The Top Five Watches To Wear With This Fall’s Fashion Trends
From Milan to Paris, and New York to London, the Fall-Winter 2021 designers are rewriting the rules of fashion. So why not build your wardrobe from the watch out?
Everyone is agonizing over what to wear as we reintegrate into polite society. But one thing’s for sure — after what feels like an eternity of working from home in comfy clothes, nobody really wants to return to the days of stuffy office ensembles. And the folks who never got to work from home long for garments that are bolder, brighter, and a bit more expressive.
The world’s top fashion houses feel you. At the Fall-Winter 2021 runway presentations, designers were also faced with a new way of working. Most shows were presented virtually. Many catwalks were replaced with short films or other multimedia performances. More and more men’s and women’s collections were presented together. Other designers skipped the runways altogether.
We propose a new approach to trying to figure out how to dress these days: Instead of treating your timepiece like an accessory, added as a final touch, why not build your look from the watch out? The future of our social interactions and the way we will dress to impress is being written, but using your watch as the foundation of your sartorial style takes some uncertainty out of the equation.
Here we match our favorite designers with equally adventurous timepieces.
Hermès Slim d’Hermès Quantième Perpétuel
For the majority of maisons, the Fall collections were the first created under lockdown. The inability to travel, combined with social distancing from their teams, resulted in designers making some of the boldest fashion choices we’ve seen in years.
Many workplaces will continue to work on a hybrid model, which makes the timing of the Hermès Slim d’Hermès Quantième Perpétuel perfect for this shifting mood. Its striking design, with numerals specially created for Hermès by French graphic designer and typographer Philippe Apeloig, make the watch reach through the screen during Zoom calls. At the same time, its use of precious materials on the rose gold and titanium, or titanium and platinum case, and a mother-of-pearl moon phase with an aventurine sky backdrop at 3 o’clock, lend this perpetual calendar an air of understated elegance.
One of the top fashion trends for Fall is the use of ultra-luxe fabrics to create laid back clothing. The Slim d’Hermès Quantième Perpètuel also balances technical complexity with a casual classicism. Its H1950 perpetual calendar movement is one of the most demanding horological complications. The calibre comes with a ‘mechanical memory’ that ensures that the date for months with 30 and 31 days is automatically adjusted, while also accounting for February and leap years. This movement also powers day/night, dual-time, and moon-phase indications. And it does it while measuring in at a well-tailored thickness of just 4mm back.
Of course, the threads that best complement this timeless look come from Hermès’ men’s creative director Véronique Nichanian’s nostalgic collection of sporty zip-front plaid jackets, slouchy sweaters, lounge pants, and sneakers. A color palette of muted purple, ochres, tan, teal, mustard, and grey completes this fresh take.
Louis Vuitton Tambour World Time Runway 45
Last year the master watchmakers of La Fabrique du Temps Louis Vuitton updated its emblematic World Time watch with a simplified design and a new automatic movement, the LV107 calibre. The idea is that in a complicated world, marking the passage of time should be simple.
The new Tambour World Time Runway 45 introduces two central hour and minute hands in place of rotating discs, to make it easier to indicate time in all 24 time zones with just a glance. One can read the time via central hands that point to the correct time of your home city, whose name is positioned at 12 o’clock. The rest is deduced by the position of other global capitals.
The Tambour World Time Runway 45 also offers horological hope to travelers who’ve been waiting a year or more to go globetrotting. It symbolizes a fresh start, style-wise. Housed in a 46mm case, the watch is available in two materials and two colors — pink gold and black PVD-coated stainless steel — while the dial incorporates the new display and updated fonts. The city disc is formed from sapphire crystal to project the initials of each of the 24 cities attached to the hours. This gives the watch a wonderful sense of depth.
On the runway at Louis Vuitton, creative director Virgil Abloh played with the idea of travel and its dress codes by presenting airplane-shaped handbags, puffer jackets that were shaped like 3D city skylines, floor-length coats, and kilts. These bold clothes would be the perfect pairing for the Tambour World Time Runway 45.
The Longines Avigation BigEye
As the New York Times recently reported, when Wall Street workers began to return to their banks and brokerages this summer, they did so in jeans and sneakers. It’s safe to say that while we’re all hopeful for better days, at the same time, we’re all feeling a little weary. Across all industries, companies are relaxing dress codes to acknowledge their exhausted employees.
Meanwhile in Milan, Prada’s co-creative directors, Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons, riffed on the questions of when life will return to normal, and what that new normal will look like. Prada and Simons seemed to take comfort with a collection of structured layers and intense hues mainly built around foundational garments, such as a knit patterned long john.
Longines is also exploring these questions with its new take on the Longines Avigation BigEye. This classic pilot watch is characterized by the very visible dial and its oversized 30-minute counter. But the foundation of this 2021 model is an intense petrol blue grained dial housed in a lightweight titanium 41mm case. For added interest, it is presented on a brown leather strap with buckle in titanium.
The key to the new business casual is that you still want to make a good first impression. Like Prada’s cozy but architectural designs, this chronograph may feel casual, but keeps it professional with first-class functionality. At its heart is the self-winding calibre L688 mechanical movement with silicon balance-spring and 66 hours of power reserve.
Ulysse Nardin’s Sparkling Free Wheel
It must be noted that casual does not, and should not, automatically equal sweatpants and golf shirts in the office. Luxe material and expert cuts still make a difference. And they also help express your individuality.
Ulysse Nardin’s latest introduction, the Sparkling Free Wheel — part of its Executive collection — is a showcase for the maison’s gem setting atelier in Geneva. Adorned with almost 6 carats of diamonds, using a technique known as “snow setting”, and a black alligator band featuring a diamond clasp, it’s a showstopper.
The brand is aware of the global impact of the diamond industry and along with its parent company, Kering, are dedicated to sustainability, and leaving the earth a better place for future generations. “At Ulysse Nardin, we adhere to the Kimberly Process to ensure that all of our diamonds are ethically sourced,” said Patrick Pruniaux, CEO of Ulysse Nardin.
The Sparkling Free Wheel is also a marvel of technological innovation. The in-house UN-176 calibre powers the “Ulysse Anchor Escapement” flying tourbillon — a pioneering technology that replaces the traditional Swiss lever escapement system with low friction silicium instead of metal or synthetic rubies.
We can’t think of a house that best complements this work of art other than Valentino. Creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli presented a coed collection of classic silhouettes in a subdued monochromatic palette that recalls the icy finish of the Sparkling Free Wheel. These amazing ensembles also match this watch’s complexity in their construction.
On top of challenges presented by climate change and the pandemic, the business and fashion worlds are also addressing issues about representation and equality. Watchmakers are embracing not just gender neutrality, but also gender fluidity. There has been a lot of discussion of scrapping the categories of “men’s” and “women’s" watches entirely, and rather organizing timepieces by size. After all, some men like diamonds as much as women. And some women like to wear 40mm plus sized cases. Heck, in the 1950s it was the norm for fellas to wear bejeweled gold watches (revisit the Rat Pack’s timepieces). And in the 1960s, tiny Twiggy sported massive, mod timepieces.
Which brings us to Dior’s new collection of jewelry watches, marking the first time the house and its jewelry designer, Victoire de Castellane, has created a watches and jewelry collection together. Castellane designed a new line of abstract, 1970s-inspired timepieces and accessories called Gem Dior. This striking collection features eccentric bracelets and case shapes surrounded by, or embedded with, an array of colorful stones such as malachite, lapis lazuli, and onyx, as well as diamonds.
These timepieces dazzle on their own, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun pairing them with something from either Kim Jones’ designs for Dior Homme, or Maria Grazia Chiuri's creations for Women’s Ready-to-Wear. Both collections are understated with touches of glamour expressed through adornments like embroidery, fringe, and fishnet. And both explore the constructions of masculine and feminine identity through unisex suiting and accessories.