At Watches & Wonders Geneva 2023, we had a lot to talk about as brands took liberty with designs that they typically don’t do: dials with balloons, dials with painted images of jigsaw puzzles, actual metal jig-saw puzzle dials, bright colors and whimsical takes on classics. We also saw the debut of some brand “firsts” and even world “firsts.” Even though the world’s largest and most important watch exhibition, Watches & Wonders Geneva 2023, took place just about a month ago, most of the timepieces unveiled there won’t be making their way to stores until summer and, in some cases, fall. As such, we take some time to review five intriguing watches unveiled at the show.
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Louis Moinet Savanna Tourbillon Leopard
Independent Swiss watch brand Louis Moinet is one of my favorite brands. Jean-Maire Schaller, head of the company, regularly executes not only technically advance marvels, but also watches with artistic prowess. This year, the brand released three watches whose dials are actually a miniature metal jigsaw puzzle. The watches, each of the three is a one of a kind, are hand painted and so realistically done that they are among the most arresting to look at. This one, the Savanna Tourbillon Leopard, is micro-painted with a realistic approach. Each of the 81 pieces of the puzzle is individually painted by hand and then the pieces are re-assembled to form the dial. At every stage, this is exacting and precise work. When the puzzle is re-assembled, edges of certain of the pieces are higher than other pieces so the wearer understands that it is a true jigsaw puzzle. Each watch is powered by a mechanical movement with tourbillon escapement – bringing high watchmaking and art together seamlessly. This watch has sold out.
IWC Schaffhausen Ingenieur Automatic 40
With so many watch collectors enthralled with designer Gerald Genta, IWC seized the opportunity to reintroduce its Ingenieur line – based on the Ingenieur SL Jumbo watches that Genta designed in the 1970’s to breathe new life into the 1950’s line. The brand scoured through its archives and worked with Genta’s wife Evelyne, who founded the Gerald Genta Heritage Association, to ensure the design of the new Ingenieur Automatic 40 was true to Genta’s concept for the line.
The new Ingenieur Automatic 40 watches are, as their name suggests, 40mm in diameter and house the IWC 3211mechanical movement that offers 120 hours of power reserve. The automatic movement boasts a soft-iron inner case that protects it from magnetic fields like its predecessor had. However, the case is slimmed down and ergonomic to offer comfort and sophisticated appeal. The dials of the stainless steel version boast a grid pattern and come in silver, black and green ($11,700). There is also a titanium version with gray grid dial ($14,600).
Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda PF Minute Rattrapante
Swiss watch brand Parmigiani Fleurier unveiled a world first with its Tonda PF Minute Rattrapante. The complex watch takes the idea of a Rattrapante (catch-up) hand from its typical home on a chronograph and brought it into new use. Typically, in a chronograph, the Rattrapante hand is a second timing hand. When the chronograph function is activated, both seconds hands start moving, but the wearer can press a pusher to stop the additional seconds hand, for instance, at the end of timing one runner in a race, and then press the pusher again so the hand catches up to the other one that is timing, for instance, another runner. It enables timing of multiple events at once.
In the Tonda PF Minute Rattrapante, the additional hand can is a minute hand that can be set ahead in five-minute increments or one-minute increments. The idea here is to mark a certain point in the future when the wearer may, for instance, have a meeting. The different color hand acts like a reminder that the wearer has only x number of minutes left before having to go to that meeting. While one can glance at a watch and be aware of time fleeing, this hand offers a visual concrete reminder of the time. By pushing a button, the extra hand catches up with the regular minute hand and tucks itself away behind it.
Rolex Oyster Perpetual Celebration Bubbles
Adding whimsy to the mix, this year Rolex unveiled several timepieces that had people talking. Among them: the Rolex Oyster Perpetual Celebration Bubbles Dial watch. Essentially the three-hands watch boasts a pale turquoise blue lacquer background accented with boldly colored circles that leave us trying to decide if they are balls or balloons or bubble bath bubbles. The circles, some atop of others, are bright red, orange, pink and even green. Crafted in stainless steel, the watches come in three sizes that range from 31mm to 36mm and 41mm. They are powered by the Rolex caliber 2232 automatic movement and offer 55 hours of power reserve. They retail for approximately $6,000 depending on the size.
Patek Philippe Calatrava 6007G
Taking a little colorful liberty in its beloved Calatrava collection, Patek Philippe unveiled three new self-winding Calatrava references – one each with accent colors on the dial of red, yellow or blue. The white gold watches also boast a graphic grid pattern on the center of the ebony black dials. The carbon pattern mixed with the various pops of color make for a lively, almost racecar like look. The color is used on the counters and the seconds hand and the black calfskin straps are embossed with the carbon pattern and stitched in color-coordinated red, yellow or blue. The watches are powered by the brand’s self-winding caliber 330SC with date at 3:00 and sweep seconds. The 40mm watches are water resistant to 30 meters and offer 35 to 45 hours of power reserve. Approximately $37,850.
(This article by Roberta Naas was first seen on Forbes.com.)