Now that the craziness of Watches and Wonders 2023 has subsided, I wanted to take a bit of a look back at some of the models that got my attention and why – there were some surprises in there!
Each year, the watch world waits to see what wonders come out of the industry’s premier trade show. Some years we see brilliance, and others years not so much. I feel that this year was a good year for the watch world, and we saw some really great pieces launched, some cool novelties and some brands just did some nice and timely updates to their core models. And from all reports, it seems that most commentators felt the same. So without further ado, here are my top 12 picks.
Whilst Piaget added two new Perpetual Calendar models to their Polo line, my pick was the Rose gold and green. It just looks great, and builds on their release from earlier in year. At 8.65mm, it’s thin, and a the movement is stunning and complex. which can be seen through there caseback.
The fact that Piaget has also given it the quick change SingleTouch system, to swap out the green alligator or rubber strap just adds to this allowing you change the look, depending on your mood. At AUD $116,000, it’s not cheap, but you get a lot of watch for this!
Panerai went back to their roots this year, and told us their Storia Leggendaria. With this, bringing us the new Radiomir Otto Giorni (8 days) in hand finished eSteel.
Whilst not the most techically impressive, although it is an 8-day manual wind, so this is pretty decent, these are cool looking, and do hark back to their original Radiomir prototype of 1935. Also, each model is hand finished to give it the distressed look, so essentially, all unique!
Jaeger-LeCoultre focused on their Reverso Tribute line this year, and some of their models was absolutely fantastic. One of which was their Reverso Tribute Chronograph, which gives you 2 great watches in one!
Whilst each model looked stunning, my pic was the Pink Gold variant. The way the details contrast on the chronograph face, along with the “floating” look of the dial and bottom register are second to none!
The Hermes H08 in Rose Gold and Titanium was a surprise for me. I’m not normally a fan of Hermes watches, but this model, in this combination jut works, and looks both casual, and just a little bit formal – it’s a paradox!
Hermes have used a good mix of Rose gold, titanium and black ceramic, and paired with the black rubber strap and the multi-faceted dial, all works together and is something a little different to the norm.
I’m a sucker for a good pilot’s watch, and need to add one back into the collection. And the new IWC Pilot’s Chrono 41mm in Oceana Blue is a hot contender. Although, speaking to the IWC boutique, there’s not a lot of detail on when this will be in, so I guess I’ll have to wait.
IWC have done some great releases in coloured ceramic and this is just the next to come out, and with the denim strap, looks like the perfect casual summer watch. Blending this with IWC’s DNA in pilots watches and you’ve a great piece.
Tudor are a little more “edgy” than their big sister, but sometimes, a nice update is all you need. The Tudor Black Bay 41 with the burgundy dial was just this. Nothing ground-breaking, but a slimmer case, refined details on the dial and a choice now of three different bracelet/strap options with their T-Fit micro adjust.
Tudor have also made the movement just that little bit better – now Master Chronometer certified to 0/+5s per day and keeping the 70 hour power reserve. What more could you ask for?
Chopard’s new Alpine Eagle in Lucent Steel and a stunning Monte Rosa pink dial and small seconds was one of those watches where Chopard took an already good watch and made it better! The addition of the small seconds is a nice touch, and the dial is just a stunning colour.
In this model, you now the calibre L.U.C 96.40-L movement, meaning the watch has slimmed down to just 8mm thick and the movement is beautiful with an 18k micro rotor powering it.
The Odysseus Chronograph was one of the more truly unique releases at this years event, and it was a first for the brand, having never done an automatic chronograph before now.
One of the most interesting aspects of the Odysseus Chronograph is the dial configuration using the outer track and the central seconds and minutes hands to tell the elapsed time, rather than sub dials. Plus the re-set to zero function is pretty cool, and something not seen before.
Rolex aren’t normally known for their innovative releases, but this year, they’ve come out with a first for The Crown – a sports watch in Titanium in the form of the Yacht-Master in 42mm. This is a great move from Rolex, adding another variant to the Yacht-Master line, and giving people a watch that is less dressy than the standard 40mm models, and a completely different look to the precious metal models.
It’s a great stealthy looking sports watch, and due to the titanium, is light and durable and fit for the purpose it was designed for, as we saw when Sir Ben Ainslie wore the prototype a couple of years back – leaving the world waiting for its release!
Grand Seiko have never done a fully mechanical chronograph before, having limited this complication to their spring drive models. But this year, they released a fairly under the radar chronograph that is fully mechanical. However, look at the details and its more impressive than it would initially seem.
A Ten beats per seconds chronograph, accurate to -3/+5s per day, tested over 20 days, housed in an all titanium case and finished to the standards that you expect from Grand Seiko. Its all in the small details, and this is what makes this watch a sleeper!
This was probably the craziest watch release this year (I cold be wrong), but you’d expect nothing less from Roger Dubuis. The Excalibur Spider Countach DT/X is designed in the theme of the new limited edition 50th anniversary Lamborghini Countach LPI 800-4. Hence the name.
Lamborghini design cues are all over this watch, from the engine case between the 90° V-Shape Double Flying Tourbillon, to the way the case looks like the wheels and tyres. It’s a serious piece of kit, to go with a serious car. But not for us mere mortals at $1,210,000 and limited to 8 pieces, I won’t be lining up anytime soon!
This may not have been on many people’s top 12, but I’ve included it for this reason. Bell & Ross have created a driver with a difference, and whilst not vintage in style, it’s got vintage style cues that just work with the overall design aesthetic.
The bronze case, paired with the opaline dial and brown strap give it a unique look, and the fact that it is ISO-6425 complied means it’s a true divers watch. It may not be for everyone, but that in my eyes isn’t a bad thing, as it means you probably won’t see many in the wild, and that’s a talking point in my mind!
Well that’s it for another year of Watches and Wonders. It was a great show this year, and there were some brilliant releases, and not so brilliant releases. Whilst I couldn’t cover all of the releases here (it wouldn’t be a top 12 if I could!), you can check out all of the brands and models covered at Watches and Wonder 2023 here.