The Best New Special Edition Watches To Buy Now
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The Best New Special Edition Watches To Buy Now

Simon de Burton picks the new arrivals shaking up the watch scene right now

Whether it’s a limited edition watch, gorgeous charity launch, anniversary celebration or a ‘just because’ technological innovation, special edition watches bring a bit of fun to the horological world. Here are the best new launches to the market right now.

Special Edition Watches

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Oris Aquis Carysfort Reef watch

Oris is donating cash raised from the sale of the first solid gold versions of its Aquis dive watch to help rebuild the Carysfort Reef which forms part of the Florida Reef Tract, the third largest barrier reef in the world and the only one in American waters. Numbers two, three and four of the 50 limited edition watches were sold at auction earlier this year – with all proceeds going to the Coral Restoration Fund – and a percentage of the proceeds from the sale of the remaining watches will also go to the charity, which aims to plant 30,000 new corals on endangered reefs around the world.


Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime

Patek Philippe Grand Master Chime

At the end of last year, a one-off Patek Philippe Grand Master Chime fetched an eye-watering $31m at a charity auction in Geneva to become the most expensive timepiece ever sold – which makes the £2m price tag attached to the new, regular version of the most complicated model ever made by the revered brand seem like something of a bargain. The charity watch was the only GMC ever to have been made with a steel case, but this production version – in white gold – is not going to be exactly common, either. Featuring 20 complications displayed on two blue faces, the reversible watch offers five chiming modes, a second time zone, day and night indications, a full calendar, a leap-year indicator and lots of other functions you never knew you needed (and probably don’t). At 47.7mm in diameter, it’s certainly not one for the limp of wrist…

£2m (price is approximate, calculated on exchange rate of day of delivery).

Zenith Elite Moonphase Romeo Y Julieta

Zenith is marking the 145th anniversary of Cuba’s famed Romeo y Julieta cigar with ‘his and hers’ watches comprising men’s and women’s versions of the Elite moonphase watch. With blue and red dials respectively, each watch features a disc carrying two images of the moon, one bearing the face of Romeo, the other of Julieta. Both have shimmering, sunray dials, with the women’s model being further enhanced by a bezel set with 75 diamonds. The watches will be sold in editions of 145.

Coming October 2020. Romeos cost £6,500, Julietas £8,100.

IWC Portugieser Yacht Club Edition Orlebar Brown

IWC’s maritime links date back to 1939 with the launch of its Portugieser, a 41.5mm watch that offered the accuracy of a marine chronometer. Then, in 1967, it unveiled its original Yacht Club that sought to compete with the Rolex Oyster as a waterproof model that straddled the line between ‘sport’ and ‘dress’. Nowadays, the Portugieser and Yacht Club names have been conjoined to represent a single family of watches – the latest of which is a special edition made in conjunction with British swimwear success story Orlebar Brown. The 44.6mm diameter, stainless steel chronograph gets a marine blue dial and red and white OB side-fastener buckle on its blue rubber and textile strap. The two brands have also developed a nine-piece resort wear collection.


Piaget Altilpano Ultimate Concept Blue SPECIAL EDITION WATCHES

Piaget Altiplano Ultimate Concept watch

Back in 2018, Piaget stole the show at Geneva’s SIHH exhibition by unveiling the world’s thinnest mechanical watch. At the time the Altiplano Ultimate Concept was just that, a concept only – but now it has entered production. Measuring a gossamer 2mm from top to bottom, the AUC features a case that forms part of the movement and a unique, integrated winding crown. Most of the already tiny components used in a standard watch had to be re-scaled, with wheels, for example, being reduced from a conventional 0.20mm thick to 0.12mm and the sapphire crystal, normally 1mm thick in a standard watch, being pared-down by 80 per cent to a scarcely believable 0.2mm. Talk about the full skinny…