It’s hard to compare Watches & Wonders, the watch industry’s biggest and most important event, to much else. It’s like if every fashion week happened over the course of just a few days, or the NBA played its entire season in a single bloodbath of a weekend, or every blockbuster movie hit your Netflix account in one screen-drenched evening. At Watches & Wonders, nearly every brand previews all of their most important releases—which, for watch obsessives, can be a little overstimulating.
We’ve already rounded up the best watches from Rolex, highlighted the last hoorah of Patek Philippe’s Nautilus, test-drove a new IWC, and went along for a wild ride with Panerai’s best clients, but the scale of Watches & Wonders means there’s still plenty of ground to cover. Below we’ve rounded up the very best pieces from the event.
Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Reverso Hybris Mechanica Calibre 185
Besides actually making watches, one of Jaeger-LeCoultre’s greatest skills is naming its watches and its features. Last year’s big release from the brand featured something it called the “celestial vault complication.” JLC is also behind the Master Grande Tradition Gyrotourbillon. This year, JLC is releasing the Reverso Hybris Mechanica—a watch that absolutely lives up to its name. The Reverso is already iconic for its ability to flip dials, but this piece doubles the fun by showcasing four distinct faces. The development is a first for any watch, according to the brand. Because of its over-the-top mechanical complexity, this watch was the talk of the week. JLC is able to spread 11 complications across the four faces, which allows room to include features like the anomalistic cycle—the measurement for how far away the moon is from earth. Jaeger will only make 10 of these.
Tudor’s Black Bay Chrono
If W&W had a standout piece for the average collector, it was the new Tudor Black Bay Chrono. For “only” $5,225, or $4,900 on a strap—an insane amount of money, but a bargain in the world of mechanical watches—Tudor is releasing a great chronograph watch. The white-and-black Panda dial is timeless and so dang handsome. For reference: the Panda-dial Daytona from Tudor’s big brother Rolex is already a fan favorite, but it’s nearly three times as expensive…and that’s if you can find it for the original retail price. (You can’t.) This watch is hardly a consolation prize.
There are a couple of surprising elements when it comes to the H08. The first is the buzz Hermès has built around this piece. The insular world of watches isn’t exactly welcome to newcomers, especially when it’s a luxury fashion house knocking on the door. The second is that Hermès is winning people over with this safari-ready H08 when the brand is best known for dainty silk scarves and exotic-animal-skin purses. With the blocky shape of the H08, it’s clear Hermès is finally leaning into its greatest strength. Rather than trying to compete with a glut of GMT watches from established brands, Hermès recognizes that a luxury fashion brand’s greatest competitive advantage is design.
Patek Philippe 5236P In-Line Perpetual Calendar
While the clout chasers, waitlist rubberneckers, and hype followers are slobbering over the new super-limited line of Nautilus watches, the true Patek heads are losing their minds for this 5236P In-Line Perpetual Calendar. This is one for the nerds—truly appreciating the piece requires a basic knowledge of the perpetual calendar, a function that displays the day of the week and full date. The perpetual calendar is typically a busy function: it requires a lot of real estate to pack all that information on the display of a watch. (This Nautilus uses three different subdials to convey that info.) This new Patek spits it all out in a tidy single line. The result is one of the cleanest and easiest-to-digest perpetual calendars out there. Of course, simplicity is the result of synchronized madness underneath. Check out the two synced-up wheels below the surface that allow this watch to function.
Cartier Tank Must
Cartier is best known for pulling its most iconic designs out of the archive—whether it’s last year’s Asymetrique or this year’s Cloche. This new release, however, exhumes an entire program. Cartier Must first launched towards the tail-end of the 1970s as a way to combat the Quartz Crisis—thanks to quartz, watches were suddenly much more affordable, so Cartier responded with a kind of diffusion line in Must that brought quartz to the historic house. The watches were exceptionally affordable and, in some cases, extremely colorful. Now, Cartier is bringing the Tank Must back in blue, green, and burgundy at a cost of $2,720 each.
Tag Heuer Aquaracer
Tag Heuer hasn’t really missed since luxury goods scion Frédéric Arnault took over at the brand in June of last year. Tag is best known for making entryway luxury watches. Turns out the 26-year-old Arnault is just the guy to figure out what this new generation of collectors is after. Over the last year, the brand has worked with Bamford Watch Department on a sandblasted Aquaracer, and Porsche on a sleek chronograph. Now, the Aquaracer is getting a makeover that throttles up the angles for a very sporty dive watch. But the best news of all for a new watch collector is the price, which starts at $2,800.
A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 Perpetual Calendar
Affordable, ashmordable. If you came here simply to gawk, then feast your eyes on the new piece from A. Lange & Söhne. This is the brand’s first pure perpetual calendar and it is a stunner. The case is made out of white gold—and, not to be outdone, the dial comes in solid pink gold. Limited to only 150 pieces, this new Lange 1 is the sort of watch that makes you wonder how difficult one of those Oceans 11-style heists would really be. Related, I’ve heard people can “sell their soul to the devil”—anybody happen to know what the current going rate is for souls?
Montblanc 1858 Split-Second Chronograph LE 18
You’ve heard of yellow gold, pink gold, white gold, rose gold, and maybe even Rolex’s Everose gold. But what about lime gold? That’s the green-tinted zesty metal used for Montblanc’s new chronograph. Green is certainly the color of the season, with everyone from Tudor to Patek and Audemars Piguet putting the shade front and center. But no one really embraced green quite like Montblanc. Not only is there a Sprite-style case, but the numerals, hands, and detailing lean into the color, too.
Arnold & Son Luna Magna
No one at Watches and Wonders went quite as heavy as Arnold & Son, which decided that the old moonphase complication needed to be rendered in three glorious dimensions. That big moon is made partially of marble and slowly rotates around to display what phase the big chunk of cheese in the sky is currently in. (The starry night design on the rest of the dial is a nice touch.) While watches can get caught up in the latest complicated movement or slight updates to dial design, every once in a while something like the Luna Magna comes around to remind you how fun and weird these accessories can really get.