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Watch Special

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Sleek, short on show and engineered with exacting rigour — ideal watches for the Drive-style wheelman. Robin Swithinbank celebrates the latest meticulous timepieces.

Unlike Ryan Gosling in Drive, not many of us will find ourselves the protagonists of a hold-up, although most of us might admit to pinching a pen from work. But even light-fingered office workers can appreciate an impeccably accurate watch that keeps perfect time, whether you’re desperate for lunch or are indeed thinking of robbing a bank.

Admittedly, the price of prestige watches can be off-putting. But it needn’t be that way. For a few hundred pounds you can buy an excellent timepiece and wave goodbye to that plastic calculator watch forever. For a few thousand you can invest in a watch that will show you to be a man of style and bring you years of pleasure. Pleasure? Let us explain. A mechanical watch has no batteries, does not find meaning in electrical pulses and couldn’t care less for wireless connections. Its technology does not date.

Like a piece of fine art, a mechanical watch is a thing of beauty, but it’s also a precision instrument, made of hundreds, sometimes thousands of tiny parts. By the time a hand-crafted mechanical watch becomes attached to your wrist, it will have been tested to destruction by Swiss watchmakers whose demand for accuracy and reliability knows no bounds.

And that is why, after a time, the value of a fine watch becomes less about how much it cost to put on your wrist and more about how much pleasure you derive from wearing it.

(Images: Arthur Woodcraft)

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BR 126 Original Carbon (main image above)

This watch’s automatic chronograph movement is housed in a steel case coated in stylish matt black PVD, giving it an understated finish that’s also highly scratch-resistant.

£2,950; bellross.com

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Chiffre Rouge M01 Limited Edition

Limited to just 200 pieces, this version of Dior’s brushed-steel, asymmetrical Chiffre Rouge brings the oscillating rotor to the front of the watch, giving it a pleasingly unconventional aesthetic.

£5,700; dior.com

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DS Podium Valgranges Automatic

This motoring-inspired chronograph is powered by an ETA Valgranges movement. Certina’s famous ‘DS’ protection system ensures reliability and water-resistance.

£1,850; certina.com

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Seventies Panorama Date

German watch house Glashütte Original evokes the best of effortless Seventies cool in this pared-back stainless-steel watch, powered by the brand’s in-house movement.

£7,400; glashuette-original.com

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El Primero Stratos Flyback Striking 10th

Zenith’s new sports watch is cast in stainless steel with a black ceramic insert in the bezel. The brand has harnessed its own El Primero chronograph movement so the watch can measure time to the nearest one-tenth of a second.

£6,100; zenith-watches.com

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Portofino Hand-Wound Eight Days

IWC’s new collection is inspired by the idyllic Italian village of Portofino. This stainless-steel version features IWC’s in-house eight-day power reserve movement and a leather Santoni strap.

£7,900; iwc.com

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Monaco Twenty Four Blue Edition

Steve McQueen made the original Monaco famous by wearing it in 1971 film Le Mans. This model pays homage to the man and the 24-hour race, and features shock resistance to 24,000G, equivalent to a 20-metre drop.

£9,500; tagheuer.com

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