Watches & Wonders 2022: top men's watches

Minimalism and maximalism were the two polar trends seen at Watches & Wonders this year and we select the best of these trends in men's watches. 

Ressence Type 8 men’s watch

Watches and Wonders 2022 brought together the world’s most luxurious and prestigious watchmakers. I select the stand out pieces that caught my attention either because of their striking designs or mechanical achievements, and many of these watches tick both these boxes.

Tonda PF GMT Rattrapante watch by Parmigiani
The Tonda PF GMT Rattrapante by Parmigiani brings a sleek minimalism to this best selling model. The GMT function of a second time zone is carried out by the gold hand that when not in use, thanks to the rattrapante function, snaps back into place on top of the hour hand. 

The main trends are in opposition to each other. On the one hand, elaborate complications and novel finishes are gaining ground  and on the other, a sharp minimalism is on the rise. Those in the minimalist camp include Cartier’s edgy all-black Tank Louis Cartier, H.Moser’s perpetual calendar,  Parmigiani’s neat Tonda GMT Rattrapante, Laurent Ferrier’s Sport Auto, Ressence’s Type 8 and Oris’ ProPilot X Calibre 400.

L.U.C Full Strike watch by Chopard
The remarkable Chopard L.U.C Full Strike Sapphire is a minute repeater that chimes the hours, quarters and minutes in a transparent sapphire crystal. Five patents have been filed for the L.U.C 08.01-L movement that has 533 different parts. 

Elaborate complications were seen in Hermès’ Arceau Le temps voyageur, that is a brand new World Time complication with a touch of whimsy. Chopard’s L.U.C Full Strike Sapphire minute repeater in a sapphire crystal case with gongs of the same material is an impressive feat of haute horlogerie in a high tech case. Jaeger-LeCoultre's Master Hybris Artistica Calibre 945 Atomium adds to the firm’s awe-inspiring collection of celestial watches that track the movement of the stars in real time.

Altiplano Ultimate Concept watch by Piaget
Piaget’s Altiplano Ultimate Concept is only 2 mm thin. This extraordinary achievement was first presented in 2018 and this year sees the addition of details  such as the date it was created and the main plate is decorated with stars painting in Super-LumiNova® that echo the sky above the Piaget manufacture on the day the watch was created.  

The Piaget Altiplano Ultimate Concept watch is but a staggering 2mm thin. Although it was launched in 2018, this new version pays homage to the original by adding details that allude to its ‘birth’ such as Super-Luminova stars reflecting the night sky on its birthday as well as the GPS location of and date of this event. One of the most arresting developments came from TAG Heuer with the Carrera Plasma Diamant D’avant Garde concept watch that for the first time seen in the watch industry not only uses lab-grown diamonds but pushes them to their very limits. The watch set with these man-made gems and the crown is cut from a single diamond while the dial is one large fusion of smaller diamonds, grown specifically for this watch, suggesting that we only begun to see what lab-grown diamonds could do in the watch industry.

A focus on the finishes is gaining ground with examples like IWC’s bold new ceramic cases in hues from mossy green to a sandy beige. Panerai is also stepping it out of its colour safety zone with the glossy emerald green QuarantaQuattro eSteel™ Verde Smeraldo  - and it is made largely of recycled materials. Patek Philippe has introduced a brand new Calatrava case with a hobnail band running around its side as well as a new dial finish inspired by old fashioned cameras. Blue still is the dominant colour for dials but in lighter tones and an emphasis of different finishes to add depth.

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