The Splendour of Time: Trends and New Releases of the Watches and Wonders Show

Last year, the renewed Watches and Wonders for the first time introduced the physical concept of "two cities in one place": the former BaselWorld's biggest brands (Patek Philippe, Rolex, Tudor, Chanel, and some LVMH brands) joining the ex-SIHH exhibition, which includes Richemont manufactures and high-end independants. Now customers and journalists could see the most important premieres of watches all at once, with the only exception of the Swatch Group.

The 2023 exhibition has proved that the plan works. The result is stunning: Watches and Wonders has redoubled its figures. For example, this year the fair had 43,000 unique visitors compared to 22,000 in 2022.

All the 49 brands participating in the exhibition presented some breath-taking novelties, which are too many to be listed, but let us look at a few major trends and highlights.

3D is better

The tourbillon is still the king of complications, and no one can beat it. This year, you can find solo-tourbillon models like the FREDERIQUE CONSTANT Classic Tourbillon Manufacture, tourbillons in shiny jewelry designs like the BEAUREGARD DAHLIA White Gold, and extreme tourbillons like the TAG HEUER Carrera Plasma Diamant D'avant-Garde Chronograph Tourbillon with synthetic diamonds. In fine, any tourbillon you like. Most of them are widely open to show the dynamic beauty of the man-made vortex. But the most amazing, as ever, are the 3D movements with tourbillon, designed to impress with the perfection of modern
high-end watch mechanics.
HUBLOT debuts with MP-13 Tourbillon Retrograde Bi-Axial Titanium: for the first time, the manufacturer from Nyon combines in one watch a bi-axis tourbillon with a double retrograde display for the hour and minute hand. This is done so that the time indication does not block the tourbillon at 6 o'clock, and having reached the end along the semicircular arch, the hands return to their original position. This watch can probably scare someone prone to superstitions, but even with the number "13" in the name, this premiere is devilishly good. The new caliber HUB6200 has a 96-hour power reserve, and the model in a titanium case is limited to 50 pieces.
ROGER DUBUIS presented new dizzy concept Monovortex Split-Seconds Chronograph. The movement itself looks more like a three-dimensional car engine. There is a 360o tourbillon at 9 o'clock, at the top of the dial is an innovative vertical turbo rotor, and at the 3 o'clock position there is an unusual 3D minutes counter for a split chronograph with a combination of fixed and moving scales. All this wealth of thought is housed in a 47mm diameter case made of red composite fibre, which is 13% lighter than carbon, so that the watch, despite its impressiveness, weighs almost nothing.
JAEGER-LECOULTRE made the new iteration of the famous Caliber 179, which debuted in the 2016 Reverso Tribute Gyrotourbillon – bi-axis tourbillon with cylindrical hairspring specially designed for rectangular case. New for this year Reverso Hybris Artistica Calibre 179 comes in duoface rose gold case 51.2 x 33 mm, embellished with the finest decorative techniques of the Maison: enamel, black lacquer and hand engraving.

Blast from the past

Revival of the iconic models and design of XX century is one of the most productive trends in watchmaking. This year IWC revived the brainchild of legendary Gerald Genta – Ingenieur Automatic 40 mm, introduced in 1976. New model looks almost like its famous predecessor, even with beautiful “greed” pattern on the dial. It comes in four versions (three in steel with blue, black and white dial and one in titanium case) equipped with new manufacture movement IWC Calibre 32111 automatic with 120 hours of power reserve.
Perhaps the most sensational premiere of the exhibition is Perpetual 1908 from ROLEX (by the way, Patek Phillipe has also announced a brand new collection, but for the next year). The new line is meant to replace the stagnant Cellini, because nobody can see the link between Rolex and the Italian sculptor. The new name is much more telling: it was in 1908 when Hans Wilsdorf registered the Rolex name and established the headquarter in Geneva. Round shaped gold case present cute design of “officer watch” from the beginning of XX century (including huge “apple” on the hour hand) and is housed with innovative caliber 7140 with Chronergy escapement and Syloxi hairspring.
Another comeback from the past is TAG HEUER Carrera which celebrates its 60th anniversary this year. In the new range of models, included time-only, chronograph and even chrono with tourbillon, the main point is vintage design with Glassbox – the case without besel and tachimetric scale print right on the dial.
CARTIER has come up with two even more precious variations of coloured stones to revive a palette borrowed from Jeanne Toussaint – legendary jeweller of the Maison in 1930’s. Three new Tank models combined black, green, red and purple colours with incrustation by coral, onyx, chrysoprase, amethysts and diamonds.

Keep smiling

Haute Horlogerie can't be too serious, otherwise the watch may start looking like Prius. This year leading brands show enough sense of humour and self-irony. The flagship of the trend is CHANEL with new cruise-collection Interstellar, dedicated to the space and sci-fi. One of the eye-catching novelties of this collection is Premier Robot. The famous octagonal small case (shaped like Place Vendome) in yellow gold now is a part of vintage robot's “body” – with a miniature “head” and “hands” made with yellow gold, black ceramic and diamonds.
ORIS presented new collaboration with the “easiest guy on the planet” - Kermit the Frog from The Muppet Show. ProPilot X Kermit Edition has a green dial in the same colour as Kermit’s skin, but it also has a special entertainment feature. Every fist day of a month is a Kermit’s day, so the frog’s cheery face appears in the date window at 6 o’clock position.
And finally, a hippie-style watch from ROLEX that no one could expect. In the latest version of the Rolex Oyster Perpetual Day-Date 36, instead of traditional day of the week calendar at 12 o’clock, now we can see “words of inspiration”. These are: Happy, Eternity, Gratitude, Peace, Faith, Love, and Hope. And instead of the date, the 3 o’clock window showcases one of 31 emojis, like a heart, smile etc. Very relaxing watch – it tells time and improves your mood.
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