This is turning out to be a year of stark contrasts. While some manufacturers insist on microscopic adjustments to tried and trusted case sizes and materials, the flipside of the horological coin is marked by bravado. A bravado in contrasts, from flashing neon sun-yellow ceramic to the demure elegance of brushed silver. Never has our diverse taste been served with such deliciously varied dishes that offer hints of a strong recovery after a dark year. In one of the most hotly contested categories, my thoughts on the top 3 sports replica watches of Watches & Wonders show this to full effect.
Hublot Big Bang Unico Replica With Skeleton Dial
Don’t be wrist-shy. Why wear an understated, black dial watch, when you can rock the cocktail party (a rocktail party?) with a SMASH of bright yellow? It’s not small, but this time it is a calmer 42mm, well as calm as you can get with a chunky yellow sun strapped to your wrist. What this is, aside from being traditional Swiss craftsmanship inside a very loud suit, is a mind-transforming device: the yellow ceramic case copy Hublot Big Bang Unico Yellow Magic will override any trace of negativity that resides within your body and imbue you with a sunny demeanour. Seriously. Hublot is cementing its Big Bang range as the cutting edge of ceramic case mastery in 2021, with a monopoly on the brightest colours that are the most difficult to produce. Yet beyond all that, their open-worked dials are still beguiling. Look past the bright flash of yellow and through the pure function of a strong chronograph dial and a miniature world appears. Within the banging case lies the exquisite column wheel Unico HUB1280 chronograph movement with a 72 hour power reserve and a 100m depth rating. With only 250 pieces available I’d be quick. Price: CHF 24,900
Aquaracer Professional 300 Tribute to Re. 844 Limited Edition
Yes, TAG Heuer hit the vintage nail on its head, from octagon-holed vented rubber strap, to a perfect beige lume on a black dial (shut up, I’m not calling it fauxtina). The cheap copy TAG Heuer Aquaracer collection is a no-brainer if you’re looking for that first good sports watch, and the in-house Calibre 5 offers a solid entry ticket into mechanical Swiss wonderment. This time TAG Heuer has done a detailed re-invention of the range, with this modern interpretation of the 844 it’s halo model.
With a light but damn tough titanium body it’s the vintage history we never knew was missing from the Aquaracer. Rather than a period-perfect remake, it’s more like TAG Heuer’s answer to the Black Bay, a delicious amalgamation of details that represent the iconic 844 in a subtly different way. Notice little details like the tall, octagonal indices, the broader sword hands, and the cheeky cyclops at 6. It gels, works and looks just right. Price: EUR 4,100
Top Quality Copy Tudor Black Bay 58 Silver
As above, the vintage feeling is strong, but this expresses the pure language of the 58. This unexpected twist brings us taupe dialled, calm elegance, a much quieter presence than the gilt OG, and even more understated than the crisp blue 2020 hit. And I will give you a box of chocolates if you can name ONE other new sports watch in 2021 with a case in 925 silver. This pure brushed case still has the same indefinable perfection that makes the slim 39mm cased copy sports watch (let’s be truthful here, this ain’t going diving) sit oh-so well on the wrist as ever. And that, with the unusual but go-with-everything panache of subdued colours and superb value for money in the silver case, will presumably make it hard to get. Top that with the solid in-house chronometer spec movement and you’ll realise that order books will fill up tomorrow. Price: $4,300 USD