Sam’s Picks For Watches & Wonders 2024

by Sameera Gamage

With the dust settling on Watches & Wonders 2024, I reflect on another remarkable event and pick out some of my favourite timepieces!

Watches & Wonders 2024 certainly threw some surprises and twists. While some brands released models that we weren’t quite expecting, others went above and beyond to push the boundaries of haute horology once again, creating masterpieces that will undoubtedly create headlines for some time.

Fortunately, at WatchAdvice, we’ve had the pleasure of seeing a broader picture of what was released throughout this prestigious annual event, giving us more insight into choosing standout timepieces. If you haven’t had a chance to read Mario’s article, in which he picks out his top choices from this year’s event, click here to read the full article! Chamath and Matt were also on the ground in Switzerland, covering the releases live, whilst also doing manufacture visits! Check out Watch Advice’s Instagram page to see all these goodies, along with the daily recaps of their favourite timepieces (shown below) during the 6-day event!

Below are my picks from the Watches & Wonders 2024 releases. It was hard for me to narrow it down to just 4-5 timepieces. I think I can do more justice to the releases by picking two models that stood out for me for each defining category in the world of watches (dress, dive, sports watches, and haute horology).

Dress Watch

IWC Portugieser Automatic 40mm

IWC Portugieser Automatic 40mm White Gold and Light Blue

IWC Schaffhausen’s Portugieser collection received an aesthetic upgrade for this years Watches & Wonder’s release. The whole collection was based on the theme of “A Tribute to Infinity”, whereby the dial colours reflected different times of the day.

The stunning sunray light blue dial with iconic Arabic numerals and small seconds dial

The IWC Portugieser Automatic 40mm (read the full release here!) stands out proudly for me as the ideal dress watch candidate from this year’s releases. The dial colours, especially the “light blue” that the brand has created, are simply stunning. The Automatic 40mm only features a small 60 seconds counter at 6 o’clock, giving more view into these beautiful dials, making them an ideal dress piece.

Rolex Perpetual 1908 Guilloche

All-new Rolex Perpetual 1908

For me personally, Rolex’s releases this year were quite sub-par. The new GMT-Master II (read more here) was more subtle in appearance than I would’ve liked, however, was executed to fit in perfectly with the brand’s current collection. The other releases included the giant (quite literally) Deep Sea Gold, amongst other minor cosmetic tweaks to the brand’s existing collections.

The one that truly did stand out more to me, however, was the Perpetual 1908 Guilloche (read the full release here!). The Perpetual 1908 was first introduced during Watches & Wonders 2023, and it reflected the brand’s “traditional horological style”. This year, the brand has given the Perpetual 1908 a new look, with a brilliantly executed Guilloche dial. While Guilloche dials are becoming a bit more common, this Rolex Perpetual 1908 was, for me, the brand’s showcase piece at this year’s event.

Dive Watch

Montblanc Iced Sea Automatic Date

Iced Sea Automatic Date Collection – Burgundy Version Full View

If we consider purely specs-wise, the Rolex Deepsea in gold should be a shoo-in for this category, with a water resistance of 3900m. However, practicality plays a big part. Let’s be honest here: most people who wear diving watches never actually go diving. Its that comfort of knowing that the timepiece can withstand a certain amount of water resistance. The piece of mind is knowing that you have a timepiece specifically designed to keep the water at bay so that you can enjoy an afternoon dip in the pool.

ced Sea Automatic Date Collection – Burgundy Version Close Up Dial Details

With this in mind, I’ve chosen the Montblanc Iced Sea Automatic Date as one of the preferred “Dive watch” models from this years Watches & Wonders. In particular, the Burgundy dial (click here to read the full article). This timepiece features the Iced Sea Automatic Date’s signature glacial-patterned dial, which is sure to catch anyone’s attention. With contrasting hour indices and hands that makes dial readability clean and aesthetic, along with a 300m water resistance, this latest edition to Montblanc’s Iced Sea Automatic Date collection is an ideal divers timepiece.

Zenith Defy Diver Revival

The new Zenith Defy Diver Revival.

Zenith’s Defy Revival collection gets a new update with the recreation of the Diver A3648. A timepiece that originated in 1969, the Defy Diver A3648 was a rugged timepiece with a daring and bold look. This timepiece was produced for those who wanted that extra reliability, especially if the watch is used for it’s intended purpose.

Zenith Defy Diver Revival case and bracelet side profile.

This latest revival keeps the original aesthetics unchanged, with that iconic irregular octagon shape and fourteen-sided bezel; however, Zenith has given it the brand’s modern Elite 670 movement. The most impressive thing about this timepiece, though, is the sapphire case back, on a timepiece with a water depth rating of 600m!

Sports Watch

TAG Heuer Carrera Glassbox Silver Panda

The all-new TAG Heuer Carrera Glassbox Panda.

It’s no easy task narrowing down the timepieces for each category. Each brand has released its share of timepieces catering to the different interests and passions of the watch community. When it comes to sports watches or chronograph watches, the TAG Heuer Carrera will always hold a special place for me. Having personally owned a Carrera Day Date Calibre 16, I’ve always loved the sharp, refined look of this timepiece.

TAG Heuer Carrera Glassbox Panda – Side profile showing case construction.

That is why the new TAG Heuer Carrera Glassbox Silver Panda (read in-depth article here!) makes my list in the sports watch category. Taking inspiration from the 7753 SN timepiece from the 1960s, this new Carrera Glassbox Silver Panda gives the original a modern twist, and I’m all for it. Retaining that sleek, refined, sharp styling of the Carrera, this new Glassbox Silver Panda is a beautiful sports watch with a silver sunray brushed dial and black flanged chronograph dials completing that panda look.

Cartier Privé Tortue Monopoussoir 

All-new Cartier Privé Tortue Monopoussoir collection.

Cartier has released some eye-watering timepieces this year, including the talk of the town, the Santos-Dumont Rewind (read the full article here!). One of my favourites, though, is maybe the less talked about timepiece from the brand’s new Privé Tortue collection (click here for full article). The Tortue Monopoussoir is a mono-pusher chronograph that has all the right details to pique my interest instantly.

Cartier Privé Tortue Monopoussoir Platinum (WHTO0008).

The Tortue Monopoussoir first debuted in 1928, and it was “re-imagined” in 1998. It now has a new look and movement. The Roman hour indices complement the new blue steel apple-shaped hands. This look is perfectly balanced by the two chronograph counters at 3 and 9 o’clock, completing a timepiece that reeks of elegance and sophistication.

Haute Horology

If I’m being honest, when I thought of choosing watches for this category, it gave me a lot to think about. I geek out heavily over high-complication timepieces. Watches that display haute horology. Haute horology, for those that may be new, is where brands create timepieces that pass the realms of normal watchmaking, where they aren’t afraid to push the boundaries and see what’s on the other side.

As we covered the content for Watches & Wonders 2024, we came across many timepieces that displayed this thinking-outside-the-box approach. Some of these pieces include the A. Lange & Söhne Datograph Perpetual Honeygold Lumen (read more about it here!), the incredible Roger Dubuis Orbis in Machina (read more about it here!), Jaeger-LeCoultre’s new interpretation of the Duometre Quantieme Lunaire (read more about it here!) or even their Duometre Heliotourbillon (read more here). For me, haute horology is the combination of creating complex timepieces that also display aesthetic prowess.

Hublot MP-11 Water Blue Sapphire

Hublot Big Bang MP-11 Power Reserve 14 Days Water Blue Sapphire – Full view

When it came time to choose a watch for this category, the Hublot Big Bang MP-11 Water Blue Sapphire was one timepiece that was always on the back of my mind. Not everyone may be a fan of Hublot due to some common misconceptions around the brand (which you can actually read here), but when it comes to creating sapphire timepieces, respect must be given where it is deserved.

Unless you’ve held a sapphire case timepiece in your hand, you won’t know how incredibly beautiful these timepieces are. I can wholeheartedly say that pictures do not do these timepieces justice. Fortunately, I was able to try on and wear Chamath’s Aventi Wraith timepiece (click here to see it!), and the way it glistens in the sunlight, as you can see on the Instagram post, is truly beautiful. I don’t think I’ve ever done more wrist rolls trying to catch the sun rays on a timepiece in my life!

This is why the Hublot MP-11 Water Blue Sapphire (read the full article here) makes it onto my list. That stunning new water blue colour in sapphire form will garner attention regardless if you want it or not. Combine this with MP-11’s  HUB9011 Manufacture manual winding movement that delivers a staggering 11 days of power reserve, and you have a timepiece where high-complication meets visual mastery.

Ulysse Nardin Freak S Nomad

Ulysse Nardin Freak S Nomad – Full view.

The Freak whipped up a storm. Here was a watch that breathed new life into high-end watchmaking, without relying on the old tropes. Out with the smooth round yellow gold cases, enamel dials and tourbillons. In with a free-spirited watch with fresh aesthetics and avant-garde technology. The Freak told a new story:

No dial. No hands. No crown.

Ulysse Nardin on the release of the Freak (2001)

The Ulysse Nardin Freak S is a timepiece that took headlines at Watches & Wonders back in 2002. A timepiece with a rotating spaceship on your wrist. Haute Horology at its finest. Now, for this year’s release, Ulysse Nardin has kept the incredible movement (and spaceship!) intact and given the dial a new aesthetic design.

Named the Freak S Nomad (read the full article here), the timepiece now comes with a sand-coloured diamond guilloché patterned dial. The brand states that the dial “is created one piece at a time by a skilled artisan; the painstaking method behind it takes years to learn and perfect. It involves a rare 18th-century rose engine, turned entirely by hand, with no electronics and no laser guidance.” It was as if we really needed any more reason to fall in love with the Freak S. Well, Ulysse Nardin has done just that with the Freak S Nomad.

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