Editor’s Note: Watches & Wonders (formerly SIHH) has moved online this year, so keep up with us to check out all the newnewss from the show — we’ll be updating this page as more watches debut. You can also stay on top of the rest of this year’s best new watch releases here.
Quite a bit has changed in the watch landscape this year: first, many brands pulled out of Baselworld 2020; then, the coronavirus forced the cancelation of Watches & Wonders Geneva; then Baselworld itself was canceled for the year; and then, Rolex, Tudor, Patek Philippe, Chanel and Chopard pulled out of Baselworld 2021 to start their own show.
But then, just a few weeks ago, the Foundation de la Haute Horlogerie, which puts on the Watches & Wonders shows, decided that the fair would indeed continue this year, albeit in online-only form for journalists, retailers, and collectors. Now, the show is over and the watches are out, and there’s quite a bit to talk about. You can check out all our coverage from the show right here, but if you’re hankering for an abridged version, what follows are 10 of our favorites from Watches & Wonders Geneva 2020.
IWC Yacht Club Moon & Tide
Why It Matters: A mechanical tide indicator requires a stunning amount of precision mathematics and engineering. IWC’s version is housed in an elegant gold case provides a tidal information in conjunction with a modified moon phase display.
Who It’s For: Collectors and the whimsically inclined. A mechanical tide indicator is something you invest in when money is literally burning a hole in your pocket.
Key Specs: $33,100; 44mm, 18-carat 5N gold case; tide indicator
Cartier Tank Asymétrique
Why It Matters: It’s not much of a surprise that Cartier would add this model to the Privé collection — the Asymétrique is a historical reference from the 1930s that deserves to have new life breathed into it. We love that it’s kitted out with a thin, manually winding movement — the one bummer is that we don’t get a more down-to-earth steel-cased version for slightly less money.
Who It’s For: Collectors again. The price on these puppies pushes them way out of “I’d love to own a Tank”-territory and into “I’d love to own my seventh Tank”-territory.
Key Specs: $26,400-$30,100; 26.22mm precious metal case; 30-degree offset dial
A. Lange & Söhne Odysseus in White Gold
Why It Matters: The Odysseus made a big splash when it was first announced in late 2019 as the first Lange “casual watch.” Now it’s available in white gold, bringing us back somewhat to more typical Lange territory.
Who It’s For: (Also collectors, to be honest). While the Odysseus in steel was for the guy who wanted a Lange but also wanted to wear it every day, the Odysseus in white gold is more for the guy who wants a Lange, but also wants a Lange.
Key Specs: $40,600; white gold case; water-resistant to 120m
Baume & Mercier Clifton Baumatic Day-Date Moon Phase
Why It Matters: This new watch provides an interesting combination of calendar information, with a combined moon phase/date display at 6 o’clock and a day indicator in the form of a sub-dial at 12 o’clock.
Who It’s For: The pink gold version at $12,200 might be aimed more at collectors or those with cash to burn, but the steel version at $4,400 could very well be someone’s first (or only) complicated watch.
Key Specs: $4,400-$12,200; 42mm steel or rose gold case; day, date, moon phase complications
Piaget Altiplano Ultimate Concept
Why It Matters: When it was announced in 2018, the Piaget Altiplano Ultimate Concept, though the thinnest mechanical watch in the world, was merely a prototype. Now it’s in serial production, available in 10,000 possible permutations.
Who It’s For: There is probably no one on the planet who wouldn’t find this watch incredible. However, it’s potential clientele is going to be limited to those who can afford it. And it ain’t going to be cheap.
Key Specs: Price upon request; 41mm cobalt alloy case; 2mm thick
Slim d’Hermès GMT
Why It Matters: The Slim d’Hermès GMT has been out for a couple now in several iterations (including a limited edition for HODINKEE), but this is the first time it’s available with a gold case. Combined with a blue dial and sunburst chapter ring, the new version is definitely a winner.
Who It’s For: Those who love the idea of a GMT but don’t necessarily want or need a more utilitarian, Rolex-style design. And those with a spare $20k.
Key Specs: $19,675; 39.5mm 5N rose gold case; GMT complication
Panerai Luminor Marina PAM 1117, PAM 118, PAM1119
Why It Matters: A trio of Luminors in exotic, technical materials represent what’s new at Panerai: one in Fibratech, one in Carbotech, and one in titanium. Each has strips of luminescent material in the crown, crown guard and the crown-locking lever — highlighting the iconic collection’s most prominent feature.
Who It’s For: Fans of hi-tech materials and stuff that glows in the dark. (Read: all men.) Paneristi, of course — the die-hard Panerai fanatics out there — will be clamoring for these as well.
Key Specs: $16,000-18,900; 44mm cases; 270 pieces each
Vacheron & Constantin Overseas Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin Skeleton
Why It Matters: This new version of the Overseas Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin features a gorgeous, openworked movement with all-pink gold case and bracelet, allowing you to appreciate the mechanical intricacy of its complicated movement. Some skeletonized watches end up looking tacky and cheap — this is not that kind of watch.
Who It’s For: Collectors. Goldmember. See price below.
Key Specs: $115,000; 41.5mm pink gold case with openworked movement; perpetual calendar functionality
Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Control Calendar
Why It Matters: A new case design means that this contemporary take on JLC’s famed mid-century triple calendars could easily be mistaken for one that was actually released in the 1950s. Interestingly, the pointer date hand jumps from the 15th to the 16th instantaneously, in order not to obscure the moon phase display at 6 o’clock.
Who It’s For: For someone with an interest in complicated watchmaking, we could easily see the steel version as an aspiration purchase. (And the gold version as a very aspirational purchase.)
Key Specs: $11,000 (steel); $22,400 (gold); triple-calendar display
Montblanc 1858 Automatic 24H
Why It Matters: This cool new single-hand, 24-hour complication from Montbalnc allows you to use the new 1858 Automatic 24H as both a watch and a compass. Thought reading the dial might take some getting used to — and the lack of a traditional handset might throw you — we say the 24H is possibly the coolest piece in the collection after the Geosphere.
Who It’s For: There’s plenty of competition at the $3,000 mark, but we see this is as a positive for Montblanc. Rather than making the 24H a wild aspiration purchase, it’s priced somewhere where a casual watch enthusiast might be more tempted to pull the trigger.
Key Specs: $3,030; 42mm steel and bronze case; 24-hour complication
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