Each year the most important players in the watch industry gather in Geneva for the Watches & Wonders trade fair, the world’s largest and most important watch show. In the most recent fair, 48 watch brands and independent watchmakers presented their newest timepieces to retailers, the press, and collectors. Several of these timepieces will be available at luxury retailers worldwide during the year. Some of these watches will be placed on ridiculously long waiting lists or limited to VIP clients. What follows are three of the many standouts from the seven-day fair: Rolex, Chopard, and Tag Heuer.
Rolex aficionados are a passionate bunch, and this surprising new timepiece gave them plenty of reason to love, hate, and argue its merits.
Available in 18k yellow, white, or Everose gold (a Rolex proprietary gold alloy), the most apparent change in this watch is its dial. Rather than showing the day of the week, the arc-shaped aperture at 12 o’clock displays an inspirational keyword: “Happy,” “Eternity,” “Gratitude,” “Peace,” “Faith,” “Love,” and “Hope.” The date window at 3 o’clock reveals one of 31 exclusive emojis in place of the date.
Even more apparent is the dial design, which reveals a colorful jigsaw puzzle created through the artisan technique of champlevé enameling. It adds depth and intensity to the decoration and the mix of turquoise, red, fuchsia, orange, green, and yellow colors arranged as jigsaw puzzle pieces that fit together on a single-color background. Ten baguette-cut sapphires mark the hours in six different hues set according to the primary color of the dial, which is turquoise on the yellow gold and white gold versions, and orange on the Everose gold model.
The remainder of this timepiece is what one would expect from this signature Rolex model. It is powered by the in-house caliber 3255 with a 70-hour power reserve, carries the Superlative Chronometer certification, and is housed in the Oyster case, waterproof to a depth of 100 meters (330 feet).
The watch is completed with the Presidential bracelet—a three-piece link gold bracelet reserved exclusively for the Day-Date and the precious metal versions of the Rolex Datejust watches.
This Chopard L.U.C 1963 Heritage Chronograph was among many timepieces released by the Swiss luxury brand for Watches and Wonders. The 42mm timepiece crafted of Chopard’s proprietary Lucent steel contains an English-green dial and L.U.C Caliber 03.07-L hand-wound movement with chronometer-certified precision. It is being released in a 25-piece limited edition.
The dial is adorned with a sunburst pattern with the “L.U.C. CHOPARD” logo at 12 o’clock. Double-digit hour markers are reminiscent of a car dashboard rev counter. From 05 to 60, they indicate the chronograph minutes and seconds.
The L.U.C Caliber 03.07-L drives the watch with a flyback mechanism enabling consecutive timing operations without having to zero-reset the counters. It operates with a pusher at 4 o’clock. It employs a system that involves three pivoting hammers with elastic arms activated by a single linear displacement lever. It uses a vertical-clutch system for a more reliable starting of the chronograph second’s hand. Pulling out the crown resets the small seconds at 6 o’clock to zero and keeps it there. Because of these mechanical enhancements, Chopard has filed four invention patents.
The movement is visible through a transparent case-back with a gilded baseplate and bridges. The upper surface is made of raw nickel silver, heightening the contrast of the caliber.
Tag Heuer dedicated this year’s Watches & Wonders to the 60th anniversary of its Carrera watch, named after the Carrera Panamericana, a grueling five-day endurance auto race through Mexico that no longer exists.
This new timepiece is the flashier model of this year’s Carrera releases. It is a prototype that will be produced in small quantities by the end of the year. The watch brand already said it would only use lab-grown diamonds for its jeweled timepieces; this is an extreme example of how these synthetic gems can be used creatively. The 36mm white-gold case contains a textured diamond-encrusted dial. The hour markers consist of 12 baguette diamonds. Below the Carrera name at 12 o’clock is a pink lab-grown diamond shaped like the Tag Heuer shield. The watch brand calls it the “Diamant d’Avant-Garde” (Vanguard Diamond) shield. The crown is made of a uniquely shaped 1.3-carat, pink, lab-grown diamond.
This three-hand watch with the date at 6 o’clock is powered by the TAG Heuer Caliber 7 automatic movement visible through a sapphire case back.