Diamonds, poetry and mechanical art in watches at Watches and Wonders – WWD
GENEVA – Watchmakers brought their A-game to this first physical edition of Watches and Wonders, and visitors left with a handful of overarching ideas.
On the one hand, there was the ever-tightening gap between high jewelry and watchmaking, with opulent designs and diamonds galore – and not just in pursuit of a female clientele. On the other hand, it was about fantasy and escapism, which merged into a message of hope in light of the unstable global geopolitical situation. Everywhere, blue continues to dominate as the color of the moment.
And in this profusion, houses large and small have pushed the boundaries with innovative materials, mechanical art or poetic complications, many presented for the first time.
Here are 11 must-see and must-see watches, like H. Moser’s nearly invisible Streamliner Chronograph “Blacker Than Black,” a unique concept coated in Vantablack, a pigment that absorbs 99.965% of the light that strikes it.
Tag Heuer Carrera Plasma: 350,000 Swiss francs (or $375,000 at the current exchange rate)
Forget finding the right diamonds to set on a watch: Tag Heuer is developing the ones it uses on its new Carrera Plasma.
“Our vision was to create… shapes that are impossible to have with natural diamonds,” said the watchmaker’s managing director Frédéric Arnault during a keynote event unveiling the piece, which features a 2.5-carat crown. composed of a single stone from their “Avant-garde Diamonds.”
Cue a watch that plays with textures to showcase its basic black and white palette, using materials ranging from black ceramic and DLC coating to the dial with its polycrystalline diamond plate.
Inside, the Heuer 02 Tourbillon Nanograph movement continues to spin, with the internal carbon hairspring that had Edouard Mignon, Chief Innovation Officer of Tag Heuer and LVMH Watches and Jewelry, saying the brand “has explored the many possibilities of carbon”. [and] felt [it] could go with [its] ultimate form — diamonds.
Chanel J12 Diamond Tourbillon: $179,700
There may be a significant number of diamonds on the J12 Diamond Tourbillon, but there is only one that sets it apart: the spinning solitaire at the top of the dial.
The Caliber 5 which is at the heart of this timepiece is the first in-house flying tourbillon movement made by the French fashion house in its Swiss manufacture.
“You will find a whirlwind in all the big names [of watchmaking]but a diamond flying tourbillon where [gemstone] sits on top, floats and does one revolution per minute…it’s Chanel. I wanted to have this balance between technical prowess and aesthetics,” said the house’s president of watches and jewelry, Frédéric Grangié.
Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Perpetual Chronograph: $140,000
In the continuity of the limited editions of the Platinum Excellence Collection, this perpetual chronograph combines a salmon-colored dial and a platinum case, a nod to the great hours of classic watchmaking where colored dials were considered the pinnacle of elegance.
Subtle details distinguish this model powered by the in-house caliber 1142 QP, such as the faceted Maltese cross that sits at 12 o’clock, and the engraved platinum disc that reveals a smiling or melancholy moon depending on the phase of the star.
Christian Selmoni, Heritage and Style Director at Vacheron Constantin, revealed that while the new signature combination was unique to this chronograph, it could be seen in years to come on other models.
Hermès Arceau Le Temps Voyageur: $22,550
This new iteration of the Arceau model takes up the idea of a peripheral satellite developed with the Swiss specialists in the Chronode complication which travels from town to town to give the time to destinations engraved on the flange, changing as the watch face.
More than a GMT-style timepiece and different from a universal time model, it takes up the idea conveyed by the late president of the house, Jean-Louis Dumas, that traveling is “a state of mind, a way of life that Hermès has always cultivated”.
The “home time” is displayed at the top of the dial, while the small clock floats above the “Planisphere of an Equestrian World”, an imaginary equestrian world map originally imagined by the graphic designer Jérôme Colliard for a square of silk and here revisited through laser engraving, lacquer and a variety of finishes.
Chopard LUC Full Strike Sapphire: $450,000
Celebrating the 25th anniversary of its LUC watches, Chopard has introduced this fully transparent 42.5mm version of its award-winning Full Strike minute repeater watch. The case, crown, dial and even the gongs are cut from sapphire, leaving the intricacies of the timepiece fully visible.
This five-piece limited edition is part of a trilogy that includes the LUC Full Strike Tourbillon with its 18-carat guilloché dial and repeater mechanism associated with a tourbillon, and the LUC Strike One, an elegant and refined design with two guilloche patterns contrasting. on the dial.
The striking feature of all three is the rich sound, honed with the help of world-class French violinist Renaud Capuçon and his cellist brother Gautier, who worked with scientist Romain Boulandet, an expert in applied acoustics.
Rolex Oyster Perpetual GMT-Master II: $11,500
While the green on the bezel and GMT hand is the first thing that strikes when looking at this Oyster Perpetual GMT-Master II, its main feature is the left-positioned crown and crown guard.
This led to several technical adjustments to the movement to allow the date window and lens to move to the 9 o’clock position, as well as protocol and testing for Superlative Chronometer certification.
While there have been left-handed models – the most famous being Charlie Chaplin’s steel and enamel Rolex wristwatch – this iteration firmly establishes “destro” watches as an option, regardless of your dominant hand.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Rendez-Vous Dazzling Star: $75,500
“Random” and “time” aren’t two words that watchmakers would naturally associate, but that’s exactly what the watchmaker did in the Dazzling Star Rendez-Vous.
Part of the Stellar Odyssey theme this year, paying homage to the cosmic phenomena at the origin of watchmaking history, this watch captures the unpredictable shooting star thanks to a new mechanism that makes it appear on the dial at random times. That said, the house’s experts have suggested that the more you move, the more likely you are to see the star appear on your wrist.
Van Cleef & Arpels Lady Arpels Floral Hours: $246,500
In the age of smart devices, who needs a watch to tell the time? Inspired by the floral clock concept of the 18th century Swedish botanist Carl Von Linné, in which he imagined keeping time thanks to plants that opened and closed at specific times of the day, the Dame Arpels Heures Florales makes time a poetic observation of a changing bouquet.
Instead of hands, the opening and closing of the flowers on the dial indicate the hours, thanks to 166 moving elements painted in enamel on the dial. As for those who want to count the minutes until the next flowering, the minutes can be read on the side of the case.
Hublot Square Bang Unico: from $22,700
Integrating the circular gears of a movement into a square watch, “a very specific object that most watchmakers do not dare to tackle”, according to Ricardo Guadalupe, CEO of Hublot, is the challenge that the brand has set itself. in the Square Bang Unico.
The sandwich construction of its dial gives this timepiece a fully visible architectural feel thanks to the extensive use of sapphire crystal. And it’s water resistant to 100 meters – another feat for a square model.
Trilobe Une Folle Journée: 21,500 euros (or $23,430)
Turning time reading upside down is the mission of this four-year-old independent French brand. Instead of moving hands, they are off-center concentric rings that rotate, with an indicator marking the appropriate numbers.
Une Folle Journée’s voluminous sapphire dome displays the intricacies of Trilobe’s latest X-Centric3 movement while offering its patented display plenty of space – and readability even from the side.
Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda PF GMT Rattrapante: $28,700
Combining the GMT function with the minimalist ideals of its parent collection launched at the end of 2021, the Tonda PF GMT Rattrapante does away with the additional time display in favor of two superimposed hour hands. The rose gold “home time” hand remains hidden behind the rhodium-plated gold one, which jumps forward when activated.
According to CEO Guido Terreni, reinventing this useful function in a “discreet and unostentatious spirit” has put an end to the idea that aesthetics and technology are worlds apart. “How you develop a complication has incredible implications for the vibe of the watch and therefore its design,” he said.