LAS VEGAS — Any hard-core horological enthusiast will be quick to tell you that there’s always been a lot more to a high-end wristwatch than tracking the hours, minutes and seconds. But that doesn’t mean luxury watch brands aren’t continually trying to add new bells and whistles (figuratively and in some cases literally) to their collections of wrist candy. The recent JCK Swiss Watch and Couture Jewelry shows here were full of watches that did more — in some cases a lot more — than simply relay the time, as well as others that told the time in very unexpected ways. Among the standouts:
The mechanical self-winding Ulysse Nardin Stranger has a miniature old-fashioned music box of sorts tucked inside its 18-karat rose-gold case. When activated, a rotating disc anchored at
12 o’clock moves across a rib cage-like arrangement of 10 metal tines, plucking out “Strangers in the Night” on the hour or on request. Created in collaboration with minority shareholder and electronic music pioneer Dieter Meier, the limited-edition run
of 99 pieces is set to retail for $112,000 each when they become available in late fall 2013. www.ulysse-nardin.com
NATURAL FREQUENCY TECHNOLOGY
The makers posit that a metal disk inside its watches helps wearers sleep better because it resets “the body to its ideal [Harmonic Resonance Frequency],” according to the brand’s website. Whether there’s anything to the New Age-y claim, one thing is for sure: 2013 marks the launch of an expanded men’s collection — of five different single and dual movement watches offered in a variety of face designs, metals and colors. Prices: $575 to $3,500 when they hit retail in late August. www.philipstein
BELL & ROSS HEADING INDICATOR
The brand’s Aviation collection — a series of watches inspired by airplane cockpit gauges — adds three new styles this year: Timepieces modeled after the airspeed indicator, the vertical speed indicator and the heading indicator or gyrocompass. The BR01 Heading Indicator, which is being made in a limited run of just 999 pieces, will retail for $6,000 when it becomes available at authorized retailers, including Westime locally, sometime in July.
The Night Vision watch isn’t new, but the “black ice” PVD coating on the watch case is, taking it from military mission to James Bond dinner party. One click of a button momentarily illuminates the dial with a blue LED, two clicks turn the watch into a mini-flashlight, three clicks trigger a two-minute strobe light, and holding the button for five seconds launches a strobe that will blink for a full seven days and seven nights and be visible up to a mile on a clear day. The $695 watches are available now in Victorinox boutiques (including the Beverly Center store locally) and other retail stores.
These timepieces feature distinctive domed faces and delicately curved hands. Half-spheres depict things like the Northern hemisphere and zodiac signs across the night sky. So it’s no surprise that the new Magelluna — whose central half sphere depicts the lunar crust, complete with hand-painted meteorite strikes — is an out-of-this-world bit of galactic glitz. The watch turned heads at the Couture Jewelry show in Las Vegas earlier this month, where the Magelluna took home an award for best architectural design. Purchase of the $10,290 watch can be arranged by calling the brand’s U.S. distributor, San Diego-based Z Luxe Group, at (858) 551-4930.