Watches and Wonders 2021 (continually being updated)
Watches and Wonders 2021 will officially kick-off beginning of April. We're looking forward to meeting soon once again in Geneva in the coming future, yet the on-going pandemic forced the organizers to go fully digital across Europe, with Shanghai hosting a live event from 14 to April 18 instead. The business formula is new for a couple of reasons: not only it comes as a fully digital experience; it is worth remembering that the upcoming Watches and Wonders is hosting new watch brands and Groups, thus gathering in one digital location, for the time being, brands which were once attending SIHH and Baselworld. You will here discover all the new product releases as soon as they are revealed. Today, we can collect some of the newcomers, with most of them being announced from April 7 onwards. In-depth reviews by brand and model will follow. Among the new products revealed, we decided to add Audemars Piguet to the list spontaneously. Please remind that Audemars Piguet used to attend SIHH, but it is out of Watches and Wonders.
The year 2021 marks the return of a luxury sports watch: the Baume & Mercier Riviera. Initially introduced in 1973, the Riviera belongs to the generation of steel luxury sports cars hitting the spot since the early 1970s, offering a distinctive design and an attractive price point in the benchmark, making it a successful collection. The Riviera is among the most wanted Baume & Mercier watches so far; the old Baume & Mercier Riviera is quite sought-after and distinctive, thanks to its dodecagonal-shaped bezel.
Before phase-out, the older generation had a long life cycle, changing its design from first to last. Introduced as an ultra-classic timepiece, it became sportier than ever before when Baume & Mercier launched the Riviera XL and XXL. The latter is the quintessential Riviera for men, with rubber elements on case and bracelet and the "phi" logo standing out on the hour hand, thus becoming a trendy timepiece during the 1980s and over. Baume & Mercier has redesigned the Riviera inside and out: it now showcases an elegant and stripped off silhouette and comes in three sizes and three movements, with the top-of-the-line housing the Baumatic caliber seen on most Clifton models.
The 36 mm quartz version is for her; women cover a significant part of sales volumes while the 42 and 43 mm editions are self-winding, with the largest, adopting a Baumatic caliber, equally visible through the dial and case back. Here is the brand's hero at the fair; we will have plenty of time to get our hands on each of them once the virtual fair is over.
With a claimed accuracy of -4/+ 6 seconds per day and a resistance to magnetic fields up to 1500 Gauss, the new Riviera Baumatic is the Clifton Baumatic's counterpart among the new Rivieras. As far as this option concerns, the dial comes in smoked blue or gray, allowing the wearer to have a glimpse of the mechanical movement. The launch edition sports an integrated bracelet or a rubber strap; you can easily swap thanks to a quick-release system.
Cartier Rotonde de Cartier Haute Horlogerie
Ahead of Watches and Wonders 2021's official opening, Cartier has uncovered three Haute-Horlogerie pièces, housed in the Rotonde de Cartier's case. They are the following: the Rotonde de Cartier Astromystérieux, the Rotonde de Cartier Astrotourbillon and the Rotonde de Cartier Squelette Double Tourbillon Mystérieux. They offer three different takes on the tourbillon complication. In the first case, Cartier is paying tribute to its history: the first-ever mysterious movement dates back to 1912 housed within the "Model A" clock.
With the Rotonde de Cartier Astrotourbillon, Cartier has developed a movement presented in 2016, further, where the tourbillon cage is standing out amidst the dial and is placed above the mechanical movement; the bridges are fully skeletonized and shaped as Roman numerals. Finally, the Rotonde de Cartier Squelette Double Tourbillon Mystérieux offers a flying tourbillon rotating in 60 seconds, with the entire cage elapsing a full rotation in five minutes. The three super-complicated watches' platinum case measure 43.5mm, 47mm, and 45mm in diameter with a thickness of 11.9mm, 14.9mm, and 11.9mm, respectively.
Hermès keeps raising the bar with new and uncommon product propositions with each new edition of the fair. Although the Maison has now a long-established foothold in watchmaking, as proven by Haute-Horlogerie pieces like the Hermès Arceau l'Heure De La Lune, for example, the brand's watch collection was missing a solid value proposition among luxury sports watches for him, and is trying to close that gap by introducing the new Hermès H08 collection. I can't deny Hermès' timepieces are distinctive, which is quite challenging in a market scenario this competitive. The 2021 H08's case has a cushion-shaped design, looking simple from afar and available as a time-only option at launch. The design team's effort in curating details and materials is impressive.
The square case measures 39 mm and comes standard with a mid-part in titanium with a raised titanium bezel and a kind of sapphire glass box. The proposition includes different combinations of case and bezel finishes, available on strap or bracelet, with the addition of a top-of-the-range exclusive model; the case comes in satin-finished titanium or satin-finished titanium with DLC treatment, and the bezel is in satin-finished titanium, too, showcasing a sunray pattern on top and mirror-polished bevels. Hermès is adding titanium on an integrated bracelet as well; the central link reminds the square and bezel silhouette. All the new H08 adopt a titanium folding clasp, and the options on a rubber strap feature the Hermès "H" logo stamped on the inside. As a flagship, the brand adds an exclusive and unexpected top-of-the-range variant, whose case is in a graphene composite compound coupled to a satin black ceramic bezel offering the same sunray-finished and mirror-polished combo you'll see on standard options.
The dial is a reference to Hermès' design codes; from the Arabic numerals to the dial design, this timepiece is shouting "Hermès" at first sight; up close, the dial offers a black nickel treatment (it is black gold on the topping version), and the midsection has a perlage decoration. I think the orange seconds' hand tip is exquisite and very much Hermès. The Hermès H08 houses the H1837 in-house automatic caliber whose winding mass is decorated with the brand's "H" logo and ensures a decent power reserve of 50 hours when fully wound. I believe the new Hermès H08 looks excellent and is a stunning, all-purpose timepiece. Retail prices range from 4900 Euros to 8000 Euros if you're going the H08 in graphene.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Green
If I had to list the most notable new watches, I can't deny that the Reverso's 90th anniversary is unquestionably the most relevant milestone to celebrate at this year's Watches and Wonders. Introduced in 1931 to allow the British military engaged in India to play polo without breaking their wristwatch, the Reverso is among the first-ever wristwatches and plays a crucial role in watchmaking. Jaeger-LeCoultre is a reference among the most authentic Swiss manufactures.
The current offering of Reverso watches is vast. However, the brand offers two mainstream collections, the vintage-inspired Tribute (which has replaced the Tribute to 1931 since 2016), adopting applied indexes in replacement of dedicated Arabic numerals geared towards those who love the original Reverso. In 2016, I had the pleasure of testing the Reverso Tribute Moon and the Reverso Tribute Calendar, the most beautiful, complicated take on the Tribute edition so far. To celebrate the ninetieth anniversary of such a successful and long-established timepiece, Jaeger-LeCoultre unveils the new Tribute Small Seconds in green.
The case measures 45.6 mm in height, and 27.4 mm in width and has a thickness of just 8.5 mm, ensured by the hand-winding caliber 822/2 capable of running for 42 hours when fully wound. At first glance, the new edition is a green color addition to the current Reverso Tribute Monoface Small Seconds template already available in blue. The model comes with a leather strap manufactured by Casa Fagliano for Jaeger-LeCoultre. The green hue is not breaking news; in 2015, the manufacturer launched an exclusive edition of only 26 pieces of the Reverso London Green Dial, which boasts a collector's ready price point today.
Audemars Piguet Code 11.59 Selfwinding Chronograph
The Swiss brand is extending the Code 11.59 collection by introducing a new chronograph whose case combines 18-karat pink or white gold with a mid-case crafted in black ceramic. It is a first-ever in the Code 11.59 collection and quite a technical feat. The engineering required plenty of work; nonetheless, both the octagonal ceramic mid-case and the bezel, lugs, and case back come with a combo of polished and satin-finished surfaces.
The dial and the strap are equally new; the first has a satin finish over a smoked-gray palette, while the strap is in rubber-coated leather. Inside, and fully visible through the transparent case-back, the Audemars Piguet 4401 caliber with Flyback function and column wheel stands out.
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Diver
Audemars Piguet has thoroughly overhauled its Royal Oak Diver, inside and out. It comes with a new caliber, new dial, and a quick-release device, cleverly hidden inside the two rubber links attaching the rubber strap to the case.
Aesthetically, it comes in three color combinations: Natural Gray, Navy Blue, Pioneering Khaki and the indexes applied on the "Mega-tapisserie" pattern offer a new design; those placed at each quarter of an hour are longer than the others, and the applied AP logo is bigger than in previous iterations.
The indexes all come in pink or white gold, depending on which variant you're picking. The Royal Oak Diver 2021 is powered by the new caliber 4308 visible through the case back, finished with "Côtes de Genève" and "traits tirés" decorations. The winding mass comes in burnished 22-carat pink gold. It ensures 60 hours of power reserve when fully wound. The crown at ten operates, as usual, the inner unidirectional bezel.
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak green dials
Audemars Piguet is the last premium luxury brand to have offered a green dial and is now equipping several Royal Oak with this highly-coveted color palette, including a time-only Royal Oak, a chronograph, and three tourbillons. The collection includes, therefore, five models: the Royal Oak Jumbo Extra-Flat in 950 platinum with smoked dial and sunray finish (let's expect this to be the hottest piece), the Royal Oak Chronograph with a yellow gold case, and green "Grande-Tapisserie" dial (a direct competitor to the Daytona, in my opinion) and three variants of the new Royal Oak Tourbillon Automatic.
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Jumbo Extra-Thin 15202PT
The Jumbo comes for the first time equipped with a platinum case paired with a tapisserie pattern and a sunray-finish, smoky green finish. The dial showcases indexes and hands filled with luminescent material, too. If we exclude these not-negligible details, the watch confirms the formula which makes the Jumbo one of the most coveted luxury sports watches, and I'm sure this new option will turn heads as well.
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Automatic Chronograph 41mm
The green dial, showing off a "Grande Tapisserie" motif, comes within a 41mm case in a 125-piece limited series. The AP logo, applied indexes, hands, and Audemars Piguet wording all come in yellow gold.
The new Audemars Piguet Royal Oak 41mm Automatic Chronograph comes standard with two additional two straps, one in green calfskin and one in rubber. The 40-hour power reserve, ensured by the caliber 2385, is low, honestly.
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Flying Tourbillon Automatic 41 mm
Finally, across the Green-dial offering is Royal Oak's trilogy equipped with flying automatic Tourbillons. They all feature the signature "Tapisserie Evolutive" motif, along with gold hands and indexes.
The first reference is a titanium Royal Oak whose indexes and hands are coated with luminescent material; the second variant comes in titanium, too, but the 18-karat white gold bezel comes embellished with 2.41-carat baguette-cut emeralds. The latest option, and most fascinating as far as I'm concerned, is the rose gold one. They all come with the caliber 2950, boasting 65 hours of power reserve.
(Photo credit: courtesy of the respective brands)
Gaetano C @Horbiter®