In our second report on the recent Watches and Wonders fair, we consider the novelties you may be adding to your collections this year
TAG Heuer dipped into its distinguished motorsport heritage for an evocative new chronograph unveiled at Watches and Wonders. Forever associated with Hollywood star Steve McQueen and his movie Le Mans, as well as the great Porsche 917 racing car and drivers such as the late aces Jo Siffert and Pedro Rodriguez, the orange-and-blue colours of the Gulf Oil company are equally entwined with the name of Heuer.
The special-edition TAG-Heuer Monaco Gulf comes replete with all these references – plus the 39mm square case and perforated leather strap that, in horological terms, have been linked with the Formula 1 calendar’s most famous race for more than half a century. On a largely deep-blue field emblazoned with an offset racing stripe and chrono minutes dial in Gulf’s characteristic colours, as well as the petroleum company’s branding at 6 o’clock, it looks every bit the pukka period item – even down to the anachronistic fonts on the subdails – though the TAG co-branding is an obvious giveaway. But with a reserve of 80 hour from its Heuer02 automatic movement, it’s also thoroughly modern.
You can read about Chopard’s new L.U.C chiming watches elsewhere in this issue, but there were other estimable newcomers from the Genevan house at this year’s Watches and Wonders. Among them is the extremely handsome, luxurious and yet wonderfully restrained three-hand L.U.C XPS 1860 Officer in a 40mm case of ethical yellow gold, with a forest-green dial on a base of solid gold, and small seconds dial and date window at 6 o’clock. Powered by the super-slim L.U.C 96.01 automatic movement – it provides 65 hours of power and can be viewed via an officer-style opening caseback – and presented on a brown alligator strap, this really is a most distinguished men’s timepiece, dressy yet sufficiently versatile to be worn in a more casual setting.
Also new for 2022 are Flying Tourbillon and Chronograph additions to the sporty Alpine Eagle range, and several new Happy Sports featuring the signature dancing diamonds. The latter include: two 40mm Chronographs in ethical rose gold and stainless steel respectively; a 33mm three-hand, time-only version in rose gold; and three gem-set 40mm Métiers d’Art models in ethical gold, themed around the Hummingbird, Polar Bear and Sea Turtle.
H. Moser & Cie.
Notable for ploughing its own uncompromising furrow, the independent Schaffhausen-based brand debuted several novelties at Watches and Wonders 2022, including the time-only, three-hand Endeavour Centre Seconds Concept (despite the name, it’s in full production). This stunner features a dazzling lime-green-fumé grand feu dial unadorned by indexes or brand marker, a 40mm steel case, the HMC 200 automatic movement and a grey kudu-leather strap.
At the opposite end of the colour spectrum – if, indeed, black features there at all – is the Streamliner Chronograph Blacker Than Black, whose Vantablack carbon-nanotube case coating absorbs almost all light that comes in contact with it. A veritable black hole on the wrist, it’s not in production yet, but knowing H Moser & Cie, the brand is almost certainly working on it.
Equally provocative, the new H Moser Cylindrical Tourbillon features skeletonised architecture incorporating a 60-second flying tourbillon combined with a cylindrical hairspring. With its smoked blue dial offset at 12 o’clock, slate grey bridges and open- worked rose-gold winding rotor, it’s a thing of beauty as much as ingenuity.
Not only did this year’s fair mark Grand Seiko’s Watches and Wonders debut, but the Japanese manufacture pretty much stole the show with the Kodo Constant Force Tourbillon (see Prestige, May). As well as being the brand’s most complicated timepiece ever, it’s also the first time these two mechanisms have been twinned in a wristwatch by any manufacturer.
Other 2022 newcomers include a pair of Spring Drive GMTs in the Sporty Evolution 9 collection, which feature an evolved design language, 41mm titanium cases and bracelets, second time-zone numerals displayed on a fixed bezel, a date window at 3 o’clock, a power-reserve indicator at 8 and dials either in “misty” textured grey or black lacquer. As well as 72 hours of power, the 9R66 Spring Drive calibre offers +/- 15 seconds-a-month accuracy – a figure that probably errs on the conservative side.
They’re joined by two further Spring Drives that update the Chronograph GMT collection, with Evolution 9 styling on their hefty 45.3mm high-density titanium cases. It’s available this month as a 15th Anniversary Limited Edition (SBGC249) with blue dial and light-blue rotating bezel, and will be joined next month by a regular-production version (SBGC251) in black.
In addition to a pair of El Primero 3600-powered 41mm Chonomaster Sport chronographs in either two-tone stainless steel and rose gold, or full rose gold, Zenith turned back the clock to the early noughties by unveiling a revisitation of the Chronomaster Open in three new references. They feature the semi-open-worked dials that were popular at the time – and, in the case of Zenith in particular, displayed the workings of its high-frequency escapement, whose balance wheel unusually beats at 10 vibrations each second, for all to see.
In currently vogue-ish 39.5mm cases of stainless steel (with white or black dials on steel bracelet) or rose gold (with white dial and leather strap), these Chronomaster Opens are powered by a development of the 3600 movement, with its famously fast-revolving chronograph seconds hand, but no date window. As for ourselves, we love both the El Primero calibre and this new Chronomaster’s smaller case size, but we’re still unsure about the resuscitation of the semi-open-heart aesthetic. Time will tell.
Newly departed from the Kering Group, Ulysse Nardin unveiled two new references in its ground-breaking Freak collection – with central-rotating calibre indicating hours and minutes – which is still pioneering unconventional technology and design after more than 20 years. Although a silicium balance wheel features prominently on the dial of both timepieces, the Freak X Aventurine employs a self-winding UN-230 movement directly developed from existing calibres and is thus somewhat more conventional in appearance. The Freak S, however, uses an entirely new UN-251 motor developed by watchmaker Carole Forestier-Hasapi with help from Ochs und Junior’s Ludwig Oechslin, which takes up most of the centre of the dial and resembles nothing that’s gone before it.
Both watches come in cases of titanium and rose gold, though the Freak S also gets black ceramic and DLC; dials are black also, but in the case of the Freak X Aventurine it’s more a glittering blue-black. Inevitably these are limited editions: the X is available in 99 pieces, while the S, which is some three-and-a-half times more costly, is being made in a run of 75 examples.
Alongside the incredibly eye-catching Boy.Friend X-Ray Skeleton Red Edition, with perfume-bottle- stopper-shaped case and bezel in sapphire, skeletonised Calibre 3 movement with red bridges and a matching alligator-pattern strap, Chanel introduced its first-ever tourbillon timepiece at Watches and Wonders 2022, in the form of the J12 Diamond Tourbillon, production of which is limited to 55 pieces.
Presented in a 38mm black ceramic case with matching bracelet, the Diamond Tourbillon features Chanel’s manufacture flying-tourbillon Calibre 5 whose cage, visible at 6 o’clock, is set with a single solitaire diamond at its centre. And that’s not all, because the bezel, hands and crown are also set with diamonds.
If all that – and a 38mm case size – seems just a little excessive for your wrist, Chanel also unveiled new 33mm version of the J12 in white or black ceramic, which is powered by the recently developed smaller automatic Calibre 12.2 (a variant of which also features in Tudor’s new Black Bay 32 S&G) that provides a 50-hour reserve. The watch is water- resistant to 20 bar.
The luxury house that’s gaining increasing respect for its idiosyncratically whimsical yet thoughtful approach to horology unveiled scarf-inspired novelties in the Arceau collection. They include the travel-themed Les folie du ciel, which combines animation, engraving and painting on its mother-of-pear dial, and the 48mm haute horlogerie Pocket Cheval Punk tourbillon minute-repeater pocket watch in white gold, featuring a punk-horse motif by Japanese illustrator Daiske Nomura.
In terms of sheer dreamy beauty, however, neither can match the gorgeous Arceau le temps voyageur, which features an offset dial that revolves around 24 time zones over an engraved imagined map of the world. Available in a 41mm platinum case with black DLC-coated titanium bezel and grey dial, or a 38mm steel version with blue dial, the watch is powered by an automatic H1837 movement with bespoke dual-time mechanism specially developed for Hermès by complication specialist Chronode.
As expected, Parmigiani offered new variations on its subtly minimalist – though no less luxurious – Tonda PF theme at Watches and Wonders, most notably with the new GMT Rattrapante, which superficially resembles the two-hand-and-date Microrotor model launched last year. Here, however, the date window has been unusually deleted, while a second rose-gold 12-hour “home-time” hand has been added to the time display.
Operated by a rose-gold pusher in the crown and a further button at 8 o’clock, the white-gold hour hand either sits above its rose-gold equivalent while in home territory, or is moved around the dial in one-hour increments to display a second zone when travelling. On a grain d’orge- pattern dial in Milano blue, the hour markers and brand logo are in applied white gold, while the 40mm case and bracelet are in stainless steel with a knurled-edge platinum bezel. The PF051 automatic movement features a rose-gold microrotor and beats at 3Hz for a reserve of 48 hours. It also offers 72 hours of power.
We wrote about the colourful new limited-edition Integral Ceramics in the May issue of Prestige, but Hublot also rolled out an entirely new line at Watches and Wonders, namely the Square Bang. In almost every way it’s the Big Bang the brand’s fans know and love, with its screwed- down bezel and modular construction, except for one key aspect – it’s the first square watch produced by the Porthole.
With 42mm-square dimensions, it comes in five initial versions – satin-finished black ceramic (a 250-piece limited edition), full titanium, titanium and black ceramic, King gold and King gold with black ceramic – all of which are powered by a characteristically skeletonised HUB1280 manufacture calibre. Providing time, date and chronograph functions, the movement also offers 72 hours of power.