By: DANIEL NOVELA
Geneva Watch Days gave us many novelties that are perfect for gifting. Deciding on one horological holiday present may seem nearly impossible. Instead, I picked three.
DE BETHUNE DB25SQP PERPETUAL CALENDAR
At my last NovelaWatch event, we partnered with EsperLuxe, an authorized retailer for De Bethune, who presented some of their latest novelties. One of its newest additions is the De Bethune DB25sQP Perpetual Calendar. Perpetual calendars are one of my favorite mechanical watch complications. For the uninitiated, a perpetual calendar accounts for leap years. So yes, there is typically a gear that only moves once every four years, allowing the watch to tell the correct calendar date for over a hundred years. This De Bethune is extra special because the mechanical movement has been reduced and now resides in a smaller and more wearable 40mm case. It also has the skeleton lugs I love, an exceptional nubbed crown for which the brand is known (I have a thing for crowns.) Its annual production is only 15 pieces. Needless to say, if you buy one, the chances of running into someone else who has one is, well, zero.
MB&F LEGACY MACHINE SPLIT ESCAPEMENT EVO SKY BLU
Up next: the MB&F Legacy Machine Split Escapement EVO Sky Blu. MB&F has been on my radar almost since its inception. I visited the atelier in Geneva 10 years ago, literally obsessed with their Legacy Machine No.1. Fast-forward to 2022, and the brand has presented a piece ever so whimsical but simplified, modern, and clean. The balance wheel suspended at the center of the dial, a hallmark of MB&F, is still there. The rest of the escapement mechanism is hidden under the dial by a long balance staff measuring approximately 12mm. It links the pulsating, suspended balance wheel to the rest of the mechanism hidden below. Hence the name Split Escapement. The result allows us to see the action without all the fuss. Clean, modern, and simplified. It’s just a damn pretty machine.
BULGARI OCTO FINISSIMO SEJIMA
Bulgari acquired the Gerald Genta watch manufacturer some years ago. Yes, we are talking about the same Gerald Genta, who designed the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak and the Patek Philippe Nautilus. That Gerald Genta. His very own Gerald Genta firm was a respected watchmaker and, upon sale, was integrated into Bulgari. The evolution of specific models occurred under Bulgari’s executive director, Fabrizio Buonamassa Stigliani. The reinterpretation is subtle, but the results are magic. A few years ago, Bulgari released the Octo Finissimo Chronograph GMT Automatic 10th Anniversary, which is still one of my favorites. Now commonly referred to as the Octo “Sketch,” the watch sells for approximately double its original retail. Fast-forward to 2022, and Bulgari has collaborated on a new Octo Finissimo with Japanese Pritzker Prize-winning architect Kazuyo Sejima, known for his take on mirrored objects. The result is a fully polished, mirror-finished, steel 40mm Octo Finissimo case and bracelet like nothing you have ever seen in the watch world. It showcases Bulgari’s ability to innovate without causing harm to its DNA. It’s a brand to watch and a watch to covet.