WATCHES THAT STAND THE TEST OF TIME
http://www.thewatchbox.com Dress watches for men are back in a big way. Luxury watches of a formal persuasion never really went away, but it was easy to miss them in the mid-2000s heyday of the mega watch. But when the rubble of the Big Bang era finally settled, timeless models such as the Patek Philippe Calatrava 5127J and Chopard L.U.C. XP Tonneau stood tall over the carnage. Classical cool is back, and these two are leading the retro-revolution. Patek Philippe's Calatrava ranks among haute horlogerie's all-time greats. One of the first designs launched by Patek's Stern family dynasty, the Calatrava created the template for modern men's dress watches. This Patek Philippe Calatrava 5127J is a Calatrava for the modern man. It incorporates the critical elements of Henri Stern's original while adding a tapered set of crown guards that visually extend the 37mm case without adding actual girth. Dauphine hands, stick indexes, and smooth integrated lugs provide a firm link to ancestral Calatrava models. Inside the case, an automatic Caliber 315 movement beats at 21,600 VpH and bears the Geneva Hallmark. Discontinued by Patek Philippe in 2009, the independently-issued Geneva Seal attests to the finishing quality of any movement bearing it. As a discontinued Patek Philippe model with the now-discontinued Geneva Seal, this 5127J represents an outstanding long-term investment. Chopard is a relative newcomer to this league of haut-de-gamme luxury watches, but it has mounted a lightning advance on the established powers. A true movement manufacture since 1996, Chopard leverages that expertise to create the L.U.C. XP Tonneau. Named after founder Louis-Ulysse Chopard, the L.U.C. line represents the apex of Chopard's model line. Launched in 2010, the L.U.C. XP Tonneau is the ultra-thin variant of 2001's Tonneau. The XP is a technical and aesthetic marvel. Roll the watch on its side, and it appears to vanish in profile. Complete the rotation, and the reason becomes apparent; a micro-rotor powers the Cal. 3.97 movement. With its winding mass in the same plane as the going train, the Cal. 3.97 achieves automatic operation and a stellar 65-hour power reserve while restricting its girth to the dimensions of a compact manual-wind movement. On the dial, Chopard's XP Tonneau exhibits the same uncompromising attention to detail. Inventive hybrid-dauphine hands and an off-center soleil metallic radiating from the "L.U.Chopard" marquee set this model apart from the growing gaggle of rivals in the dress segment. Both of these luxury watches represent an original and outstanding take on the modern men's dress watch. Which do you prefer? Video and content by Tim Mosso.