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Time on your hands? Here’s our guide to 2023’s best watches

WORDS: NATHAN CHADWICK

If you’re looking to treat yourself, or have a special gift in mind this festive season, this past year has served up an excellent selection of watches to choose from. We’ve picked out ten of our favourites from over the past 12 months, from across the spectrum of prices and styles. Whether you’re looking for a timepiece for everyday use or for the evening, we’ve got you covered…

CHOPARD ALPINE EAGLE CADENCE 8HF


This Alpine Eagle combines the comfortable feel of a titanium watch with an elegant chronometer movement. The 41mm case houses a black dial with subtle orange accents, and the Chopard 01.12-C high-frequency escapement automatic movement allows it to reach a cruising altitude of 57,600 vibrations per hour (8Hz). The price is £18,500.
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BROOKLANDS TRIPLE-FOUR RACING CHRONOGRAPH


The late Sir Terence Conran got the inspiration for this limited-edition watch from not only his father’s trips to Brooklands to watch races many decades ago, but the record-holding Napier-Railton, too. The hands evoke those of the Brooklands Chronograph Villa clock, while the perimeter of the outer face is banked at the same angle as the track itself. Crafted in Switzerland using an SW500 calibre and a Conran Blue strap, it costs £5754 and is limited to 500 pieces.
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ROLEX DAYTONA COSMOGRAPH 24 HOURS


Rolex’s Daytona Cosmograph marks the Le Mans 24 Hours centenary. Finished in 18ct white gold, it has a Cerachrom bezel in black ceramic, while the tachymetric scale features a red-ceramic ‘100’. The Oyster case has a transparent back and an Oyster bracelet. An exclusive calibre 4132 movement allows the chronograph function to be counted over 24 hours rather than 12. It costs £43,000.
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HERBELIN CAP CAMARAT SKELETON


The Cap Camarat line takes its inspiration from the French Riviera, and is now available in automatic form. Limited to 500 pieces, it uses the Sellita 13 1/4 SW400-1 Automatique movement in a 42mm 316L stainless-steel case, while the dial is made from brushed stainless. It costs £1799.
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PATEK PHILIPPE AQUANAUT ROSE GOLD 5261R-001


A complication that isn’t complicated – Patek Philippe’s patented annual calendar means the day/date/month set-up needs only one manual correction, each February. The 18ct rose gold case and bezel’s rounded octagonal shapes are contrasted with polished and satin-brushed finishes, while the blue-grey dial and composite Aquanaut pattern lend an air of sportiness. Price is £49,530.
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MHD DAILY DRIVER REVERSE PANDA


Designed by former Morgan stylist Matthew Humphries, this timepiece features a matt-black dial with laser-cut holes to allow the vintage-colour super luminova sub dial to glow through at night. The superluminova treatment extends to the precision hands, too. The stainless-steel case features knurled, polished and brushed finishes, as well as crystal glass, and ensconces a Seiko VK64 Hybrid Meca-Quartz chronograph movement. This means it has a quartz movement for everyday timekeeping, and a mechanical movement for the 60-minute chronograph. It costs £395.
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RICHARD MILLE RM 72-01 LE MANS CLASSIC


To celebrate the 11th Le Mans Classic, which in turn marked 100 years of the Le Mans 24 Hours, Richard Mille has produced 150 pieces of this model. It features the company’s first flyback chronograph, which has a patented double-oscillating pinion clutch mechanism. Stylistically, it pays tribute to the race via the 16 on the hour counter, which is underlined in red as a reference to the start time of the Le Mans 24 Hours. The self-winding movement has a 50-hour power reserve, and it costs 295,000 CHF plus VAT.
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MONTRES F.P. JOURNE LINESPORT AUTOMATIQUE RÉSERVE


This 44mm-diameter watch is crafted from titanium, and features a yellow aluminium-alloy dial with luminescent indexes and numerals, while the seconds counter is in white sapphire. It features the 1300.3 calibre, and costs £67,500.
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FRANCK MULLER VANGUARD WATCH


Franck Muller’s latest iteration of its popular Vanguard series takes the model line into automotive-inspired territory. The hand-applied indexes and numbers are influenced by motor sport aesthetics, while the Racing Collection watches’ rubber strap is integrated into the case with two unseen screws. The movement is automatic, and the models are available in 18k rose gold or stainless steel, with a chronograph or classic hours, minutes and seconds. A variety of colours are available, and prices begin at £2700.
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TUDOR PELAGOS FXD M2570B/23-0001


The Pelagos range is inspired by the timepieces worn by the US Navy. Waterproof to 200 metres, this 42mm-diameter watch features a titanium case that encapsulates a MT5602 mechanical movement. It has a power reserve of circa 70 hours, comes with a fabric strap and a navy rubber strap, and is priced at £3490.
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