It’s hard to believe that all of the energy and excitement of Watches and Wonders 2022 is finally behind us. With the onslaught of product launches, meetings, events, and the uncomfortably named “Touch and Feel” presentations now in the rearview mirror, we’ve had a moment to shake the jetlag and properly process the sights and sounds of the industry’s biggest fair. Even with six days on the show floor it’s hard to shake the feeling that we weren’t able to see everything, especially when you consider the number of brands showing off-site at hotels and other venues in Geneva at that time. We did our best to drop in on a few, though with the focus being on Watches & Wonders itself, that time was a bit limited.
In the indie category in particular, our last evening in the city involved a stop at the presentation hall of the AHCI — the Académie Horlogère des Créateurs Indépendants (or the Horological Academy of Independent Creators, translated). Though not equipped with proper photography equipment, we had the pleasure of seeing the latest from the noteworthy upstarts Bernhard Lederer, Sylvain Pinaud (who was showcasing his first completed handmade watch), and Genus Watches. We also fell down a deep conversational rabbit hole with the legendary Vianney Halter, whose latest timepiece using the principle of acoustic resonance was on display. Fun fact, Halter’s Deep Space Resonance timepiece went to space on the wrist of William Shatner earlier this year.
Needless to say that our nine days in Switzerland will provide a base for extensive watch coverage in the coming weeks and months, but for the time being, we’re taking a look at our favourite releases from the fair that we were able to handle and photograph on-site.
Chopard swung for the fences this year, and rightfully so. It’s the 25th anniversary of L.U.C, Chopard’s in-house movement manufacture, and to mark the occasion, the brand announced a trilogy of chiming watches that we covered in an extensive interview with the brand’s co-president Karl-Friederich Scheufele. The hero of the pack is an evolution of an existing model — the Full Strike — which is now offered in a sapphire case. Aside from this groundbreaking trio, the brand also showcased updates to their Alpine Eagle sports watch, including a slender Flying Tourbillon, and a pair of sporty chronographs.
Similar to Chopard, Cartier really swung for the fences at Watches and Wonders 2022. The hero piece is the Cartier Masse Mystérieuse — a watch whose movement is free-floating in the shape of a winding rotor. Cartier loves to play mind-bending tricks on us all, using sapphire discs and clever gearing to make movements seem to float, but this particular reference is next level. That said, it’s far more a technical exercise than a wearable timepiece, as it’s a chunky 43.5mm platinum beast of a watch with a six figure price tag. Meanwhile, things like the new Santos Dumont references with enamel inlays in their bezel and cases, as well as the sleek new Tank Chinoise references will be more readily available without having to sell a kidney.
A. Lange & Söhne
It’s safe to say it wasn’t the biggest year for Lange, as the primary communications surrounded technical updates of existing models. That said, these were fairly noteworthy changes. The beloved Grand Lange 1 received a significant rework, leading to a much slimmer case profile than its predecessor. Now measuring 8.2mm thick and 41mm in diameter, the timepiece bears more elegant and refined proportions than ever. Next up, the brand’s polarizing sports watch has been offered in titanium for the first time. It’s the first time the brand is using the metal, and the first time we’re seeing the Odysseus offered in something other than precious metals. The weight reduction alone makes for a much more comfortable and sporting fit, and its unique blue/grey/green dial colour is well suited to its quirky overall design. These pieces aside, Lange did turn up with one “sleeper hero” that we didn’t get photo time with — the Richard Lange Minute Repeater. Offered in a 50-piece series, the watch looks like a plain dress watch until a trained eye spots the repeater slider on the left side of the case.
Rather than unpack its entire portfolio of releases at Watches and Wonders 2022, Oris came to the table with a singular release — the Oris ProPilot X. This is the latest piece to feature the brand’s 400-series in-house manufacture caliber with a five-day power reserve, fitted in a sleek and compact 39mm titanium case. The lightweight gem is extremely wearable, fitted on a titanium bracelet. We’ve had a soft spot for Oris for quite some time, and are thrilled to see the upscale caliber moving its way through more of the product offering. Available in salmon/pink, blue, and a monochromatic grey reference, these new references (much like their other in-house powered counterparts) are being offered with a 10-year warranty.
For 2022, Armin Strom has entered the sports watch world for the first time. The lesser known watchmaker has an immense manufacturing capability within its own doors, allowing them to release some very unique and innovative creations over the years — the Armin Strom orbit is no exception. The brand has long debated how to integrate a date indication into their timepieces in a way that makes sense, and the end result is this particular complication. In the “off” position, the date hand rests at the 12 o’clock position. Pressing the pusher on the left side of the case will jump the hand ahead to the current date position, and pressing it again will return it to its zero position. It’s the first time we’ve seen a complication like this, and though simple, we’re quite fond of it.
Chanel’s watchmaking efforts are certainly geared more towards the women’s category than men’s, however the unisex nature of the J12 combined with the introduction of their fifth manufacture caliber is worthy of note here. Enter the J12 Diamond Tourbillon — a manually wound flying tourbillon movement that manages to support a significant diamond setting on its tourbillon cage. Yes, it’s got big bling vibes, but we must give the brand credit for the rather elegant execution.
A relatively quiet year for Urwerk (though there are whispers that something big is coming later this year), the brand’s latest release is an extension of the more compact and wearable UR-100 line known as the UR-100V Time and Culture 1. The new model is a bit of an exploration of timekeeping and culture, with design details that are based on a famous Mexica sculpture known as the Sun Stone, which depicts the Aztec calendar. In contrast to past models, a different sort of time display is found on the side of the 100V case. Every hour, the minute hand disappears and reappears as a kilometre counter. This indication is based on the average speed of the Earth’s rotation in Mexico City, illustrated as the 524.89 kilometres covered every 20 minutes by any person located in Mexico. On the opposite side, the Earth’s revolution around the sun is displayed — 35,742 kilometres every 20 minutes.
Ask anyone who has photographed watches extensively about hard to shoot watches, and odds are Ressence will be a part of the conversation. These especially odd domed timepieces can be fussy to shoot, but they’re also some of the most stunning and unique creations in the industry right now. The oil filled cases give the impression that the time indications are floating atop the crystals that protect their respective inner workings. For 2022, Ressence has unveiled its simplest timepiece in the form of the Type 8 — a watch that only indicates hours in minutes in its typical separated and rotating format that we’ve seen from the brand since its inception in 2010. Though not inexpensive at CHF 12,500, it’s the most affordable release from the brand to date.
Hiding in the Beau Rivage hotel along Geneva’s lakefront, we couldn’t resist a drop-in visit with Doxa Watches — the niche dive watch brand with historical ties to Jacques Cousteau, and a mainstay of professional divers for decades. New for 2022, the brand has unveiled an entire collection of white dial dive watches, including this sharp carbon-cased Sub 300 reference. Unlike its counterparts, the Sub 300 Whitepearl is fitted with a fully luminous dial, allowing for rather dramatic legibility when the sun goes down, or as the dive goes deeper. Easily the most affordable offering on this list, the new reference is offered on either a white or black rubber strap for a modest $3,990 USD.