A New Wave of Watch Design

2014 is seeing a revival in watch design, thanks in part to the popularity of the smartwatch.

In its simplest form a watch is a timekeeper; a convenient portable clock. However, the timepiece has always been about much more than practicality. The watch one chooses to wear is a statement about who they are and what they value. The watches available today have taken that a step further. Want to make a phone call? Check Facebook? Monitor your athletic performance? Find a restaurant in your neighborhood? It’s all possible. The ease and convenience of smartwatches make your cell phone seem (almost) unnecessary. Of course technical genius does not just lie in smartwatches. Designers are incorporating beauty and functionality in other ways with perpetual calendars and planet tracking. Here’s a sampling of some of the watches you’ll see on full display in 2014.

Suunto Ambit 2 R

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Suunto has established itself as a leader in GPS watches after years of experience in outdoor sports equipment. The Ambit collection combines cutting-edge training features with thousands of ready-to-download sports apps. Set to launch in March, the Ambit2 R is geared towards creating the perfect running experience. The various apps available on the watch allow runners to measure their cadence from their wrists, download complete training programs, and explore new trails without getting lost.

IWC Schaffhausen Aquatimer Automatic 2000

This titanium divers’ timepiece is the latest edition to the IWC Aquatimer family, which first launched in 1967. With an incredible water resistance of up to 2,000 meters (about 6,600 feet), the watch can withstand extremely high pressures and has a system that safeguards against dirt and seawater. The rugged yet minimalist design is inspired by IWC’s iconic model Ocean 2000, created by Ferdinand A. Porsche in 1982.

Van Cleef & Arpel Midnight Planétarium

Already creating talk since its launch at Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie, this watch is every astronomy lover’s dream. It displays both numerical time and the rotation of Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. The planets—each represented by precious and semi-precious stones—rotate at various speeds around the sun (a stone in the center) so that each sphere makes one revolution around the dial in the time it takes the actual planet it represents. So, while Mercury will only take 88 days, it will be 29 years before you see Saturn do a full cycle.

A. Lange & Söhne Richard Lange Perpetual Calendar Terraluna Watch

Known among watch enthusiasts for its technically complicated novelties, A. Lange & Sohne has introduced a 2014 timepiece to satisfy its fan base. The dial of its perpetual calendar displays the day of the week and the month through small windows, while at the 12 o’clock mark there is a large date. The three interlocking rings track minutes, hours, and seconds. But what has people especially excited is the backside of the watch, where there is a breathtaking orbital moonphase display showing—among other things—the age, phase, and position of the Moon, the Earth itself as viewed from a vantage point above the North Pole, and the Earth’s daily rotation around the sun.

Pebble Steel

Smartwatch pioneer Pebble is causing a stir with its latest watch, which features new hardware and a more sophisticated approach to the design with its stainless steel body and Corning Gorilla Glass covering the screen. Early adopters who’ve already been drawn to Pebble for its ability to control smartphone functions from your wrist, are going to be thrilled about the premium version, which started shipping last week. The excitement will amp up to another level when the company launches its official app store by the end of the year.

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