Best of the Best 2013: Men’s Watches: Visual Artistry: De Bethune IX Mayan Underworld

While the aesthetics of watchmaking are receiving more attention from design teams than ever before, few visual-arts pieces can match the concept that informs De Bethune’s 12-piece IX Mayan Underworld ($95,000) limited edition. Created for the much-anticipated end of the Mayan Long Count calendar, the engraved timepiece pays tribute to that culture’s unique way of representing the universe. On the dial, the engraver Michèle Rothen blends Mayan numerals and a number of religious and temporal glyphs (some of which have only recently been deciphered) with accents in De Bethune’s signature blued titanium to fashion a stunning relief. Yet this extraordinary timepiece is more than a decorative accessory: It reminds its fortunate wearer of the individual and universal nature of humanity’s relationship to time. (+41.24.455.2600, www.debethune.ch)