12 Outstanding Watches from Watches & Wonders Geneva

12 Outstanding Watches from Watches & Wonders Geneva

Watches & Wonders 2022, the largest international, in-person watch fair since early 2020, wrapped up this week in Geneva, Switzerland, after a whirlwind of new releases from an all-star assemblage of major brands as well as innovative indies. Teddy and I were on the ground in Geneva for the event and went hands-on with some of the finest and most intriguing new timepieces unveiled there. Over the course of the show, this blog showcased standout pieces from Rolex, Patek Philippe, Tudor, TAG Heuer, and Vacheron Constantin. Here we spotlight the dozen other watches that generated major buzz at Watches & Wonders 2022.

 

A. Lange & Söhne Odysseus Titanium

A. Lange & Söhne Odysseus Titanium

Germany’s A. Lange & Söhne makes nearly all of its watches in precious metals, so the introduction of the Odysseus — a stainless steel sport-luxury watch with an integrated bracelet — made major waves when it was announced  in 2018. The Saxon manufacture followed up the original model, its first-ever steel watch, in 2020 with a return-to-form white-gold version, and this year riveted the watch community’s attention again with the latest version of the Odysseus, now in a case made of titanium and sporting a new “ice blue” dial color. Continuing the Odysseus tradition of ushering in new materials to its lineup, the timepiece represents Lange’s first use of titanium for a case and as one would expect from the haute horlogerie brand, the finishing on the case and its integrated titanium bracelet is impeccable, with an array of matte, brushed, and polished surfaces. The dial sports its own distinctive finishing, with finely guillochéd grooves on the hour ring contrasting with the granular surface of the main dial and circular lines on the small seconds sundial at 6 o’clock for a 3D effect. The case measures 40.5mm in diameter and a relatively slender 11.1mm in height and houses the in-house, automatic L155 Caliber, which powers the central hour and minute hands, the independent seconds subdial, and the Odysseus’ hallmark large day-and-date display, in two symmetrical windows at 3 and 9 o’clock. Visible behind a sapphire caseback, the finely decorated movement stores 50 hours of power reserve and winds its mainspring with a skeletonized, partially black-rhodiumed rotor with a central mass made of platinum. Limited to 250 pieces, the Odysseus in titanium retails for $56,500.

Angelus ChronoDate

Angelus Chronodate

Angelus is a Swiss watchmaker that traces its history all the way back to 1891 but since its revival in 2015 has mostly produced watches that are decidedly ultramodern (in some cases downright unconventional)  in their aesthetics. With the Chronodate, offered in two titanium-cased iterations and one rose-gold version, Angelus goes back to historical basics, producing a contemporary re-edition of a chronograph watch it first launched in 1942. Like that vintage piece, the new watch has a bicompax dial — in blue PVD or opaline white — with two counters at 3 and 9 o’clock for chronograph minutes and running seconds and a center-mounted hand to indicate the date on a peripheral scale along the flange. The overall look is appealingly retro, though some elements are characteristic of 21st-Century Angelus, particularly the structure of the 42.5mm case, which combines an inner container of carbon composite to house the movement and a modular, six-piece outer case that brings the case middle and lugs into a single line and tops them with an emblematic, notch-edged bezel. The integrated chronograph caliber inside is Angelus’ self-winding Caliber A-500, which uses a column wheel with horizontal coupling to maintain thinness and winds its mainspring with a historically themed rotor. All three versions of the Angelus Chronodate are limited editions of only 25 pieces each; prices in Swiss francs are $23,100 for the titanium models and $43,300 for the rose gold. 

Grand Seiko Kodo Constant Force Tourbillon

Grand Seiko Kodo Constant Force Tourbillon

In 2020, Japan’s Grand Seiko introduced the T0 Constant-Force Tourbillon, a revolutionary concept movement that incorporated a tourbillon and a constant-force mechanism on a single axis, a world’s first horological mechanism. Two years later, Grand Seiko has adapted this revolutionary movement into a wristwatch, called Kodo (the Japanese term for “heartbeat”). Hosting Grand Seiko’s first mechanical complication (and also its first skeletonized caliber), the watch features a 43.8mm case made of 950 platinum and “Brilliant Hard” titanium with alternating hairline-brushed and Zaratsu-polished finishes. The small carved-out space in the case’s tapering lugs echo the skeletonization of the hand-finished movement, Caliber 9ST1, a smaller version of the prototype from 2020 that has also been engineered to be more stable and accurate. The integration of the mechanisms — the inner tourbillon cage rotating to the balance’s 8 beats per second and the outer constant-force device harmonizing with its motions at one impulse per second — deliver both a visually stunning display and the telltale auditory “heartbeat” from which the watch derives its name. The movement features a hacking mechanism that allows for precise time setting when the crown is pulled out, and has a ruby mounted on the arm of the constant-force carriage to act as a small seconds hand. In keeping with its tradition, Grand Seiko has endeavored to make the Kodo not only a micromechanical triumph but also a beautiful and wearable watch: the hand-finished case is attached to a calfskin strap that has been treated in the traditional method used historically for samurai armor, painted by hand and finished with multiple layers of Urushi lacquer. Limited to just 20 pieces, the Grand Seiko Kodo Constant Force Tourbillon is set to retail for $350,000.

H. Moser & Cie. Pioneer Cylindrical Tourbillon Skeleton

H. Moser & Cie. Pioneer Cylindrical Tourbillon SkeletonOne of Moser's most memorable timepieces sprang from its collaboration in 2020 with MB&F and showcased a corkscrew-shaped, cylindrical tourbillon that was inspired by an 18th century chronometer movement. The breathtaking new timepiece unveiled at Watches & Wonders takes the cylindrical tourbillon and integrates it into a skeletonized caliber for maximum dynamic effect. The one-minute flying tourbillon, prominently placed at 6 o'clock under the domed sapphire crystal, has a hairspring that rises perpendicularly above its balance spindle as it oscillates, an architecture that generates less friction on the pivots and thus helps maintain better isochronism. Balancing out the balletic motions of the tourbillon cage is a subdial at 12 o'clock for the hours and minutes. Domed to echo the curve of the crystal, this small dial is executed in Moser's signature Funky Blue fumé-style coloration, with indexes treated in Globolight, a ceramic-based luminous substance Moser introduced in its Streamliner Flyback Chronograph model in 2020. Caliber HMC 811, the openworked tourbillon movement that powers this 42.8mm watch, is also a visual treat from the back, with its mainplate and bridges finished in anthracite PVD and its large gold skeleton rotor swinging in both directions to amass an impressive 72-hour power reserve. The Moser Pioneer Cylindrical Tourbillon Skeleton is priced at $86,900.

Hublot Square Bang Unico

Hublot Square Bang Unico

After introducing the Spirit of Big Bang — an extension of its core Big Bang family in barrel-shaped tonneau cases — back in 2015, Hublot has once again expanded its case shape options with the new Square Bang collection. As the name implies, the Square Bang features an all-new, squared case measuring 42mm in dimensions and 14.5mm thick and boasting 100 meters of water resistance despite its sharply angled construction. As in the round Big Bang models, the square bezel is punctuated by six visible, functional screws at key points. The movement inside, conversely, is traditionally round and in established Big Bang style is visible through a sapphire dial: Hublot’s in-house automatic Unico caliber, with a column wheel placed at 6 o’clock to control the chronograph functions and storing a 72-hour power reserve. The Square Bang Unico is initially released in five distinct executions: titanium, titanium and ceramic, King Gold (Hublot’s proprietary rose-gold alloy), King Gold and ceramic, and a 250-piece “All Black” limited edition in satin-finished black ceramic. Prices range from $23,100 to $43,100 based on case material.

IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Top Gun Edition “Lake Tahoe”

IWC Pilot's Watch Chronograph Top Gun "Lake Tahoe"

IWC has put a renewed focus on its flagship Pilot’s Watch collections in recent years, and its Top Gun family has served as the proving ground for many of the brand’s boldest forays into new, avant-garde materials and technologies. After grabbing the watch community’s attention with the sand-colored ceramic cases of its Mojave Desert models in 2019, IWC continues its dedication to colorful ceramics (and military aviation themes) with this year’s Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Top Gun Edition “Lake Tahoe.” It’s the first IWC Pilot’s Watch in a white ceramic case, taking its inspiration from the mountainous, wintry landscape frequently flown over by pilots training at the U.S. Navy’s Top Gun fighter weapons school, and by those pilots’ white uniforms. The white ceramic case (officially designated by Pantone as “IWC Lake Tahoe”) measures 44.5 mm in diameter and 15.7mm thick, with steel pushers and crown and a titanium caseback. The matte black dial, covered by a sapphire crystal especially secured to withstand sudden drops in air pressure, hosts luminous-coated black hands and the large, legible Arabic numerals and markers that are emblematic of IWC’s Pilot series. Behind the caseback, nestled inside an antimagnetic inner case made of soft iron, IWC’s manufacture Caliber 69380 beats at a frequency of 28,800 vph and amasses a power reserve of 46 hours. The Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Top Gun Edition “Lake Tahoe” comes on a white rubber strap that matches the case and is produced in a limited annual edition of 1,000 pieces, priced at $10,700.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Perpetual Calendar

Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Perpetual Calendar

Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Polaris collection, its sportiest product family, debuted in 2018 but really traces its origin back to 1968 and the influential, alarm-equipped divers’ watch JLC produced that year, the Memovox Polaris. The modern collection, which includes three-hand-date models, chronographs, and mechanical alarms, welcomes its highest complication yet in the new Polaris Perpetual Calendar. The watch’s gradient lacquered blue dial hosts an assortment of indications on its quartet of subdials - the month at 12 o’clock, day of the week at 3 o’clock, date at 9 o’clock, and at 6 o’clock a display of the moon’s phases in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. Like all perpetual calendars, it is designed to consistently display the correct time and date without the need for correction regardless of the duration of a given month: essentially, it’s a mechanical computer that recognizes 30-day, 31-day and 28-day months as well as the 29-day leap-year Februaries every four years, and won’t require a correction until 2100, the next centenary year that isn’t a leap year. The all-new manufacture movement that Jaeger-leCoultre developed to drive this impressive array of functions, the self-winding Caliber 868AA, beats inside a 42mm round case made of steel or rose gold, amassing an extended 70-hour power reserve. Consistently with the design language of the Polaris family, the case has two screw-down crowns, one to operate a rotating inner bezel that can be used to measure elapsed time, the other to wind and set the watch, along with a single pusher to adjust the calendar functions. The steel model is on a stainless steel bracelet or rubber strap and priced at $29,600; the rose-gold watch, on a rubber or alligator leather strap, retails for $44,300. 

Montblanc 1858 Iced Sea Automatic Date

Montblanc 1858 Iced Sea

Inspired by the legendary Alpine peak from which it derives its name, Montblanc has embraced mountaineering and exploration as themes for many of its most recent timepieces, and for the brand’s first divers’ watch, its designers found their muse in the Mer de Glace (“Sea of Ice”) in the Mont-Blanc Masif via the Chamonix Valley. The dial, executed in the almost forgotten gratté boise lacquered technique, echoes the look of frozen glacial lakes in three distinctive colorways: blue to reflect the actual icy lake of Mont-Blanc, green for the frozen algae visible in Antarctic waters, and black for the frozen volcanic ash in the waters of polar regions. The Iced Sea is an ISO-certified dive watch, with a 41mm steel case, water-resistant to 300 meters, and a unidirectional rotating bezel with a knurled edge and a bicolor ceramic dive-scale insert. The movement, the Sellita-based automatic Caliber MB 24.17, holds a 38-hour power reserve and has undergone Montblanc’s in-house Laboratory 500 Hour Test to ensure its accuracy, robustness, and resistance to shocks and magnetism. It beats behind a screwed, solid steel caseback with the engraved image of a scuba diver exploring an iceberg. In keeping with current trends for versatility, Montblanc has equipped the Iced Sea models with new, interchangeable bracelets which taper for enhanced comfort and can be easily removed and replaced without special tools. Prices range from $2,975 to $3,190.

Panerai Submersible QuarantaQuattro Carbotech Blu Abisso

Panerai Submersible QuarantaQuattro Carbotech Blu Abisso

Once regarded solely as a purveyor of huge, chunky watches with a rugged retro-military charm, Panerai has widened the scope of its offerings to appeal to more consumers with a variety of tastes and wrist sizes. The new Submersible QuarantaQuattro models are the latest nod to the trend, with their new 44mm case sizes settling in suitably as the heretofore missing midrange between the massive 47mm diameter of the first-generation Submersible and the reduced 42mm of subsequent models. Retaining the hallmark, patented crown-protecting bridge device of previous Submersibles, as well as their professional-grade 300-meter water resistance, the watches are available in two steel-cased executions as well as the standout version pictured here, the QuarantaQuattro Carbotech Blu Abisso. Its case is made of Carbotech, an ultra-lightweight, corrosion-resistant material constructed of carbon fibers, whose use in watchmaking was pioneered by Panerai’s R&D department, the Laboratorio di Idee. The black textured case’s unidirectional divers’ bezel frames the deep blue dial, with its large luminous indexes for underwater legibility. Panerai’s in-house automatic Caliber P.900 ticks inside, driving the hours, minutes, and small seconds display at 9 o’clock, along with the date indication at 3 o’clock, and stores in its single barrel a power reserve of three days. Harmonizing with the Blu Abisso dial is a sturdy blue rubber strap with a trapezoidal buckle made of DLC-coated titanium that echoes the black tones of the case. The QuarantaQuattro Blu Abisso will retail for $18,200, the steel models for $9,600; all are available as of May 2022.

Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda PF GMT Rattrapante

Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda PF GMT Rattrapante

Introducing new watches is one thing, but premiering an entirely new complication in the watchmaking world is something very rare. Parmigiani Fleurier has accomplished this feat with the Tonda PF GMT Rattrapante, the first timepiece with a user-friendly “jumping” GMT hand to quickly and easily shift between two time zones. Here’s how it works: the dial hosts two superimposed hour hands, both in the maison’s familiar Delta shape: one in rhodium-plated gold to display the local time, the other in rose gold for the home time. Pressing the pusher at 8 o’clock on the case moves the rhodium-plated gold hand forward in one-hour increments to change the local time when the wearer travels abroad. Pushing the rose-gold button integrated in the crown snaps this local-time hand backward, in the same manner as a split-seconds chronograph hand, to its original position aligned with the home time hand when the traveler returns home. As is typical of Parmigiani, this very practical functionality comes in addition to aesthetic elegance: the watch’s Milano blue dial is enhanced with the barleycorn guilloché motif that distinguishes other timepieces in the Tona PF collection, and the platinum bezel on the 40mm polished steel case has been finely knurled. Behind a sapphire caseback, you can admire the same barleycorn guilloche pattern on the 22k gold micro-rotor of the all-new manufacture Caliber PF051, along with a dazzling array of other haute horologerie finishes, including côtes de Genève and perlage on the bridges and plates. This world’s-first complicated timepiece is priced at $28,700.

Ulysse Nardin Freak S

Ulysse Nardin Freak S

Ulysse Nardin has been making timepieces since 1846 but its most game-changing horological invention came just after the turn of the 21st Century with the 2001 introduction of the Freak — a watch that displayed the time with no conventional hands but rather by means of a “flying carousel” system in which a baguette-shaped movement rotates on its own axis with a bridge pointing to the minutes while a mainplate-mounted disk indicates the hours. Ulysse Nardin has subsequently expanded and updated the Freak family of timepieces with new technologies and materials, the most recent example being the new Freak S, imagined as “a rocket for the wrist.” Like its predecessor, the Freak S brings a world’s-first technical innovation to horology: it’s the first watch whose automatic movement is equipped with an inclined double oscillator regulated by a differential. Speaking to the “rocket” theme, its two silicon balance wheels, rotating at different speeds, are positioned on two launch-pad-style planes and linked by the differential that averages out their beat rates to evenly distribute the release of energy to the movement while keeping the balance amplitude stable. An optimized level of winding efficiency is also ensured by another Ulysse Nardin invention, the so-called Grinder system, which uses a central rotor with four blades rather than a traditional oscillating weight and thus is more constantly in motion, allowing for the slightest motions of the wearer’s wrist to continually wind the mainspring. Capping off the stellar theme is the use of black aventurine for the hours disk, which is dappled with glittering stars. The case, 45mm in diameter, is available in 5N rose gold, DLC-coated titanium, and ceramic, and share the crownless architecture of the original Freak, in which the bezel can be disengaged to manually wind the watch. Each version of the Freak S is a limited edition of 75 pieces, priced at $137,200.

Zenith Chronomaster Open

Zenith Chronomaster Open

In 2003, during what is today mostly regarded as an age of excess for the brand, Zenith introduced the original Chronomaster Open, the first chronograph wristwatch with a partially open dial to display the regulating organ of the movement inside. After several years of dormancy while the modern Zenith focused on revamping its core Chronomaster Original and Defy collections, the Chronomaster Open returns this year, significantly streamlined from its early-aughts predecessor. The case, in steel or rose gold, measures a relatively modest 39.5 mm in diameter. The dial, in matte silver or matte black, features the now-familiar tricolor three-register layout that characterizes Zenith’s Chronomaster models and hearkens back to the first models outfitted with the groundbreaking El Primero chronograph caliber in 1969. What’s different on this dial is the traditional 9 o’clock subdial, while still retaining its hand to track the running seconds, has been replaced with a hesalite crystal in a carved-out window that allows a view of the star-shaped silicon escape wheel of the movement, Zenith’s El Primero Caliber 3604. A descendant of the aforementioned caliber from 1969 and based on the optimized Caliber 3600 installed in recent versions of the Chronomaster Sport and Chronomaster Original, the movement is noteworthy for the 1/10-second precision of its integrated chronograph (thanks to an ultra-brisk 36,000-vph frequency) and boasts a lengthy 60-hour power reserve. The steel versions of the Zenith Chronomaster Open are on bracelets and priced at $10,000; the rose-gold watch is on a leather strap and priced at $21,300.

 

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