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.
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.
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.
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.
Mapping the night skies is a speciality of Jaeger-LeCoultre and the tourbillon Calibre 945 movement Master Hybris Artistica is now treated to a richly decorated dial, which displays the constellations in real time. Gold filigree bars represent the links that make up the constellations.
Panerai’s Submersible QuarantaQuattro eSteel™ uses recycled steel as the firm aims to reduce its carbon footprint. The dial and bezel of this 44mm watch are in emerald green and the watch can resist up 300 meter submersions. The straps are made of recycled PET plastic or from recycled rubber.
IWC is using colour ceramic across its range. This Pilot’s Watch Chronograph is inspired by the colour of the Top Gun pilot’s uniforms known as Woodland green. The case back and other details is made of ultra-light and strong black Ceratanium®.
The Oris ProPilot X Calibre 400 is in a titanium case and picks up on details from the world of aviation. The Calibre 400 is an automatic movement with a five-day power reserve.
Hermès reinvents the world time watch with the Arceau Le temps voyageur. The small dial that tells the time, rotates around the face of the clock to indicate time in 24 different cities across the globe.
The Laurent Ferrier Sport Auto watch captures the restrained style of the house known for its limited production and superior mechanics. This model is inspired by the aesthetics of sports cars with an outsized domed glass. The movement is automatic and features a micro rotor visible through the sapphire caseback.
H. Moser & Cie. presents a special commemorative limited edition of the Endeavour Perpetual Calendar Funky Blue, with markings on the dial that explain how this most easy to read of perpetual calendar works. This family-run watch company is known for its simple yet strikingly colourful dials.
Patek Philippe’s Calatrava Ref. 5226G exhudes a vintage air thanks to the textured finish on the dial reminiscent of camera bodies and the beige hands and dial markings. This is an entirely new Calatrava case with a band of hobnail marking running around its side.
This version of the Louis Cartier Tank takes on a minimalist look with its clean black dial devoid of any markings. The case is yellow gold and houses the manufacture-made, manual-winding mechanical movement 1917 MC.
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 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 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.
After many years as a freelance journalist and editor specialising in watches and jewellery, together with Christine Pasquier, Maria founded The Jewellery Editor. Maria’s work appears in a wide variety of notable publications, including the Financial Times, Intelligent Life, Telegraph ...
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