Easily dressed up or down, these minimalist timepieces are the elegant workhorses of the horological world.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

Flight Club

One of four limited-edition Santos-Dumont models released by Cartier this year, the Santos-Dumont “La Baladeuse” gets its name from the motorised airship that aviator Alberto Santos-Dumont piloted to cross the Parisian sky in 1903. A neat engraving of his single-seater craft can be found on the back of this 300-piece limited edition. Housed in the Santos-Dumont Large case, this yellow gold model measures 43.5mm by 31.4mm, and is powered by the manually wound movement 430 MC.

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Pure Perfection

Embellishment would have detracted from the minimalist elegance of Blancpain’s Villeret Ultraplate Boutique Exclusive. Housed in a 40mm platinum case with the brand’s signature double-stepped bezel, this boutique-only edition features a deep-blue sunburst dial that complements the applied white gold Roman numerals and openworked leaf-shaped hands. Beneath this chic appearance lies a trusty engine: a manually wound ultra-thin movement with an anti-magnetic silicon hairspring and 100 hours of power reserve. 

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Ideal Companion

The Portofino might be IWC’s most classic and stripped-down design, but don’t let that fool you. This 45mm Portofino Hand-Wound Eight Days watch in 5N red gold has an impressive power reserve of eight days, which can be tracked on the dial’s power-reserve indicator at nine o’clock. With its versatility and lengthy energy reserve, this is one timepiece you can easily wear for a week while going about your business. 

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Cool Classic

Taking inspiration from alpine landscapes, the latest addition to Glashutte Original’s Sixties family of vintage-style watches features a cool blue dial made in the brand’s factory. The unusual colour adds a distinctive touch to the classic-looking timepiece, and details such as the domed sapphire crystal, curved hands and unique Arabic numerals give it a retro feel. An in-house automatic movement calibre 39-52 powers the 49mm steel timepiece. 

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Quiet Strength

A timeless model that has been part of the Master Control range since its start in 1992, the ultra-thin Master Control Date returns in 2020. On the surface, it looks unchanged but there are multiple improvements under the hood. The automatic calibre 899 that powers the 40mm steel watch has been updated, and now boasts improvements such as a power reserve of 70 hours instead of the previous 43. 

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Rays Of Light

To give its dress watch a bit more oomph, Zenith has stamped a radial sunray pattern on the dial of its new Elite Classic. Elsewhere, things are kept to a tasteful minimum with simple accents such as tapered and faceted hour markers, and dauphine hands with contrasting polished and matte finishes. Available in a 40.5mm steel (shown here) or rose gold case, the timepiece is driven by the Elite 670 in-house automatic movement. 

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Fine Fusion

Inspired by the reference 6073 launched in 1956, which was one of the first automatic wristwatches made by Vacheron Constantin, the retro-contemporary Fiftysix collection welcomes two new models this year, one of which is the Fiftysix Self-Winding. It’s a 40mm pink gold time-and-date timepiece with a sector-type warm sepia brown hue dial – new for this year – in a mix of opaline, sunburst and snailed finishes.