The 7 Best New Timepieces From the World’s Biggest Watch Show

It’s never easy to single out a single watch when there are hundreds of them on offer at Watches & Wonders, but our staff looked long and hard, followed their guts, and answered the big question: Which was the best in show? Below are our Editors’ Picks.

Rolex 1908 Platinum

There were so many incredible watches at the fair: Vacheron Constantin’s diabolically complicated Chinese Perpetual Calendar broke a world recrod with 63 complications; the “how-is-this-possible” IWC perpetual Perpetual Calendar; the master-class in branding at Chanel; the creative genius of Marie-Laure Cérède and her team at Cartier. However, my love for classic watches—especially those with guilloché and blue dials with white metal—means that, for me, the Rolex 1908 in platinum was the “King of the Fair.” Even without the gorgeous rice-grain guilloché pattern, this dial is a winner. It’s minimalist and elegant, with long, needle-thin indexes, three Arabic numerals and circle-tipped Breguet-style hour hand. The bezel follows suit, with discreet fluting only on the lower edge. The case is 39 mm: perfect. Is it a Superlative Chronometer? Of course. Rolex has historically used light blue dials with in its platinum watches, so in a way Rolex started what appears to be a new trend based on what we saw at Watches & Wonders last week. —Carol Besler, Contributor.


Cartier Tortue in Platinum

Every year at Watches & Wonders, the camera roles of attendees fill up with scores—possibly even hundreds—of wrist shots, adorned with pieces large, small, complicated, classic, fancy, plain—and sometimes just plain grotesque. These images will sustain the watch nerd through many flights, taxi rides or even just idle hours of work avoidance. Since returning from the fair, however, I have only had eyes for two snaps I took: my wrist, cuffed by a tweed jacket, adorned with the Cartier Prive Tortue Monopoussoir Chronograph in platinum; the other the time-only edition in the same metal.

Both are exquisite, returning to one of Cartier’s most iconic case shapes that debuted in 1912, five years before the tank saw the light of day. Clearly the Monopoussoir is the headline act of the two, but my heart is stolen by the beguiling yet simple lines of the two-hander: its Goldilocks size (32.9mm x 41.4mm) seduces my wrist, while its clean dial and Breguet hands whisper refined elegance. I can already imagine wearing it with tailoring, bien sur, but imagine how understated yet undeniably cool it would look creeping out from under casual fits: a faded, vintage army shirt; a grey marl sweat; a navy cashmere pullover. The only way to stop me staring at those photos in my phone is to try and get one of the 200 limited editions to stare at instead. – Paul Croughton, Editor in Chief.


Patek Philippe 5738 1R Ellipse

I have long been a fan of the Patek Philippe Ellipse. In fact, I have more than a handful in my “window shopping carts” on various pre-owned sites (working in luxury is a special kind of torture), so I was thrilled to see Patek release a beautiful gold bracelet version this year, the Ref. 5738 1R. The development of any kind of bracelet is an extraordinarily challenging task for any house, but the intricacy of the 363 elements of the woven links and the smoothness with which they wear on the wrist is a feat best seen in person. The Ellipse is a rising star in the Patek Philippe catalog, with requests beginning to flood in from younger clients—something the brand says it is more than happy to see after the endless hype around the Nautilus and Aquanaut. Interestingly, requests from both men and women have been on the rise. Due to the challenge of making the bracelet on this model, insiders say just a little over 100 will be made each year. If we’re lucky, I’d say we might get just a couple of these in key U.S. markets. If you can’t get this one in hand, it might be wise to start considering the secondary market where, for the moment, the watch is still relatively reasonably priced. —Paige Reddinger, Watches & Jewellery Editor.

Patek Philippe

Hermès Arceau Chorus Stellarum

Maybe as a former full-time Deadhead I’m just a sucker for a skeleton wearing a tophat, or maybe this watch enchants me because, as a bearded American motorcycling dude, I could rock this exceptional high-art timepiece from the storied French fashion house without feeling like I’m attempting drag. Either way, this watch stuns. The dial recreates the Chorus Stellarum silk scarf designed by the Japanese illustrator Daiske Nomura. Nomura started by designing men’s scarves for Hermès, but his skeleton was so charming that women began incorporating the dark and mysterious silks into their evening wear. And just like that, a grass-roots, gender-neutral masterpiece was born. Now rendered horologically, a guy like me could wear this famous skeleton while roaring the V-Twins with the dudes and then hand it off to a Hollywood starlette to complete her backless floor-length getup at the Oscars. Find me another watch from this year—or any—as capable of escaping just about every genre that tries to contain it. I wouldn’t have picked this watch, however, if it wasn’t simply gorgeous, or if it didn’t also satisfy my longing for high complication. I marvel at the mechanical works which send that skeleton and his horse prancing across the dial. It’s a parlor trick that keeps no time, indeed. But it is a complication that enchantingly animates the otherworld on offer from the Hermès Arceau Chorus Stellarum. —Allen Farmelo, Digital Watch Editor.


Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda Petite Seconde

There are plenty of watchmakers who focus exclusively on horological achievement—but the reality is, you’re going to wear your watch with clothes. Parmigiani Fleurier’s new Toric collection, which includes two time-only pieces and a pretty stellar rattrapante chronograph, was designed to work with the modern man’s wardrobe. As a recovering fashion editor, that’s something I can’t help but appreciate. In aiming for what it calls “horological sartorial refinement,” the brand has produced a trio of references aligned with menswear details, but my favorite of them is the small seconds model with a platinum case and a dial in an alluring color called gray celadon. The case thickness, at just 8.8 mm, should have no trouble sliding under the cuff of a shirt. The sewing of the alligator bracelet borrows a technique from Neapolitan tailors called “punto a mano”—small stitches that allow for greater flexibility. And it’s not all style and no substance. The collection introduces a new 18k gold hand-wound movement, made in house, that’s modernist by design. I spent a lot of time looking at its geometric bridges and visible barrels. And fortunately, because the strap is secured with a pin buckle, you can turn it over and enjoy an unobstructed view of it working away. —Justin Fenner, Senior Editor.

Parmigiani Fleurier

Chanel Manchette Bobine Couture

Chanel outdid itself this year with “Couture O’Clock,” a capsule collection of timepieces that pay homage to the tools and materials of Coco Chanel’s Paris atelier. Inspired by a humble spool of thread, the 18k gold Bobine high jewelry cuff is a luxe secret watch hidden behind a 17.51-carat emerald-cut yellow sapphire. Crisscrossed with more than 33 carats of brilliant- and baguette-cut diamonds, the pièce unique threads the needle between high jewelry, haute couture and watchmaking in spectacular fashion. —Victoria Gomelsky, Contributor.


Laurent Ferrier Classic Moon

I’ve long been a self-proclaimed sport watch gal. My first major purchase was a Zenith El Primero, and most often, you’ll find me wearing some stainless-steel watch with an integrated bracelet (at the moment, the 42 mm Girard-Perregaux Laureato—a size I never thought I could pull off with my 5’3” frame). You get the idea—classic, precious metal dress watches have rarely been a regular part of my rotation. So, my favorite model from Watches & Wonders may come as a surprise. Enter the Laurent Ferrier Classic Moon, marking the first moon phase for the brand. The moon phase has historically been deemed a romantic—some say say feminine—complication. With my affinity for a masculine sport watch, you can understand why I hadn’t given the moonphase the consideration it deserves. That is until I saw this latest offering from Laurent Ferrier—the single piece the brand unveiled at Watches & Wonders. It is offered in two classic colorways: stainless steel with a gray-blue opaline dial or rose gold with vertical satin finished silver dial (my personal fave). The model offers the oversized proportions I love (40 mm), giving the watch a heft I appreciate on the wrist. The moon phase takes centerstage, rendered in aventurine glass from Murano artisans then engraved to create the shape of the moon and stars with hand-applied white paint and Super-LumiNova for the details. The cherry on top is the translucent enamel disc atop the moon, which rotates to indicate the phases. —Cait Bazemore, Contributor.

Laurent Ferrier

Sign up for our Newsletters

Stay up to date with our latest series