If your average Timex is a top 40 radio hit, the Bradley Taylor Paragon is a 20-minute free jazz opus by a composer with an unpronounceable name. Most people won’t understand and few will care, but those who get it, well, they care a lot. That small, deep-pocketed, semi-fanatical community of watch collectors is exactly who this Canadian watchmaker created the Paragon for.
“The Paragon is definitely not someone’s first watch,” says Taylor, who grew up in Toronto and studied watchmaking in Le Locle, Switzerland, earning certifications at the esteemed workshops of Patek Philippe and Hublot before setting up shop in Vancouver at the age of 30 earlier this year. “Most of my customers have bought a lot of high-end brands and want something that has been truly considered inside and out.”
The Paragon, Taylor’s first creation, is certainly that. The dial is made by Kari Voutilainen, a highly respected independent maker of six-figure Swiss watches and features specialized guilloché engraving and hand-polished numerals. The movement is made by Vaucher, another Swiss specialist, and the fineness of its hand-finished surfaces can only be truly appreciated through a jeweler’s loupe. The hands, meanwhile, are crafted by Taylor himself, who spends 20-plus hours shaping, polishing and heating each one to achieve a specific shade of deep purple. In a nod to national pride, the movement is held together by square head screws (a Canadian invention) and the Paragon is available on straps made from beavertail and salmon leather.
Taylor is making 12 Paragons, each priced at US$22,000. While they sold out within six weeks of taking orders, other pieces are in the works. “It’s hard to explain what I do,” Taylor says. “But just telling people that I make a few really high-end watches every year is kind of funny.” Funny to some, but a serious business for those in the know.
For more information, visit bradleytaylor.ca.
There’s no such thing as the perfect watch, but Louis Cartier got pretty close when he designed the Tank in 1917. Its form – a dial suspended between a pair of parallel lines – is about as simply elegant as it gets, and the model has remained relatively unchanged for more than a century. The new Solarbeat Tank Must, however, marks what might be the most significant update to the Tank in years. As the first-ever solar powered watch in Cartier’s history, this new Tank is powered by a photovoltaic cell hidden beneath its Roman numeral dial and can run for 16 years without requiring service. It also features a strap made from plant-based leather, another first for the Parisian jeweler. This kind of ability to evolve while retaining its essential form confirms that the Tank is as close to timeless as you can get. – J.F.
Solarbeat Tank Must, $3,250 at Cartier (ca.cartier.com).
Clash of the titans
Prized for its extreme durability, titanium is the hottest (and lightest) material in watchmaking right now.
A titanium case makes for a luxurious take on a classic military design.
Hamilton Khaki Field Titanium Auto, $1,240 through hamiltonwatch.com.
A solar-powered movement that automatically adjusts to 26 time zones is at the heart of this high-tech marvel.
Citizen Super Titanium Atomic Timekeeping, $1,450 through citizenwatch.com.
This redesigned titanium diver is sure to make a splash on land or sea.
TAG Heuer Aquaracer, $5,250 through tagheuer.com.
Befitting of a watch worn by the world’s favourite secret agent, the official timepiece of the Bond film, No Time to Die, is as tough as it is refined.
Omega Seamaster Diver 300M Co-Axial Master Chronometer 42mm 007 Edition with stainless steel bracelet, $12,500 through omegawatches.com.
A textured dial inspired by freshly fallen snow is the star here, along with Grand Seiko’s ultra-accurate Spring Drive movement.
Grand Seiko Snowflake SBGA211, $7,300 through grand-seiko.com.