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Thursday, July 25, 2024

10 great watches from Watches & Wonders 2024

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As always with Watches & Wonders, it is nigh on impossible task to pick favourites. The annual watch fair in Geneva, which was held this year from 9-15 April, was attended by 54 brands, each of which showcased a wide number of new models and novelties. To keep track of the sheer number of watches was a task in itself, so to pick 10 is a thankless task.

After all, if there was any one trend this year, it was that there was none. Broadly speaking, one could say that most watchmakers focused on subtly tweaking existing models, or adding new twists to already existing ones. The superb new Tudor Black Bay 58 GMT is a case in point, or Grand Seiko’s handwound version of the ‘White Birch’ for that matter.

One thing that certainly stood out though is a fresh appreciation for complications. In these times of social media-led watch love, it’s easy to forget what used to draw enthusiasts to mechanical watches in the first place. It wasn’t the manufactured, FOMO-driven acquisition of the same five or so watches, but a deep appreciation for movements, finishing, stylishness and wearability.

With that in mind, it was extremely refreshing to see brands offering timepieces with complicated movements, like the Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Duometre Heliotourbillon or the IWC Portugieser Eternal Calender. Apart from a few watchmakers, most brands release new watches through the year and not just at Watches & Wonders. With that being the case, why not use W&W to flex you watchmaking muscle instead?

One brand that certainly won’t be releasing new models outside of W&W would be Rolex, so it was quite the departure from the norm that the Swiss giant’s most talked-about release wasn’t a sports watch, but a dress piece. And that too with a finely textured dial featuring two different guilloché finishes! The 1908 was a new dress watch line that Rolex unveiled last year, but this year’s version in platinum has got people talking.

Outside of a flourish of complications, one could even say that this year’s offerings were pretty conservative. However, there were watches that bucked that trend too, like Zenith’s many new iterations within the Defy line, or Nomos Glashütte’s funky limited edition versions of the Tangente. And there were stylish and rugged chronographs a plenty as well, including the Cartier Tortue monopusher chronograph, the TAG Heuer Glassbox with a panda dial and the Bremont Terra Nova chronograph.

The Oris Aquis Date Calibre 400.

The Oris Aquis Date Calibre 400.
(Courtesy Oris)

ORIS AQUIS DATE CALIBRE 400: Oris tweaked its flagship dive watch with just the right specs—like a thinner case—to acclaim. A neat date wheel, and a five-day power reserve help too. An example of incremental improvement done right. From $4,100; Oris.ch

Rolex Perpetual 1908.

Rolex Perpetual 1908.
(Courtesy Rolex)

ROLEX PERPETUAL 1908: It’s been a while that Rolex made waves with a dress watch, but the Platinum 1908 deserves the hype. $30,900; Rolex.com

Grand Seiko SLGW003.

Grand Seiko SLGW003.
(Courtesy Grand Seiko)

GRAND SEIKO SLGW003: A handwound hi-beat Grand Seiko is always a pleasure, especially with a titanium case and that wonderful dial. $10,700; Grand-seiko.com

Bulgari Octo Finissimo Ultra.

Bulgari Octo Finissimo Ultra.
(Courtesy Bulgari)

BULGARI OCTO FINISSIMO ULTRA: Bulgari regains the crown for the world’s thinnest watch with this 1.75m feat of engineering. $529,000 (limited to 20 pieces); Bulgari.com

Jaeger-LeCoultre Duometre Heliotourbillon Perpetual.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Duometre Heliotourbillon Perpetual.
(Courtesy Jaeger-LeCoultre)

JAEGER-LECOULTRE DUOMETRE HELIOTOURBILLON PERPETUAL: JLC is often called the “watchmaker’s watchmaker”, and with this piece it shows why, finding a way to create a mechanical wonder that is a perpetual calendar, a moonphase indicator and a highly accurate timekeeper. $438,000; Jaeger-lecoultre.com

Zenith Defy Revival A3648.

Zenith Defy Revival A3648.
(Courtesy Zenith)

ZENITH DEFY REVIVAL A3648: While Zenith is renowned for making one of the first (some call it the first) automatic chronographs in the 60s, this capable diver recreates the brand’s important 1969 dive watch. $7,700; Zenith-watches.com

IWC Portugieser Eternal Calendar.

IWC Portugieser Eternal Calendar.
(Courtesy IWC)

IWC PORTUGIESER ETERNAL CALENDAR: IWC has always been about more than cult aviation watches, and this lavishly complicated piece (with a moonphase that is accurate for 45 million years, among others) is a tour de force. Price on request; IWC.com

Tudor Black Bay 58 GMT.

Tudor Black Bay 58 GMT.
(Courtesy Tudor)

TUDOR BLACK BAY 58 GMT: The Black Bay 58 is one of the most beloved dive watches in the world, so when Tudor produced a 39mm GMT version, it was a headline event. CHF4,300; Tudorwatch.com

NOMOS Tangente 38 Date.

NOMOS Tangente 38 Date.
(Courtesy NOMOS)

NOMOS GLASHÜTTE TANGENTE 38 DATE: Nomos is the flagbearer of German watchmaking and Bauhaus design, and the brand celebrated both with the release of this limited run of the popular Tangente in three colours. An affordable classic. $2,310; Nomos-glashuette.com

A. Lange & Söhne Datograph Perpetual Tourbillon ‘Lumen’

A. Lange & Söhne Datograph Perpetual Tourbillon ‘Lumen’
(Courtesy A. Lange & Söhne)

A. LANGE & SÖHNE DATOGRAPH PERPETUAL TOURBILLON ‘LUMEN’: In a year of complications, the granddaddy of German watchmaking wouldn’t be left behind. A chronograph, moonphase, big date tourbillon is all very well, but does the entire dial light up with lume? This one does. Price on request; Alange-soehne.com

 


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