Watches & Wonders 2024 recap: Our top 10 novelties from the biggest watch fair of the year

Here are some of the boldest and most innovative mechanical marvels we've seen at the horology showcase.

From left: Rolex Perpetual 1908, IWC Schaffhausen Portugieser Eternal Calendar, and Patek Philippe World Time Date Ref. 5330G-001.

It was an absolute whirlwind of a week at Watches and Wonders in Geneva, where a record number of 54 maisons exhibited at the Palexpo Convention Centre from Apr 9 to 15. Having seen so many watches at once, we were quick to spot some trends: Smaller-sized dials continue to dominate the market even though appetite for them seems to have cooled down; rose gold takes the spotlight at big names like Rolex, Vacheron Constantin and Patek Philippe; and more brands are delivering big wows in their smallest or skinniest mechanical marvels. Lighting up the fair further was the boundary-pushing technological advancement of lume, appearing on a A. Lange & Söhne or the sail-savvy Panerai. 

We will be posting a more detailed recap of the fair but for now, feast your eyes on some of the boldest and innovative pieces we’ve shortlisted in no particular order.


Rolex Perpetual 1908

Last year, Rolex introduced a new dress watch to the Perpetual collection to replace the discontinued Cellini. The elegant 39mm Perpetual 1908 debuted in 18-carat yellow and white gold, but this year, a 960 platinum model enters the mix, featuring a guilloché rice-grain motif on an ice blue dial and a filet sauté guilloché pattern outlining the minute track. It’s powered by Calibre 7140, a movement developed purposefully for this model that incorporates the patented Chronergy escapement, Syloxi hairspring and Paraflex shock absorbers. Like all Rolex watches, the Perpetual 1908 carries the Superlative Chronometer certification, which ensures excellent performance on the wrist.


Patek Philippe World Time Date Ref. 5330G-001

Normally, World Timers equipped with a date indicator require the wearer to adjust both the time zone and date independently when travelling. To make the user experience as fuss-free as possible, Patek Philippe introduced a patented world first: a differential system that couples the date display with local time so there is no correction needed, even when crossing from West to East (where you go back a day). The new date mechanism functions in either direction, moving backwards or forwards reliably without risking damage to the movement. The date is indicated on the outer ring via a transparent glass hand — also a first at Patek Philippe — with a hammer-shaped tip in red lacquer.


Jaeger-LeCoultre Duometre Heliotourbillon Perpetual

There are many things to consider when adding complications to a watch, chiefly if there is enough power supply to ensure precision isn’t jeopardised. In 2007, JLC patented the Duometre mechanism where two barrels accompanied by their respective gear trains are linked to a single regulating organ. This powers the Calibre 388 in the new Duometre Heliotourbillon Perpetual, which features the maison’s first three-axis tourbillon consisting of over 160 components and weighing less than 0.7g. An unrestricted view of the spinning tourbillon is presented via an open-worked concept while refined finishes such as opaline, brushed and azuré surfaces decorate the indications on the right.


IWC Schaffhausen Portugieser Eternal Calendar

IWC’s first secular perpetual calendar has multiple tricks up its sleeve and it’s all thanks to the addition of a few new gears. Taking into account the Gregorian calendar’s complex leap-year exception rules, the perpetual calendar is mechanically programmed to skip the three leap years over the next four centuries. This is ensured by a newly engineered 400-years gear, which will take effect for the first time in 2100. Another key feature of this brilliant timepiece is its extremely precise Double Moon phase display. With the new reduction gear, the compilation will only deviate from the moon’s orbit by one day after — wait for it — 45 million years.


Parmigiani Toric Seconde

It’s all about clean lines and pure shapes at Parmigiani Fleurier and the new Toric collection is a testament to the brand’s dedication to refined sophistication. Michel Parmigiani first launched his brand with the Toric in 1996. The latest iteration reflects the same spirit of freedom, with a touch of serene, versatile elegance that resonates with today’s discerning individuals. The Toric Petite Seconde introduces a new all-gold in-house manufacture movement with a deliberately modernist design and high-level finishing. Available in rose gold or platinum, the watches are paired with an alligator strap adorned with a sartorial stitch, or punto a mano, employed by the best Neapolitan tailors.


Grand Seiko Kodo Constant-Force Tourbillon

The "Kodo", or heartbeat in Japanese, clocked a major milestone for Grand Seiko in 2022 when it clinched the Chronometry Prize at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève — it was the brand’s first mechanical complication piece that won the top award for high precision timekeeping performance. If the first Kodo evoked the spirit of the night as well as delicate interplay of light and shadow, the new iteration released at the fair this year represents daybreak. The watch is powered by the uniquely innovative Caliber 9ST1, in which a constant-force mechanism and a tourbillon are set as one unit on a single axis. The movement consists of approximately 340 parts, 100 of which are packed into the “heart” — the integrated constant-force and tourbillon carriages — which is just about 10mm in diameter.


Piaget Altiplano Ultimate Concept Tourbillon

Piaget has released a slew of novelties for its 150th anniversary but nothing commands attention like the Altiplano. After introducing the ultra-thin calibre 9P 67 years ago, and created the thinnest watch in the world in 2018, the maison has, once again, pushed the boundaries of horological ingenuity with this tourbillon piece measuring at just 2mm thick. Piaget had to redesign 90% of the movement to accommodate a tourbillon, which requires 25% more power from the mainspring. While Bulgari has reclaimed the title of the world's thinnest watch with the new Octo Finissimo Ultra COSC (1.7mm thin), Piaget is after a different accolade — it officially owns the world's thinnest tourbillon… for now.


Vacheron Constantin Égérie Moon Phase

The new Overseas models, featuring an “intense” olive-green dial, released at the trade show captured our pockets (the strikingly beautiful 18-carat rose gold case pairing does not need a lot of convincing to invest in a piece) but the Égérie Moon Phase (pictured right) in lilac captured our heart. This collaboration with fashion designer Yinqing Yin (see our Instagram for her concept creation with Vacheron Constantin, The Pleats of Time [pictured left], whose watch strap is embedded with an original fragrance by French master perfumer Dominique Ropion) sports a mother-of-pearl dial with a pleated motif, similar to an haute couture fabric. A total of 36 round-cut diamonds circle the moon and its starry sky, while 58 brilliant-cut diamonds adorn the glistening bezel. 


Reflection de Cartier

Forever a lover of illusions, Cartier, the magician, has suspended belief to explore the mysteries of time. For this occasion, the jewellery powerhouse has released a bracelet of sorts, with a quartz-powered watch concealed and set inside the opening of the cuff. The “reflection’ is shown on the opposite of the cuff’s opening, creating a time-telling optical illusion, but backwards. This  “veritable sculpture to wear on the wrist”, as Cartier’s own Marie-Laure Cérède has called it, combines precious gems like diamonds, opal, amethysts and garnets to aid in the resurgence of the bling-worthy piece. 


Hermès Arceau Duc Attelé

Originally designed by Henri D’Origny in 1978, the Arceau served as a playground where traditional complications undergo a poetic reimagining. However, Hermès has rolled out its most ambitious offering yet by combining two complications: a tourbillon and a minute repeater. Complementing the central triple-axis tourbillon that houses a 5Hz balance wheel is a minute repeater, an innovative gong construction with mirror-polished equestrian hammers, which produce tones reminiscent of cathedral chimes. On the other hand, the tourbillon comprises 99 components and features mirror-polished carriages, with the outermost adorned with an interwoven “H” motif. This is as much a timekeeping instrument as it is wearable art. 


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