We have now come to the end of Watches & Wonders 2022, and what an eventful couple of weeks it has been! It is no doubt a significant event, considering that this is one of the largest watch exhibitions that has been held physically following the COVID-19 pandemic that had plagued mankind since end-2019.
Not only was the event executed well, brands had managed to leverage on this wondrous occasion to produce some stunning timepieces. Here are my top 3 picks for Watches & Wonders 2022:
Cartier Masse Mystérieuse
The Cartier Masse Mystérieuse retails at EUR 250,000 (approximately SGD 372,216), and it is a limited edition timepiece with only 30 pieces available in platinum.
Where do we start? The Cartier Masse Mystérieuse is perhaps the highlight of Watches & Wonders 2022, at least for me personally. Both the concept and execution of the timepiece is sublime, with this particular watch having its entire movement encased in its winding rotor. We understand that it took Cartier eight years to bring this idea to fruition, and the result is mind-blowing, to say the least.
There is always something special about Cartier’s “Mystery” collection, but this particular rendition is definitely the best one that we have seen yet. While it may appear to be a simple two-hand watch on paper, the technicalities that went behind this piece is simply extraordinary. The addition of a skeletonised rotor, to allow a view into the movement, also combines one of the hallmarks of an incredibly special Cartier timepiece.
Collectors and enthusiasts have always viewed Cartier as a brand that focuses heavily on its designs – and we readily admit to that as well. The Masse Mystérieuse, however, shows us this other side of Cartier that is rarely seen. Combine these two proficiencies together, and we will have a masterpiece as such.
Vacheron Constantin Historiques 222
The Vacheron Constantin Historiques 222 is priced at SGD 90,000, and it is available only in yellow gold.
The Vacheron Constantin Historiques 222 is a legendary piece, and we were definitely pleasantly surprised when the Geneva-based manufacturer had decided to introduce the re-issue this year.
The 222, notably, was Vacheron Constantin’s answer to the luxury sports watch category, and it is the predecessor to the popular and compelling Overseas collection. This re-issue, at 37mm, is an almost faithful production of the original, with a few minor cosmetic tweaks and an updated movement (in the form of the Calibre 2455/2).
While there is nothing groundbreaking with the Historiques 222, there is certainly a lot of charm with this piece. We like the design of the 222, and how it immediately throws us back to the opulence days of the 1970s (with its yellow gold dial, case, and bracelet). This is the perfect watch for the Vacheron Constantin fanatics, especially for those who adore the classic aesthetics, without having the trouble of maintaining a 45-year old timepiece.
Grand Seiko Kodo Constant Force Tourbillon
The Grand Seiko Kodo Constant Force Tourbillon retails at USD 350,000 (approximately SGD 477,225), and it will be limited to a production of 20 pieces in platinum.
Think of Grand Seiko, and the new Kodo Constant Force Tourbillon is perhaps not the first timepiece that will come to mind. After all, Grand Seiko is known to produce extremely restrained and elegant timepieces.
This timepiece boasts an array of incredible touches, from its design to the complications that are housed within. The watch, notably, is the final piece of the puzzle of the “T0 Constant-Force Tourbillon” – which was the concept movement that Grand Seiko had introduced in 2020. The movement boasts a constant force mechanism and a tourbillon -all fitted on a single-axis. The juxtaposition is rather clear when the watch is in operation, especially when the single tick of the constant-force cage is contrasted to the smooth rotation of the tourbillon cage. In addition, the movement also has an autonomy of 72 hours too.
Besides the movement, this is also the first time that Grand Seiko had produced a timepiece with an open-work design. This 43.8mm platinum watch is truly a work of mechanical art, and we like how Grand Seiko had started to venture out of their comfort zone. As an enthusiast and a fan of Grand Seiko, we do hope that this is a start of something new for the Japanese watch manufacturer.
It is not easy to select only three timepieces, out of the numerous wonderful novelties that the various brands had introduced so far. Personally, some of the pieces that come close to making it onto the list include Herme’s Arceau Le Temps Voyageur, Trilobe’s Une Folle Journée, and Patek Philippe’s new Annual Calendar Travel Time Ref. 5326G.
It is heartening to see the crowd back as well, and even more so with brands introducing many wonderful timepieces to live up to the occasion. We hope that this is not just a one-off thing, and that brands will continue not to take collectors for granted.