Intricate, dazzling and complex aren’t typical descriptors for wristwatches – especially if like many 90s kids you wore those rubber and plastic Casio watches from Sears – but today there are a host of specialty timepieces out there that are absolutely breathtaking. Let’s take a look at some of the most incredible wristwatches (both affordable and astronomical in price) available today.
Eco-Drive Satellite Wave by Citizen
The Satellite Wave is a solar-powered timepiece that receives messages from orbiting satellites. Yes, you read that correctly. Among its features are a calendar, world time tracking in 40 time zones, anti-reflection sapphire crystal coating, a power reserve indicator, stainless steel case and bracelet, and a black and gray dial with striking green accents.
Suggested retail price: $1,700
Christophe Colomb Tribute to Felix Baumgartner by Academy
For those who were living under a rock in 2012, Felix Baumgartner is the Austrian skydiver who set a world record by skydiving an estimated 39 kilometers from space. This tribute commemorates his achievement in a turquoise and blue aventurine (quartz) timepiece depicting his jump from the stratosphere. Its back casing is made of 18K gold. Sorry to say, but it’s a limited-edition model with only 10 ever produced. Worse still – it’s insane cost.
Suggested retail price: $275,000
V4 Tourbillon by Monaco
Way back in the stone age of 2004, TAG Heuer unveiled the world’s first watch with drive belts, ball bearings and linear mass. It was named after its V-shaped main plate which juxtaposes the movement achieved by its 2-by-2 micro-belt series on ball bearings to look like the cylinders of a Formula-1 engine.
Suggested retail price: ~$156,000
Tambour Blue Chronograph by Louis Vuitton
This Swiss-made timepiece has a host of features that lend to its razor-sharp accuracy and elegant look. Features include: A satined stainless steel case; waterproof functionality up to 100 meters, sapphire glass with reflection-proof coating; black leather with blue stitching and a stainless steel buckle; an engraved “V” on the back to honor Vuitton; and time measurement achieved by kinetic energy instead of a battery.
Suggested retail price: $7,100
The Ora Lattea is a brilliant and alluring entry in the art of minimalism. Its low-profile design, hardened mineral crystal lense and artfully simplistic face with just three black dots (indicating face center, hour hand and minute hand) pay homage to celestial time.
Retail price: $162 on Amazon
H1 Black DLC & Pink Gold by Hyt
Watchmaking and fluid mechanics collide with stunning results; as hours go by, the H1’s fluorescent liquid creeps along its passage way, indicating time. At 6 p.m., it retreats back to its original position. The reservoirs that enable this visual and mechanical magic are powered by a compression/expansion system of bellows and pistons. Truly amazing.
Suggested retail price: $59,000
The XXIV by Akribos
This men’s mechanical skeleton watch features a stainless steel case on genuine calfskin leather strap with a skeleton-style center, blue hands and rose-tone Roman numeral hour markers. It is powered by mechanical movement which eschews the use of a battery for manual winding once every day or two for accurate timekeeping.
Retail price: $111 (marked down from $534) on Overstock
Astron GPS Solar by Seiko
The Astron receives a signal from Atomic Clocks in GPS satellites, giving it the unique stature of being the first watch ever made to auto-recognize time zone changes with the touch of a single button. It absorbs light from any source (sun, desk lamp, etc.) and stores the excess energy in a power reserve with a visual charge level indicated on the dial.
Suggested retail price: $2,450