They say that there are more book competitions than there are new books published, and though obviously an exaggeration, this sort of hyperbole could also be applied to the watch sector, in which there are a lot of awards ceremonies. The most important is GPHG which is held in watch capital Geneva, but which has one grave defect: best replica watches brands themselves submit their watches for the various categories, and many brands decide simply not to take part. There are other events in which the jury simply reviews all the watches of the year and makes their own choice, and so these could provide a more representative view of the year’s highlights.
Best Classical Replica Watch – H. Moser & Cie Venturer Small Seconds
Heinrich Moser, founder of the brand which dates back to 1828, was particularly active in Russia and more specifically in St. Petersburg where he had important clients at the Imperial Court. The Venturer Small Seconds reflects something of this historical tradition: it is in a neo-vintage style with Roman numerals and a dial reflecting 1920s aesthetics, with small seconds subdial at 6 o’clock. The case is in white gold, 38 mm in diameter and 12.5 mm thick. The watch is powered by the in-house hand-wound HMC 327 movement, providing 3 days (72 hours) power reserve, shown by a power reserve indicator on the movement side. It runs at 18,000 vph (2.5 Hertz) and has the stop-seconds function for precision time-setting.
Best High-End Jewelled Replica Watch – Cartier Ronde Louis Cartier XL Watch, filigree Panthers Motif
This watch features a classic Cartier motif, the panther, on a watch in which the ancient art of filigree – invented by the Sumerians in about 3000 B.C. and continued in Ancient Egypt, India, Tibet, Greece, Iran, and much later in Portugal – is taken to new levels, using gold and platinum micro-wires that are shaped into tiny rings and then assembled to create the lacy sheets that recreate the panther’s fur, with spots in black lacquer. The dial is in deep blue enamel with golden stars. The movement is the hand-wound 430 MC, the case is 42 mm in diameter and 8 mm thick.
Best Sports Replica Watch – Panerai Luminor Submersible 1950 3 Days Chrono Flyback Automatic
The Luminor Submersible 1950 3 Days Chrono Flyback Automatic Titanio 47 mm is a flyback chronograph available in two versions, with rotating bezel in titanium or black ceramic – the latter version also has an extra subdial for chronograph hours. They are both technically diving watches, with unidirectional rotating bezel, visibly different hour and minute hands, applied luminous dots and Arabic numerals for legibility underwater and in low light conditions, black rubber strap, and water resistance at 300 metres. The dial is commendable for its simplicity. Instead of having a chronograph minutes subdial, Panerai added another central-sweep hand, so that chronograph seconds are shown by the blue hand on a scale marked with one-second intervals, and chronograph minutes by the rhodium-plated hand. The effect is one of great legibility. The minutes hand proceeds in steps of one minute: it only moves at the end of an elapsed minute. The continuous seconds subdial at 9 o’clock shows a diver that the cheap replica watches is working, and there is a date window at 3 o’clock. The two chronograph pushers are at 8 and 10 o’clock: the pusher at 10 o’clock starts and stops the chronograph, and the pusher at 8 o’clock resets the stopped chronograph to zero, or, if it is pressed while the chronograph is running, instantaneously resets and restarts the chronograph. The watch is powered by the P.9100 calibre, the brand’s first in-house chronograph calibre. It has the classic features of a high-end chronograph, with vertical clutch and column wheel. Two barrels connected in series provide a 3-day power reserve (72 hours). The watch has the stop-seconds function (hacking seconds) that stops the balance wheel so that the second hand can be synchronized with a time signal. The hour hand can be adjusted by one-hour increments without affecting the minute hand, useful when you are travelling from one time zone to another. The watch has a solid caseback with the manned torpedo that is part of Panerai’s history as supplier of watches to the Royal Italian Navy. Price £11,600, available from summer/autumn 2015.
Best Men’s Replica Watch – Cartier Rotonde de Cartier Astrotourbillon Skeleton Watch Calibre 9461 MC
The Rotonde de Cartier Astrotourbillon Skeleton has an elongated tourbillon carriage that enables the balance to rotate around the dial, once a minute. The balance bridge is in the form of an arrow and so it becomes a seconds hand. It is different from a normal tourbillon in which the two axes of rotation are close together and combined into a single unit, but the technical function of neutralizing the detrimental effect of gravity on the movement’s precision by constantly altering the position of the balance wheel axis remains the same. And it’s even more spectacular, with the constant rotation of the balance around the dial. The movement is suspended from the giant XII and VI numerals, and the only other link between the movement and the case is the bar at 3 o’clock bearing the Cartier logo that also conceals the winding stem leading from from the crown. The Calibre 9461 MC movement is in German silver, with titanium used for the circular bridges on the back of the movement. Along with the white gold of the case, the result is an intriguing composition of silvery colours. The 47-mm case is in white gold, 15.5 mm thick, with a crown set with a sapphire cabochon. The manually-wound movement has a power reserve of about 48 hours. The watch is a limited edition of 100 units in white gold, price about €120,000 plus tax.
Best Ladies’ Replica Watch – Chopard L.U.C XPS 35mm Esprit de Fleurier
This year’s version of the XPS 35 mm women’s replica watches by Chopard is a 25-piece boutique edition, with a light ultramarine blue mother-of-pearl dial, a diamond-set bezel, and an alligator strap in matching hue. At 7.1 mm thickness it is prodigiously slim. It also has the merit of housing a mechanical movement, the L.U.C Calibre 96.23-L running at 28,800 vph, with a micro-rotor and twin barrels providing a 65-hour power reserve; precision is certified by COSC. The white gold case has a water resistance of 30 metres. The display consists of just the hour and minute hands, with seconds on a subdial nicely differentiated with guilloché finish. The transparent caseback reveals the bridges that feature hand-engraved work, a technique called fleurisanne, named after the village of Fleurier where Chopard have one of their manufactures. The engraver creates a relief pattern of scrolls or flowers, which are polished, while the background is hammer-stippled. The watch, reference 131968-1002, is priced at 45,000 Swiss francs / £32,670 / €44,330.