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Last year the Platinum Royal Oak Offshore chronograph by Audemars Piguet, the white-gold Senator Diary by Glashütte and the Steel Luminor 1950 8 Days GMT by Panerai topped the list of outstanding launches. 2013 was an equally memorable year for watches and brought many terrific pieces from a wide array of manufacturers. In no particular order, here are our 10 picks:
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Omega Speedmaster Co-Axial Chronograph Dark Side of the Moon: This glossy black (case and dial) ceramic number took its name from Pink Floyd's eponymous album that celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2013. It’s fitted with the in-house Omega caliber 9300 automatic chronograph movement and a black textile strap with a black ceramic buckle. One of our top picks from Baselworld this year.
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Rolex Daytona in platinum: To mark the 50th anniversary of the Daytona, the emblematic chronograph released in 1963, Rolex issued its first platinum sports model, with an ice blue dial and a chestnut brown ceramic bezel. The new model really encapsulates the Daytona spirit; a perfect alchemy of form and function, aesthetics and technology.
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A. Lange & Söhne Grande Complication has charted new territory in the domain of horology, featuring seven very rare complications, such as a grande and a petite sonnerie, minute repeater, a chronograph with rattrapante, as well as flying seconds and a perpetual calendar. This exceptional timepiece took over seven years to develop and was produced as a limited series comprising only six exemplars, priced at $2.7m each.
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PaneraiLuminor Submersible 1950 2500m 3 Days Automatic Titanio pays tribute to the brand’s heritage and history of creating professional instrumentsof exceptional performance. The 47mm case is made of brushed titanium, which is light yet impervious to high pressure and corrosion. The sapphire crystal is 5.9 mm thick and houses the hour markers (on a black dial) which are wide and coated to glow in the dark, ensuring optimum visibility even in the deepest depths of the ocean.
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Jack Heuer50th Anniversary Carrera. Created to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the iconic Carrera, the first sports chronograph designed specifically for professional drivers and sports-car enthusiasts, as well as to pay tribute to Jack Heuer, the man behind this legendary series, TAG Heuer’s 50th anniversary edition did not disappoint with its retro looks: it emulated the vintage dashboard countersand perforated leather gloves; the sensual lines of 60s modernism and the neat aesthetics of Pop-Art. A collector’s dream!
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Breitling Emergency II. Made from titanium and equipped to broadcast a distress signal on the 121.5 MHz analogue band (which allows ships, planes and other vehicles to track it) as well as the 406 MHz digital band (which allows the five COSPAS-SARSAT search and rescue satellites to track it) this is a watch guaranteed to help you survive whatever emergency situation you may find yourself in.
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Bremont ALT1-B (GMT) chronograph: British newcomer Bremont has already made its mark in the market in a very short while. Taking after the military watches custom made for the elite Stealth Bomber’ Aircrew, the ALT-B was tested at 100,000 feet and -50 degrees Celsius, fitted with an anti-shock rubberised movement that can hold out an ejection seat emergency,has a modified BE-54E movement, a Trip-Tick case with the Roto-Click internal bezel and a black DLC case.
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Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Grande Complication: The Royal Oak Offshore has become a platform for experimentation for the brand, from an aesthetic as well as an engineering perspective. By combining the caliber 2885 self-winding split-second chronograph movement (which features a minute repeater), a perpetual calendar and a moon-phase indicator, this timepiece is truly the pinnacle of complicated watchmaking, whilst also exuding utter elegance and refinement.
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Patek Philippe Gondolo 8 Days, Day & Date Indication (Ref. 5200) is manually-wound, beautifully finished and has an Art Deco inspired design. Its caliber has twin in-line barrels that store power for an impressive 192 hours, a Spiromax balance spring and a Pulsomax escapement. A sheer joy for watch purists!
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Tudor Heritage Chrono Blue: Also a Basel 2013 release, this 42mm stainless steel chronograph is superbly designed, built and finished. It is modelled after an earlier manual chrono (dated ‘73/’74), known as the ‘Monte-Carlo’, ref 7169, which featured a two register dial, a rotating bezel with a 12-hour scale and a magnified date window at 6 o'clock.
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(This list was compiled in collaboration with Tariq Malik, Managing Partner and Co-founder of Momentum)