Picking my favorite under the radar release was difficult because, by nature of being under the radar, these weren’t watches that were top of mind. So, instead of just knowing which watch I’d write about, I had to actually discover it by going through our archives. In doing this, I actually came across several watches that were released last year, that I totally forgot about, that were disproportionately rad considering the relatively low fanfare they received upon launch. My three top choices all involved complications, of course, ranging from a clever GMT chronograph by Stowa to a chiming one-hander by MeisterSinger. But, I can’t fight my heart, which is why the ochs und junior Calendario Cent’Anni is my pick for favorite under the radar release of 2021.
I have a growing fascination with perpetual calendars that I can’t ignore. There is something about the complexity of an automatically adjusting full calendar that is powered by springs and gears, that I find awe-inspiring. Sure, annual calendars do something very similar (and I’m quite into them, too), but that extra bit of magic from adjusting for leap years is just, well, extra.
But, there are two common problems with perpetual calendars, in my eyes. First, is that they tend to be a bit stuffy looking. Though Pateks, Langes, JLCs, etc, are all gorgeous, they aren’t really watches I’d want to wear (this is about me, after all). It’s not even the complexity of the sub-dials, moon phases, etc, that bothers me, it’s more that they tend to be stuffy. They’re serious watches that take themselves seriously, like a high school principal. Ok, the 3940 gets a pass, but is an example of issue number two: they also tend to cost a fortune.