Best new watches from six of the big watchmaking maisons

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We have focused on independents. We focused on rising stars. But what about the grand old maisons? The big boys, so to speak. Well, this week, we pick six watches from these big Swiss houses.

Best 2024 release watches from six of the big watchmaking maisons

Basis and rationale

The basis for the choice of the 6 largest watchmaking maisons are from a list compiled by Morgan Stanley and LuxeConsult. This was released recently as their yearly report on the state of the Swiss watch industry for the year ended 2023. It was yet another record year, with exports up 7.6% compared to 2022, reaching their highest level ever at CHF 26.7 billion for 16.9 million watches. More details can be found at Morgan Stanley and LuxeConsult. The list is based on estimates from LuxeConsult and Morgan Stanley Research and were not provided directly by the brands.

Based on this list of the top 6 maisons, we make one pick from each of their crop of 2024 novelties. We do note that as the Morgan Stanley / LuxeConsult list only enumerates Swiss brands, we have, by design excluded some of the large non-Swiss brands. In our estimation, the German and Japanese brands are perhaps too small to be featured in this top listing. But certainly Seiko and Citizen are probably large enough to be featured within the top 10 of the entire global watchmaking industry, but we do not have data on their revenue size. This list is also different from the other Armchair or live picks by Stanley or the Chief Editor, as it includes maisons now exhibiting in WWG, thus will feature novelties from Omega, Audemars Piguet as well as Richard Mille.


On this list, Rolex is right at the top as the biggest of them all. The report states a revenue of some CHF 10 billion. Rolex novelties are usually evolutionary in nature, being the result of constant and incessant improvements made over the model lineup, which itself has remained rather stable. For the 2023 year, they did well with interesting releases like their Celebration Dials which appeared in the Datejust as well as Day-Date models. This gave us a glimpse of the lighter and more fun side. For 2024, they returned to be the serious industry captain and doyen they have carved out to be. Stable, sober, dependable. Releases are always defined as such, and this year is no different. From this year’s crop, our pick has to be the Perpetual 1908.

Launched in WWG23, four models in gold cases were released. This lineup replaces the Cellini line, which was discontinued last year. Forr WWG24, Rolex adds the Perpetual 1908 Ref. 52506 in a platinum case and guilloché dial of ice blue to the collection. The guilloché dial is rather unusual for Rolex. Without additional extensive research, we think this is the first for Rolex to use this traditional technique. (Edit May8: this is not true, Rolex has used engine turned guilloché in the past.) Rolex uses a pattern which they call “rice-grain”. And this is done the traditional way using an engine-turning technique. The ice-blue hue is only found on two of its other watches -on the Day-Date and the Daytona, both on also on platinum models. The new Perpetual 1908 uses the same calibre 7140, which first appeared in the 2023 launch models. The case back is open, a feature Rolex introduced in 2023, and from it, the movement’s finishing can be admired. The Calibre 7140 demonstrates rather fine aesthetics. The bridges feature Côtes de Genève, but with a Rolex twist. It differs from traditional Côtes de Genève for the slight polished groove between each band.

The watch is in a 39mm case diameter, and feels extremely sturdy. The guilloché entices. And gives the watch a completely different character. The charm and finesse of an old school manufacture are the words which first come to mind. And makes a great dress watch. Retail for this novelty is set at SGD 44,500.


Cartier is the second maison on the list. They have marked their grand route as one which will remain with form watches, leaving the path of the complications to focus only on non-complicated watches. This seems to be a good indication that this direction is certainly corredt. The mad rush and popularity of models like their Crash is testament. From the novelties this year, the stand out for us is the new Tortue Privé Monopoussoir Chronograph. The watch made it as an Honourable Mention in the Chief Editor’s Choice for WWG24.

This novelty marks the return of the Tortue Monopoussoir CPCP which was released in 1998 and we reviewed back in 2014. What is new is the case is now smaller, and more in line with the original 1928 than the 1998 model. Cartier also improved the movement, and it now houses the new in-house form shaped movement. The Cal. 1928MC is fully visible through the sapphire glass which follows the shape of the case, instead of the 1998 CPCP version which featured a round porthole allowing a glimpse to the THA sourced movement.

The 2024 Cartier Privé Tortue Monopoussoir Chronograph is a limited edition 200 platinum and 200 yellow gold pieces. Each is delivered with two interchangeable straps. Our pick is the gold version which retails for EUR 46,000. The platinum version carries a price tag of EUR 53,000.


As the Swatch Group’s release schedule is not aligned with the maisons who exhibit at Watches & Wonders, we only have a few novelties to consider from Omega, the world’s third largest watchmaker by revenue. Our pick from watches already released is the Omega Speedmaster Chronoscope 2024. This watch was released in 16 April 2024, and marks 100 days to the Paris Olympic Games.

The case options are either in stainless steel with an anodised aluminium bezel, or in 18k Moonshine gold with ceramic bezel and full gold bracelet. This is a non limited edition series. The new Speedmaster Chronoscope share the same 43mm case, with a 13mm thickness as with the earlier Chronoscope collection first launched in 2021. To mark the special occasion of its issue, the case back is also engraved in relief with the logo of Paris 2024. All models are available in matching metal bracelet or in leather straps. What is new and special for this novelty is the silvery white opaline dial with the grey timing scales of a tachymeter, a pulsometer and a telemeter. The dial looks a bit busy, but the triple scales are printed in grey makes it less strong as an optical element on the dial. The movement is the calibre 9908/9909, a hand-wound movement.

Our pick is the all 18k Moonshine Gold version with bracelet. Retail price is set at SGD 74,700 for this version Ref. 522. The collection begins at SGD 13,750 for the steel version Ref.  522. in a leather strap.

Audemars Piguet

Another grande dame. For this year, the maison has been busy. They have already released a slew of novelties, though all are variations of their current collection. The novelties are from their bread and butter Royal Oak, Royal Oak Offshores as well as in the Code 11.59 collection. We saw and photographed several novelties before WWG, and though the novelty which piqued our interest most was the Royal Oak Tourbillon Openworked Sand Gold, we did not get to see that watch. Of those we saw, the most interesting piece is the Royal Oak Selfwinding Chronograph 41mm In Yellow Gold Ref. 26240BA.

The watch is featured in solid 18k yellow gold. Is yellow gold a trend or is this alloy on its way out as a popular choice. We don’t know, but this new RO Chronograph is certainly very tasty. Here we see the massive yellow gold in a brushed finish for both the case and the bracelet. The dial is a beautiful fumé style, with a hand-sprayed dark burst finish. This dégradé motif is new for AP, but it is over the tapisserie pattern on the dial which is typical of the Royal Oaks. Other than the choice of yellow gold and the rather interesting dial, this is a very standard Royal Oak Chronograph. Case size is nominally 41mm, and it runs the in-house self-winding caliber 4401 movement running at 28,800 vph with 70 hours of power reserve.

Retail price for the Royal Oak Selfwinding Chronograph 41mm In Yellow Gold Ref. 26240BA is SGD 115,100 with GST.

Patek Philippe

There are many options from the Patek stable to choose from. The 2024 crop of novelties are rich in variety as well as in flavour. But the watch which attracted us is the grand old maison character evident in the new Golden Ellipse in rose gold with bracelet, which is our pick from Patek Philippe.

The watch itself is not new. We have reviewed it extensively in 2018, but then it had an alligator strap. This year, Patek added the model with a new rose gold bracelet which is soldered onto the case, and is the special attraction for this year’s novelty which made it into Frank Chuo’s Armchair Pick for 2023. The novelty is in the bracelet. Which is very special indeed. The links, clasps and catches comprising the bracelets known as “mechanical” are produced on CNC machinery from a bar of metal (gold, platinum or steel) before being assembled and polished by hand. As a result, the bracelet is supremely pliable, and comfortable on the wrist.

The new rose gold Golden Ellipse Reference 5738/1R-001 remains 34.5 x 39.5 mm and is equipped with the caliber 240 ultra-thin self-winding movement. And the harmoniously proportioned case inspired by the Golden Ratio framing an ebony-black sunburst dial with rose gold hour markers and hands is the same as the 2018 model. 

Retail price is SGD 87,000. Detailed review coming soon!

Richard Mille

Richard Mille is the only maison on the list which is less than 100 years old. This is an amazing marketing story for the brand. It began life in only as recent as in 2001, and is now the sixth largest brand by revenue. RM have not yet released any novelties for 2024. As far as we are aware, the RM 35-03 Automatic Rafael Nadal, the third opus in their Nadal story, released in November 2023 is their latest release. The RM 35-03 is released as a trio of ultra sporty automatic watches.

The special feature is a new butterfly rotor, which took RM three years to develop. This rotor allows the wearer to interact with its geometry by controlling the movement’s winding speed based on lifestyle and activity levels. The rotor has two arms with weighted segments which can be activated by a separate gear train via a dedicated push-piece on the case located at 7 o’clock. With a press of the push-piece, the rotor’s gear spread the two weighted segments to an 180° angle or with another press, pushes the segments together. When apart, the rotor is in a balanced position, and the winding process is suspended. At another push, the weighted segments come together, operating like a classical rotor. The motion is like a butterfly flapping its wings, hence the name. This concept of an activity based winding system is not new. We have seen this in the older Richard Mille watches, but those require a watchmaker to open the watch to physically move the weighted rotor elements. Here, the RM 35-03 presents a way for the wearer to do that without having to open the watch, by just a push of a button.

The RM 35-03 is offered in three versions, including Carbon TPT (black for case and case band), blue and white Quartz TPT (as shown being worn by Rafael Nadal above), and a version in Carbon TPT with white Quartz TPT. All three models are 43.15mm wide, 13.15mm thick, and 49.95mm lug-to-lug.

The RM 35-03 is priced at USD 238,000.

Concluding thoughts

So here it goes. The top 6 Swiss brands and our picks from their latest collections. What do you think of our picks? Would you have chosen differently? Let us know in the comments.


1 Comment

  1. Kunal+Khemka on

    Great choices Peter.
    I really love the Rolex Perpetual 1908 in Platinum with Ice Blue guilloche dial.