Our top picks from Watches & Wonders 2023

From Rolex to Patek Philippe, here are the finest timepiece developments from the Geneva showcase

Watches & Wonders, the famed Geneva showcase, is the year’s largest and most covered horological event, with a vast display of creations that re-imagine classic models, others that take their design cues from the seasons and from the landscape, and a handful that are made for the skies. If you’re seeking a selection of the finest timepiece developments from the 2023 edition of the trade show, we have you covered…

Rolex Perpetual 1908

Among the bevy of models unveiled – a joyful, colourful Oyster Perpetual; and an Oyster Perpetual Day-Date 36 that’s influenced by the Med coast, among them – the standout was the Perpetual 1908 whose slim case and bezel (which is part fluted and part domed) makes for an elegant dress watch.

Tudor Black Bay 54

The Swiss watchmaker is getting much praise this year for the Black Bay 54. Hailed as a Tudor for the ‘purists’, it’s inspired by the brand’s debut dive watch, but with several choice improvements. These include a new crown, slightly slimmer profile and incrementally oversized bezel for better grip. They may be small modifications, but they make a big difference.

Chopard Alpine Eagle 41 XPS

Although it’s the brand-new Alpine Eagle, at first glance, it doesn’t look too different, perhaps only as if it’s been given the salmon-dial treatment. But more changes can be found beneath its pinky-orange face. The case itself, for example, is only 8mm thick – and the whole 41mm model, and its integrated bracelet, have been created using 70% Lucent Steel, an alloy made from recycled metal. It’s a testament to the brand’s push for sustainability, and a percentage of recycled metal that the watchmaker intends to increase to 80% by the end of the year.

Grand Seiko Majestic White Birch SBGZ009

This creation beautifully showcases Grand Seiko’s perfectly tuned attention to detail and craftsmanship. The Platinum 950 case has been hand-engraved, and reflects the light wonderfully while on the wrist. It’s a striking design, but one that also manages to be subtle and understated – a masterclass in sophistication.

Vacheron Constantin Overseas Moonphase Retrograde Date

Joining the already hugely successful Overseas collection, this model marks the first time the maison has used its signature retrograde date display complication in the range, an absolute wonderful accomplishment given that it not only retains a sporty look, but uses a moon phase display, too.

Zenith Pilot Big Date Flyback

A storied label used by aviators since at least the early 20th century, Zenith’s headline reveals this year comprise a relaunched generation of Pilot watches, eschewing throwback aesthetics and instead running with a clean-cut, contemporary look. There’s the Pilot Big Date Flyback and the Pilot Automatic, both of which are available in either a black ceramic or a stainless-steel case. We’re particularly drawn to the former model, due to its two options: a no-nonsense black-and-white make-up; and a more spirited counterpart that features a colourwheel of a minutes totaliser and an orange seconds hand.

Oris ProPilot Altimeter

This year, Oris reintroduces its innovative ProPilot Altimeter, with a slew of upgrades that include a sleeker profile and more lightweight case. This retuning and refining has taken three years, but the new version has an improved altimeter, which is a mechanism that uses an airtight box, filled with thinned air, to measure altitude. It’s taken the model to new heights, in every sense of the word.

IWC Ingenieur Automatic 40

A reissue of a cult favourite, IWC’s reveal is a current-day take on the Ingenieur SL Jumbo Reference 1832, from 1976, a design known for its integrated bracelet with H-links and screw-on bezel with five recesses at positions that varied from watch to watch. Available in a trio of dials (aqua, black, and silver-plated), as well as a titanium option, upgrades on this current model include screws in well-spaced-out positions, and a grid-pattern dial that’s been created with a sharper finish.

Grand Seiko Hana-Ikada

Limited to only 100 pieces, Grand Seiko have a pitch-perfect product that takes its light hues from Japan’s otherworldly Sakura season, with a textured pale-pink dial that’s complemented by a pink-gold case. The brown croc strap simply enhances the richness of the glorious colour palette. For those looking to snap up this special piece of wrist armour, it will be available in April.

Bell & Ross BR 03-93 GMT Blue

The obvious draw here is the bold, luminous and luscious swathes of blue that are tempered by cold, steely trims, all tied together by clean and clear legibility. The squared case comes in a 42x42mm dimension, inside is a 25-jewel BR-CAL.303 self-winding mechanical movement, and it’s built with a water-resistance of up to 100m. Finishing things off is the calf leather strap, also in blue, which features subtle tone-on-tone stitching.

Cartier Santos de Cartier Smoky Green

Once the French label’s solution to the stainless-steel sporty styles of a previous era, the Santos De Cartier was given a glow up in 2018 and has seen several reworkings since. The latest doesn’t divert too far away from its latest predecessors, with 41.9×35.1mm dimensions in the medium option, and the rounded feel is still there, despite its squared silhouette, but the update comes in the form of a green dial with a gradient effect. Though this particular trend may have long passed, it’s still a colour that will make competitors full of envy.

40mm Panerai Radiomir Quaranta Goldtech

Having scaled down its models for a while, Panerai has now looked to make its Radiomir, which was produced for the Royal Italian Navy in the 1930s, smaller. The label, famed for its large dimensions, often ranging from 44–47mm, has taken the historic model and shrunk it to 40mm, hence its model name (‘Quaranta’ means 40, in Italian). The case in the trademark Goldtech, a mix of copper and platinum, results in a gold sheen with subtle streams of red.

Patek Philippe Calatrava 24-Hour Travel Time Ref.5224

Inspired by a model from 1905, this piece is defined by its 24-hour display (midday is located at 12 o’clock, meanwhile the 24-hour numeral is at six o’clock), a contrast between the 42mm rose-gold case with the deep-blue dial, and a double-stepped lug that allows for a slender profile and feel, all of which is enlivened by a digital typeface.

Want more watches? Introducing Grand Seiko’s first mechanical chronograph, the ‘Tentagraph’…

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