Armchair Picks: Frank’s 3 of the best new watches from WWG24

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With Watches & Wonders over and the dust finally settled, it’s that time again where we look back and deliberate on our favourite debutants. While some have missed the mark, many others shone and remind us of why we love fine watchmaking. Although we had boots on site to cover the event, not all of us could be there – me included. That won’t stop us from sharing our thoughts on our favourite newcomers though! And so, armed with feedback from my colleagues who were there in Geneva, these are my armchair picks from Watches & Wonders Geneva 2024:

Jaeger-LeCoultre Duometre Chronograph Moon

I have had a deep-seated affinity towards the Jaeger-LeCoultre Duometre for close to a decade now. As a guy who’s a science nerd, I love that it looks like nerdy scientific tool, with the foudroyante, absurdly long central hands and cut-outs revealing the movement. The fact that the movement – which utilises independent barrels and gear trains for timekeeping and complications, respectively – is just as nerdy, seals the deal for me. Upon finding out last week that Jaeger-LeCoultre is combining the Duometres Chronograph and Quantième Lunaire, I couldn’t help but think: “Yep, this is my winner for this year’s W&W”. It’s nothing too groundbreaking to be honest (although it’s driven by a brand new calibre), but the new Duometre Chronograph Moon combines the best of worlds – the poetry of the Quantième Lunaire, and the pure nerdiness of the Chronograph. Of the two variations, I’m leaning towards the silver opaline dial with pink gold case for dial legibility and contrast, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t mesmerised by the copper dial co-variant with platinum case.

IWC Portugieser Eternal Calendar

Yes, this one’s just a prototype at the moment but it’s going to be a permanent fixture in the Portugieser collection sooner or later. The perpetual calendar has always been one of IWC’s signature complications thanks to the endeavours of Kurt Klaus, but the brand has now taken the next massive step up: the secular perpetual calendar. Aptly named the Portugieser Eternal Calendar, the watch is fitted with the creme de la creme of perpetual calendar mechanisms which, in theory, should remain accurate until the end of the Gregorian calendar. And if that’s not impressive enough, there’s also the fact that the moon phase indicator has a 45 million-year accuracy – a first in history. There is no way I’m not getting excited over such a cool movement. The dial design of the Portugieser Eternal Calendar has already seen its fair share of critics but, personally, I think it is refreshing. The use of (layers of) glass gives the timepiece an ethereal effect which, in my opinion, suits a watch dubbed the Eternal Calendar. I wish they’d made the watch smaller for average wrists like mine, but at least it’s not grown bigger than the regular Portugieser Perpetual Calendar despite the increase in movement complexity.

Patek Philippe Golden Ellipse Ref. 5738/1R

From a watchmaking perspective, Patek Philippe’s latest Golden Ellipse is nothing new. It’s still got the same Golden Ratio-inspired design and workhorse movement. What caught my attention now is the new chain-style bracelet in rose gold. What a world of difference a strap change makes! The Golden Ellipse did come with metal bracelets in the past, but nothing as well-made as this. Each individual link is impeccably manufactured, assembled by hand, and polished to perfection, combining to form an absolutely supple, elegant bracelet. Combined with the harmonious dial/case design, the rich ebony-hue of the dial, and the gorgeously engraved clasp, the new Ref. 5738/1R sums up the spirit of the Golden Ellipse collection to a tee. It is a stark reminder of what a ‘design-first’ approach can bring us when it comes to watchmaking. Is it a watch with a gold chain bracelet or a gold chain bracelet with a watch? Well it’s both, and it is brimming with flair.


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