Matt’s Picks From Watches & Wonders 2024

by Matt Clymo

Back in Australia, I can now look back at the week and a half in Geneva and think about what were my top watch releases at this year’s Watches & Wonders.

Now that I’m back in Australia after a whirlwind week and a half in Geneva, not to mention canceled and delayed flights thanks to the flooding in Dubai, I’ve had a little bit of time to reflect on the experience and the watches that the brands released. It was pretty evident that this year was the year of high complications, and a fair amount of the exhibiting brands did just this – release some stunning pieces with equally stunning prices. But Haute Hologerie can be appreciated no matter what the price as you end up just marveling at the complications, craftsmanship, and beauty of these pieces. And there was no shortage of these at Watches & Wonders 2024. We’ll get stuck into it, and these are in no particular order…

IWC Portugieser Eternal Calendar

IWC’s showing at Watches & Wonders 2024 was overall well received and their Portugieser collection with new colours reflecting the time of day and the passage of time was a great concept. Safe to say that everyone’s pick was the Horizon Blue in 18k White Gold. However, their Eternal Calendar was where I felt they stole the show.

The IWC Portugieser Eternal Calendar

Most people are familiar with the standard Perpetual Calendar, with no need to change the date or time (ever) except for once in a hundred years or so. IWC has taken this concept to new levels, with their Eternal Calendar complete with a moon phase that will be accurate to 1 day in 45 million years. It’s a pending world record in moon phase accuracy. With their new perpetual calendar, or should I say eternal calendar mechanism, it replicates the Gregorian Calendar and skips the leap years every 400 years, instead of 100 like normal, and with the moon phase being accurate for an eternity (hence their theme for this year – A Tribute to Eternity) it’s a feat of mechanical engineering.

On top of all this, the watch itself is beautiful and in person, and looks better than the press release pictures with a depth to the dial thanks to the white lacquer and layered sapphire sub dials.

Hermès Arceau Duc Atellé

Hermès is known less for watches when compared to other fashion accessories. But they are making strides in this area and quickly becoming a force in the watch industry. Their H08 has been a hit in recent years, and this year, they’ve come out swinging with a piece that took me by surprise – the Arceau Duc Atellé.

The Hermès Arceau Duc Atellé Central Tourbillon Minute Repeater

With two models available, one in Rose Gold and one in polished Titanium, it’s a central triple-axis tourbillon, with a minute repeater and lots of Hermès equestrian-themed elements. On the dial side the hammers are horse heads and the tourbillon cage is styled with the H logo of Hermès. On the movement, you can see the horse carriage and horse head-and-mane racks within. When you hear the striking mechanism as well you also appreciate the craftsmanship in this piece as the chiming mechanism is dial side, not movement side and it is loud and crystal clear. It’s impressive and again, a piece that you would normally reserve for some of the older, high-watch-making Maison’s out there.

The case back with the nods to Hermès’ equine history

Jaeger-LeCoultre Duometre Heliotourbillon Perpetual

There is a reason that Jaeger-LeCoultre is the Watchmaker of Watchmakers. They are masters of the complication and this year, Jaeger-LeCoultre was all about the complicated timepiece. Their Duometre collection this year was second to none, and the star for me was the Heliotourbillon Perpetual – a stunning perpetual calendar in pink gold, perpetual calendar on a silver opaline dial and to the side, a triple axis tourbillon to counteract the effects of gravity at almost every angle.

The stunning Laeger-LeCoultre Duometre Heliotourbillobn Perpetual

The piece is designed to imbue the design codes of the savonette pocket watches Jaeger-LeCoultre produced in the 19th century, and blended with contemporary styling and engineering skill. On the wrist, it’s beautiful from every angle, and it is one of those pieces that you just want to keep looking at and exploring all day.

The Heliotourbillon is mesmerising and the movement is finished the way you would expect from Jaeger-LeCoultre. And the price? If you have to ask, you probably can’t afford it. But that’s ok.

Roger Dubuis Orbis in Machina

Roger Dubuis doesn’t do small, or understated. They are watches with major wrist presence and this year, they were focused on the tourbillon releasing 4 models that featured this complication. The star of the show was the Orbis In Machina – the brand’s first-ever central tourbillon.

The Roger Dubuis Orbis in Machina

It’s big and bold at 45mm and in rose gold, but being Roger Dubuis, it is light thanks to the skeletonised movement and rubber strap and hugs the wrist thanks to the conformed lugs and molded strap. On top of this, you get to see that central tourbillon moving around with a unique time-telling mechanism as opposed to hands. Limited to 88 pieces, it’s super cool, and slightly out there at the same time, but this is the general appeal of the brand.

Grand Seiko Kodo Constant-Force Tourbillon

When you think Grand Seiko, you think of those beautifully crafted and textured dials inspired by nature. What you don’t normally think of is an openworked dial. But the Kodo is exactly what you would expect from Grand Seiko when they put together a piece with a constant-force tourbillon in an oopenworked dial. Intricately complex yet simplistic all at the same time. It’s a hard balance to strike that many brands don’t master.

The Grand Seiko Koko Constant-Force Tourbillon

The new white Daybreak Kodo is a direct contrast to the previous model, which expressed evening twilight, and in a first, Grand Seiko has used blue sapphires in the movement instead of rubies, which add to the lightness of the movement. Added to this, the white ostrich strap gives the watch a very fresh look and you can see where the light of daybreak comes in on this piece. On the wrist, it feels great, with the mix of platinum and titanium making it durable and weirdly light at the same time.

This was another pleasant surprise for me at this year’s fair, among others, and really showcases the techniques that Grand Seiko has become known for, especially the polishing on the dial and movement components.

So there we are, my top picks from this year’s releases. Whilst many brands released some great pieces, both at the higher and lower ends, I’m always fascinated by the more complicated pieces, those where the brands get to flex their horological muscles and show the world what they can do. And in this sense, the fair didn’t disappoint. Now, I can relax a little and let the whole experience sink in!

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