Today in Geneva, the 2023 edition of Watches & Wonders began (open now through April 2), where watchmakers from across the world are sharing their latest horological feats. In our first look at the new debuts, we’re honing in on watches that are just as much eye-catching accessories as useful timekeeping mechanisms.
Of Cartier’s latest, we loved La Panthère de Cartier timepieces. The maison’s emblematic panther appears on a thin linked wristband, while a tiny set of watch hands and a rectangular face in glossy black enamel are positioned at its bottom jaw. Two iterations of the design include a shiny yellow gold model with emeralds for eyes or a platinum version crusted with sparkling diamonds. Also of note, we saw the brand introducing a new skeleton model, the Santos-Dumont watch. The latest take on a design first released in 1904, the watch features gold and blue details, outfitted with a specially-developed 9629 MC automatic skeleton caliber, which is visible through the square skeletal case.
Known for its whimsical jewelry designs, Van Cleef & Arpels caught our eye with an addition to its Poetic Complications collection, the Lady Féerie Or Rose watch. The magic of time springs to life on this delicate timepiece in rose gold and shades of pink and purple, which sits snugly on the writs with a magenta alligator leather strap. A halo of diamonds surrounds the face of the watch, enclosing a tiny sparkling fairy, who sits perched on top of clouds. As the hour rolls over in Arabic numerals in the center, the figure’s tiny outstretched arm marks the passing of the minutes with her diamond-tipped wand.
Among other debuts, Jaeger-LeCoultre’s renowned Reverso model received a colorful update that honors its Art Deco origins. Called the Reverso One Precious Colors, the thin, rectangular watch has been imagined in two colorways, where the mother-of-pearl dial is secured by a gem-toned alligator strap (choose from either pink gold with blue details or white gold with green). Named for its reversible options, the face side of the timepiece features hours and minutes in delicate numerals, surrounded by glimpses of a diamond-and-enamel motif, while its backside reveals the 1920s-inspired geometric design, which can be worn up as though it were a bracelet. It features around 1.6 carats of diamonds and the house’s manually-wound caliber 846 movement.
While each embodying a different style, Chopard’s two new additions to the Happy Sports collection caught our eye this year. The Happy Sport 25mm offered a discerning, understated design with a petite Lucent Steel case, a pearlescent dial with roman numerals, and a standard quartz movement, while its options for color and interchangeable straps (like a wrap-around calf leather version or a sunburst dial in pink) made it an elegant accessory. And for those who prefer a bolder look, the maison introduced the Happy Sport Midnight Purple—a mechanical Chopard 09.01-C movement with automatic winding. Featuring a diamond-set bezel and a 33-mm case in lucent steel, the timepiece was imagined in a purple-to-blue design, with hours, minutes, and seconds functions, and a playful, swirling PVD guilloche dial.
TAG Heuer dazzled us with its Carrera Plasma Diamant d’Avant-Garde, set with 4.3 carats of lab-grown diamonds. Visually, the model wows with its sporty matte black case and body made from sand-blasted anodized aluminum, which holds a total of 48 stones in various shapes, placed across the case and strap, and also marking the place of numerals on the watch’s face. Internally, it’s a marvel of technicality with the house’s own Caliber Heuer 02 Tourbillon Nanograph, (developed specifically for this watch), which displays a tourbillon visible through the dial and offers an unusual 65-hour power reserve.
Patek Philippe caught our eye with several new timepieces, introduced across its general collections and its “Rare Handcrafts” debuts. The fuchsia 4997 200R-001 was a monochrome beauty with a round gold dial and a sleek, satiny strap, while the 4962 200R-001was uniquely romantic, featuring warm tones making up a rectangular dial with a floral design, surrounded by tiny rubies. And from the “Rare Handcrafts” collection, the house immortalized a moment of art and history with the 5189G-001 “1948 Nations Grand Prix” timepiece. Recalling the 1948 Geneva automobile race, a vision of a racecar crossing in front of a city embankment has been artfully rendered in 17 colors of Grand Feu Cloisonné enamel and gold wire—accompanied by a sturdy racing leather strap and a caliber 240 ultra-thin self-winding movement.