Every year in April the Swiss watch industry gets together to show off everything they’ve been working on for the last 12 months, and invites the world to geek out at their creations en masse. While physical watch fairs are cancelled this year, many of the brands are going ahead with their launches virtually, as a group of them did this past weekend at Watches & Wonders. One of two major Swiss watch fairs (Baselworld is the other, at least for now) Watches & Wonders features dozens of new launches from some of our favourite brands, and this year they did not disappoint. Here are the best of them.
We’re definitely here for all of the new Luminors that Panerai dropped for the model’s 70th anniversary (more on that soon, we promise), but this watch is also a standout. First, with a 50mm skeleton dial and a tourbillon (the first Sub to be equipped with one), this looks like nothing else in the Panerai stable. Second, limited to just 5 pieces, this watch also comes with the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to visit the Arctic with explorer (and Panerai ambassador) Mike Horn.
There’s nothing like a big anniversary to bring out the best in people. To mark their 260th year in the watchmaking game, Vacheron Constantin went all-in with this spectacular watch combining a monopusher chronograph (it has one pusher integrated into the crown instead of two on either side of it) and a tourbillon. All of this is obviously extremely complicated to execute (and a look through the sapphire case back will give an indication of this), but Vacheron Constantin makes it look effortless, which is part of the reason why they are such a big deal in the watch world.
Cartier’s original Santos watch was developed over a century ago for the pioneering aviator Alberto Santos Dumont, and the new versions released this month pay tribute to Dumont’s achievements in a range of new materials and colours. The standout is this limited edition, whose woven dial and made-to-measure Panama-weave strap pay tribute to the pilot’s ever-present Panama hat. On the reverse is engraved a picture of the watch’s namesake, the Santos-Dumont “La Demoiselle,” which was among the pilot’s most accomplished flying machines, and one of the first aircraft to be mass produced.
This year at IWC is all about the Portugieser, the brand’s iconic sports watch. It’s impossible to pick a favourite from the raft of new models, but for pure aesthetics we’re definitely partial to this steel chronograph with a forest green dial. We’ve got a lot more to say about this collection, so keep an eye out for a deeper dive into the Portuguesier very soon.
This is one of those watches where it’s hard not to feel like the maker is showing off, but there’s legitimately a lot to brag about here. Aside from the skeleton dial and flying tourbillon, it features a minute repeater (which sounds the time using a set of tiny chimes) creating the so-called “devil’s interval” tritone (hence the name). It’s also made out of a new proprietary metal called CarTech Micro-Melt BioDur CCMTM, which looks like stainless steel but promises far greater scratch resistance and durability. That’s definitely a plus, because this watch is far too ostentatious to spend its life in a safe.
This German brand is known for making very traditional, very high-quality watches and movements, so last year’s debut of the Odysseus marked a significant departure for them. A steel sports watch in the vein of ‘70s classics like the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak and Patek Philippe Nautilus, it combined a sleek integrated bracelet with A Lange & Sohne’s trademark big “digital” date displays. In this version, the first new model following its debut, Lange tweaks the Odysseus formula ever so slightly with the addition of a white gold case, a textured grey dial and—they are proud to announce—the brand’s first ever rubber strap.