Watches and Wonders Geneva 2023 – a journey into watchmaking and its marvels.
For a whole week, the Swiss city of Geneva stopped or better to say that it was beating to the rhythm of watchmaking movements with one the biggest fairs in the field: Watches and Wonders Geneva 2023. Activities ‘In the Salon’ happened on April 1 and 2 and ‘In the City’ ran from March 27 until April 1.
During the fair, numerous innovations were presented to keep pace with the rapidly growing global watch market. The booths of the biggest players in the field were beautifully decorated and specially designed for the event. A large concentration of some of the most incredible timepieces in the world was under the same roof – an unforgettable celebration of these timekeepers that first appeared in the 15th century.
The event was extended beyond Palexpo (the convention centre where the fair happened), and the ‘In the City’ experiences were as grand as the buzz in the event’s corridors. They marked a turning point in the development of Watches and Wonders Geneva, engaging the city and the general public, who were drawn by special events in the boutiques and at other points of interest in the watchmaking capital.
Watches and Wonders Geneva 2023 closed with record figures, with 43,000 unique visitors (22,000 in 2022) over the whole week, 5,400 retailers, 125 nationalities, and 35,000 overnight stays, while the number of end consumers doubled during the first five days.
In the following pages, we will bring some of the latest launches that happened at this extraordinary exhibition and around town. The OHLALA team was there again this year and we had the opportunity to experience this fascinating event firsthand – we are looking forward to going back next year!
Cartier has added a new timepiece to its Cartier Privé collection: the Tank Normale.
It is interesting to notice how Cartier sees time. They see it as cyclical instead of linear, explaining why the luxury brand is constantly engaged in transformation and reinvention and how Cartier watches make their mark in the present with an eye to the future.
Cartier’s new watch collections reflect this concept very well this year, with timepieces revisited by the maison and transformed through the prism of creativity. A selection of outstanding luxurious items is rethought: the elegant Tank Américaine, new interpretations of the Baignoire, Panthère, Santos de Cartier and the Clash [Un]limited watches. However, the spotlight goes to Tank Normale. Each year, a rare timepiece enters the Cartier Privé collection, the meeting place for collectors celebrating the brand’s legendary models through watches produced in numbered limited series. Cartier Privé reveals its seventh opus: the Tank Normale.
Created in 1917 by Louis Cartier and launched two years later, the Tank is one of the maison’s most remarkable creations. The new version borrows the proportions and the bevelled sapphire crystal of the original and is available in yellow gold on a brown alligator strap and platinum on a black alligator strap. In addition, this model is supplied on a yellow gold bracelet or a platinum bracelet, with satin and polished finishes evoking the spirit of the 1970s.
Cartier has added a skeleton (when the inner work is exposed) movement to this emblematic model, accompanied by a 24-hour complication, marked by a sun and crescent moon, that is also skeletonised. While the minute hand turns around the dial in one hour, the hour hand goes round in 24 hours instead of 12 hours. As a result, daytime hours appear on the upper part of the dial and night-time hours on the lower part. A limited edition of 50 numbered watches comes in yellow gold on a brown and green alligator strap with a blue sapphire cabochon on the winding crown and platinum on a burgundy and grey alligator strap with a ruby cabochon.
A version set with brilliant-cut diamonds completes the ensemble in a limited edition of 20 numbered pieces featuring an alligator strap in two shades of blue with a brilliant-cut diamond on the winding crown.
POWERFUL AS A LION
CHANEL Haute Horlogerie brings a new chapter to the Mademoiselle Privé collection with four new pieces.
Gabrielle Chanel, the founder and namesake of the CHANEL brand, was an iconic French fashion designer with a taste for luxury and creativity. To honour its founder, the Métiers d’Art collection is designed as a jewel box revealing the cherished symbols and objects she loved to surround herself with. The skills of the finest artisans make this collection an exclusive expression of expertise and savoir-faire. In 2023, CHANEL presents four new pieces in the Mademoiselle Privé collection celebrating Gabrielle Chanel’s star sign, Leo.
The Mademoiselle Privé Lion line brings a series of watches each hidden inside a button with a sculpted lion head. The Mademoiselle Privé Lion Cuff is an 18-carat yellow gold and titanium cuff with a black coating and a large lion head in yellow gold set with 252 brilliant-cut diamonds and onyx eyes, nose and ears. It hides the watch’s face which is made with a black-lacquered dial and an 18-carat yellow gold bezel set with 32 brilliant-cut diamonds. The Mademoiselle Privé Bouton Lion Cuff is a similar version, with a smaller lion head sculpted in 18-carat yellow gold with an 18-carat yellow gold dial set with 142 brilliant-cut diamonds. The Mademoiselle Privé Bouton Lion Watch has a satin-effect calfskin strap, an 18-carat yellow gold buckle and 47 brilliant-cut diamonds. To complete the collection, the Mademoiselle Privé Lion Necklace places the watch in an 18-carat yellow gold necklace set with black facetted onyx, 18-carat yellow gold spheres and 51 brilliant-cut diamonds.
NEW COLOURS AND SIZE
At the Watches and Wonders exhibition in Geneva, IWC Schaffhausen introduced its first 41mm Pilot’s Chronographs in ceramic.
IWC Schaffhausen is a pioneer in the use of ceramic for watch cases. In 1986, the company introduced the Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar Chronograph, the world’s first wristwatch with a case made of black zirconium oxide ceramic. IWC was also one of the first watch brands to push forward the development of different ceramic colours.
The Pilot’s Watch Chronograph 41 TOP GUN Oceana (Ref. 389404) features a case made of blue ceramic, developed in collaboration with Pantone and inspired by the colour of the U.S. Navy’s working overalls. The Pilot’s Watch Chronograph 41 TOP GUN (Ref. 389401) is IWC’s first 41mm Pilot’s Chronograph in black ceramic – a Jet Black black zirconium oxide ceramic case. This marks the first time IWC offers the Pilot’s Watch Chronograph 41 in a case made of ceramic – an extremely hard and scratch-resistant performance material.
Both timepieces are powered by the IWC-manufactured 69380 calibre, an extremely robust and reliable mechanical chronograph movement. This calibre family has been engineered with a strict focus on robustness, reliability and durability.
THE SKY IS YOURS
ZENITH Pilot watches welcome new items to their family.
ZENITH’s fascination with the world of aviation goes as far back as the late 19th century when its founder Georges Favre-Jacot thought humankind was on the verge of finally conquering the skies. He believed that ZENITH should be there alongside the brave pioneers who saw a world of freedom and infinite possibilities far above the horizon. Today, ZENITH continues to uphold and build upon this unparalleled heritage with the latest generation of the Pilot collection.
The watches revisit the collection’s aesthetic codes in a silhouette full of subtle details. Crafted in a 40mm stainless steel or black ceramic case, the Pilot Automatic features a new case design with a flat-top round bezel. The steel version’s surfaces are vertically satin-brushed with polished chamfers, while the black ceramic is entirely micro-blasted for a stealthy matte finish. The oversized crown, a defining feature of Pilot watches, takes on a more modern, angular form.
The Pilot Big Date Flyback line is the other new option. An interpretation of the El Primero 3600 calibre, with various new functions conceived specifically for the Pilot. The stainless steel takes a page from one of the most distinguished El Primero Flyback chronographs and the black ceramic takes on an a chromatic, utilitarian look with luminescent white markers and hands contrasting boldly against the opaline black corrugated dial. Both come in two distinct versions in a 42.5mm case.
Charles Zuber launched Perfos KARL, a skeletonised version of the original Perfos, to honour its founder.
Born in 1932 in the canton of Lucerne in Switzerland, Zuber’s first name was Karl. When he created his watch brand, he decided to give a French tone to his first name: Karl Zuber became Charles Zuber. As a tribute to him, Cédric Johner was invited to skeletonise the Perfos watch, created by Eric Giroud, giving life to Perfos KARL.
The design of the Perfos KARL is contemporary and suits lovers of style, strong design codes and watchmaking expertise. The dial comes with a metallic hue thanks to a galvanic deposit of satin-finished, hand-sunlit ruthenium, revealing the watch’s inner workings. The dial is surrounded at its centre by a halo of 36 baguettecut orange sapphires (0.8 carats) placed as a focal point, contrasting with the rose gold hands. The shiny black alligator strap is hand-finished.
On the front of the watch, a tour de force: on a sapphire crystal serving as the watch’s dial, 60 small coloured triangular pink gold appliques corresponding to the 60 minutes of the passing hour are placed, spaced in an arc like a sun. Machined one by one and assembled by hand, they give the impression of levitating above the movement. This exclusive edition is limited to eight pieces of 39mm in 18-carat pink gold. Each watch is full of emotion and characterised by the uniqueness of its finishes.
TRADITION MEETS MODERNITY
A model born from a combination of contemporary design and the wealth of Vacheron Constantin’s watchmaking heritage.
The new Traditionnelle tourbillon retrograde date openface watch design combines an avant-garde aesthetic, mechanical sophistication and the desire to share Vacheron Constantin’s creative expertise.
A retrograde date display is one in which the indicator does not complete a full turn of the dial, instead travelling along its entire measurement segment and returning to its starting point. Complemented by a tourbillon stylised in the shape of a hollowed-out Maltese Cross, the retrograde date display gains depth in a functional and contemporary style. At Vacheron Constantin, retrograde displays first became popular in the 1920s, when the maison’s creations were inspired by the aesthetic principles of Art Déco, with extravagant touches.
The opening uses the architecture of the 2162 R31 movement – with its slate grey shade achieved by an NAC (Lithium Nickel-Cobalt-Aluminum Oxide) surface treatment – visible on both sides, highlighting its mechanical power.
Housed in an 18-carat pink gold case measuring 41mm in diameter and only 11.07mm thick, this new timepiece is eye-catching yet not heavy. The openface dial features the watch’s technical nature and meticulous and consistent attention to detail, fitted with a grey alligator strap secured by a pink gold folding clasp.
FUN, FUNCTION AND SPARKLE
Oris launched three new timepieces with different approaches at their core.
ProPilot x Kermit Edition
This watch is a partnership with the TV show Sesame Street using one of its characters – Kermit, the frog. The timepiece is based on the 39mm titanium ProPilot X Calibre 400 with a green dial and a twist. On the first of every month, the date window at six o’clock is filled with a Kermit emoji – ‘Kermit Day’ is all about not taking life too seriously.
The new ProPilot Altimeter has an improved altimeter module capable of indicating altitudes up to 19,700ft or 6,000m (two available configurations). The new watch’s case is made in lightweight carbon fibre produced using an innovative process developed and perfected by a partnership with 9T Labs.
Aquis Date Diamonds
This is Oris’ first watch with a dial and bezel set with lab-grown diamonds. The bezel is set with 48 brilliant-cut, lab-grown diamonds and 44 diamonds are set into the dial. In total, the watch comes with 1.2 carats of diamonds.
Parmigiani Fleurier presents timepieces displaying three calendars: Gregorian, Islamic and Chinese.
Parmigiani Fleurier has created a trilogy of watches made in platinum that bring three different calendars using their alphabets. The Gregorian calendar is a solar dating system adopted by most of the world using Western-Arabic numbers. The Islamic calendar is a traditional lunar calendar and uses Eastern-Arabic numerals.
The Xiali calendar brings the complex Chinese system based on lunar and solar elements with Chinese numerals. Human history has always sought to control time, its flow and its predictability to organise and impart a distinctive rhythm to social, religious and agricultural life. The calendar is a universal concept enabling us to identify dates that appear like milestones. All civilisations have created them according to their perception based on the path of the sun, moon or both. While time is the same for everyone, its reading and measurement are specific to each human society.
The three watches are made in Platinum 950 with a sandblasted finish. The indices come in 18-carat gold rhodium-plated appliques; the moon phase is represented in blue aventurine. This exceptional trilogy is issued in a strictly limited edition of three box sets.
Bell & Ross gives an opulent twist to its BR 05 – painting it in gold and green. The new model has been designed for urban explorers.
The new BR 05 Green Gold complements the Bell & Ross BR 05 family. The BR 05 design is inspired by the iconic BR 03 but with a more refined style. It integrates the case and bracelet, resulting in a clean, stylish design with an edgy aura. The urban model launched in 2019 has been a great success for the brand.
The distinctive green colour of the dial characterises this new collection. The painted metal plate that serves as the base of the dial has a sunburst effect, changing colour when tilted. Depending on the reflections hitting its surface, it varies between an almost fluorescent shade to dark bottle green.
Made in 18-carat 5N gold, it gives the illusion of a gold ingot for the wrist. The sapphire crystal caseback reveals the beating heart of the automatic BR-CAL.321 mechanism, with an oscillating weight that is also adorned in gold – a third off-white shade to ensure better readability in the dark.
The integrated bracelet is designed entirely in satin-brushed gold; only the small links have a polished finish. A second alligator-leather strap is available in a classic style that pairs well with this elegant timepiece. This is the first time the BR 05 has featured a leather strap.
The following brands presented their new creations at events ‘In the City’:
Damiani went for the ‘Wonders’ approach and launched its Belle Époque Reel jewels.
Damiani Belle Époque jewels welcomes a new line to its family: the Belle Époque Reel. The spirit of these collections’ novelties reflects the dynamism and immediacy of the modern videos created for digital channels – from where the name ‘Reel’ is inspired. Cinema and visual arts, the inspiration behind the original Belle Époque collection, have become digital and contemporary.
The new line brings rings and necklaces in white, yellow and rose gold adorned with pure diamonds in their most precious versions. A mechanism that rotates on itself – just like a reel – is the central element in this line. Circles and rectangles – shapes within shapes – give endless chase, like multiple videos in a social media feed, a symbol of unstoppable ongoing progress.
These iconic jewels are dedicated to the new trendsetters, ambassadors of an inclusive contemporary and dynamic style. Symbol of tradition, craftsmanship, passion and creativity, the new Belle Époque Reel collection also embodies the finest goldsmiths’ art.
CLASSIC AND DARING
Dolce&Gabbana is known for its colourful style and creative clothes. When it comes to watches, they also offer subtle designs, such as the new item in the Sofia line. As with the other models of the same collection, the wristwatch is characterised by its squared case featuring a series of geometric facets. The new timepiece comes in 316L steel with 56 colourless diamonds set in the bezel, a rose-cut black diamond embellishing the crown and an ivory mother-of-pearl dial. A Swiss Made calibre and a 316L steel Milano mesh bracelet complete the watch, lending it character and class.
Two new precious wristwatches enrich the Anna Fine Jewellery Collection. A love story for precious stones: they are made with beaming yellow citrines or pink tourmalines found in different cuts and set in collets – on the case bezel and the entire bracelet. The 18-carat gold round case measuring 34mm in diameter, encloses a Swiss Made movement. The dial is also a light source, thanks to the brilliant diamond pavé with luminescent hands and enamelled baton hour markers. Made entirely in Italy by master goldsmiths at Dolce&Gabbana workshops, these jewel watches combine the brand’s creative DNA with the technical excellence of Swiss watchmaking tradition.
FUTURISTIC TIME MACHINES
Well-known for its fashion watches, Philipp Plein now shifts its business in a new direction.
German designer Philipp Plein founded his namesake fashion brand 25 years ago. During Watches and Wonders Geneva 2023, he launched a new business segment to his group: the luxury watch division made in Switzerland.
This project comes after the success of PHILIPP PLEIN fashion watches, launched in 2021, together with its licence partner, Timex Group. Today, PHILIPP PLEIN fashion watches are distributed in over 4,000 points of sale in 60 countries worldwide. The luxury watch division of PHILIPP PLEIN debuts with the CRYPTO KING and CRYPTO QUEEN collection, the first of many editions to come.
The CRYPTO KING features a double-layer, see-through dial with a 3D skull, a see-through caseback and double dome sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating. They are available in shades of red, black, fumé and lime. The CRYPTO QUEEN embodies the feminine essence of this luxury line with diamonds on the see-through dial. They are available in pastel colours, black, white and brown. And the 35mm x 45mm case comes in yellow or rose gold with four hexagon screws.
The PHILIPP PLEIN Swiss Made launch is unique, with a full-on phygital (physical and digital) experience, from the unboxing to the actual wear. Each watch comes with an exclusive, collectable, limited edition NFT (NON-FUNGIBLE TOKEN) created by NFT artist Antoni Tudisco. By purchasing a physical luxury watch, The PHILIPP PLEIN luxury watch owner automatically becomes an NFT art collector.