It's been a bumpy ride for watch industry trade shows in recent years, but that's not going to stop the new watches from coming. While many brands have already introduced major new products during Watches & Wonders and smaller shows this year, they've got more up their sleeves (so to speak) for 2021.
Now, it's time again for a slate of new releases as watch brands come together to make a collective splash — but this time, in a form called Geneva Watch Days that's running this year for only its second time.
While there are physical events in Geneva, Switzerland, for brands to present their wares, the concept is a hybrid one relying heavily on digital formats as well — it's phygital. This, year it goes from August 30th to September 3rd, 2021, and includes over 20 participating brands that'll be announcing products throughout the week. Here are some of the standouts.
Breitling Top Time Classic Cars Capsule Collection
In unconventional colors, Breitling's new collection of classic car-themed chronographs introduce models based, respectively, on the Chevrolet Corvette, Ford Mustang and Shelby Cobra cars from the 1960s. In addition to the Corvette's red dial, the Mustang in green (pictured) and blue for the Cobra, each model features more colorful highlights, not-quite-round subdials — as well as the car logos. These also seem like a nod to "double signed" dials, those with other companies' logos, which have a particular place in the hearts of many vintage watch collectors.
Notable Features: Chronograph, automaker logos
MB&F x L'Epée 1839 Orb
Is your mind a little blown right now? That's exactly what MB&F is typically going for. True, this is not a watch, but like just about everything that comes of collaborations between watchmaker MB&F and clockmaker L'Epée, it'll be of interest to many watch lovers. These table clocks are essentially high-end horological toys, with a manually wound movement displaying the time but also a ball-like shell that may look a little like a Magic 8 Ball when closed (in the black version especially), but with four aluminum panels which the owner can open to display the expertly finished clockwork inside — and position the clock in all kinds of ways that can look like some type of flower, sea creature, spaceship or what have you. The clock also has the option to audibly announce the hours with a bell-like striking mechanism.
Notable Features: Striking hours, positionable outer panels
Oris Big Crown ProPilot Rega Fleet
Among all the fascinating but rather high-end fare at Geneva Watch Days, it's refreshing to see a down-to-earth tool watch. Well, "down-to-earth" might not be the most accurate term for Oris's new Big Crown ProPilot Rega Fleet is made in collaboration with a Swiss non-profit specializing in air rescue in the Alps. The organization operates 21 different aircraft, and in this limited edition collection, Oris is making 100 examples of a distinct watch for each of them (so 2,100 for the collection in total). It's based around the brand's Big Crown ProPilot collection and includes a GMT, pulsometer bezel and options to select the aircraft and registration number you like.
Notable Features: GMT, pulsometer
Bulgari Octo Roma Worldtimer
There's no other watch quite like the Octo, with its unnecessarily complex but captivating case architecture. The super thin Octo Finissimo is easily Bulgari's flagship watch, but the Octo Roma is a close (if not as slim) cousin, and new models now combine that unique case design with one of the most popular and compelling complications of all: the world timer. This offers not only plenty of function for traveling (or just living in an internationally connected world), but also a captivatingly busy look with a ring of world cities that allows you to check the time in any of them at a glance. It comes in steel with a blue dial on a steel bracelet, or as a black DLC-coated version with a black dial on a fabric strap for the same price.
Notable Features: World time
Gérald Genta Arena Retro Mickey Mouse Disney
What do we have here? This is much more than just a Mickey Mouse watch like those you may have seen before. First of all, it features a retrograde display so that Mickey's hand snaps back to zero when it reaches 60 on its minute scale. Secondly, the hours, displayed digitally in a window, should jump at the same instance that the minutes reset. These are both complicated features for a mechanical watch that together have a very cool effect, but this watch is notable for even more reasons. It references a range of Mickey and other Disney character watches made by the famous designer Gerald Genta (also known for his use of the retrograde display) starting in the 1980s. After his company was acquired by Bulgari, however, most Gerald Genta watches were had either Bulgari branding or co-branding. Although still owned by Bulgari, the brand says that this watch marks a return to Gerald Genta as a standalone brand.
Notable Features: Retrograde minutes, jumping hours, standalone Gerald Genta branding, Mickey Mouse!
H. Moser & Cie Streamliner Perpetual Calendar
In 2020, H. Moser & Cie introduced a sportier side to their brand than its fans had previously known with the Streamliner collection. Now, the independent Swiss watchmaker has combined its steel-cased, integrated-bracelet watch with another concept its become renowned for: a brilliantly minimalist perpetual calendar — so minimalist you might think you were looking at a basic time-only watch if you didn't know better. Therein lies the appeal, as this is the type of watch with details, finishing and clever touches that deserve to be examined closely and understood in greater depth. The Streamliner is striking on its own and so is the brand's perpetual calendar concept, but the combination is all the more so.
Notable Features: Perpetual calendar
Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda PF Collection
Celebrating 25 years since its founding, Parmigiani Fleurier has introduced a new aesthetic for its Tonda collection for Geneva Watch Days, and we're instant fans. A minimalist and modern style characterizes a set of models that share a basic case design and guilloche dials, but range from an almost dressy time-only watch and a sporty chronograph to more complicated split second chronographs and annual calendars (shown above). Of course, they all feature the totally in-house production and masterful finishing of every Parmigiani watch.
Notable Features: Guilloche dials, micro rotor, chronograph, split second chronograph, annual calendar
Winding: Automatic, manual (split second chronograph only)
Ulysse Nardin Marine Torpilleur Chronometry Collection
This year, Ulysse Nardin is 175 years old, and in that time the brand has made a name for itself in several ways, but its history of marine chronometers continues to focus the brand's identity and aesthetics. Celebrating its anniversary is a collection of watches in its Marine Torpilleur collection which emphasize the aesthetics and technical achievements of those historically significant watches. The new models span a range of complexity and features, but they share a basic design and in-house movements featuring silicon balance springs (and sometimes other parts). Some models offer enamel dials and others have a cool "panda dial" motif, meaning dark subdials on a light main dial. The most basic models feature time, date, a seconds subdial and power reserve indicator, while others offer moonphases (shown above), a chronograph and annual calendar combo or a tourbillon.
Notable Features: Silicon balance springs, enamel dials, power reserve indicator, moonphase, annual calendar, chronograph, tourbillon.