Up Your Wrist Game with The Three Biggest Trends Spotted This Year at Watches & Wonders 2021
There are countless reasons why the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 dampened our spirits more than just a little. One of those reasons for watch enthusiasts around the world was that the two major watch fairs, Baselworld and Watches & Wonders Geneva (formerly SIHH), was ultimately cancelled for the safety of both the exhibitors and visitors alike. Sure, new watches were still launched sporadically over the year, but nothing quite beats seeing most of the major players showcasing all their novelties within a week. Thankfully, this year, at Watches & Wonders Geneva 2021 we managed to rekindle some of that excitement, albeit in a fully digital form.
This year, Watches & Wonders upped the ante by hosting industry insiders and journalists within a completely virtual environment. Even the participating brands all created interesting presentations, some with astounding production value, to help visitors understand their direction for the year. The one thing that was sorely missed was the ability to touch and feel the latest novelties, but the hype that the fair generated within the community was just as exciting nonetheless.
If you think about the fact that pocket watches started to appear around the early 1500s, it is mind-blowing that even to this day, there are still innovations being unveiled for mechanical timepieces. At an age where a mechanical watch is, if based purely on functionality, considered obsolete, then these innovations are introduced purely as an art form, elevating these micro-mechanical devices from a necessity to an item of luxury.
This year we see incredible pieces launched. Like the world’s thinnest perpetual calendar—Bulgari Octo Finissimo Perpetual Calendar—where they manage to fit this age-old complication in a case that is only 5.8 mm thin by arranging 408 components of the movement into a 2.75 mm calibre.
Then there is the very first watch with four faces, the Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Hybris Mechanica Calibre 185 which packs a total of 11 complications packed into a stunningly compact form factor, a feat that required 12 new patents to be filed by the brand. Two dials are showcased on each side of the Reverso case while another two comes on the cradle that holds it.
Love Your Planet
Concern for the environment has been something that most luxury brands have put on their radar in the past few years. This year there seems to be even more emphasis put on this aspect with Panerai leading the charge. For their concept watch, the Panerai Submersible eLAB-ID, is the first of its kind, proclaiming that 98.6 per cent of its weight comes from materials integrating a high rate of recycled elements. Furthermore, they have made public the full list of their suppliers for this watch, inviting not only the companies under the Richemont umbrella but also their competitors to use these materials. Their CEO explains “We don’t want to be the only one doing this,” said Mr Pontroué. “Acting alone won’t save the world.”
Chopard has long been a champion for sustainability in the luxury industry, choosing to use only responsibly sourced raw materials like Fairmined gold and diamonds that meet the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme. Cartier used their latest Tank Must collection to draw attention to the lifespan of luxury products. One of the references in this collection is powered by the sun with the SolarBeat movement that has a lifespan of over 16 years and has a plant-based strap. This strap has a lower carbon footprint (6 times less), saves water (up to 10 litres) and energy (approximately 80 smartphone charges) compared to what is needed to make a calfskin strap.
Green is the New Black
Lastly, green dials seem to be all the rage this year. Whether or not it is because we have been confined in our homes for so long and just crave the feeling of being surrounded by nature once again, we don’t know but plenty of manufactures are looking to this colour for inspiration. Rolex put leaves on their Datejust and Tudor offers one with their first 18k gold case for the Black Bay Fifty-Eight.
Cartier has a monochromatic and minimalistic Tank Must in green, Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Reverso Tribute is in green, and so is Piaget’s Altiplano Ultimate Concept La Cote-Aux-Fees. H. Moser’s Pioneer Centre Seconds Mega Cool is in a sunburst, greenish dial, TAG Heuer also has one paired with a titanium case, and the list goes on.
Keep up with all the Watches and Wonders 2021 launches here!