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A new year, a new good vintage. For the 2023 edition of Watches & Wonders, some manufacturers have outdone themselves while others have rested on their laurels. Some watches have stolen the hearts of watch lovers, sometimes in the simplest of ways. Like what there is no point in reinventing the wheel – at least not all the time – to make the buzz. After spending two days there, here is our greatest favorites from the living room.
Tudor Black Bay 54
Unsurprisingly, Rolex’s little sister is betting on its bestseller. However, she manages to create surprise on several levels, in particular with the Black Bay 54. This echoes the year of release of the whole first diver signed Tudori.e. 1954. Measuring 37.5mm in diametera surprising choice but so logical, this new watch is a reinterpretation of the original model. Exit the modern crown and hello the retro crown, ditto for the bezel without graduations on the first 15 minutes. The “snowflake” second hand disappears in favor of a “lollipop”, but the hour hand remains. Everything is offered on a steel bracelet, or on a rubber strap with Tudor’s T-Fit buckle, therefore a real folding clasp. A watch full of charm that will certainly wreak havoc! Discover all the novelties signed Tudor here.
IWC Ingenieur Automatic 40
Here is a watch that was highly anticipated. Despite the growing trend for watches with integrated straps in recent years, IWC did not want to put the cart before the horse. At the same time, we only have one chance to revive a designed by Gérald Genta. After 5 years of research and development, the Schaffhausen Manufacture is therefore unveiling a single news item, but not the least: the Engineer Automatic 40. A watch that is perfect from all angles, from a design, finishing and technical point of view. Finally, its screws align perfectly, its crown is protected by two shoulders, its lugs hug the wrist better and the bracelet has been reworked for greater comfort. Its 40mm wide case by only 10mm thickwater-resistant to 100 meters, houses an IWC 32111 caliber offering 120 hours of power reserve. On the other hand, in the short term at least, its availability will be reduced and its price starting at 12,700€ may surprise. But on paper, it’s the perfect watch.
Rolex GMT-Master II
Usually, aficionados grumble that the brand at the crown doesn’t crowd enough. This year, they still complain because the brand has done too much. It’s a small exaggeration, but Rolex fans are never happy. While the Daytona collection received a slight facelift, some zany dials saw the light of day, as did a reworked Cellini collection with a new name. On our side, it is this GMT-Master II which caught our eye. On the one hand because the “Root Beer” in the catalog has been eyeing us for some time, without however converting us, and on the other hand because its black and gray bezel is totally unique in the history of Rolex. THE Jubilee bracelet in Rolesor is also a first in this collection. In the window as on the wrist, this new yet subtle addition has totally seduced us. Go here to discover all the latest Rolex news.
Zenith Pilot Big Date Flyback
For Zenith, an entirely redesigned collection is born. The Pilot echoes the brand’s past in the field of aviation, while orienting itself towards the future. 3 hands and ceramics are on the program, but it is above all this Big Date Flyback Chronograph which caught our attention. Her 42.5mm casewaterproof to 100 meters, contains a El Primero caliber equipped with several innovations in addition to its return-to-flight function: a large patented date advancing almost instantaneously as well as ultra-smooth push buttons. All against a background corrugated iron effect with a “Rainbow” totalizer and a cordura-effect bracelet. Once on the wrist, you don’t want to take it off! Other novelties signed Zenith can be discovered here.
Oris ProPilot X Kermit Edition
Landing on the stand of Oris, to everyone’s amazement, there was green everywhere. On the walls as in almost all the windows, impossible to miss the so familiar head of the frog of the Muppet Show. Kermit was the star of the House of Hölstein. A real snub to the grand master of ceremonies. Difficult to interpret it otherwise, Rolex fans will be delighted… Technically or even aesthetically, there is not much to say. The biggest news lies in the signing of the rights to use the brand with Disney, which owns it. A almost absurd green dial, a crazy neon green flange, just like the date disc. Not to mention that every first of the month, Kermit shows his face, while the rest is displayed in white on a green background to blend in with the decor…and yet it works ! It’s an original way to make the ProPilot X collection shine as well as the caliber 400. Oris did not want to play the small arms and we salute this audacity!
Frederique Constant Classic Tourbillon Manufacture
From memory, we can’t say everything. Let’s just say that tourbillons were in the spotlight on the Frédérique Constant stand. The Geneva-based house therefore opens the ball with this tourbillon fitted with a pink gold case measuring 39mm wide. This one celebrates 35 years of the brand as well as its first participation in Watches & Wonders, an important step in the collective unconscious, positioning the manufacture as a leading luxury brand. This model named Classic Tourbillon Manufacture is also a a more streamlined reinterpretation of its very first tourbillon released in 2008. With a price of “only” €25,995, this superb execution has nothing to envy to the biggest houses!
TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph
Some seem to have been disappointed with the TAG Heuer novelties. Not us. There were a lot of Carrera, of course, but it is also the flagship collection of the Saint-Imier factory. While the dials adorned with colored gradients do their bit, they lack the charm of a 39mm topped with a “glassbox” lens, especially in reverse panda. Inspired by Heuer 2447 NS released in the early 1970sthis neo-vintage piece has it all, including a next-generation automatic movement, the caliber TH20-00 offering 80 hours of power reserveas well as a 100 meter waterproof. The oscillating weight also takes on a new, more modern shape, taking up the shape of the geometric TAG Heuer coat of arms. Simple but damn effective.
Logic would have dictated that among the releases of Cartier, we select one of the many great releases. We think in particular of the Santos-Dumont XL or the Skeleton version, even the Tank Normale, one of the pillars of the brand. But it was this Cartier Santos that caught our eye and occupied our thoughts throughout our interview with the Cartier team. It’s a very subjective selection, let’s not forget that. THE Santos Medium and Santos Large now wear a sunray forest green dial which makes this superbly redesigned collection shine even more. We’ll say it bluntly: the latest generation Santos is one of the most beautiful reinterpretations we’ve seen in recent years. Since we love green so much, you now understand this choice better. And then a luxury steel watch with integrated braceletavailable in stores and at less than 8000€it does not really run the streets…
Panerai Radiomir California
This year, Panerai is thinking small, without lacking ambition. The Swiss naturalized Italian manufacturer is (finally) revisiting its diameters downwards. It’s not new, but it’s a desire that is confirmed, especially in the Radiomir collection. This time, the California version – a pillar of Panerai’s history – comes back in 45mm with a casing Brunito eSteelnew recycled material with a distressed finish which gives an air of life to each room. Combined with a gradient green dial with blued hands driven by a hand-wound mechanical movement equipped with 8 days of power reserveor the trifle of 192 hours, you get an eye-catching piece. Coming back to size, let’s not forget that the Radiomir does not actually have hornsso its length is very contained, making its 45mm far more portable than you might imagine.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tribute Chronograph
Did you know that the design of the Reverso was governed by the golden ratio ? This magic number of around 1.1618, symbolizing the beauty and harmony found in nature, was at the heart of the Jaeger-LeCoultre stand. For what ? Quite simply because the Grande Maison had focused on its iconic model, from its simplest version to its most complex. After all, Jaeger-LeCoultre is expert in grand complications. It is however this chronograph which aroused all our admiration, with two sides as opposite as each other. On one side, an ultra-classic two-hand dial on a sunburst background, and on the other a skeletonised, audacious and yet so elegant chronograph, with a retrograde 30-minute totalizer. A superb execution far from the muscular iterations of the past, measuring only 11.14mm thick. Amazing !
A. Lange & Söhne Odysseus Chronograph
Yes, another chronograph. But what a chronograph! The Glashütte house unveiled rose gold and platinum versions of its Zeitwerk, but the star of the show was unquestionably this Odysseus Chronograph. It’s hard to miss the nearly 4-meter-high sculpture at the heart of the German brand’s stand! Let’s start with what’s annoying: it’s a limited edition of 100 pieces. At the same time, it’s not a watch for everyone, although its price remains unknown. But for A. Lange & Söhne, it’s all first automatic chronograph in its history. You see two big hands there, but it’s not a split-seconds chronograph. It’s a 60-minute central totalizer, at least for the silver hand, while the red one is dedicated to the chronograph seconds. these reset simultaneouslywith a perfect juxtaposition creating a sham. It is a tocante which can cause a fracture of the retina.
Grand Seiko SBGZ009
At Grand Seiko, the real star was the Tentagraph, the first mechanical (and automatic) chronograph from the great Japanese house. Hard to believe, but we hadn’t even noticed this hole in the brand’s catalog. Be that as it may, the charm of this piece did not operate. We are not alone, but the reference SBGZ009 was enough to cause love at first sight. This watch from the Masterpiece collection, entirely in hand-engraved 950 platinum, takes up the magic formula of the birch forest draped in a blanket of snow in winter facing the workshops of the factory. Measuring 38.5mm in diameter and only 9.8mm thick, this watch contains a Spring Drive movement hand-wound accurate to -1/+1 second per day, offering 84 hours of power reserve. All with the exceptional finishes of Grand Seiko, but limited to 50 pieces. At the same time, at €80,000, we let it sink in…
Chopard Alpine Eagle 41 XPS
Chopard seems to operate discreetly, in an almost alternative world. However, the reality is that its size imposed on Watches & Wonders. Far from the shackles of mass marketing, the jewelry manufacturer has unveiled a new ultra-thin Alpine Eagle. Thanks to caliber LUC 96.40-L barely measuring 3.3mm thick thanks to a micro-rotorthe watch displays a profile of only 8mm, for 41mm width. And Chopard does things well by offering 65 hours of power reserve. Everything is inspired by the iris of an eagle and comes to life on a pink Monta Rosa dial obtained by galvanic treatment on a gold base. We didn’t wear it on the wrist and that’s a shame.
Chanel Monsieur Tourbillon Meteorite
Let’s end with a novelty passed under the radar. For those who walked the floor of the Chanel stand, the woman was in the spotlight, as were the mixtures of ceramics and the completely offbeat geometric shapes. But in the middle of all this madness was discreetly standing a Monsieur de Chanel. And not just any version: a version flying tourbillon adorned with a lion’s head on meteorite background. Absolute masculinity for the French brand. On the menu: a black ceramic case measuring 42mm, containing a Caliber 5.1 with manual winding – splendid from the bottom of the case – and offering 72 hours of power reserve. Who says flying tourbillon and meteorite in the same sentence, inevitably says limited edition, either 55 pieces which have probably already found takers during the show. Otherwise, go to the Place Vendôme shop to admire it.
Discover what’s new at Watches & Wonders 2023.