Watches and Wonders—the annual timepiece tradeshow in Geneva, Switzerland—tends to offer so many things to look at that it can be hard to pick just a handful of favorites. But that’s exactly what we asked the team of our editors and contributors in attendance to do here: Narrow the scores of new examples they saw over the last week down to just one (or, OK, fine, two) favorites, then explain why that watch stands above the rest.
Table of Contents
Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso One Precious Colors
Two of the most outstanding pieces to come out of the show are Jaeger-LeCoultre’s métiers d’art masterpieces, Reverso One Precious Colors. Each piece took 80 hours of grand feu enamel work executed entirely by hand. It may be hard to understand just how impressive that is until you see an artisan in the process of creating one.
Fortunately, I got a first-hand glimpse as JLC had a craftsman set up in their booth working on a piece. Working with his hands and just an enlarged photo rendering of the graphic Art Deco design, he carefully painted each sharp line. It is truly mind-boggling how a free hand and a tiny paintbrush can create such exacting precision without the aid of any straight-edged accessory to guide the strokes of the lines. Top that off with 45 hours of gem-setting 277 diamonds and it’s safe to say these two timepieces, one in varying green hues and one in blue, are incredible feats of artistry and true collector’s items. —Paige Reddinger, watch and jewelry editor
Vacheron Constantin Overseas Self-Winding 34 MM
I couldn’t choose just one! Another favorite of the show was Vacheron Constantin’s new 34 mm Overseas, which is an exciting addition to the company’s most popular line—and a standard-bearer for smaller and smaller men’s watches. The on-bracelet sports model, like the larger iterations, comes with easy-to-change rubber straps in various colors and some bezels are offered with diamonds—to accommodate the stones, their cases are slightly larger at 35 mm. This is a true unisex timepiece (it is offered with and without diamonds). Collectors who couldn’t fit the larger 41 mm and 42.5 mm iterations or those that simply want a smaller timepiece will be clamoring to get their hands on one. —PR
Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda PF Minute Rattrapante
There were a number of very interesting pieces this year—I particularly liked Cartier’s Tank Normales and Vacheron Constantin’s Overseas—but the stand-out for me was Parmigiani’s Tonda PF Minute Rattrapante. Sleek and sharp in a 40 mm steel case, with a beautifully subtle guilloche dial, it reveals its clever complication with the touch of a button—the ability to time anything with a hidden minute hand which can be set up to 60 minutes in advance. Who needs the in-your-face graduated bezel on a diver’s watch when you could have this ode to elegance instead? —Paul Croughton, editor-in-chief
Tudor Black Bay 54
It’s no small feat to best a watch-world darling like the Black Bay 58, but Tudor has done exactly with the new 54. A modern spin on the watchmaker’s first dive watch from the ‘50s (you can guess the year), it comes in a 37 mm case that isn’t just smaller; it’s delightfully slimmer—without sacrificing a lick of its COSC-certified in-house movement mojo. The result is a cleaner, sleeker vintage-inspired diver that fits squarely into the downsizing trend of the moment. My favorite touch: A pared-down bezel—no minute hashmarks, no gilt numerals, no red in the triangle at 12 O’clock—doesn’t compete for your attention. Rather, like a seasoned stage actor, it throws focus to the real star of the show, allowing the gorgeous gilt dial to shine—and, on the right wrist, maybe even smolder. Bravo, Tudor. —John Vorwald, digital director
IWC Ingenieur 40
I didn’t expect to like IWC’s Ingenieur 40 as much as I did, but as soon as I tried it on, I was hooked. It’s an updated version of the Ingenieur SL Gerald Genta penned for the brand in the 1970s, and the design features all of his recognizable hallmarks. There’s the integrated bracelet, of course, and the rivets on the bezel, but what charmed me most is the depth of the peacock green dial. It’s a lot of fun to look at. And thanks to its hardworking movement, which achieves 120 hours of power reserve, you could sit still and watch it tick for days.
Rolex Oyster Perpetual 36
I absolutely loved Tudor’s new Black Bay 54, a modern take on the vintage reference 7922 from the ’50s. With so many 39 mm tool watches in the modern catalog, I was delighted to see them make something even smaller. However, the watch I (surprisingly) really want is that new Rolex OP with the colored balls/circles on the dial. It’s just FUN—something that I think we need more of in the industry. And to see Rolex stretch out and do something irreverent makes me smile. I’d snag a 36mm and wear that thing everywhere. —Oren Hartov, contributor
Jaeger LeCoultre Reverso Tribute Chronograph
This sleek new Reverso is a game-changer. It contains a brand new manual wound chronograph movement, the JLC 860, based on the breakthrough caliber introduced in 1996 after a decade in development. The 860 is revolutionary in that it powers two sets of hands that must move in opposite (reverso) directions to indicate the time on both watch dials, a breakthrough for the Reverso. The goal to keep the watch ultra slim involved developing several patented components, including extra-long levers for the chronograph function, stretching them over the length of the movement to keep them slim. The unassuming, hour/minute recto side of the dial hides all the action on the verso (or chrono) side. The contrast in the two dials is probably the most dramatic ever seen on a Reverso. I like it because it’s modern and traditional at the same time: a new movement, openworked, and fitted with a cool retrograde chronograph minutes counter, combined with traditional high finishing on a watch designed in 1931. It’s both discreet and dramatic. —Carol Besler, contributor
Jacob & Co. Casino Tourbillon
At Jacob & Co’s packed press event at the Four Seasons Hotel in Geneva, it unveiled a $20 million watch encrusted in 217 carats of yellow diamonds. But what caught my eye was a far less flashy timepiece that I spied on the wrist of CEO Benjamin Arabov. The $280,000 Casino Tourbillon, which technically debuted in late February, features a real working roulette game on the dial, and a tourbillon hidden on the caseback, and takes the spirit of playfulness overtaking the luxury watch world to a whole new level. Game on! —Victoria Gomelsky, contributor
Rolex Perpetual 1908
The Cellini may have been quietly discontinued, but I’m hoping that Rolex’s new Perpetual 1908 is a sign of dressier things to come. The 39 mm watch, which the brand says is the first of a new collection, is named for the year Hans Wilsdorf renamed the company to Rolex from its original moniker, Wilsdorf & Davis. I always love a small seconds hand, especially one that’s surrounded by a railway track. But if Rolex really wants to harken back to a bygone era of watchmaking, I’m hoping that next year it’ll do so with a smaller case size. —JF