Watches and Wonders roundup (part 2 of 4)

The watch industry is celebrating 2024 with a rich multitude of timekeeping marvels. Origins and anniversaries have been a major theme, though vintage flair and nostalgia aren’t the only factors defining watches. This year’s best new models prove the centuries-old industry is still experimenting and continuing to push bold, fresh and forward-looking ideas. Stephenie Gee reports


This year, Chanel paid homage to its iconic Rue Cambon ateliers with a capsule collection, Chanel Couture O’Clock, where various tools of the trade – think thimbles, threads, pins, scissors and measuring tapes – inspired Chanel’s watchmaking creations. The most captivating is undoubtedly the Musical Clock Couture Workshop. Part table clock, part musical box, part automaton, the one-off creation orchestrates a choreography of couture busts – made of aluminium ceramic, trimmed with black leather ribbons and decorated with one 18k yellow-gold diamond-set brooch each – to the rhythms of “My Woman” by Al Bowlly, a tune that Gabrielle Chanel liked to hum. At the base, time is displayed on a tape measure, with markings denoting 24 hours.

In addition to her affinity for black and white, Mademoiselle Chanel had a fondness for the colour pink, evident in many of the maison’s collections and designs. Which is why the Chanel Watchmaking Creation Studio turned to this classically feminine hue for its new limited-edition J12 and Boy•Friend watches. Numbered to only 12 pieces, the J12 X-Ray Pink Edition shows off its internal workings with a clear case of pink sapphire crystal and beige gold (a Chanel signature), set with pink sapphires and beige gold hands. A pink sapphire crystal bracelet completes the piece, which is also accented with beige gold links set with pink sapphires.


Renowned for its innovative jewellery and watches, Chopard captivates once again with its mastery of haute horlogerie and haute joaillerie. From the Alpine Eagle collection, the Alpine Eagle 41 XP Frozen Summit is an eye-catching marriage of the brand’s jewellery contributions and watchmaking expertise. The 41mm ethical 18k white gold case, as well as the entire dial, bezel, crown and integrated bracelet are set with baguette- cut diamonds, evoking the celestial beauty of stars reflected on glaciers. Making no compromises in terms of technical expertise, the timepiece is powered by the ultra-thin L.U.C 96.41-L movement with automatic winding via a micro-rotor ensuring a 65-hour power reserve.

Another standout from the line is the Alpine Eagle XL Chrono Titanium, the first addition of grade 5 titanium in the brand’s chronograph series. The “Rhône Blue” textured sunburst dial, inspired by the iris of an eagle, is complemented by a black outer flange with a tachymeter scale. The black tone is echoed on the two chronograph hours and minutes counters positioned at 3 and 9 o’clock, and on the smaller subdial at 6 o’clock, dedicated to tracking running seconds.

Other highlights from the unveiling include the L.U.C XPS Forest Green, with a 40mm Lucent Steel case (Chopard’s exclusive allow), a stunning 22-carat micro-rotor and twin barrel technology; a water blue Happy Sport limited to 250 pieces; an Imperiale in 18k white gold, fully diamond-set with a diamond, sapphire and mother-of-pearl dial; and the diamond- encrusted 26mm L’Heure du Diamant.

Grand Seiko

Grand Seiko dropped seven new timepieces at Watches and Wonders 2024, each with its own unique feature and design element showcasing the Japanese watchmaker’s great versatility. This includes the Spring Drive Chronograph GMT, a limited-edition release of 700 pieces to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the 9R Spring Drive calibre. Depending on the angle, the dial colour changes from red to orange, recreating the ebullient hues of a Shinshu (the region where all Grand Seiko Spring Drive creations are made) sunrise, courtesy of a new patented dial-coating technology called “Optical Multilayer Coating” involving a physical vapour deposition process. The presence of the lion
– a longstanding symbol of the brand, representing its courage in endeavouring the best in watchmaking accuracy, legibility, durability and beauty – is demonstrated in the powerful, angular case design, and the claw-like, hairline-finished lugs that juxtapose with the Zaratsu-polished surfaces.

There’s also the redesigned Evolution 9 collection, which marks the first time in over half a century that Grand Seiko has presented a hand-wound high-beat movement: the calibre 9SA4. It makes its debut in two elegant dress watches, the SLGW003 attired in Brilliant Hard Titanium and the SLGW002 made of 18k rose gold, both sporting a striking “White Birch Bark” dial with a unique multi-dimensional texture that nods to the white birch tree forests near the Grand Seiko Studio Shizukuishi.


Hermès unveiled three novelties at the Geneva watch fair encapsulating the brand’s legacy of crafting elegance and innovation in timekeeping. Of them all, the unisex Hermès Cut has drawn the most fanfare. Reimagining the conventional circular design, the Cut is a study in shapes, featuring a circular satin-brushed steel case with polished sloping bezels that create a distinct circle within a circle aesthetic. At its heart, the collection is powered by the Manufacture Hermès H1912 movement, a mechanical self-winding calibre with a 50- hour power reserve. Its unique crown placement at half past one, decorated with either an engraved or lacquered “H”, underscores Hermès’ knack for originality. The Cut is available in all-steel, a two-tone combination of steel and rose gold, and with or without 56 bezel-set diamonds. Moreover, an ingenious interchangeable strap system allows the wearer to swap between the satin- brushed steel bracelet or rubber straps in a range of eight vibrant colourways that make styling a breeze.

The other two releases, meanwhile, hark back to the maison’s equestrian roots. Limited to just 24 pieces and fashioned from grade 5 titanium, the Arceau Duc Attelé houses the Hermès H1926 manual winding movement, boasting a tourbillon and minute repeater complication, alongside a curved hours and minutes display that resembles a galloping horse. The six-piece Arceau Chorus Stellarum, meanwhile, is an elaborate display of champlevé, lacquer and painted stars, complemented by a yellow-gold horse applique that rears up at the push of a button. Powered by the automatic Hermès Manufacture movement H1837, it offers a 50-hour reserve and a balance frequency of 28,800 vibrations per hour.


The Swiss watchmaker’s Watches and Wonders 2024 showcase emphasised a dedicated focus on enhancing its signature timekeepers with new colours and materials. First up in the refreshed catalogue is a trio of Big Bang Unico, the brand’s signature flyback chronograph with an in-house movement. The vivid orange and olive green ceramic variants are especially noteworthy additions. Limited to 250 in each colour, the watches boast an uniform, mirror-polished ceramic across all exterior elements –
from the case, bezel, indices, subdials and hands to the integrated strap featuring Hublot’s patented one-click system – accented with touches of black for a striking colour contrast, and come with the reliability of the second- generation Unico Manufacture calibre 1280.

But the real heavyweight is the MP-11. First released at Baselworld 2018, this new 50-piece edition captivates with its groundbreaking “Water Blue” sapphire case, formulated with a fresh chemical formula, and still boasts all the essential properties of sapphire: brilliant, luminous, perfectly inalterable, and 100% resistant to knocks and scratches. It’s cool not only in terms of look and feel, but also optimal for this movement, allowing a clear view into the impressive construction featuring seven coaxial and vertical barrels that packs a long, long power reserve – 336 hours, or two weeks, to be precise!

IWC Schaffhausen

IWC may have just come up with an invention that most would agree is truly wondrous. Namely, the IWC Portugieser Eternal Calendar, the high- complication flagship of the revamped Portugieser collection unveiled at the recent Watches and Wonders. Unlike a perpetual calendar that will need a correction in 2100, the Eternal Calendar (the brand’s first secular perpetual calendar) is fitted with a 400-year gear to accommodate the three scheduled leap year skips over the next four centuries. In short, it will not need to be adjusted until the year 3999. Doubling down on precision, IWC also developed a new reduction gear so that the moonphase display will only deviate from Luna’s orbit once every 45 million years. The newly developed Calibre 52640 that powers the watch is housed inside a 44.4mm platinum case and can be glimpsed through the beautiful glass dial with an underside frosted and lacquered in white.

Because the Eternal Calendar isn’t enough of a feat, IWC also reworked and refined one of its most iconic models, the Perpetual Calendar. The new-gen Perpetual Calendar 44 is available in four versions: two in 18k white gold with Horizon Blue and Dune dials, and the other two cased in 18k Armor Gold with Obsidian or Silver Moon dials. The most notable update is the refreshed case construction with a slimmer middle band and a more slender profile that makes way for the box-glass sapphire crystal to have more prominence and the dial to look more expansive. The dials are painstakingly crafted with 15 layers of transparent lacquer, finely ground and polished to achieve a glossy effect. In true IWC fashion, the watch has big and bold proportions, measuring an imposing 44.4mm in diameter and 14.9mm thick.


For 191 years, the pursuit of precision has been an important driver for the Jaeger-LeCoultre manufacture. Which is why it’s only right it remains the thematic heart of each of its 2024 releases: the Duomètre Chronograph Moon, the Duomètre Quantième Lunaire and the Duomètre Héliotourbillon Perpetual.

The most complex of the new trio, the Duomètre Héliotourbillon Perpetual unites the house’s expertise in tourbillons with its Duomètre mechanism, which enables the addition of complications without any compromise to the accuracy of the timekeeping function. Central to this timepiece is the brand-new manual Calibre 388, created entirely in- house, featuring a new tourbillon construction that spins on three axes to create a “spinning top” effect. Operating at a frequency of 4Hz, this mechanical marvel is enhanced by a perpetual calendar with a grand date display. Reflecting a modern interpretation of 19th-century savonette pocket watches, the redesigned 18k pink gold case consists of 34 parts, combining brushed, polished and micro-blasted surfaces.

Offered in platinum with a contrasting copper-coloured dial, and pink gold offset by a subtle silver dial, the Chronograph Moon marries the lyrical presentation of moonphases with the accuracy of a chronograph. The Quantième Lunaire uses the same calibre 381 that we’ve seen in previous versions of the watch, but in a new steel case, paired with a blue opaline dial.

Also see: Watches and Wonders roundup (part 1 of 4)

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