘I love Lange, but the problem is I can’t wear your watches during the most important time of the year, my holidays’—that’s what they wanted,” says Anthony de Haas, the company’s director of product development.

“So to fulfil those wishes, we knew certain things. We had to make a watch that was 120 metres water resistant, with a bracelet. Recognisable as a Lange, but new. Sporty, but it must be discreet, not bulky.” An integrated bracelet was chosen, de Haas says, because it “gives the watch a certain sense of strength, sturdiness, robustness, while remaining elegant.”

Bringing things full circle, Bulgari’s new Octo Finissimo Automatic Satin-polished Steel is the descendant of a watch designed by Gérald Genta and first issued via his eponymous manufacture, which was acquired and absorbed by Bulgari. Most models in the three-year-old Octo Finissimo line have been cast in avant-garde materials such as black carbon fibre and matt-grey sandblasted titanium.

This new iteration, says the director of Bulgari Watches’ Design Center, Fabrizio Buonamassa Stigliani, “has the potential to shake up the watch industry”. Its steel finishes, following the conventions of the most popular watches in the segment, make this “a watch that can attract the devotees of the luxury integrated-bracelet steel sports watch genre.”

In contrast to previous Octo Finissimos, “The new satin-polished finishing is more suited for an everyday watch, combined with the same slimline case and bracelet of the previous iterations,” says Buonamassa Stigliani. Indeed, powered by the super-slender BVL 138 Finissimo Automatic calibre (just 2.23mm thick), there’s no thinner time-only automatic watch on the market. With this fresh Finissimo priced favourably compared to its legacy Genta-designed brethren, competition in the luxury steel sports watch category just got a lot hotter.

See also: 5 Luxury Watch Brands Are Developing Precious Metal Alloys To Make Exquisite Timepieces