With Watches & Wonders 2022 ending with a resounding success a couple of weeks ago, we bring you a recap of six of the hero timepieces that were presented during the first physical watch fair held in Geneva, post-pandemic.
Cartier Santos Dumont
The revival of watches from yesteryear has been an ongoing trend for some time, though the reissues mostly revolved around the theme of vintage sports watches. Regarded by many as one of the most charming vintage reissues of Watches & Wonders 2022, is Cartier’s refreshed Santos Dumont. Inspired by one of aviation’s most famous and impeccably dressed pioneers, Alberto Santos-Dumont, the Santos-Dumont has more or less enjoyed quieter fame compared to Cartier’s other iconic timepieces. Elegance, simplicity and practicality, were the three core principles that Alberto Santos-Dumont’s personal style was built upon. It was also the foundation on which Cartier based the design of this watch upon. Lacquer, a popular form of dial decoration in the early 20th century, was used to give the timepiece a vintage look.
Produced in three colours – black, burgundy and cream, the antique-effect is most prevalent on the cream-coloured dial, which, at first look, reminds one of aged ivory. Besides pairing the cream-coloured dial with a rose gold case, the black is paired with steel, and burgundy lacquer with platinum. Each dial is meticulously painted with lacquer thin enough to let the colour of the metal seep through, then smoothened and polished by hand.
The new Santos-Dumont has a case size of 43.5m, and is fitted with the 430 MC manual-winding manufacture movement. The platinum version is released as a limited edition of 150 pieces, the rose gold 250 pieces, while the steel and black version will be part of Cartier’s regular production.
Chopard Alpine Eagle Flying Tourbillon
One of Chopard’s most emblematic launches in the recent few years, the Alpine Eagle line has been very well received since debuting in 2019. This collection, which drew inspiration from the St. Moritz series of the 1980s, welcomed its first tourbillon model during Watches & Wonders 2022.
Fitted with Chopard’s very own L.U.C 96-24-L self-winding movement, the Alpine Eagle Flying Tourbillon is also the first model in the collection (and one of the very few tourbillon watches on the market) to bear the Poinçon de Geneve certification, in addition to being a COSC-certified chronometer. Although it bears striking resemblance to the other earlier models in the Alpine Eagle series, there are some tiny differences. Firstly, compared to the earliest base model of the collection, the case of the Flying Tourbillon has been slimmed down, thanks to the use of a self-winding movement with a micro-rotor. The width of the bezel was also made slightly thinner, to accommodate the flying tourbillon and still have the dial appear reasonably spacious. The watch also boasts a power reserve of 65 hours, due to the usage of two stacked barrels.
Chopard’s proprietary alloy, the Lucent Steel A33, has also been used to craft the bracelet of the Alpine Eagle Flying Tourbillon. It is endowed with hypoallergenic properties, as well as hardness that triumphs over conventional stainless steel.
Zenith Chronomaster Open
In 2003, Zenith made watchmaking history by being the first brand to launch a timepiece featuring a cut-out dial that revealed its high-frequency chronograph movement – the one and only El Primero calibre. Christened as the Chronomaster Open, this series of chronographs has since become one of Zenith’s most iconic creations.
The recent few years have seen Zenith gradually streamlining its Chronomaster series, and the latest Chronomaster Open released at Watches & Wonders 2022 has been updated in terms of design as well as technical aspects. The most significant update would be the change of movement – it now houses the in-house calibre El Primero 3604, a reworked version of the El Primero 3600 (launched last year) that now features a skeletonised escapement. Still accurate to 1/10th of a second, this refreshed Chronomaster Open has also been redesigned to feature a smaller and more wearable case size that is now 39.5mm. Parts of the movement visible from the open-heart dial have also been finished with a laser-engraved pattern, rather than perlage decoration that was used previously. Zenith also chose to give the dial opening a more contemporary update by using chamfered edges, rather than a ‘frame-like’ border used in earlier versions.
Montblanc 1858 Iced Sea Auto Date
The very first diving watch crafted by Montblanc did not draw inspiration from the depths of the ocean. Instead, the brand sought ideas from the largest glacier in France – the Mer de Glace (Sea of Ice), which lies at an altitude of about 2,100m, within the French Alps.
The introductory video of this timepiece was filmed in situ at the actual Mont Blanc massif, with Laurent Lecamp, Managing Director of the brand’s watchmaking division personally addressing the audience amidst sub-zero temperature and gusty winds. Montblanc has chosen to stay true to its passion for exploration with the 1858 Iced Sea Auto Date, and the most emblematic element of this watch, would be none other than its unique dial, which appears to look like glacial ice that has been frozen for thousands of years. To achieve this stunning visual effect, the craftsmen at Montblanc looked to a vintage lacquering technique named the gratté boisé, an age-old and near-forgotten method involves scraping lacquer with wood. Although resembling thick ice, the dial is in fact only 5mm thick. Created in black, blue and green, each dial colour corresponds to the actual colour of different types of glacial ice – blue being the colour of ice found at Mont Blanc, green for glacial ice from the Antarctic region that has microscopic snow algae that is green. Lastly, black for ice that is free of air bubbles (hence no light being able to pass through), or ice that has been darkened by volcanic ash.
The 1858 Iced Sea Automatic is a functioning timekeeper that meets the ISO 6425 standard for divers’ watches, and has also undergone the Montblanc Laboratory 500 Hour Test to ensure its shock, magnetic, temperature and water resistance. White SuperLuminova® has also been applied on the hands, indexes and the 12 o’clock dot, to ensure legibility in low light conditions.
Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda PF GMT Rattrapante
Parmigiani Fleurier has created the world’s first watch with a GMT function that is based on the principle of the rattrapante – two hands ‘catching up’ with each other. Not to be confused with the rattrapante, or split-second complication, the Tonda PF GMT Rattrapante makes use of 2 hour hands, stacked on top of each other and moves in the manner of a split-second chronograph, to display the difference between the two time zones. How it functions is actually rather straightforward and intuitive – a pushbutton at 8 o’clock reveals the home time in the form of a rose gold hour hand, and can be further pressed to adjust the time in one-hour increments. When a 2nd time zone is no longer needed, simply press the pushpiece integrated into the crown, and it will ‘catch up’ with the rhodium-plated hour hand and be hidden underneath it. Why rose gold for the hour hand representing home time? Because time at home is always more precious, according to the watchmaker.
Besides Parmigiani Fleurier’s signature knurled bezel, the ‘Milano Blue’ dial is decorated with a fine barleycorn guilloché pattern. This highly practical timepiece is wonderfully understated and embodies form and function perfectly.
TAG Heuer Aquaracer Pro 1000 Superdiver
One of the core pillars of TAG Heuer, the Aquaracer has established itself as one of the most reliable dive watches on the market. The latest addition to the series is the Aquaracer Pro 1000 Superdiver, engineered for deep sea exploration.
The main highlight of this new timepiece is its movement – the COSC-certified calibre TH30-00. It has been created exclusively for TAG Heuer by the renowned Kenissi Manufacture SA, and this signifies the beginning of a new partnership between the two brands. The watch has also been designed as a tool watch for extreme diving. Functional elements include a crown protector that moves together with crown during adjustment, offering optimal and all-round protection. Its bezel, crafted using an orange hybrid ceramic combined with black ceramic inserts with SuperLuminova®, has been meticulously engineered and tested to ensure clear legibility under low-light conditions in extreme depths, and also to remain stable (i.e. does not ‘pop out’) when used under great pressure in deep waters.
What’s even more reassuring, is that the TAG Heuer Aquaracer Pro 1000 Superdiver meets the ISO 6425:2018 standards for diving watches, which includes certification for saturation diving – a level rarely attained by professional dive watches.
Keep up with all the Watches and Wonders 2022 launches here! Locate the nearest boutique for a visit.