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Back to the Future

These new watches from MR PORTER and Watches & Wonders dial it back to yesteryear

Whether it’s a technical innovation or a distinctive aesthetic, some watches are too good to be left to the past. Indeed, it’s an industry trend of recent years for the watch-world to revisit and re-issue, in updated form, some of its archive classics, even if sometimes the archive maybe isn’t that old. But, as they say, what goes around…


Ulysse Nardin Freak X TI Automatic


Almost 20 years old, the Freak was aptly named. Its flying carousel and cilium elements made for a grandstanding piece of complex watchmaking that gave it a futuristic, hands-free style. The titanium Freak X is its latest incarnation, with an all new self-winding movement that rotates around its own axis on the dial side to reveal the time – even if there’s still no actual dial. 




HYT H0 Hand-Wound 48.8mm


A take on the H1, the first of HYT’s watches using its pioneering ‘hydro-mechanical’ approach to time display, which launched back in 2012, this time around the hand-wound H0 is in stealth mode, with an all-black DLC-coated case and movement, all the better to highlight the super-clever orange liquid read-out. 




Jaeger-LeCoultre Memovox Automatic 40mm


Back in the 1950s, Jaeger-LeCoultre developed its first Memovox watch with a mechanical alarm, a development of its work on chiming mechanisms since its founding in 1833. This stylish version nods to the original, albeit with a much-improved automatic movement and open case back, so you can watch the gongs in action.




Vacheron Constantin Fiftysix Automatic 40mm Pink Gold


Vacheron looks to its 1950s-era watches – specifically its first automatic, water-resistant model, launched in 1956 – as inspiration for this modernist model in polished pink gold, with a period-correct raised glass and unusual brown dial. In keeping with its historic roots, some have even described this as ‘sepia’ brown.




Baume & Mercier Clifton Club Automatic


The slim green bezel on this 42mm Clifton Club gives this ETA-powered watch its wonderful period-specific feel, reminiscent of the first iterations of diving watches. The name too acknowledges this the bygone era, having been borrowed from Bristol’s early 19th-century private gentleman’s club, where the diving was strictly into gossip.




Bovet 19Thirty Fleurier


Bovet’s 19Thirty Fleurier takes its aesthetic pointers quite clearly from its archives, with its two sub-dial arrangement, 18-karat gold case and, of course, its ‘fleurier’ top-mounted crown, which give this characterful hand-wound, 42mm watch the look and feel of a 19th-century gentleman’s pocket watch.




Centurion Magazine has partnered with MR PORTER to bring you this coverage and may receive commission for purchases made through the affiliate links in this article, at no additional cost to you of course.

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