The year’s largest watch fair, Watches & Wonders, has just kicked off in a hybrid phygital format. Taking place from March 30 to April 5 in Geneva, as well as online through virtual presentations, the summit will see 38 participating brands unveil their latest horological creations. Here are The Peak’s highlights from day one of the event.
01: A. Lange & Sohne — Odysseus in titanium
Launched in 2019 in steel, A. Lange & Sohne’s sporty-elegant Odysseus has already become a sought-after pillar for the brand. At Watches & Wonders, the manufacture unveiled a new edition in titanium, which also marks the first time the brand — which usually works with precious metals — is making a titanium timepiece. Limited to 250 pieces (we can already feel the frenzy), the new Odysseus features a new ice-blue colour.
Exclusive dial details further distinguish the titanium model: The hour ring is decorated with circular guilloche grooves, a detail that is repeated on the rim of the seconds subdial. These lines contrast with the grained finishes on the rest of the dial, which Lange describes as “irregularly structured”. Powered by the L.155.1 Datomatic self-winding movement, the watch comes on a titanium bracelet with a fine-adjustment mechanism that allows it to be changed by up to 7mm.
02: Hublot — Square Bang Unico
Hublot has its round (Big Bang) and tonneau (Spirit of Big Bang) watches covered, and now, it launches its take on the square watch with the rather literally named Square Bang Unico. Measuring 42mm in diameter and 14.5mm thick, the new watch puts its Unico automatic chronograph movement front and centre by dispensing with a dial and through the extensive use of sapphire, as one sees in the Big Bang.
The signature style of Hublot’s flagship model is very much present: The bezel features six functional screws, while the sides of the watch are protected by those familiar “ears”. Five references are available, including three in titanium, black ceramic or King Gold; and two in titanium or King Gold with a black ceramic bezel.
03: Hermes — Arceau Le Temps Voyageur
In a crowded watch market, Hermes stands out with its playful complications, and true to form, Arceau Le Temps Voyageur is the house’s unique take on the travel watch. Powered by Hermes’ H1837 self-winding movement with a “Travelling Time” module, the watch features a rotating hours-and-minutes display that shows the local time in different cities. Pressing the pusher at 9 o’clock advances this subdial to one of 24 time zones represented by cities on the world-time flange. Well, mostly cities: The time zone often represented by Paris is here represented by 24 FBG — 24 Rue du Faubourg St Honore, the address of Hermes’ Parisian flagship. Home time, on the other hand, is shown in the aperture at 12 o’clock.
While most world-time watches feature a decorative map of the world, the local-time satellite moves over a map of an imaginary equestrian world. Created with a mix of techniques including laser-engraving and lacquering, the map was created by Jerome Colliard for the house’s Planisphere d’un monde equestre silk scarf. Interestingly, two variants of the watch have been made: A 41mm platinum version with a matte black DLC-treated titanium bezel, and a 38mm steel model.
04: Chanel — J12 Diamond Tourbillon
It isn’t every day that a watch brand creates its own flying tourbillon movement. So when Chanel did so with the new hand-wound Calibre 5, it did something pretty special — position a 0.18-carat solitaire diamond right in the centre of said tourbillon. A 65-facet cut was specially created for this stone to maximise its brilliance as the tourbillon rotates. Housed in a 38mm black ceramic case with either a ceramic bezel or a diamond-set one (pictured), the watch’s hands and tourbillon cage are also diamond-set to match.
In the press notes, Chanel Watchmaking Creation Studio director Arnaud Chastaingt shares, “Calibre 5, our fifth in-house movement, was conceived and designed in Paris, then developed and assembled by our watchmakers at the Chanel manufacture at La Chaux-de-Fonds. I wanted to endow the J12 watch with a diamond. (…) Diamonds were Gabrielle Chanel’s favourite gemstone.”
05: Zenith — Chronomaster Open
If you had a calibre as iconic as Zenith’s El Primero, you’d want to show it off too — which is why the Chronomaster Open, with its partially open dial, was launched in 2003. Now, that feature, which has remained a prominent feature in many Chronomaster watches, makes its return in an improved form. The new Chronomaster Open is powered by the automatic El Primero 3604, which is based on the El Primero 3600 calibre that was introduced in 2021, complete with a 1/10 of a second chronograph and greater efficiency.
Part of the new movement, including its silicon star-shaped escape wheel, is shown off through a hesalite crystal element that also serves as a seconds display. This feature enables it to retain the tri-colour dial layout that was established with the A386 in 1969. To ensure its wearability even for smaller wrists, the Chronomaster Open is 39.5mm in diameter and has relatively compact lugs. The watch is available in steel with a white or black dial, with a steel bracelet or cordura-effect rubber strap; or in rose gold with a white dial and a blue cordura-effect rubber strap.