Watchmakers push boundaries with artistic expression and cutting-edge materials

From extraordinary art to supercar inspiration and innovative materials, this is what some of the world’s top luxury watch brands feature in their latest creations.

By Debbie Hathway

Hublot’s collaboration with renowned artist Samuel Ross continues to break new ground in watchmaking with the latest iteration of the Big Bang Tourbillon SR_A. Ross’s signature industrial aesthetic is evident in the watch’s sleek, hexagonal honeycomb shape, while the contrasting materials of titanium and rubber embody the brand’s Art of Fusion philosophy. The watch’s precision and technical prowess are further enhanced by the 282-component HUB6035 calibre with a 72-hour power reserve. “We are focused on crafting refined, minimal and expressive timepieces. SR_A looks to expand, redefine, and establish timeless icons of design, reflecting a spirit of innovation, optimism, and craft. I firmly believe we need all three properties to usher in the next chapter of luxury,” says Ross.

This wrist-worn sculpture, with its hexagonal honeycomb shape and six equal sides, is designed to reflect Nature’s geometry. Shiny micro-blasted titanium case components and clasp assert its industrial appeal. Meanwhile, the overall grey monochrome look is enhanced by the over-moulding of the crown in grey rubber and the neutral shade of the tourbillon bridge, which facilitates pairing with the black, white, or vivid green strap. The Big Bang Tourbillon SR_A is limited to 50 pieces.

Automotive-inspired horology

MB&F founder Maximilian Büsser once dreamed of a career in car design. While that did not materialise, his passion for motoring is evident in his watchmaking creations. HM5 ‘On the Road Again’ (2012) was inspired by the legendary supercars of the 70s, the 10th Anniversary piece (2015) – the HMX – was car-inspired, and the HM8 ‘Can-Am’ (2016) paid tribute to the racing machines competing in the famous Canadian-American Challenge Cup. All of them are drivers’ watches – featuring lateral time displays that allow you to check the time without removing your hands from the steering wheel.

The recently launched HM8 Mark 2 is the next chapter, taking the best features of its predecessors and fusing them into an “aerodynamic sandwich of CarbonMacrolon, grade 5 titanium and hyper-complex sapphire crystal”. MB&F calls it “a true supercar for the wrist”.

The HM8 Mark 2 unveils a remarkable fusion of mechanical precision and optical ingenuity. The automatic movement’s hour and minute discs, typically positioned horizontally, undergo an extraordinary transformation via high-precision sapphire crystal prisms. These prisms magnify and project the timekeeping information vertically, enabling a captivating display that defies conventional horological norms.

This piece was launched in white, with a 2023 edition in green limited to 33 pieces.

A Pioneering feat

Girard-Perregaux’s groundbreaking venture into advanced materials began with the Laureato Absolute collection in 2019. The Laureato Absolute Chronograph 8Tech is the newest timepiece in the line, showcasing the revolutionary 8Tech technique that employs thin layers of unidirectional carbon fibres and lightweight titanium powder to craft an octagonal carbon case with a mesmerising structural pattern. The case’s innovative construction involves meticulously forming the carbon and titanium components into octagons, a pioneering feat that paves the way for future advancements in watchmaking. Heat and pressure are then applied to fuse the shapes, followed by a meticulous hand-finishing process that unveils a shimmering finish reminiscent of Damascus steel.

This exceptional material is five times lighter than steel while maintaining an unwavering strength. The 44mm case exudes unparalleled lightness, ensuring exceptional wrist comfort. The sandblasted gradient dial, innovative construction, and self-winding Calibre GP03300-1058 movement further elevate the timepiece, seamlessly blending modernity and traditional craftsmanship.

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