Following up on our on-the-ground editorial team’s favorite Watches & Wonders releases, we’re now getting some input from Revolution HQ, where other members of the Revo team were keeping an eye on the action through press releases and Instagram. Without any further ado, let’s hand it over to Andre and Sheng for their favorite picks of the fair.
I’ve been told that I cannot choose our own Grail Watch 7: Angelus x Alain Silberstein U11 Streamline Tourbillon as one of my picks, so I’ll have to find some other equally excellent options.
Laurent Ferrier Classic & Square Micro-Rotor Evergreen
My first pick is the 40mm Classic and 41mm Square Laurent Ferrier Micro-Rotor watches that were just launched in ‘Evergreen.’ Not much mansplaining to do here; just look at these watches. However, if you’re a watch nerd, you’d appreciate the micro-rotor and natural escapement of these watches. As you might know, the micro-rotor is a miniaturized version of a rotor, or oscillating weight, that winds the watch. The thing is, few watchmakers have the skills to reduce a rotor into a micro-rotor, because this edit affects the entire structure and design of a watch’s gear train. In terms of energy transfer, a micro-rotor helps thinness but generates less power, so it requires a watchmaker to rethink the design and overall feasibility of a watch.
The vaunted Micro-Rotor collection by Laurent Ferrier also operates on a natural escapement, which has a pallet lever made of silicium that minimizes friction and the need for lubrication, but is very difficult to make. Ferrier spent 37 years cutting his teeth in Patek Philippe, but what I admire most about him is his impeccable taste in design, and this watch is no exception.
Czapek Antarctique series
On the topic of integrated bracelets and sector dials, what is it about Czapek watches that draws me to them? They don’t have lavish métiers d’art or complications – but their designs come together perfectly. Much like how a millimetre difference on a human face can predetermine one’s opportunities in life, an index that was a millimetre too thin or a numeral that was a millimetre too far would have totally upset the overall appearance of these watches. It’s difficult to choose between the new Czapek novelties, but if forced, I would pick the Antarctique S Sashiko with pink lotus dial. Mr Xavier de Roquemaurel divulged that he resonates with the pink lotus dial, because the lotus, in many cultures, symbolizes resurrection. Sure, the Czapek brand might have very little to do with its namesake Franciszek Czapek, who Antoni Patek frustrated beyond belief, but I’d like to support this brand and see it grow.
Oris Propilot X Kermit Edition
I had the privilege of being one of the first people in the world to see the Oris Propilot X Kermit Edition. Besides how its beautiful shade of green complements its titanium case and bracelet, I love what the watch stands for: Oris’s Creative Director Ken Laurent and Disney’s The Muppets team shared that the smiling Kermit popping up at the first of every month, is meant to remind us all not to take life too seriously. How often do you come across a luxury watch that is not themed on flaunting knowledge or wealth? The Oris Propilot X Kermit Edition is driven by the Caliber 400, an in-house amagnetic caliber that packs 120 hours of power reserve. Please go experience this watch in person, you won’t be disappointed.
In 2023, as the world opened up to pour into the Geneva fair, most watch brands played it safe with slight updates and new movements. Rolex stood out by surprising everyone with their new launches, including an all-titanium model, a new dress watch lineup, and a dial featuring emojis on the date wheel. Despite, or perhaps because of, the conservative year, some models or line-ups have managed to refine themselves and become more attractive than ever. Among them, three new models stand out for their outstanding overall performance, from their fresh concepts to precise execution, and all are equipped with new movements.
Rolex Perpetual 1908
The Rolex Perpetual 1908 was undoubtedly my favourite among all the launches at Watches & Wonders. I was pleasantly surprised by its dressy and classy design, which is unusual for a brand that specializes in sports watches. But that’s what precisely makes this watch so refreshingly different and almost nostalgic, while still feeling undeniably Rolex. Although the concept of an old-school dress watch is already intriguing, I was particularly impressed by the quality of its execution, which has made Rolex, an already elegant brand, even more so. From the slim fluted bezel and Arabic markers to the small seconds and “lollipop” hands, every detail is refined. And there’s more! It has an open case back to reveal the brand-new cal. 7140 that’s so thin that it results in a watch that’s 9.5 mm tall. These new features – a dressier design, sleeker movement, more detailed finishing, and higher price point – suggest that Rolex may be preparing itself to move upmarket and compete with watchmakers known for movement finishing. I am excited to see how Rolex continues to grow this line in terms of finishing, mechanics, as well as size (a slightly smaller version, pretty please?).
Grand Seiko Tentagraph SLGC001
Another notable launch is the Tentagraph, the first-ever mechanical chronograph for the watchmaker. It’s satisfying to see that the Tentagraph fills a long-existing gap in the brand’s lineup, especially since it does so in a uniquely Grand Seiko manner. One standout feature is the instantly recognizable “Iwate” dial, which is an earlier pattern from the brand that has an intricate and organic appeal, easily distinguishing it from its competition. More importantly, the new cal. 9SC5 movement is based on the brand’s flagship cal. 9SA5, meaning it has the innovative Dual Impulse Escapement, a high frequency of 5Hz, as well as a beautiful layout that resembles Mount Fuji. This makes it stand out among its competitors in terms of exotic technology, although its construction is a little quirky as it features a chronograph module added onto the dial side – an excellent one with a vertical clutch and column wheel – instead of an integrated chronograph system. Yet, this approach makes production sense, as the brand’s engineers have pointed out that the cal. 9SA5 has been specially designed to easily incorporate dial-side modules, streamlining the development process for new movements. It’s reasonable to expect that the cal. 9SA5 will feature a broader range of functions, and I’m curious to see how it develops.
A. Lange & Söhne Odysseus Chronograph
The trend in high-end watchmaking appears to be leaning towards the creation of sports watches with more complications. As a result, the Odysseus Chronograph, Lange’s first-ever sports watch chronograph and automatic chronograph, has been long awaited and should come as no surprise. Still, it is a noteworthy release due to its clever and peculiar execution. The design of the chronograph is smart in that it looks just like a regular Odysseus Datomatic, with the dial and case appearing identical, thanks to the use of central elapsed minutes and seconds, eliminating the need for additional counters. Additionally, the pushers around the crown have dual functions; they serve as the chronograph pushers, and also as the date and day correctors, which can be activated when the crown is pulled to the first position. Above all, the most bizarrely unexpected feature of the Odysseus Chronograph is its reset function. The elapsed seconds zero out in a dramatic manner, travelling around the dial a number of times equal to the recorded minutes. This feature doesn’t contribute to the watch’s functionality, which makes it peculiar coming from Lange, a brand renowned for its serious-minded and engineering-focused approach. What could this unforeseen feature indicate for the future of Lange?