Watches & Wonders 2020
Formerly known as Salon International de l’Haute Horlogerie, Watches & Wonders is one of the world’s most exclusive and most coveted horological trade show. This high-end multi-brand trade event showcased some of the world’s most desirable, expensive and complicated watches and is considered one of the most difficult trade shows to get an invitation to, even if you’re part of the industry.
The turn of the decade came with it a change in the global landscape with the COVID-19 pandemic really throwing a spanner in the works, as they say. Trade shows were cancelled, and manufacturers temporarily closed their doors while the world basically went into lockdown with billions of people practicing social isolating.
Watches & Wonders came through during this unprecedented event, creating an innovative platform which went live on April 25th, giving the entire horological community an opportunity to discover the newest releases for 2020. Everyone from industry professionals, retailers, customers and journalists now had access to these incredible new releases. So, there you have it, welcome to the first digital Watches & Wonders. Stay safe and enjoy!
Vacheron Constantin Overseas Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin Skeleton
If I had to pick my favourite watch of the show, it would be this: the Overseas Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin Skeleton. Vacheron Constantin pulled out all the stops for Watches & Wonders 2020, and the Overseas Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin Skeleton takes the top spot. Featuring a highly intricate, meticulously detailed openworked dial along with three (Yep, three!) strap options, being a pink gold bracelet, a blue alligator strap or a blue rubber strap, the Overseas Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin Skeleton is, in a word, perfect. The Overseas Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin Skeleton is priced at $115,000USD.
Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers Astronomical Striking Grand Complication
Watches & Wonders 2020 was taken over by Vacheron Constantin, in a good way of course. And one of the highlights was the piece unique Les Cabinotiers Astronomical Striking Grand Complication. Featuring a perpetual calendar, equation of time, moon phase, sunrise and sunset indicator, a Zodiac indicator with seasons, solstices and equinoxes, a planispheric star chart with sidereal time, an indication of the celestial equator and a plane of the ecliptic encased in 45mm by 12.54mm of red gold, the Les Cabinotiers Astronomical Striking Grand Complication is a masterpiece. *Breathes out*
IWC Portugieser Perpetual Calendar Tourbillon
IWC has hit the proverbial ball out of the park with its latest piece. Here is the absolutely outstanding Portugieser Perpetual Calendar Tourbillon. IWC is famed for its Kurt Klaus designed perpetual calendar, and while its tourbillons weren't held in the same acclaim, I'm struggling to think of a more interesting, wearable or legible tourbillon perpetual calendar. The Portugieser Perpetual Calendar Tourbillon is available in either platinum with a silver plated dial, or in IWC's Armor Gold (a proprietary version of the 5N red gold normally used which IWC states is 5-10 times tougher) with a blue dial. Both pieces are limited to only 50 pieces, with the Armor Gold model costing 115,000CHF while the platinum will set you back 133,000CHF.
Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Tourbillon Chronograph
Complexity for the sake of complexity isn't something I would normally advocate for, but in the case of the Traditionnelle Tourbillon Chronograph from Vacheron Constantin, I'm more than happy to let bygones be bygones. The Traditionnelle Tourbillon Chronograph is a behemoth of technical achievement, featuring an immense tourbillon adorned with Vacheron's infamous Maltese cross as well as a 45-minute monopusher chronograph. All of this is encased in a pink gold 42.50mm by 11.70mm case, which is surprisingly slim with all things considered. The Traditionnelle Tourbillon Chronograph is priced accordingly however at $197,000USD.
IWC Portugieser Tourbillon Rétrograde Chronograph
IWC's second piece-de-resistance for Watches & Wonders is the Portugieser Tourbillon Rétrograde Chronograph. Available in the same guise as the Portugieser Perpetual Calendar Tourbillon, being in platinum with a slate grey dial and Armor Gold with a blue dial, the Portugieser Tourbillon Rétrograde Chronograph features a tourbillon with a chronograph and a retrograde date indicator. Like the Portugieser Perpetual Calendar Tourbillon, the Portugieser Tourbillon Rétrograde Chronograph is made in a limited run of only 50 pieces in each metal and will be priced at 105,000CHF for the Armor Gold model and 123,000CHF for the platinum version.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Control Calendar
My love for all things complicated is second to none -- tourbillons, rattrapantes, perpetual calendar, secondes morte, the list goes on. But sometimes a piece as simple as the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Control Calendar comes along and shows me that even some of the more simplistic of watchmaking endeavours can be as cool as, if not cooler, than something far more complicated. The Master Control Calendar combines a beautifully classic aesthetic with an especially useful complication in a package that is absolutely divine. Available in two metals, stainless steel ($11,000USD) and rose gold ($22,500USD), the Master Control Calendar is undoubtedly one of my favourite watches of the show.
Piaget Altiplano Ultimate Concept
Piaget has just broken the record, unveiling the world's thinnest mechanical watch in the Altiplano Ultimate Concept. The 41mm wide cobalt alloy case measures a paper-thin 2mm in depth, features a 0.2mm thick crystal and features a case that is integrated into the movement plate. Pricing is on request for the Altiplano Ultimate Concept.
Vacheron Constantin La Musique du Temps Les Cabinotiers Grand Complication Split-Seconds Chronograph 'Tempo'
Like the Traditionnelle Tourbillon Chronograph, Vacheron Constantin's La Musique du Temps Les Cabinotiers Grand Complication Split-Seconds Chronograph 'Tempo' is a masterpiece of mechanical mastery. This piece unique features *takes a deep breath in* a minute repeater, a perpetual calendar, a rattrapante, an equation of time with mean civil time and local solar time, a sunrise/sunset indicator, a length of day and night indicator as well as an indicator for the age and phase of the moon *breathes out*. You can expect the La Musique du Temps Les Cabinotiers Grand Complication Split-Seconds Chronograph 'Tempo' to cost well into the 7-figure territory, by the way.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Control Date
A further simplified look following the Master Control Calendar, the Master Control Date instead is only available in a stainless steel case with a silver dial. Exceptional time-only watchmaking. Priced at $6,700USD.
Baume & Mercier Hampton Big Date Dual Time
Baume & Mercier seems to be on a bit of a design revolution right now, and the Hampton Big Date Dual Time hits all the right notes. Plenty of character, feel and emotion is in the Hampton Big Date Dual Time, with its bold bezel, art-deco look and distinctly traditional look. A play on the Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso, perhaps? Irrespective of where the Hampton Big Date Dual Time draws its inspiration from, at 3,650CHF this is one of the show's best value-for-money releases.
Laurent Ferrier Grand Sport Tourbillon
Laurent Ferrier's approach to high-end sports horology was with the fairly well received Grand Sport Tourbillon. Originally only available on a rubber strap, Laurent Ferrier has pushed the Grand Sport Tourbillon further by giving it a gorgeous integrated three-link bracelet with a folding clasp. But, of course, the true magic lies in the Grand Sport Tourbillon's LF 619.01 movement -- a work of art. The Grand Sport Tourbillon is limited to only 12 pieces and will cost 172,000CHF.
Cartier Santos De Cartier
Now clad in a black ADLC coating atop its stainless steel case, the Cartier Santos De Cartier balances looking really badass with being something that carries bucket loads of heritage and tradition. Dimensionally this thing is outstanding, though. It measures 47.50mm by 39.80mm with a thickness of a paltry 9.38mm. There are polarising factors to the Santos De Cartier but I've long been a fan of the Santos so this hits all the right spots for me. The Santos De Cartier in black is priced at $7,650USD.
Vacheron Constantin Overseas Perpetual Calendar
Now available in its highly desirable blue-dialed guise on a solid gold bracelet, Vacheron Constantin seems to have answered the prayers of the masses with this one. This particular variant on the gold bracelet will cost $88,500USD.
Cartier Privé Collection Tank 'Asymétrique Skeleton'
The Cartier Privé Collection Tank 'Asymétrique Skeleton' is a far cry from the super contemporary look of the Santos De Cartier. The Privé Collection Tank 'Asymétrique Skeleton' features an exquisite openworked dial and is available in three metals: platinum, yellow gold and pink gold, each limited to only 100 pieces. As obscure as the Privé Collection Tank 'Asymétrique Skeleton' piece is, I can safely say that it is one of my favourite releases of the show. Pricing for the Privé Collection Tank 'Asymétrique Skeleton' is from $61,000USD for the yellow gold version, $70,000USD for the platinum while the pink gold variant's pricing is yet to be announced.
Montblanc 1858 Monopusher Chronograph
Montblanc's 1858 Monopusher Chronograph is now available in either a steel or bronze case, much to the delight of the masses. The 1858 Monopusher Chronograph continues to feature that distinct vintage-esque look along with faux-patina on the dial and an elongated crown announcing to the world that this is a monopusher chronograph. Available on a leather strap or a very cool beads-of-rice stainless steel bracelet, the 1858 Monopusher Chronograph is priced from $4,900USD.
Panerai Luminor Marina Goldtech PAM1112
There's just something about a solid gold blue-dialled dive watch that does it for me. Panerai's Luminor Marina Goldtech PAM1112 categorically puts itself in a position of maximum want and need. The use of Goldtech (an alloy made up of 75% gold and 24% copper with 0.4% platinum) gives a deeper, warmer and more luxurious look to the watch. The iconic sandwich blue dial and use of in-house movement rounds off what is a compelling package indeed. The Luminor Marina Goldtech PAM1112 is priced at $22,900USD.
Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Tourbillon
Vacheron Constantin has released two new bejewelled blinged-out version of its highly acclaimed Traditionnelle Tourbillon, one made in rose gold and the other white gold. The rose gold model, albeit the more 'subtle' of the two, features a mother-of-pearl dial along with diamonds encrusted on the tourbillon window rim, the bezel, the case and lugs, along with a stunning diamond applied on the crown. The white gold version a dial that is completely set with diamonds, along mirroring the application of diamonds like the rose gold version. In rose gold the Traditionnelle Tourbillon will cost $142,000USD, while the white gold version will cost $197,000USD.
Baume & Mercier Clifton Moon-Phase Date
Baume & Mercier's Clifton Moon-Phase Date is a wonderful depiction of the approach that the watchmaker is looking like its taking. A simple, romantic and timeless look embodies the Clifton Moon-Phase Date and my only gripe with it is the addition of the 'Baumatic 5 Days' just below the moonphase. Completely unnecessary and just messes up the dial. Otherwise, a solid watch indeed. The Clifton Moon-Phase Date is priced at 3,800CHF.
Panerai Luminor Marina Fibratech PAM1663
Like its proprietary use of Goldtech, Panerai uses a new compound aptly named Fibratech in its Luminor Marina Fibratech PAM1663. Fibratech is said to be 60% lighter than steel and features a matte grey finish. I won't go into the details of how it is made, but rest assured it's complex enough to impress anyone. The Luminor Marina Fibratech PAM1663's case is made of Fibratech, but as a point of differentiation the crown bridge and bezel is made out of Carbotech which provides a lovely bit of contrast to its aesthetic. The Luminor Marina Fibratech PAM1663 is priced at $16,000USD.
Panerai Luminor Marina DMLS PAM1662
The Luminor Marina DMLS PAM1662 is another pieces that comes out of Panerai's special projects group, aptly named the Laboratorio di Idee. Its DMLS case is a result of a 3D printing process with a high power laser and titanium powder. The end result is one stealthy, badass looking watch. Legibility may be a bit of an issue due to anthracite grey dial, but the Super-LumiNova would probably solve that. The Luminor Marina DMLS PAM1662 is priced at $15,000USD.
Roger Dubuis Excalibur Diabolus In Machina
Roger Dubuis has a penchant for the absurd, and the Excalibur Diabolus In Machina is certainly no exception to that rule. Looking like it's made out of some extraterrestrial material, the Excalibur Diabolus In Machina is actually made out of a patented material called CarTech Micro-Melt BioDur CCMTM. It's a metal that begins its life as a powder and is then sintered into its solid form. The end result is something that is spectacular, unique and entirely new. That, coupled with a flying tourbillon and a minute repeater means the Excalibur Diabolus In Machina is one mean bit of kit. But then again, so is its price tag: $571,000USD.
A. Lange & Söhne Odysseus in White Gold
Formerly only available in stainless steel, Lange's Odysseus has now been made in a white gold guise. Pushing the model deeper into high-end sport-watch territory, the Odysseus also features a slate-grey anthracite dial and either a brown rubber or silicone strap. I'm still on the fence with the Odysseus, even more so now. The dial is lovely, but the strap configuration gives it the bulky look of the Royal Oak Offshore, which really doesn't suit the watch's aesthetic. I'm going to play the neutral card here and just go straight to the price, which is $40,600USD.
IWC Portugieser Perpetual Calendar 42
Featuring a brand new case size and movement, IWC's Portugieser Perpetual Calendar 42 heralds in a new era of perpetual calendar timepieces for the watchmaker. Available in either stainless steel or red gold, the Portugieser Perpetual Calendar 42 features a very different dial layout as compared to the larger 44mm model. I much prefer the look of the 44mm model, but I can see why IWC has opted to recreate this iconic watch in its 42mm guise. Lovers of the original fear not however, as it will continue to be produced. Pricing for the Portugieser Perpetual Calendar 42 starts at $22,900USD.
IWC Portugieser Yacht Club Moon & Tide
Similarly to Vacheron Constantin being the highlight of Watches & Wonders 2020, I feel that IWC has outdone themselves with immensely beautiful and complex watches. The Portugieser Yacht Club Moon & Tide is another wonderful example of IWC pushing itself to create incredible watches. This particular piece comes in a pink gold case with a subtle blue dial and features a movement indicating the moon phase for both hemispheres, an indication of the next high and low tide, along with the standard hours, minutes, seconds and date indicators. The Portugieser Yacht Club Moon & Tide will be priced at $33,100USD.
A. Lange & Söhne Zeitwerk Minute Repeater with Blue Dial
Lange has revamped its iconic Zeitwerk Minute Repeater, encasing it in white gold and giving it a blue dial which contrasts wonderfully with the solid silver also on the dial. The Zeitwerk Minute Repeater is a polarising piece, and while I'm not its biggest fan, this new blue dial paired with a blue leather strap does look pretty cool. The Zeitwerk Minute Repeater will be priced at €449,000.
Hermès Arceau L’Heure De La Lune
Featuring five new dials, along with one from Mars, the Arceau L’Heure De La Lune from Hermès is a delightful watch full of character. Its depiction of the moon in both the hemispheres is both novel and romantic, as is the case architecture and colour palettes matched by the various straps offered. The Arceau L’Heure De La Lune is priced from $33,200USD.
Baume & Mercier Clifton Day-Date Moon-Phase
Baume & Mercier did a fantastic job, producing a number of watches that ticked a lot of peoples' boxes. And the Clifton Day-Date Moon-Phase is probably the best watch released from Baume & Mercier at the show. Available in either stainless steel or pink gold and featuring a gradient grey lacquered dial, the Clifton Day-Date Moon-Phase is absolutely superb. Pricing for the Clifton Day-Date Moon-Phase in steel is 4,000CHF, while the pink gold model is a bit of a step up at 13,800CHF.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Control Chronograph Calendar
Jaeger-LeCoultre was another highlight of the show, unveiling timepieces that evoke the notion of less is more, tradition, classicism and timeless style. The Master Control Chronograph Calendar rounds off a very impressive bunch of collection additions. This particular model is available in either stainless steel or Le Grande Rose gold with a silver sunray finished dial. it features plenty of subtle details sure to please even the staunchest of enthusiasts. One of my top five watches from the show, for sure. In steel, the Master Control Chronograph Calendar will cost $14,500USD, while the rose gold model will cost $26,000USD.
Speake-Marin One & Two Openworked Flying Tourbillon
Speake-Marin released two openworked flying tourbillons for Watches & Wonders, one in 38mm and the other 42mm, both made in titanium. Evoking an Arnold & Son like vibe, the One & Two Openworked Flying Tourbillon is a modern interpretation of a historic complication executed in a very intriguing manner. The 38mm version is priced at $66,285USD, with the larger 42mm version costing $66,860USD. Both models will be made in a limited run of only 5 pieces in each size.