Our Favourite Timepieces of Watches & Wonders 2020: Part 1

Watches & Wonders is on, and in lieu of being there in the physical in light of COVID-19, we have the next best thing: virtual releases! Watches & Wonders replaced the renowned and long-standing Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie trade show, with the announcement coming at the end of 2019 that the show’s name would be changed on its 30th anniversary. This year’s show is a little different in that, for the first time since I believe World War II, there won’t actually be a show.

But, as luck would have it and with thanks to the incredible technological achievements since the turn of the millennia, the show is able to carry on. Now featuring unprecedented access for basically everyone around the world with internet connectivity, Watches & Wonders has opened its doors to a virtual show.

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In this year’s Watches & Wonders, we’ll be covering a variety of new releases from some of our favourite watchmakers, including IWC, A. Lange & Sohne, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Cartier and Vacheron Constantin. Given the sheer enormity of the event and the number of new releases presumably scheduled, we’ll be splitting our coverage into two parts.

Hope you enjoy!

Cartier Santos De Cartier

Now clad in black ADLC coating, Cartier’s fan-favourite Santos De Cartier is back and better than ever. Dashes of modernity adorn the Santos De Cartier, surely aimed to appeal to the younger collection. The Santos De Cartier measures 47.50mm by 39.80mm with a thickness of 9.38mm. The Santos De Cartier will be available as a non-limited edition version from May.

Montblanc 1858 Monopusher Collection

One of my favourite collections from Montblanc, the 1858 Monopusher collection will now feature a steel production version, along with a limited edition bronze model. Each model will feature a vintage-stylised dial in black regardless of the case metal. The case itself measures 42mm across with a thickness of 14.70mm. Both pieces feature a distinctly charming look, but the bronze model is my pick for sure.

IWC Portugieser Perpetual Calendar Tourbillon

IWC has seemingly pulled out all the stops for Watches & Wonders, unveiling a superb new model: the Portugieser Perpetual Calendar Tourbillon. Available in either platinum or Armor Gold (which is IWC’s new proprietary 5N red gold metal), and with a silver-plated or blue dial, respectively, the Portugieser Perpetual Calendar Tourbillon is a show-stopping piece. This is an exceptional release from IWC and really elevates the Portugieser collection to new heights.

IWC Portugieser Tourbillon Retrograde Chronograph

Complicated IWCs are something to marvel at, and the new Portugieser Tourbillon Retrograde Chronograph certainly is no different. This particular model features a tourbillon at 6 o’clock with a retrograde chronograph function encased in either platinum with a silver-plated dial or Armor Gold with a blue dial. Both models are brilliant, and both exemplify the technical prowess of its esteemed watchmaker. Sheer magnificence.

Baume & Mercier Clifton Baumatic Date COSC

Baume & Mercier has gone to extraordinary lengths to ensure that its Clifton Baumatic collection has enough gusto to remain in the game. Its new Clifton Baumatic Date now features a COSC-certified movement! Available in three versions, steel, two-tone and solid 18k rose gold, the Clifton Baumatic Date COSC brings a new wave to the affordable luxury watchmaker. The focus on precision, execution and value coupled with the notions of affordability will surely make the Clifton Baumatic Date COSC a wonderful entry point for a lot of newer collectors and enthusiasts.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Control Calendar

Jaeger-LeCoultre has a penchant for producing classical watches that are timeless, and its latest piece is a perfect example of that. Introducing the Master Control Calendar, a beautiful timepiece that symbolises the brand’s innate ability to create works of art at every price level. This particular piece features a day and month indicator in apertures, along with a date indicator from the centre of the dial (hand with the red tip). It also features a moon phase within the sweeping seconds sub-dial register. The Master Control Calendar is available either in stainless steel or rose gold, both with a silver sunray finished dial. Just quietly one of my favourite watches of the show.

Panerai Luminor Marina Fibratech PAM1663

The new Luminor Marina Fibratech PAM1663 from Panerai features a case material that is said to be 60% lighter than steel and was created by binding unidirectional mineral fibres in polymer combined with heat which in essence allows for the material to be moulded in the case shape. This gives the case a matte grey textured finish, which looks awesome coupled with the Carbotech bezel and crown bridge lever. I love that Panerai continues to push the boundaries of watchmaking materials, and I would particularly love the ability to describe my watch being made out of Carbotech and Fibratech! The Luminor Marina Fibratech PAM1663 also features a gradient dark blue dial with matching rubberised blue strap, rounding off what is a very interesting package.

Panerai Submersible Ecopangaea Tourbillon GMT Mike Horn Edition

Not often is an experience accompanied with the purchase of a watch. But in the case of the unique Panerai Submersible Ecopangaea Tourbillon GMT Mike Horn Edition, that’s exactly what is going to happen. The Submersible Ecopangaea Tourbillon GMT Mike Horn Edition is an emphatically complex piece, but I feel that the real reason someone would want to buy this is the accompanying adventure. Following the purchase of the submersible Ecopangaea Tourbillon GMT Mike Horn Edition which has a case made out of EcoPangaea (a metal recycled from the 35m drive shaft of the Pangea, Mike Horn’s sailing shift), the lucky buyer will take an exclusive trip to the Arctic meant to test your physical limits and give you the chance to see the effects that climate change has on the icy continent. Pretty cool stuff, no pun intended.

Roger Dubuis Excalibur Diabolus In Machina

Roger Dubuis excels at astounding, bewildering and polarising the masses. Its latest piece, the Excalibur Diabolus In Machina, seems to continue on that trend. Made out of a patented metal aptly named CarTech Micro-Melt BioDur CCMTM (Umm, what?) and featuring a heavily skeletonised flying tourbillon minute repeater movement, the Excalibur Diabolus In Machina is as far-flung from the conventional as you probably want to be. And you know what, I low-key love it.

Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Tourbillon Chronograph

A monopusher chronograph with a tourbillon from one of the pillars of watchmaking and a member of the holy trinity? Okay, sure! Here is the delightful grail that is the Traditionnelle Tourbillon Chronograph from Vacheron Constantin. Combining a tourbillon with the iconic Maltese cross and a monopusher chronograph, this very obscure looking timepiece pays homage to Vacheron Constantin’s ability to forgo styles and designs and just create masterpieces. Not much else needs to be said, really.

Vacheron Constantin La Musique du Temps Les Cabinotiers Grand Complication Split-Seconds Chronograph ‘Tempo’

Imagine having to say that every time someone asks what you’re wearing. I’ll only say it once, so here is the Vacheron Constantin La Musique du Temps Les Cabinotiers Grand Complication Split-Seconds Chronograph ‘Tempo’. This unique piece features a jaw-dropping array of complications: a minute repeater, a perpetual calendar, a rattrapante chronograph, an equation of time with mean civil time and local solar time, a sunrise/sunset indicator, length of day and night indicators as well as indicators for the age and phase of the moon in retrograde form. Wowzors.

Vacheron Constantin Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin Skeleton

You may have thought Vacheron Constantin was done after the mouthful that is its latest unique masterpiece. But oh no, boy were you wrong! Here is the Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin Skeleton. Fist pump. This is it, this is the watch that does it for me. No adjective can describe just how much I like this watch. Leaps and bounds from Vacheron. Sure, you can say that it has just jumped on the bandwagon of perpetual calendar skeletonisation, but the Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin Skeleton hits all the right notes. This model is in solid pink gold, but I’m sure we’ll be seeing other precious and non-precious metal variations soon.

Hermes Arceau L’Heure De La Lune

Now with the option of five new dials, including one from Mars no less, the critically acclaimed Arceau L’Heure De La Lune from Hermes is neither conventional nor does it conform to typical watchmaking design, but damn does it look amazing. The dial might be the winning factor here, but I really love the case architecture, especially those sweeping wire lugs. Another real winner here.

ALS zeitwork 1

A. Lange & Söhne Zeitwerk Minute Repeater

Lange has reintroduced its beloved Zeitwerk Minute Repeater with a refreshed and very refined look. Now featuring a blue dial in a white gold case, the Zeitwerk Minute Repeater already ticked the boxes of many high-end high-complicated watch collectors. This new model looks far more sophisticated than the other models, but perhaps that’s because it has been a while since we had seen an aesthetic update to the Zeitwerk Minute Repeater lineage. Nevertheless, this is a wonderful re-edition on one of the brand’s most complicated watches.

ALS odeyssus

A. Lange & Söhne Odysseus

I’m still on the fence with the Odysseus, but it does seem to have grabbed a foothold since its unveiling. Now available in a white gold case (was formerly only available in stainless steel) and with hand-stitched brown rubber or silicone strap (that oddly reminds me of the strap configuration of the Royal Oak Offshore), the reworked Odysseus is beginning to look like a bonafide Lange piece. I really like the strap and lug configuration, but like I said I’m still pretty iffy about the watch generally.

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