Each year, Geneva becomes host to the biggest event on the horological calendar, Watches & Wonders. Each March, some of the world's most committed watch journalists, buyers, and collectors gather in the Swiss city to discover all of the latest wrist tech for the year ahead.
There are models steeped in history, and entirely new iterations altogether. With almost 50 brands exhibiting, narrowing down the most exciting watch releases for the year is an almost impossible task, but here, we do our best with our top picks of the best Watches & Wonders releases for the year ahead.
Cartier Tank Normale
Each year, Cartier adds a new watch to their Privé collection, a selection of limited-edition numbered watches that the brand calls "the collectors' collection" of its most historic models. So it would only be fitting that the 7th model to join the collection, is the 1917 Tank Normale, the Tank that is one of the Maison's most remarkable creations, and in the history of watchmaking.
This year, Cartier has dreamt up an hour/minute version that borrows the proportions and bevelled sapphire crystal of the original. Available in yellow gold on a brown alligator strap and in platinum on a black alligator strap. To accompany, the Tank Normale is supplied on a yellow gold bracelet or a platinum bracelet, with satin and polished finishes.
The J12 is reimagined in many new styles and looks, bringing together the brand's signature J12 appeal with updated designs, including the X-Ray Star, Diamond Tourbillon, star light, Eclipse Box, Hyper Cybernetic, Cybernetic, Spatiotemporal, Night Star 38mm and 33mm, Mademoiselle J12 Cosmic, Interstellar, and Cosmic.
IWC Schaffhausen Ingenieur Automatic 40
IWC Schaffhausen introduces the Ingenieur Automatic 40 into their stable, inspired by Gérald Genta’s iconic Ingenieur SL from the 1970s. As a tribute to this era, which was marked by a reduced and technical approach to design, the new Ingenieur is presented under the motto Form Und Technik. A return of the classic, the brand has kept the design at a neat size of 40mm and 10.8mm thin, powered by an in-house movement. The newly engineered automatic model reflects the bold aesthetic codes of Gérald Genta’s Ingenieur SL, Reference 1832, from the 1970s while meeting the highest standards regarding ergonomics, finishing, and technology. The collection encompasses three references in stainless steel and one in titanium.
Rolex Perpetual 1908
Named after the year Hans Wilsdorf registered the Rolex brand name in Switzerland, the new Perpetual 1908 model reflects the brands classic heritage in its design. A slim, 18k white gold or yellow gold are offered for the case, both with fluted and domed bezels that meet domed sapphire crystal. Size wise, the model is 39mm in diameter and a slim 9.5mm in height. It is rated at 50 metres water resistance, with alligator straps and a rare display caseback.
Chopard L.U.C 1963 Heritage Chronograph
Chopard launches the L.U.C 1963 Heritage Chronograph: an exclusive, numbered 25-piece limited edition reaffirming Chopard Manufacture's attachment to the noble values of Haute Horlogerie. This new hand-wound flyback chronograph features a 42 mm case in Lucent Steel™ – Chopard’s exclusive steel endowed with superior properties – along with an English-green dial and L.U.C Calibre 03.07-L delivering chronometer-certified precision. The model's movement is on display through the transparent caseback with gilded baseplate and bridges. The band is a soft leather tan with a complimentary sage green interior band.
Van Cleef & Arpels Ludo Secret Collection
Van Cleef & Arpel's latest High Jewellery watches truly are a wonder. The Ludo Secret creations celebrate the timeless elegance of one of Van Cleef & Arpels’ signature pieces: the Ludo bracelet. Created in 1934, this design was named after one of the Maison’s founding members, Louis Arpels. Van Cleef & Arpels highlights this iconic collection with a new size of watch and two combinations of materials. Rose gold marries with diamonds or pink sapphires, minutely set in the High Jewellery tradition of excellence.
The watches boast a flexible, brick-pattern meshwork that recalls a belt. Like a finely woven fabric, the mesh links are carefully assembled by hand, one by one, to deliver optimal articulation and flexibility. The dial has the ability to be hidden behind a gold brick-pattern motif for moments where one would want to conceal the dial.
Zenith Pilot Automatic
The Pilot Automatic revisits the collection’s aesthetic codes in an outstanding silhouette full of subtle details. Crafted in a 40mm case in either stainless steel or black ceramic, the Pilot Automatic features an entirely new case design with a distinct flat-top round bezel fixed on top of the rounded case. In the steel version, the surfaces are vertically satin-brushed with polished chamfers, while the black ceramic version is entirely microblasted for a stealthy matte finish. The oversized crown, a defining feature of Pilot watches, takes on a more modern, angular form, while remaining easy to operate.
The classic Hermes Ho8 is updated with a sturdy yet light alloy which boasts multiple textures and finishes. With a cushion shaped 39mm case that is composed of titanium with a rose gold case middle. A black ceramic bezel and crown emphasises these details, highlighting the finely grained dial, golden hands, and Arabic numerals. The watch is driven by the in-house H1837 mechanical automatic movement, and the model is completed by a strap in black and anthracite fabric webbing or black rubber.
TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph 39mm
TAG Heuer celebrates the 60th anniversary of its iconic Heuer Carrera watch model by introducing the TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph 39mm. Available in blue or black, he new model is inspired by the "glassbox" design and promises to a become keystone design in the company's collection of contemporary watches. Powered by the evolved TH20-00 in-house movement, the watch has a bi-directional movement with a redesigned skeletonized rotor in the form of a TAG Heuer shield.
Hublot Square Bang Unico
Hublot's square shaped Big Bang model returns with the Square Bang Unico model, joining the barrel-shaped models already
featured in “The Shaped Collection”. Its distinctive geometry is a real feat of craftsmanship for watchmakers who are traditionally accustomed to working with round cases. This year, Hublot exhibits the Maison’s exceptional skills through the use of sapphire with the exclusive Square Bang Unico Sapphire, offered in a limited run of 250 pieces. The case is made of multi-layered sapphire construction, with a water-resistance of 5 ATM.
The renowned Unico movement, manufactured in-house, has also retained all the distinct features on which its reputation is founded. Set at 4 Hz (28,800 vib/h) and offering a 72-hour power reserve, is the prestigious automatic column-wheel flyback chronograph calibre known as the HUB1280.
The much loved Tudor Royal is updated to include radial-brushed salmon and chocolate brown dials – a RUSSH choice if there ever was one – offering a new look to the iconic watch. As a final touch, roman numerals are applied to the hour markers, now offering these applied numerals or a combination of applied numerals and eight diamond-set hour markers across all dials.