In these strange times, luxury watch players partook in Watches & Wonders 2021 – a digital format trade event – to present their brand and debut their new models through a virtual presentations, discussions and meetings. Here’s our round up of the timepieces which caught our attention during show.
Back to the peaks
The new Rolex Oyster Perpetual Explorer – which returns to the original size of 36mm – is equipped with a new movement – Calibre 3230 and features an optimised Chromalight display – a new exclusive luminescent material for longer-lasting intensity of glow emitted in dark conditions. Combining Oystersteel and 18-carat yellow gold, the black lacquered dial bears the index hour markers and emblematic 3, 6 and 9 numerals that are the cornerstones of the model’s identity.
A different kind of shine
Named Black Bay Fifty-Eight 925, the famed Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight model now comes in 925 silver with an open case-back. Within the 39mm case is the matte frosted taupe domed dial with applied hour markers, signature “snowflake” hands filled with Super-LumiNova, Manufacture Calibre MT5400 with a hairspring in silicon and a 70-hour power reserve. Despite being satin-finished offering the watch a matte effect, it possesses an unexpected incandescent brilliance on the wrist.
Subtle alternation, big impact
Making its presence felt at the digital fair, Patek Philippe has unveiled four new references of the ever-popular Nautilus model. Following the announcing the discontinuation of the stainless steel model Ref. 5711/1A, collectors and industry insiders expected the brand to release one new model instead of a handful. This version with a sunburst olive-green dial of Ref. 5711/1A – a colour never before featured on a Nautilus model – is accented by hands and hour markers in white gold with luminescent coating, with a satin-brushed and polished bezel, case and bracelet.
Measuring at just 7.2mm, the Chopard L.U.C XP Skeletec watch is one of the thinnest self-winding skeleton watches on the market. Encased with an ethical 18-carat white gold case, the exquisite design centres around the interplay between the skeletonised L.U.C 96.17-S movement (at just 3.3mm thick!) and the dial ring that surrounds it. The skeletonization work features the Côtes de Genève finish ripples across the mainplate on the dial side, while the rhodium-plated black bridges make a striking contrast with the gilded gear wheels and micro-rotor.
Best of both worlds
Always pushing sustainable boundaries, the Swatch Next collection incorporates an exciting new material called bioceramic, consisted of 2/3 ceramic and 1/3 bio-sourced plastic. The 47mm diameter case features a skeletonised dial which puts the architecturally delicate structure of the movement on display. Resilient and resistant with silk-like texture, the five colours include black, white, grey, blue and pink. Watch out, as the brand aims to extend the use of bioceramic to all its key product lines by the end of this year.
A new gold
A fan of distinctive vintage timepieces? The Montblanc 1858 Split Second Chronograph Limited Edition 18 features a case crafted out of 18-carat gold alloy, a gold-coloured dial contrasted with striking green elements and neatly completely with a vintage green nubuck alligator leather strap. Aside from the small seconds at 9 o’clock, the dial is distinct with a telemeter scale and a tachymeter at the centre in a cool snail shape.
Although Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Reverso has been given various different dials and case sizes over the years, the stylistic codes of the original 1931 model are never compromised. This year, the Reverso Tribute Small Seconds is presented in green. The sunray-brushed lacquer dial features all the signature characters such as the applied hour indexes and the Dauphine hands, while the solid metal case-back that can be personalised with a motif or engraving maintains the Reverso tradition. The watch is matched with a calf leather strap in the same green as the dial.
Precision and ruggedness
With a large 45mm titanium case, sharp lines, pronounced edges and an overall robust silhouette, the Zenith Defy Extreme watch is like no other. The tinted sapphire crystal dial is designed to enhance legibility while allowing a clear view of the the three counteres: 1/100th of a second chronograph calibre, with two escapements beating at 36’000 VpH for the timekeeping part and 360’000 VpH for the chronograph. While the watch is water-resistant to 200 metres – an incredible feat for chronograph with a display case-back, would you really wear such a luxurious watch in the sea?
The bold, elegant and highly functional Tag Heuer Aquaracer is back in the form of Aquaracer Professional 300. The green 12-sided unidirectional rotating bezel is integrated with a scratch-resistant ceramic insert and fluted each of the 12 facets so the bezel would be easy to grip and turn. Additional enhancements are made to the look and legibility of the watch. The new model is wider sword-shaped hour hand and a narrower minutes hand for clearer distinction especially in low-light conditions. With the concept of “work and play” in mind, the case, bezel and metal bracelet have all been slimmed down. There are four references in 43mm and three in 36mm.
Ready for adventures
A faithful interpretation of the iconic watch design, the IWC Big Pilot’s Watch 43 features an ergonomic 43-millimetre stainless steel case. Powered by the IWC-manufactured 82100 calibre, the watch is available with either a black or blue dial, with Pellaton winding, which is visible through a sapphire glass case-back. The EasX-CHANGE system focuses on user-friendliness. It enables swift and simple change of the strap: calf leather, rubber and stainless steel – to adapt to different surroundings or activities.