The past year has been rather incredible, with the COVID-19 pandemic challenging the MICE industry and causing a paradigm shift in the running of watch exhibitions. The latest edition of Watches and Wonders was certainly not spared either.
As the pandemic continues to ravage on, this year’s Watches and Wonders had to adapt as well. The Geneva leg, which was held from 7 to 13 April, was done online. The second leg, in Shanghai, is currently held physically at the West Bund Art Centre (with today being the last day).
As with all major watch exhibitions, we were all excited to see what sort of novelties that the brands have launched. There are always two sides to it – some made our hearts skip a beat, while the rest were pretty ordinary.
So, what are some of our favourite pieces from this year’s Watches and Wonders? Let us find out!
Cartier Privé Cloche
The Cartier Privé collection is one of the best kept secrets of the brand. Featuring some of the most exclusive and incredible watches, it certainly showcases some of the best that the brand can offer.
This year, Cartier had decided to launch a special piece from the Cloche collection. Cloche, which also means bell in French, first appeared in Cartier watches at around 1920. Its nomenclature was suggested by the virtue of its case shape, where its design drew semblance with the service bells that were placed at counters.
Even though the design has been more than a century old, but the Cloche still does look amazing. The “Privé” treatment, which elevates the watch in terms of its finishing and case material, definitely did justice to this esoteric yet delightful timepiece.
The watch is available in a variety of case options (and even a piece with skeletonised dial), but the yellow gold variant stands out with its classy and sophisticated vibes. Finally, this 37.15mm x 28.75mm timepiece retails at S$39,400, and it will be limited to a production of 100 pieces.
Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921
The Historiques American 1921 is an iconic model from the Vacheron Constantin line-up, and for its 100th anniversary, the brand has expanded its offerings to include more variations to the quirky timepiece.
As its namesake suggests, the original iteration was launched in 1921 as a driver’s watch. This is due to the position of one’s hand while he or she is driving, and hence Vacheron Constantin had rotated the dial to ensure that the driver is able to tell the time at the first glance. Since its reintroduction, the cushion-shaped timepiece is one that is synonymous with the Geneva-based watch manufacturer.
For this year’s Watches and Wonders, Vacheron Constantin had introduced both the white gold and platinum models into the collection. The former is available in both 36.5mm and 40mm models, while the latter – known as the “Collection Excellence Plantine” – is available at 40mm. Prices of the new 1921 begins from S$43,600 for the 36.5mm variant.
Jaeger LeCoultre Reverso Tribute Nonantième
When Jaeger LeCoultre created the Reverso ninety years ago, they certainly would not imagine how the timepiece had evolved over the passage of time.
To celebrate the momentous occasion, the brand had launched two Anniversary Reverso to mark the milestone. The Reverso Tribute Nonantième is the second piece in question, and it is certainly a stunner. Besides its well-proportioned design and good looks, the main highlight comes from the reverse-side. As seen in the image above, the watch features two round apertures that houses a semi-jumping digital hour indication. It is a first for the Reverso, and it is definitely an interesting take on this timepiece. The front side is no slouch either, where the silvered sunray-brushed dial houses a large date display and a moonphase indicator.
Priced at S$58,500, the Reverso Tribute Nonantième is limited to a production of 190 pieces. This is a sublime piece, akin to a magnificent work of art. We really adore the reverse side, although an instantaneously jumping hour complication might have just been the perfect touch to this.
Chopard L.U.C Quattro Spirit 25
The L.U.C Quattro Spirit 25, from Chopard, is one of our favourite watches from Watches & Wonders this year. It is not just an interesting piece, but one that is brimming with style and elegance as well.
Undoubtedly, the party piece of the watch lies in the jumping hour complication. This is a first for Chopard, and we like how the manufacturer had fitted the watch with a grand feu enamel dial to make this watch a little even more special. It is also noted that the dial was made in-house, and the negative space also allows us to enjoy the enamel dial in full glory.
Powering the watch is the L.U.C 98.06-L movement. This manual-winding movement boasts four stacked barrels, which gives it an impressive power reserve of around 190 hours. The finishing is impeccable as well, which is a prerequisite for the Poinçon de Genève.
The 40mm watch is priced at S$61,700, and it is available in 18k rose gold. This is a brilliant dress piece, and we reckon it is suitable for someone who wants a dressy, but unusual, timepiece.
Patek Philippe Calatrava Perpetual Calendar Ref. 5236P
While all eyes were on the new Nautilus (with the Olive Green dial, no less), the Patek Philippe Calatrava Perpetual Calendar Ref. 5236P is perhaps one of the watches that excites us the most.
For a brand that is known for their perpetual calendar watches, this latest novelty from the venerable watch manufacturer is certainly welcomed. Visually, one of the most interesting aspects of the watch lies in the calendar display – the day, date, and month indicators are placed on a straight row together. This is the first time Patek Philippe has incorporated this on a wristwatch, in which it was inspired by the manufacture’s pocket watch in the form of the Ref. 725/4.
The 41.3mm watch is only 11.07mm thick, which is impressive for a watch with the perpetual calendar complication. It is currently only available in platinum, and it will be priced at S$171,500. This is a stunning watch, and we reckon it will surely be a popular piece amongst collectors who have the means to acquire it.
A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 Perpetual Calendar
We round up this week’s article with another perpetual calendar from a top watch manufacturer. Cue the A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 Perpetual Calendar.
The new Lange 1 Perpetual Calendar offers collectors a more accessible entry point to the complication, as it was only available previously together with a tourbillon. What we like about this watch is its unconventional layout. The Lange 1, for starters, is already unique with its large date display and off-centre main dial. The Perpetual Calendar takes it up a notch, with the month indicator placed on the peripheral, and the day indicator replacing the usual power reserve display. The design is sublime, and we like how Lange had leveraged the various negative spaces to maximise the functionality of this watch.
Limited to 150 pieces in rose gold and white gold each, the Lange 1 Perpetual Calendar is surely a magnificent watch to behold. It is priced at €109,000 (approximately S$174,258), and it is something worth considering for collectors who want a high-end perpetual calendar that is a tad different from the usual offerings.
Albeit the challenging operational environment, we were pleasantly surprised by some of the novelties that were produced by the various brands this year. Kudos to that.
Personally, the author’s favourite is perhaps the L.U.C Quattro Spirit 25. It is so clean and simple in terms of its aesthetics, but both the execution and the jumping hour complication make the watch so interesting. The grand feu enamel dial, notably, is the addition icing on the cake. The overall package is simply ethereal.
Other than the pieces that we have listed, there were others that deserve some honourable mentions as well. The new Maurice Lacroix Master Grand Date is an awesome piece, and the Breitling Premier Heritage Datora 42 is damn charming too. Also, let’s not forget the polarising IWC Big Pilot’s Watch Shock Absorber XPL, which we think is a cool and outrageous piece.
Overall, we do enjoy most of the new timepieces this year. Let us know what are some of your top picks from this year’s Watches and Wonders, as well as some of the things that you might want the watch manufacturers to consider for their future creations, in the comments section below. Till the next article, ciao!
Author’s Note: We will be doing a comprehensive review on most of the featured watches soon, so please do keep a lookout for it as well!