Trends of the Year: A Ceramic Industry (and we ain’t talkin’ pottery)

2014 is a year like no other. We’ve seen everything from the thinnest repeaters (JLC), to the thinnest tourbillons (Bulgari), to the overall thinnest wristwatches (Piaget). But one aspect I must bring up, considering it has had such an influence on the aesthetic part of watchmaking, is the integration of ceramic into the design of watches. Whether you look at the AP Royal Concept GMT Tourbillon or the Omega Speedmaster Co-Axial Chronometer Lunar Dust Ceramic, it seems as if ceramic is consuming the “industry.” Last year, we saw the Dark Side of the Moon, an Omega Speedy that created quite the following: a watch I would love to own myself. The creation of this 21st century watch legend only heightened people’s interest in ceramic. In this article, I will note my personal (ceramic) favorites from Baselworld and SIHH of 2014.

 

Audemars Piguet’s Royal Oak Concept GMT Tourbillon

Yes, I know, people either love or hate this bad boy. I don’t understand the hate part, but I do understand the love! Just the idea of having a Royal Oak in ceramic is mind-blowing. Just the idea of having a Royal Oak with a tourbillon makes me go wild. Now, put both together and think about how I feel. This is my dream sports watch, even if I would never even swing a golf club wearing it.

The bezel and pushers are white ceramic, while the case is titanium, a light, comfortably wearable metal. The “openworked" dial makes this watch, excuse my language, badass. If you’ve got the spare cash (around $200,000), it’s a good decision to buy this, I don’t think you’ll see something like this for a long time.

Rolex Sea-Dweller 4000

Happily, I can announce that the Sea-Dweller once again has returned from the depths of the ocean or the vaults of Rolex HQ over in Geneva and is back to make a truly lasting impression. I have not gotten the chance to get a hands-on experience with this model, but I shortly will. The Sea-Dweller has been making its way to the U.S., piece-by-piece, within the last couple of weeks. Although this watch only features a Cerachrom/Ceramic bezel and no other ceramic, it is a must-have on any (Baselworld) list. You can view the new Rolex Sea-Dweller 4000 in most authorized Rolex retailers. The price on this piece is $10,000.

Omega Speedmaster Co-Axil Chronometer Lunar Dust Ceramic

Omega isn’t my specialty, but it sure comes close. Without Omega, there’s a chance that there would be no “thewatchadviser.com” or “little watch man” as some people actually refer to me, no joke. So, as the world knows, Omega released Dark Side of the Moon at Baselworld 2013.

Today, its “lighter” predecessor stands tall with an equally handsome ceramic case and a beautifully finished platinum-plated dial. No further explanation needed. The price: 10,500 CHF. If only the astronauts could see this one from space. 

Luke Rottman (Executive Editor: thewatchadviser.com)