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Grand Seiko Manual-winding Mechanical Hi-Beat 36000 80 Hours Limited Edition | Image: Grand Seiko

Best Watch Releases of Watches & Wonders 2024 – Part 3

Round three, and we’re off! The past two days of Watches & Wonders 2024 have exploded at a blistering pace, bringing an amazing array of new collections, official discontinuations and of course, some truly spectacular watches to the fold. In part three of our coverage of Watches & Wonders 2024, we’re tackling a handful of new and exciting timepieces from some of the most coveted watchmakers in the world. We’ve got new pieces once again from Grand Seiko and Raymond Weil, some releases from Hublot and Vacheron Constantin, as well as a brand-new collection of dress watches from Rolex.

Here, we’ll be following the prior day’s events, highlighting some of the most interesting, notable and impressive pieces. So, hang on and enjoy the wild ride that is Watches & Wonders 2024!

Grand Seiko Manual-winding Mechanical Hi-Beat 36000 80 Hours Limited Edition | Image: Grand Seiko
Grand Seiko Manual-winding Mechanical Hi-Beat 36000 80 Hours Limited Edition | Image: Grand Seiko

Grand Seiko Manual-winding Mechanical Hi-Beat 36000 80 Hours Limited Edition

  • Brand: Grand Seiko
  • Model: Evolution 9 Collection
  • Reference: Ref. SLGW002 / Ref. SLGW003
  • Movement: Manual winding Caliber 9SA4
  • Diameter: 38.6mm
  • Water-Resistance: 30m
  • Power Reserve: 80 hours
  • Price: AUD$67,200 (SLGW002) / AUD$15,950 (SLGW003)

No one quite does high-beat precision timepieces like Grand Seiko. The Japanese brand has amassed a legion of fans for its ultra-accurate 9S movement, starting first with 2020’s calibre 9SA5 and then again with last year’s Tentagraph Calibre 9SC5. What’s more, it has taken home a swathe of silverware in the process. So, when I heard that the brand was unveiling two new additions to the Evolution 9 collection, my interest was more than just a little piqued.

Like their predecessors, the new limited-edition SLGW002 and SLGW003 models take much of their inspiration from Grand Seiko’s manually wound 10-beat movements of the late ‘60s, however, there is a shiny new addition at the beating heart. Unveiled exclusively at Watches & Wonders, the Calibre 9SA4 is an all-new hand-wound high-beat movement that features Dual Impulse Escapement and two barrels.

According to Grand Seiko, while the new movement does bear several similarities to the 9SA5, nearly 40 per cent of the base movement has been redesigned and reconstructed to perfect feel and accuracy when winding. Best of all, it still feels like an Evolution 9 piece. The classic dress watch aesthetic, which is generally overlooked at Watches & Wonders, is on full display here, courtesy of the straightforward dial layout and uncompleted indexes. The titanium model is a perfect example of not messing with the formula, keeping the design cues fittingly close to home.

However, the limited edition model does give a little room for experimentation. The $67,200 model arrives with a case and clasp made of 18-carat rose gold, giving just a touch of razzle-dazzle and is limited to just 88 pieces worldwide. Both models will be available from August 2024, with the limited edition rose gold piece only available at Grand Seiko boutiques.

Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Moon Phase Retrograde Date Ref. 4010U/000G-H070 | Image: Vacheron Constantin
Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Moon Phase Retrograde Date Ref. 4010U/000G-H070 | Image: Vacheron Constantin

Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Collection

  • Brand: Vacheron Constantin
  • Model: Patrimony Manual-Winding / Patrimony Moon Phase Retrograde Date
  • Reference Number: Ref. 1410U/000G-H017 / Ref. 1410U/000R-H018 / Ref. 4010U/000G-H070
  • Diameter: 39mm / 42.5mm
  • Power Reserve: 42 hours
  • Calibre: Mechanical, manual-winding calibre 1440 / Mechanical, self-winding calibre 2460 R31L

Described as a “celebration of watchmaking minimalism”, the new Patrimony Manual-Winding collection is an expertly crafted play on 1950s design. At 39mm (down from the traditional 40mm), the uncomplicated models feature a stunning sunburst antique silver-toned dial and a manual-winding movement that pays homage to the golden era of dress watches.

The latest Vacheron Constantin Patrimony models are powered by the manual-winding Calibre 1440. Developed and manufactured in-house, this movement is just 2.6 mm thick and boasts a 42-hour power reserve. However, the real winner here has to be the 42,5mm Patrimony Moon Phase Retrograde Date. This heritage-influence model employs the self-winding Calibre 2460 R31L, which is responsible for powering a moon-phase indication in an aperture at 6 o’clock and a retrograde date display in the upper part of the dial.

The new Patrimony Moon Phase Retrograde Date will be available in 18-carat white gold while the Patrimony Manual-Winding models are offered in 18-carat white gold and 18-carat 5N pink gold, respectively. This is quintessential Vacheron Constantin and I simply can’t get enough of it.

TAG Heuer Carrera Date | Image: TAG Heuer
TAG Heuer Carrera Date | Image: TAG Heuer

TAG Heuer Carrera Date

  • Brand: TAG Heuer
  • Model: Carrera Date
  • Reference Number: Ref.WBN231C.BA0001/Ref.WBN2350.BD0000/Ref.WBN2351.BD0000
  • Diameter: 36mm
  • Water Resistance: 50m
  • Calibre: Calibre 7
  • Price: 4,700CHF/4,850CHF/6,750CHF

Rounding out TAG Heuer’s major releases for Watches & Wonders this year, the Carrera Date made a triumphant return. Three new 36mm variations of the elegant timepiece were unveiled, with the brand opting to adorn these beauties with precious materials like 18K 5N rose gold, mother-of-pearl and diamonds. Glitzy and just a little bit glamorous, the new Carrera Date models perfectly embody understated luxury.

The first in the lineup features a copper dial with a snailed brushed finish, alongside an 18K 5N rose gold bezel and crown. Next comes the steel case mother-of-pearl release, completed with alternate finishing, 8K 5N rose gold-plated indexes and 76 diamonds atop the flange.

For those looking for something a little more opulent, TAG Heuer saved the best for last. The mother-of-pearl release features a gradient track in nude tones, housed in a steel case with alternate finishing. There are diamond-set chatons indexes, complemented by 11 diamonds, an 18K 5N rose gold crown and bezel and a signature diamond flange adorned with 76 diamonds

All three models are powered by the Calibre 7 automatic movement, which serves up a 56-hour power reserve, while also providing the watch with a 6 o’clock angled date. Perhaps most interestingly, TAG has prioritised ergonomics here, sliming the profile slightly and keeping the thickness between 10.20 mm and 10.60 mm. Pair that with the 36mm diameter and you start to see the vision.

While the Carrera Date is aimed at women, TAG Heuer has the unique ability to capture the best of both worlds, offering up design-first timepieces that sit squarely in the unisex size range. While these releases certainly won’t have the same level of intrigue that the new Carrera Chronograph or Monaco models will, they are undeniably stunning. Pictures simply do not do these dials justice.

Panerai Submersible QuarantaQuattro Luna Rossa Ti-Ceramitech | Image: Panerai
Panerai Submersible QuarantaQuattro Luna Rossa Ti-Ceramitech | Image: Panerai

Panerai Submersible QuarantaQuattro Luna Rossa Ti-Ceramitech

  • Brand: Panerai
  • Model: Submersible QuarantaQuattro Luna Rossa Ti-Ceramitech
  • Reference: Ref. PAM01466 / Ref. PAM01543
  • Movement: Automatic mechanical, P.900 calibre, 
  • Diameter: 44mm
  • Water-Resistance: 500m
  • Power Reserve: 72 hours

The connection with the Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli America’s Cup Team has been consistent across Panerai’s releases this year. Following the Titanio and e-commerce exclusive releases, the Italian watchmaker has unveiled two new additions to its Submersible QuarantaQuattro lineup, however, there is one major difference. For the PAM01466 and PAM01543 models, Panerai has introduced a new innovative material, Ti-Ceramitech , which promises to significantly improve performance.

“The launch of the Submersible QuarantaQuattro Luna Rossa Ti-Ceramitech series, PAM01466 and PAM01543, marks a significant milestone in our innovation journey,” Jean-Marc Pontroué, CEO of Panerai said. “We are excited to showcase the pioneering Ti-Ceramitech, a material seven years in the making by our Laboratorio di Idee at the Panerai Manufacture in Neuchâtel, that epitomizes our dedication to advanced technologies as well as the spirit of Luna Rossa’s quest for daring performances.” 

The new 44mm timepieces are characteristically bulky, however, the Ti-Ceramitech does alleviate some of the weight and ergonomic issues. According to Panerai, this was achieved through a process known as ‘Electrolytic Plasma Oxidation’, which transforms the titanium alloy surface into a dense ceramic layer. “The technique yields a significantly enhanced hardness, and the resultant case is 44% lighter than steel yet has fracture toughness ten times higher than traditional ceramic. A material that can withstand high pressure, and very high thermal stress,” Panerai said in a press release.

In terms of design, it doesn’t stray too far from the other Luna Rossa pieces unveiled this year, however, I do like the PAM01543’s matt white dial, for a change of pace, if nothing else. Both models feature a decal of Luna Rossa and small red second hands, a subtle nod to the sailing team’s vivid identity. 

Powering the latest Submersible QuarantaQuattro Luna Rossa Ti-Ceramitec models is the automatic P.900 movement, a calibre best remembered for its 72-hour power reserve. The new timepieces are set to make waves starting July 2024 in the lead-up to the 2024 America’s Cup races, with PAM01466 available across all networks, and PAM01543 exclusively in boutiques. 

Zenith DEFY Revival A3648 | Image: Zenith
Zenith DEFY Revival A3648 | Image: Zenith

Zenith DEFY Revival A3648

  • Brand: Zenith
  • Model: DEFY Revival A3648
  • Reference Number: Ref. 03.A3648.670/21.M3648
  • Diameter: 37mm
  • Water Resistance: 600m
  • Power Reserve: 50 hours
  • Calibre: Elite 670 Automatic
  • Price: 7,400 CHF / AUD$11,900

When Zenith introduced the DEFY Revival A3642 in 2022, it was a welcome, albeit incredibly limited, return to vintage aesthetics. For 2024, the brand has again returned to the archive books, introducing the DEFY Revival A3648, a refreshed take on the 1969 classic. Rugged and avant-garde, that original timepiece was a testament to Zenith’s dive watch capabilities, which were at the time, relatively unknown.

The new DEFY Revival A3648 takes a lot of cues from that early piece, replicating the 37mm angular stainless steel case with meticulous thought. Again, the fourteen-sided bezel makes an appearance, however, is positioned above the round rotating bezel. Naturally, Zenith has modernised this with a sapphire crystal over the traditional Plexiglas, also choosing to bolster the release with a matte black dial.

As far as Zenith’s 2024 Watches & Wonders releases go, the DEFY Revival A3648 is undoubtedly the most interesting. The vintage touches blend well with the black and orange theme and while it’s not quite as bold as the A3642, it does have its place.

Hublot Big Bang Unico Orange Ceramic Ref. 441.CU.5910.RX | Image: Hublot
Hublot Big Bang Unico Orange Ceramic Ref. 441.CU.5910.RX | Image: Hublot

Hublot Big Bang Unico Orange Ceramic

  • Brand: Hublot
  • Model: Big Bang Unico Orange Ceramic
  • Reference: Ref. 441.CU.5910.RX
  • Diameter: 42mm
  • Movement Type: HUB1280
  • Power Reserve: 72 hours
  • Water resistance: 100m
  • Limited Edition: 250 pieces
  • Price: CHF26,900

If you thought the Zenith DEFY Revival A3648 featured a bold use of orange, Hublot wants you to hold its beer. After successful coloured ceramic experiments in red (2019) and yellow (2021), Hublot’s new Big Bang Unico Orange Ceramic is its most audacious effort yet.

While we have neither the space nor the inclination to delve into the multitude of problems that would have needed to be solved by Hublot’s research and development team in order to produce a uniformly coloured ceramic of such vibrancy, we can say the undertaking will have required a level of technical know-how that’s difficult to fathom. We can also say it was definitely worth it. 

Limited to just 250 pieces, Hublot’s latest Big Bang Unico packs everything you’d expect from this series, just with considerably more orange: a 72-hour power reserve, column wheel at 6 o’clock, a bicompax layout (small seconds at 9 o’clock, 60-minute counter at 3 o’clock with integrated date), silicon escapement, and the visual splendour of the skeleton architecture.

Rolex Perpetual 1908 Ref. 52506 | Image: Rolex
Rolex Perpetual 1908 Ref. 52506 | Image: Rolex

Rolex Perpetual 1908

  • Brand: Rolex
  • Model: Perpetual 1908
  • Reference: Ref. 52506
  • Movement: Perpetual, mechanical, self-winding calibre 7140
  • Diameter: 39mm
  • Power Reserve: 66 hours
  • Water-Resistance: 50m
  • Price: 29,600 CHF

When Rolex debuted the 1908 last year, it marked a welcomed change of tact. The brand had spent the better part of a decade refining and reissuing new variations of its beloved dive watch catalogue, so the decision to introduce an entirely new dress watch lineup was a gamble that we were willing to support. For Watches & Wonders 2024, Rolex has returned to the 1908 collection, issuing a platinum Perpetual 1908, complete with an icy blue dial and a stunning guilloche rice-grain motif.

At 39mm, the latest 1908 model follows the recent trend towards smaller dials but it must be said, Rolex does a lot within the tight space. The rosette-like guilloche design provides an intriguing three-dimensional, repeating geometric pattern that appears to burst from the small seconds counter at 6 o’clock. From there, the minute track is surrounded by a filet sauté with a crimped pattern, which is also guilloché, making for a phenomenally eye-catching design.

As with last year’s 18-carat gold models, the Perpetual 1908 cops Arabic numerals 3, 9 and 12, alongside the same faceted hour markers and hands. It also comes on a brown alligator leather strap, which I feel contrasts beautifully with the ice-blue dial. Beneath the surface, Rolex hasn’t made too many changes, equipping this model with the calibre 7140 movement. Here, the bridges are decorated with Rolex Côtes de Genève and a cut-out oscillating weight.

Raymond Weil Millesime Chrono 39.5mm | Image: Raymond Weil
Raymond Weil Millesime Chrono 39.5mm | Image: Raymond Weil

Raymond Weil Millesime Chrono 39.5mm

  • Brand: Raymond Weil
  • Model: Millesime Chrono 39.5mm
  • Reference: Ref. 7765-STC-20001 / Ref. 7765-STC-50651),
  • Movement: Mechanical chronograph self-winding movement – RW5030 
  • Diameter: 39.5mm
  • Water-Resistance: 50m
  • Power Reserve: 56 hours
  • Price: 3,450 CHF

It seems almost incompressible to think, but 2024 marks the first time that Geneva-based watchmaker Raymond Weil has found itself inside the hallowed halls and corridors of Watches & Wonders. For its debut performance, the mid-tier luxury brand made a serious statement, unveiling 11 new extensions to the award-winning Millesime collection.

Among the new pieces, you’ll find four Millesime Automatic Moon Phases, three Millesime Automatic Central Seconds and two Millesime Automatic Small Seconds, however, our pick has to be the Millesime Chronograph Novelties.

The two glassbox designs, one with a black sector dial (Ref. 7765-STC-20001) and the other with a midnight blue sector dial (Ref. 7765-STC-50651), best embody the neo-vintage design aesthetic that Raymond Weil has been working towards. The black-on-black sub-dial counters of the 20001 provide an effortlessly classy finish that feels innately timeless and the 39.5mm diameter size hits the ultimate sweet spot. 

Both pieces are powered by the mechanical chronograph self-winding movement RW5030, which while not groundbreaking, is a solid framework for the highly affordable model. According to Raymond Weil CEO Elie Bernheim, the latest announcement comes off the back of renewed interest in the contemporary neo-vintage collection.

“As the name might suggest, ‘Millesime’ marks the beginning of a new era for Raymond Weil”, Bernheim said. “It is about engaging in a dialogue with a new clientele in search of timeless elegance. These are enthusiasts who are looking not only for a high-quality, well-crafted watch with a classic yet contemporary design, but also a timepiece with refined finishes – at an accessible price point. This is the exceptional opportunity that we embrace wholeheartedly.”

The new Raymond Weil Millesime pieces don’t stray too far from the beaten path design-wise, however, the sophisticated dial layout will undoubtedly win some new fans over, and that’s before we even get into the price. Valued between CHF 1,575 and CHF 3,500, the new Millesime collection could well be the steal of the show.

Vacheron Constantin Overseas Dual Time Ref. 7920V/210R-B965 | Image: Vacheron Constantin
Vacheron Constantin Overseas Dual Time Ref. 7920V/210R-B965 | Image: Vacheron Constantin

Vacheron Constantin Overseas Dual Time

  • Brand: Vacheron Constantin
  • Model: Overseas Dual Time
  • Reference: Ref. 7920V/210R-B965
  • Movement: Mechanical self-winding calibre 5110 DT
  • Diameter: 41mm
  • Water-Resistance: 150m
  • Power Reserve: 60 hours

I’ll admit, Vacheron Constantin has got me green with envy. The seminal watchmaker has unveiled four new variations of its best-selling Overseas model, each adorned with a brand-first intense green dial. Characterised by its sunburst satin-finished centre and velvet-finished flange, these stunning new releases are set flawlessly against 18-carat 5N pink gold. Perhaps this is one for the Aussies.

“The Overseas watches are a collection that lends itself admirably to new colour experiments. This was obvious when the brand introduced a pinkish-beige hue on certain ladies’ models, and more recently with a gold-toned dial,” Christian Selmoni, style & heritage director at Vacheron Constantin said. “The first tests largely confirmed what we suspected, particularly with the colour green, a shade already appearing on some of the watches in the Traditionnelle collection. We chose a deep green exuding hints of plants and forests. A sort of call to Nature that makes a perfect fit with the Overseas spirit of travel and exploration.”

While the Overseas Chronograph and Overseas Self-Winding options are practically perfect, the pick of the bunch has to be the Overseas Dual Time. The 41mm stunner is the ultimate in Vacheron Constantin sports models, equipped to combat the elements and look damn good in the process.

The Dual Time variation is powered by the mechanical, self-winding calibre 5110 DT, a 234 component, 4 Hz movement that is capable of serving up 60 hours of power reserve. In contrast to the other models (and as the name would suggest), the Dual Time features a second-time zone functionality set by the crown.

But as much as the multiple functions are handy, the real success story with the latest Overseas releases is that remarkable dial. According to Vacheron Constantin, the goal was to create the element of depth, a feat achieved through the use of a translucent lacquered backdrop, sunburst satin-brushed centre and circular satin-finished bezel. Robust, sturdy and impossibly stylish, the new Vacheron Constantin Overseas intense green models are truly out of this world.

Watches & Wonders 2024

Can you buy tickets to Watches & Wonders?

Watches and Wonders Geneva will be open to the public for three days, from April 13 to 15, 2024 offering a unique opportunity to dive into the heart of the innovative and dynamic world of watchmaking

Where is Watches & Wonders in 2024?

In 2024, Watches & Wonders will be held in Genève, Palexpo which is located on Route François-Peyrot 30, 1218 Le Grand-Saconnex.