WWG 24: The Editor’s Choice of the new watches

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And we come to the final roundup of this year’s Watches & Wonders Geneva 2024. Here is the Editor’s Choice from the new watches released. This list will only focus on maisons who exhibited at PalExpo, as the Editor in Chief spent all four days focussed on brands at the fair.

WWG 24: The Editor’s Choice of the new watches

And thus another Watches & Wonders has come to pass. This year, for me, there are several ups and downs. Most maisons chose to be commercially conservative, releasing dial and case variations of existing models. One or two dared to launch complicated watches with new movements. And even rarer still were those who impressed me. But this is what I was going for. So on my list, I have only considered watches which are “true” novelties, and not variants of existing models. In all my three choices, the movement is new, feature a novel concept, and of course is finished to the very high levels demanded by connoisseurs. Please note these are my personal views.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Duometre Heliotourbillon Perpetual

I am particularly impressed with return of complicated watches from IWC and JLC. But Jaeger-LeCoultre first. Not only did Jaeger-LeCoultre release three technical powerhouse Duomètres, they also launched a new Master Perpetual Calendar Ultra Thin. This “high complications” route that JLC has set itself on was the order of the day back when Günter Blümlein revived the brand after Quartz Crisis with the Reverso GT, which was the first Reversos to feature classical complications. This path was ably continued by Jérôme Lambert who took over as CEO. A trait which somewhat disappeared when he moved to Montblanc, and returned only as a glimpse in the 2023 Reverso Tribute Chronograph, which was very well received. And this year, they return to their rightful place in the industry as the watchmaker of watchmakers. The Grande Dame maison. This return to glory is by the challenging dual train models which they call the Duomètre. The new Duomètres are once again a magnificent display of technical virtuosity. The Duomètre Quantième Lunaire (full comprehensive review of the earlier version is found here) is an re-interpretation of the original released more than a decade ago, and and the Duomètre Chronograph Moon (full comprehensive review soon!) is a combination of complications that JLC is known for. But what compels me to name a JLC on the top 3 list is the new Heliotourbillon Perpetual Calendar.

For the first time, a tourbillon from JLC comes with triple cages spinning on three axis. The earlier multi axis tourbillons from the maison were either two cage or single cage inclined models. And they even showcased virtuosity in using these tourbillons with cylindrical hairsprings. In the Heliotourbillon is a new Cal. 388, which features a triple cage design. The key advantage, other than chronometry, is that this makes for a watch which is thinner than their Spherotourbillon and various Gyrotourbillons. The watch is in pink gold, 44mm diameter and 14.7mm thick. Although we handled and photographed the watch, we were not allowed to strap it on the wrist for a wrist shot.

The Heliotourbillon also features a full perpetual calendar. This is a classical perpetual calendar which automatically adjust for months of different lengths and for leap years, and needing a manual correction of the day and date indications only in 2100 and in subsequent centenary years that are not also leap years. The calendar indications is also adjustable forwards and backwards, and features a grand date display.

Finishing is excellent, and the Heliotourbillon Perpetual Calendar is priced at circa USD 438k.

IWC Portugieser Eternal Calendar

Next up, JLC’s sister company IWC. It too made a return to the glory days when both maisons were managed by Günter Blümlein. He revived IWC from the coma of the Quartz Crisis with the IWC Grand Complication. This year, in the face of a slew of colour and dial variations on the focus Portugieser collection, the Eternal Calendar Stands out. This watch deserves a special highlight. Not only does it sport the always beautiful aesthetics of the IWC Portugieser collection, it also marks IWC’s return to the complications game. And unlike the other watches in this year’s Portugieser lineup, the Eternal Calendar is not just a dial colour animation. It is a new complications direction undertaken by IWC, and the movement within is very interesting with world premiere horological breakthroughs.

At the heart of the Eternal Calendar is the Secular Calendar, a more complicated version of the Perpetual Calendar. For example, the JLC Heliotourbillon listed above is a perpetual calendar, requiring attention every 100 years, as the Gregorian calendar skips the 3 leap years over the course of 4 centuries. But the Secular Calendar takes this into account and keeps the entire cycle of 400 years. The IWC Portugieser Eternal Calendar uses a 400 years gear system which ensures that the calendar skips 3 leap years over four centuries. Secular Calendars are quite rare, even in the haute horlogerie scene. Notably, Patek Philippe with their caliber 89 pocket watch, the Frank Muller with the Aeternitas Mega 4, and interestingly Furlan Mari x Domique Renaud x Julien Tixier with their entry into the 2023 Only Watch. What’s the point of such a calendar? Well, because it’s a technical marvel, and because we can!

Though some have critiqued that the legibility is not great, I found this to be not true. The box sapphire lets in plenty of light, and the sapphire glass sub-dials with printed indications are clear and legible. I have always loved, perhaps partial to the swallow hands of the Portugieser.

But the world premiere is in the moon phase, which now boasts of accuracy is now one day in 45 million years, handily beating the current record held by Andreas Strehler’s Sauterelle à Lune Perpétuelle which is precise to 1 day in 2 million years. In my talk with the IWC watchmaker responsible for assembling the Eternal Calendar, this is achieved by using only three intermediate wheels. Simple? Mechanically yes, but the complexity is in the calculation involved.  IWC used a super computer to simulate 22 trillion different combinations of gearing.

Although the price is listed as POA on the IWC website, we understand that it is set at about CHF 150k, which strikes us as a rather good value for such a complicated watch in a platinum case.

Piaget Altiplano Ultimate Tourbillon

This new release is a development over the original ideas first expressed in Piaget’s Altiplano Ultimate Concept which has been commercially available since 2020. In this new adaptation, Piaget managed to squeeze in a new flying tourbillon in a case which is only 0.5mm larger in diameter and keeping the super-svelte 2mm thickness. Barely thicker than a credit card!

The basic architectural concept is that the movement and the case are constructed as one part. This remains unchanged. A cage-less, flying tourbillon is inserted, and although the new 970P-UC movement is based on the 900P-UC, 90% of the components are new. In my books, this make the 970P-UC a new calibre on its own merit. A total of 9 patents have been filed for the 970P-UC, of which 2 are just for the tourbillon. This construction allows the tourbillon to appear as if it is floating sans support. Piaget does this by removing the pivot design of a classical tourbillon and replaced it with a ceramic ball bearing system arranged in around the tourbillon cage.

Wear impressions remain very solid. The appears to be no flex in the case, and the watch feels as sturdy as any other. Also the 41.5mm case diameter feels smaller on the wrist, as the lugs are very short, enabling the strap to easily go around smaller wrists. See Stanley’s Top picks for his wear impressions on a wrist smaller than mine.

The CHF 600k price tag is perhaps a sticker shock. This is a 50% price premium over the non-tourbillon version released in 2020 (comparing 2024 retail pricing to 2020 retail pricing). And what we said in that review remains true. If one desires a watch (this time with a tourbillon) with a 2mm thickness and all the bragging rights it comes with, this is the price of entry. “You pays your money and you takes your choice.” (Mark Twain, Huckleberry Finn)

Honourable Mentions

Patek Philippe Ref. 5330G-001 – World Time with date

The Ref. 5330 not completely a new watch, as it was first launched as a limited edition at the 2023 Patek Philippe Grand Art Exhibition in Tokyo. So love it as I do, I am only able to accord an Honourable Mention. Even then, the Ref. 5330 has charms which are tantalising.

Compared to their Ref. 5230, the Ref. 5330 now has a date system which is indexed to local time. The dial features the carbon motif dial which first appeared in the Ref. 6007A in 2020, but now in a blue grey. The strap is also interesting. Looking and even feeling like denim, it is actually hand-stitched calfskin in the same blue-gray as the dial. Priced at just a tad below SGD 111k.

Rudis Sylva RS 23 Harmonious Oscillator

Also not strictly new for 2024, thus relegated to Honourable Mention is the Rudis Sylva RS 23. But this is the first time I have handled and encountered this novelty which was released in June 2023. The RS 23 is truly a technical achievement like no other. The original Harmonious Oscillator, introduced by Rudis Sylva back in 2010 is dubbed RS 10, and the new RS 23 is a simplification of the original concept while retaining all the performance excellence. The superior finishing of Rudis Sylva watches remain at the very top level and is beyond reproach. The pricing is reduced accordingly, as there are less components. But the finishing remains top level, and the retail is set at CHF 80k in titanium and CHF 90k in pink gold.

We explored the RS 10 and the concepts of the unique escapement here. The technical basis is not dis-similar in concept to what is used by Dufour in his Duality and also by Greubel Forsey in their multi-tourbillon series. But in the Rudis Sylva design, there is no differential and the two oscillators are coupled to each other tightly. In the earlier versions of the Harmonious Oscillator, the two balance wheels are placed on a rotating carriage, but in the RS 23, the system is fixed to the movement plate. And instead of a small off-centered hour and minute display, the RS 23 now has the entire dial to show the hours, minutes and seconds via centrally mounted hands.

Cartier Tortue Monopoussoir

And I was also impressed by Cartier’s new Tortue, which is now part of the Cartier Prive, the eighth opus. This is a return to the Tortue Monopoussoir CPCP which was released in 1998 and we reviewed in 2014. But improved with a new in-house form shaped movement, Cal. 1928MC, and in a smaller case. The case back is also opened with a sapphire glass which follows the shape of the case, instead of the former’s round porthole allowing a glimpse to the THA sourced movement.

Concluding Thoughts

I am also impressed with the new Hermès Duc Attelé, a magnificent complication with a centrally mounted triple axis tourbillon with a minute repeater! Our only regret is that somehow, we manage to miss our Hermès appointment and did not get to see and photograph this amazing watch. We hope to be able to see and handle it, if and when it comes to Singapore later this year.

The keen observer might have noticed that A. Lange & Söhne did not make it into this year’s Editor’s Choice selection. I also note, especially as all our writers make their opinions and selections independent from any editorial input as these are personal choices, it also did not appear on Dr. Frank Chuo’s list. With the close relationship that I have always had with the maison over the decades, one would expect a Lange to be on my list. However, this year is a rather disappointing one for me from this Glashütte haus. JLC, IWC and ALS were, and still are stablemates, once managed by the late, great Günter Blümlein. But, unlike her Swiss sisters who have returned to showcase innovation, Lange has chosen a different path this year. Rather than innovate on something new, a hallmark of the German watchmaking revival, Lange chose to throw in a mix of the old. And offer a variation of existing models. A new version of the Datograph Up/Down, now in white gold with a blue dial. Nothing new here. A new version of the Datograph Perpetual Calendar Tourbillon, now in Honeygold and with a lumen dial. Not much is new here either. Lange does specify a new movement, but it is a modification of the original released way back in 2016. The new caliber carries a deletion of the power reserve indicator due to the structural support requirements of the glass dial. What makes it even more disappointing for me is this year celebrates the 25 years of the Datograph. This is a chronograph that I consider as the best ever made. And deserves a real celebration. To top that off, the prices of Lange have risen through the roof. It has been increasing astronomically for the last few years. The WG Datograph UP/Down now carries an estimated price of EUR 125k (was EUR 64k in 2015). And the Datograph Perpetual Calendar Tourbillon Honeygold Lumen tops up at about EUR 620k (was EUR 295k in 2016). Ok, I admit, that is a rant, and probably deserves more investigation and supporting data. And in all fairness, both the WG Datograph Up/Down and the Honeygold Datograph Perpetual Calendar Tourbillon Lumen have gorgeous aesthetics. These are seriously stunning watches. Beautiful in every way with superb finishing to match.

So there you have it. My picks from the novelties at PalExpo’s Watches & Wonders Geneva 2024.



  1. Kunal+Khemka on

    Peter, wonderful choices, and also the thought process behind them. Also the Patek 5330G-010, and need to ready up and educate myself on Rudis Sylva.

    I found your comments on Lange very thoughtful. I know what Lange means to you, and it is important for you, perhaps one of the most OG of Lange connoisseurs to be honest about how you feel about them. Hopefully we will see a better effort for the Lange 1’s 30th anniversary. But their overall increase in prices is unreal.