Watch collectors, the wait is finally over. From March 30 to April 5, the watchmaking industry’s largest trade show returned with its first live large-scale event in Switzerland since the pandemic began. Taking place via a physical-digital format in Geneva’s Palexpo centre and online, Watches and Wonders 2022 saw 38 exhibiting Maisons unveil their new and most important creations for the year, including full attendance from brands under the Richemont Group, LVMH heavy hitters TAG Heuer and Hublot as well as Chanel, Chopard, Rolex and Patek Philippe.
Scroll on for all the important novelties to know about from the world’s finest watchmakers:
Chanel J12 Diamond Tourbillon
Chanel pushes boundaries once again with their first in-house flying tourbillon, the J12 Diamond Tourbillon. A show of both technical prowess and aesthetic achievement, the timepiece builds on the prestige of the J12 model with the debut of the new Calibre 5 movement designed in Paris by Chanel Watch Creation Studio director Arnaud Chastaingt. Arriving in matte black ceramic and steel or glossy ceramic and 18k white gold, the 55-piece release features a partly exposed mechanism that shows off the diamond-paved flying tourbillon cage, and is finished off with Chanel’s signature lion’s head.
Chanel J12 Black Star
Another new iteration of the iconic Chanel J12 takes ceramic to new heights, raising it to the ranks of gemstones with the release of the J12 Black Star. Equipped with the Calibre 12.1, the timepiece is boldly unconventional (and set to shake up classic codes) in its pure, unalloyed black design, set all over with ceramic baguettes to spectacular effect. The J12 Black Star is numbered limited to only 12 pieces.
Cartier Privé Tank Chinoise
Following the Crash, Tank Cintrée, Tonneau, Tank Asymétrique and Cloche Cartier watch updates, Cartier’s Tank Chinoise is the latest vintage model to get a reboot as the sixth chapter of the highly-coveted Cartier Privé collection. First created in 1992, the Tank Chinoise has not seen a redesign since 2004, but is returning with six new versions in celebration of its 100th anniversary this year. With its original aesthetic that pays tribute to the geometric architecture of Chinese temples, the new Tank Chinoise reveals the mystery of its 9627 MC skeleton movement within its new rectangular dial, alongside black and red lacquer details that are reminiscent of traditional Chinese windows. There are also simplified hour-minute iterations in 18-karat yellow gold, 18-karat rose gold and platinum with polished horizontal beveled-edge bars.
Cartier Masse Mystérieuse
Cartier’s love for mystery and illusion shines through the enigmatic new Mass Mystérieuse, an automatic, time-only timepiece that’ll throw your senses off balance with its unusual winding system that brings together two of the Maison’s watchmaking signatures: the mysterious movement and the skeleton. Upon first impressions, the in-house developed Calibre 9801 MC may seem like a semi-circle shaped movement with manual winding, but it’s actually also a winding rotor that drives itself through an ultra-sophisticated differential system, borrowed from the automative industry. To ensure the balance wheel always remains in the vertical position, the rotor rotates in both directions at an irregular speed. It’s a technical feat come to life, featuring 43 embedded jewels and 42 hours at autonomy, available in a numbered limited edition of 30 pieces.
Hublot Square Bang Unico
The unusual case trend takes shape this year with the Hublot Square Bang Unico, a new pillar to the Maison’s iconic Big Bang that introduces a brand new square case. The challenge here is unparalleled, but as Hublot would have it, five 42mm models are available with its in-house Unico movement proudly on show via a visible column wheel at 6 o’clock, and a bicompax display that dispenses with a dial. Like the Big Bang, six (functional) screws are found on the bezel to balance the design, alongside the same hands and dial’s extensive use of sapphire for transparency. Alongside renditions in King Gold, solid titanium and black ceramic bezel blends, keep your eyes out for the special All Black edition of 250 pieces that pays homage to the brand’s original All Black watch, a trend that’s continued to stay strong over the years.
Hermès Arceau Le temps voyageur
Hermès rethinks time travel with an update to the iconic Arceau line through the Maison’s first world-time complication. A reinterpretation of the original 1978 model designed by Henri d’Origny, the timepiece features a round case with asymmetrical lugs and a “Travelling time” mechanism developed exclusively for Hermès that features a disc-type display of 24 time zones. The satellite gravitates around a fantasy map imagined by artist Jérôme Colliard for the brand’s “Planisphère d’un monte équestre” scarf. Available in 41mm platinum with matt black DLC-treated titanium bezel and a 38mm steel iteration, the models come fitted with alligator or Swift calfskin straps made using the House’s long-established leather craftsmanship in Hermès Horloger’s own workshops.
Van Cleef & Arpels Lady Arpels Heures Florales
In tribute to the nature that has fascinated the Maison since 1906, Van Cleef & Arpels unveil two of their most complicated timepieces to date: the Lady Arpels Heures Florales and Lady Arpels Heures Florales Cerisier. Drawing inspiration from the floral clock concept of Swedish botanist Carl Von Linné, the timepieces offer a poetic rendition of the passage of time through a garden theatre on the wrist, where flowers blossom and close in a specialised cycle according to specific moments of the day. The scenery of the three dimensional dials are renewed every hour thanks to the array of 12 animated mechanical flora, while minutes are read via a side window on the edge of the case in 18-karat yellow gold or 18-karat white gold with diamonds. Jaw-dropping.
Chopard L.U.C Full Strike Sapphire
In celebration of the L.U.C collection’s 25th collection, Chopard presents a trio of new chiming watches under the consultation of virtuoso cellist and violinist Gautier and Renaud Capuçon to create a sound that is clear and beautiful. One of the results? A striking update that brings the L.U.C collection a step further into the crystal age via the L.U.C Full Strike Saphhire, a minute-repeating wristwatch featuring a case made entirely from sapphire, which is a first in the industry. Created in a limited edition of just five pieces, the timepiece features a 42.5mm case, crown and dial cut entirely from synthetic sapphire that also offers a full view of the hand-wound Chopard L.U.C 08.01-L movement. Add on its use of solid sapphire gongs and the sapphire crystal as a resonator, and its safe to say that Chopard has broken the glass ceiling here.
Piaget Altiplano Ultimate Concept
Renowned as specialists in ultra-thin movements, Piaget’s Altiplano Ultimate Concept timepiece held the record as the world’s thinnest watch (2mm) in 2017 until Bvlgari unveiled their 1.8mm Octo Finissimo Ultra last month. Their latest release demonstrates that it was never about winning the race or setting the record but rather a quest for elegance, as the new Altiplano Ultimate Concept pays tribute to the history of its record-setting project in its stylistic details. The original piece’s first ‘beat’ serves as inspiration, with an engraving of the exact place, date and time of when the AUC first came to life, while the dial plate is decorated with stars illuminated by Super-LumiNova, arranged to replicate the sky above Piaget’s headquarters La Côte-aux-Fées on the date of the AUC’s birth.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Rendez-Vous Star
Time often depicts the movement of the moon, sun and stars, but when looking to the celestial skies for inspiration once again, Jaeger-LeCoultre found a romantic attraction to shooting stars. To capture that essence and joy of unpredictable romance, the Manufacture conceived and developed a brand new mechanism. Offered in two stunning variations—a white gold case with silvery-blue tones on the dial and a pink gold case featuring a dial in soft golden browns—the Rendez-Vous Star will surprise you with the appearance of shooting stars on the dial at random moments. They’re activated by wrist movement and can appear four to six times per hour, with no set ‘schedule’ though the wearer can summon it by turning the crown a few times. At its heart is a newly-developed automatic calibre 734 that defies horology laws. Where precision traditionally takes the lead, the Rendez-Vous Star charms with the new shooting star mechanism, willing the light streaks to appear, well, randomly. Like stars in the night sky, diamonds adorn the sapphire glass dial, with more glittering pieces around the bezel, totalling 189 diamonds for 1.48 carats. It’s a beauty.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Perpetual Calendar
The Polaris line welcomes one of horology’s most complex yet prized complications for the first time: a perpetual calendar. Sporty and elegant, the Polaris Perpetual Calendar too houses a newly-developed, in-house movement—the Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 868AA that displays the moon phases in both hemispheres as well as the perpetual calendar, allows an extended power reserve of 70 hours, and the Polaris signature, a rotating inner bezel. To complement the display, Jaeger-LeCoultre gives the dial a gradient-blue lacquer finish alongside a 42mm case in either steel or pink gold. So what makes a perpetual calendar difficult to master and easy to appreciate? A typical date display would need to be adjusted at the end of every month, disregarding leap years and 30-day months. A perpetual calendar dismisses all that, not requiring any manual correction until 2100. Practical, modern and aesthetic, the Polaris Perpetual Calendar extends its sportiness with luminescent coating on hands and indexes to ensure visibility regardless of lighting conditions. In addition, the newly-introduced (and easy) interchangeable strap system gives even more personalisation leeway for day-to-day (or day-to-night) wear.
Patek Philippe World Time 7130R
Patek Philippe’s sophisticated World Time model has been an icon of watch-making artistry for over 85 years and this round, the classic has been reinterpreted into a ladies 36mm rose gold model with an olive green face, gold-applied hour markers and a sparkling bezel set with 62 diamonds. The detailed old basket-weave motif finely hand-guilloche on the centre of the dial is a tribute to rare Swiss craftsmanship skills. Powering the timepiece is a self-winding, ultra-thin calibre 240 HU mechanical movement that displays the time in all the 24 time zones featured around the edge of the dial. Finally, the shiny hand-stitched, olive green calfskin strap further elevates the elegance of the timepiece.
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