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The most beautiful watches on Sloane Street

Watch expert Ming Liu rounds up the top timepieces in Sloane Street’s boutiques

12 December 2022

Tis the season… to consider a marvelous watch. Whether treating yourself or buying for someone special, the gift of time is one that keeps on giving. After all, precious wristwear can be everlasting – an heirloom piece purchased today can be a treasure that is passed down for many generations to come. 

Watch expert Ming Liu picks our five best watches that are sure to add some sparkle and joy to the festive season.

Audemars Piguet

If there’s one year to get an Audemars Piguet Royal Oak – an era-defining design that shaped the sports luxe watch category as we know it – 2022 is it. 

This year, the immensely covetable, nearly impossible-to-get octagon-bezel timepiece celebrates its 50th birthday, and nearly all new models, including this classic 41mm chronograph in steel, come with a special ‘50 years’ engraving on the oscillating weight, which is visible through the glass caseback. 

Getting one’s hands on a Royal Oak this year has been the preserve of only a lucky few, but we’ve been reliably told that this looker – with a silver-toned Grande Tapisserie dial that’s chicly matched to white-gold batons – is available in the Sloane Street boutique. Plus, it’s a chronograph, which nicely rounds out the whole sporting heritage of this iconic design as it brings you stylishly into 2023.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak selfwinding chronograph 41mm, £30,600


The Cartier Tank has been worn by people from all walks of life – from Jackie Kennedy to Princess Diana, Yves Saint Laurent, Andy Warhol, and many other politicians, film directors and actors – making the rectangular watch one of the most recognisable and desirable watches going. 

So you can imagine the craze when, in 2021, Cartier decided to revisit the Tank Must model of 1977 for a younger generation. Read: more affordable and sustainable (some models have solar-powered movements and plant-based straps), but no less stylish or compromising on Cartier’s signature quality. Among the most popular and striking in the collection was a trio of pared-back designs with super clean dials in red, blue or green, with matching straps. Now, one year and complete sell-outs later, Cartier has introduced an all-black model, in small or large, featuring an intense black lacquered dial. 

Rich, deep, luxe and full of character – what more does one need in a watch?

Tank Must de Cartier, from £2,640


For over a decade, Dior’s signature Grand Bal collection has been seducing fans with its proprietary calibre known as Inversé 11 ½, which reimagines the swish and sway of a ball gown on a timepiece – or, in watch speak, it brilliantly places the oscillating rotor front and centre on the dial (it’s traditionally on the back). The rotor is then painstakingly hand-embellished and decorated with all manner of precious materials and beautiful accents, not unlike the finest couture creation itself. Dior’s Grand Bal watches have featured feathers, pearls and precious stones, even iridescent beetle shells and vibrant butterfly wings. 

This new Grand Bal Dentelle is detailed with diamond-studded gold lace, all set to move on a mesmerising midnight-blue lacquered dial, and which directly nods to the enchanting society balls that were a rich source of inspiration for Monsieur Dior. It feels right on point for the upcoming season of sparkling festive soirées.

Dior Grand Bal Dentelle, £31,000


The house of Gucci may not scream haute horlogerie, but the fashion brand has been upping its horological cred since the debut of its no-holds-barred fine watch collection in 2021. The launch saw a host of jazzy new calibres presented in all their kaleidoscopic, dynamic glory: cue the fantastical Planetarium with 12 gemstones that rotate and spin on the dial, and the high jewellery-style G-Timeless Dancing Bees, complete with gold sculpted bees that are set en tremblant in a miniature chevron pattern on a rare mother-of-pearl dial. 

More traditional watch lovers will be drawn to the sleek and elegant 25H – Gucci’s answer to the sports-luxe watch. It features a striking lined dial in tribute to architectural details, which are complemented by a five-link steel bracelet. This 40mm number with a chic grey dial is currently stocked at the Sloane Street boutique, and just for the record, is the same watch that Idris Elba sports in the Gucci campaign, looking positively festive in a blush pink suit with floral detail, matched to a red velvet dickie bow, #justsaying.

Gucci 25H 40mm, £7,500

Patek Philippe

Patek Philippe (available from Boodles) will always win in the heirloom stakes, thanks to that famous advertising campaign, but the Geneva watchmaker’s reputation is truly well deserved. Its creations ooze a bona fide quality around transcending generations and standing the test of time, with this gorgeous moon phase watch no exception. 

It’s a design both beautiful inside and out: the midnight-blue dial’s sunburst finish and double rows of 132 brilliant-cut diamonds on the bezel offer a subtle play of light, as Breguet numerals add a touch of classicism. Inside beats Calibre 215 PS LU, the house’s smallest complicated movement that powers the moon phase and small seconds display, all encased in an elegant 33mm-sized case. This is one that the next generation of watch collectors will pine over.

Patek Philippe Ladies’ Moon Phase Ref. 7121/200G-001, £34,290

More shopping on Sloane Street

What to buy from the Street’s boutiques