Like everything else around the world these days, the most anticipated wristwatch exhibitions have all been canceled. This past week, tens of thousands of watch lovers, retailers, and even celebrities would have flocked to Geneva for Watches & Wonders 2020 (and then on to Basel for Baselworld). Even though the Swiss watch industry is centuries old, the brands are progressive, and regularly create over-the-top watches that attest to that. As such, the show organizers for Watches & Wonders Geneva (the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie), whipped together a digital platform (Watchesandwonders.com) where all of the would-be exhibitors could have similar space to unveil their wrist creations to the masses who are self-quarantining.
While only around 20 brands jumped on the digital bandwagon last Saturday, more are following at their own pace – some don’t want to overwhelm those suffering economic woes by touting luxury goods that can cost more than a house, while others are lagging behind just to get their own moment to shine rather than share the limelight.
Either way, some pretty incredible watches are setting the pace for collectors and aficionados – with sport watches, vintage-inspired watches, high-tech materials and high-mech complications emerging as the key themes. Here, we take a look at four hot watches launched on watchesandwonders.com that will have you rethinking time.
Panerai Luminor Marina Fibratech™ 44MM ($19,000.)
For lovers of all things high-tech, Officine Panerai delivers with a case material yet to be used in the watch world, along with a host of other ultra-cool features. Known since its inception for its pioneering spirit (after all, this is the brand that accompanied frogmen on torpedo runs under the ocean during the war, and that later made “big” watches famous), Panerai deftly blends history and innovation in the new Panerai Luminor Marina Fibratech 44mm watch, which celebrates the 70th anniversary of a legendary timepiece.
The case is made of Fibratech™, a material created using mineral fibers and basalt (volcanic) stone. The fibers are bound with polymers to form unique layers and patterning. Thanks to an extensive use of Super-LumiNova™ “X1” on parts of the watch movement, as well as on the case and the Sportech™ strap, the watch is guaranteed to keep the glow going for a jaw-dropping 70 years. The automatic movement inside houses a host of high-tech parts among its 200 components.
Roger Dubuis Excalibur Diabolus in Machina ($571,000)
Translated as “Devil in the machine,” this newest one-of-a-kind watch demonstrates Roger Dubuis’s willingness to break the mold and push boundaries. The high-mech, ultra-complicated watch audibly chimes the time using a minute repeater system, which works using tiny hammers and gongs built into the caliber. But what makes the piece so unique is that it uses a musical chord (Diabolus in Machina) which was outlawed in medieval religious music because of the primordial dissonance of the sound. In this watch, the hammers and gongs chime the hours (on a low pitch), the quarter hours (using two tones) and the minutes past the last quarter hours (on a high pitch) are tuned to C and G flat.
The kickass mechanical movement consists of an impressive 558 individual parts and incorporates a flying tourbillon (which compensates for errors in gravity when the watch is in different positions on the wrist). Every one of those 558 parts is hand-finished to exceptional standards and hand-assembled – earning the watch the Hallmark of Geneva certification. Oh, and the 45mm case is made of a high-tech material called CarTech Micro-Melt BioDur CCMTM.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Control Calendar ($10,700)
Love the retro sophisticated look? The highly functional yet vintage-inspired Master Control Calendar from Jaeger-LeCoultre packs a nice punch for a good price. This watch incorporates a couple of trends, including the quest for modernized icons and for watches with useful, small complications. It is inspired by the brand’s first Master Control watches launched in 1992 that fast became best-sellers thanks to the classic styling and technical panache, and also by its iconic round watches (like Memovox) from the 1950s.
This Calendar offers the same triple display of day, date, and moonphase indication as the original, but in updated styling outside and inside. The case and the movement have been totally revamped, and it is completed with a new vegetable-tanned calfskin leather strap, Novonappa®, which will age with time. If the aesthetics, style, and function aren’t enough, maybe the fact that the 40mm stainless steel watch undergoes 1,000 hours of testing and comes with an unheard of 8-year warranty will help.
IWC Portugieser Yacht Club Moon & Tide ($33,100)
For the guy who loves to sail, run a regatta, or get out on the water, the new IWC Portugieser Yacht Club Moon & Tide watch will have others thinking you’re the boss. This is IWC Schaffhausen’s first chronograph to feature a new tidal indication that screams sporty sophistication. The automatic movement showcases the perpetual moon phases for both the northern and the southern hemispheres, as well as displaying spring tide or neap tide.
A subsidiary dial at 6:00 also indicates the next high and low tide. The 44.6mm watch is created in 18-karat rose gold with an ocean blue dial and coordinated blue rubber strap with textile inlay. Designed for the nautical sport lover, the watch is water resistant to 300 meters ensuring it can go the distance with you. Still, a transparent sapphire caseback lets you view the complex mechanical caliber with Pellaton automatic winding system that keeps it working for 60 hours when fully wound before needing winding.