Watchonista’s Guide To Sabering Champagne
Take your at-home New Year’s Eve celebrations to the next level by perfecting the ultimate party trick: sabering Champagne.
Just because you need to stay home this New Year’s Eve doesn’t mean you can’t have a fabulous celebration. So, dust off your tuxedo, pick an elegant dress watch, and get ready to pop the bubbly. To properly bid adieu (or good riddance) to 2020 and perhaps work out a little aggression in the process, we’ll teach you how to saber a bottle of Champagne and ring in the new year with style.
WARNING: ATTEMPT AT YOUR OWN RISK
Prepare The Bottle
Sabering Champagne is really fun, and it’s not that difficult to do. Select a bottle like Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label, which is the perfect all-occasion Champagne. Its chef de cave blends up to 60 different reserve wines and ages the final blend for a minimum of three years to create its signature style. Once you have your bottle, it’s time to saber.
First, chill your Champagne. Chilling the bottle makes the glass more brittle, making it easier to open, so it’s very important the Champagne be as cold as possible. Be sure it has been in the fridge for several hours at least. Experts even recommend chilling the neck of the bottle in an ice bucket filled with equal parts water and ice for 10 minutes prior to sabering it. After the bottle is cold enough, dry it completely.
What You Can Use To Saber Champagne
While the bottle chills, get your saber ready. If you don’t have a saber, then a chef’s knife, a butter knife, or even a glass will do. The blade does not need to be sharp — in fact, Champagne sabers typically have blunt edges — so if you are using a chef’s knife, use the back edge. Here at Watchonista, we prefer using Ethan+Ashe’s Vagnbys Champagne Sabre ($160), which has an elegant modern design and enough heft to easily saber a bottle.
How To Saber Champagne
Once the bottle is cold enough, remove all of the foil on the top of the bottle and the wire cage. If you want extra security to prevent the cork from popping off too early, re-fasten the wire cage above the lip on the bottleneck. Next, find the seams on the bottle and hold the bottle with one of the seams pointing up. The bottle is weakest where the two halves of the bottle meet the neck: This is your target.
To actually saber a bottle of Champagne, point it away from all people and breakable objects and hold the bottle at a 30 to 40° angle with the seam facing up. Place your saber on the seam at the neck of the bottle, right where the curve begins. Slide the saber along the seam, hit the bottleneck where it meets the seam, and follow through.
It’s important to note that you do not need to hit the bottle very hard — the pressure inside the bottle should cause the neck to pop off. Pour a little Champagne down the drain, just in case there are any glass shards on the opening, and you’re ready to celebrate.
What If It Doesn’t Work?
If you aren’t successful on your first try, don’t panic! Take a moment, then find the seam, be sure you’re holding it at the right angle, and try again. Do not look directly at the cork or point it at anyone. There’s still an enormous amount of pressure inside the bottle, and hitting it makes it more likely that the cork could pop off at any second.
Wear The Right Watch
With your glass of Champagne poured, it’s time to watch the countdown to midnight. Instead of watching the ball drop at Time’s Square, count down the seconds to 2021 on A. Lange & Söhne’s Saxonia Moon Phase timepiece. This sophisticated watch has a large date display, so you can watch the date tick over to January 1, 2021, as the clock strikes 12.
The white gold model with a black dial is perfect to pair with your tuxedo. It has a rich black dial with applied white-gold indices. At 6 o’clock, there’s a stunning moon-phase with a seconds sub-dial. The lunar disc is decorated with 852 stars, has a rich blue color, and is extremely accurate, deviating by just one day in 122.6 years.
(Photography by Liam O'Donnell)