Watches and Wonders roundup (part 4 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


Contrasting materials, an interplay of colours and textures, and novel designs lend a fresh spin to the iconic Rolex watches in the brand’s Watches and Wonders 2024 lineup. One of its most beloved sports models, two new Oystersteel versions of the Oyster Perpetual GMT-Master II will delight travellers. Instead of a black-and-red “Coke” bezel, the Crown decided on the black-and-grey bezel that proved so popular on the 2023 gold GMT. You can get it on an Oyster or a Jubilee bracelet – a difficult choice if ever we’ve heard of one.

Because last year’s Perpetual 1908 clearly wasn’t luxurious enough, it is now available in 950 platinum with an exclusive ice blue dial reserved solely for platinum Rolex watches, but featuring a rice- grain guilloché texture. This intricate rosette-like design creates a mesmerising three-dimensional pattern that extends across the surface of the dial, starting from the small seconds counter at 6 o’clock, offering an enchanting play of light and shadow. Power is provided by the calibre 7140, displayed behind a sapphire exhibition case back.

Also new is the 18k gold dive-ready Deepsea, paired with a blue lacquer dial, a blue Cerachrom bezel and even blue lume. There’s more gold, too. One new Day-Date 40 in 18k Everose gold introduces for the first time a slate ombré dial, an elegant foil for the faceted Roman numerals and index hour markers in pink gold. Another, in 18k white gold, features a mother-of-pearl dial, complemented beautifully by the 10 baguette-cut diamonds set onto the dial as hour markers. These are joined by two 36mm versions. The Everose gold comes with a dial in an intense blue-green hue, accented with 60 trapeze-cut diamonds, while its yellow gold sibling features a white lacquer dial.

Tag Heuer

Tag Heuer celebrated 60 years of the Carrera last year, and if one thing’s for sure, it’s that the celebrations haven’t stopped just yet. This time, the Swiss watchmaker looked to Jack Heuer’s 7753 SN from the late 1960s as inspiration for its latest Carrera Chronograph, which, as ever, is driven by legibility. This 2024 release brings the signature black and silver panda dial into the new Glassbox design, a domed sapphire crystal structure that enhances the dial’s readability. The black azuré subdials at 3 and 9 o’clock contrast with the silver sunray-brushed dial, creating the signature bi-compax panda look. The addition of captivating, red-lacquered subdial hands further amplifies the contrast, ensuring clarity at a glance. Upon turning the watch over, you’ll be able to observe the mechanics of the beautifully crafted TH20-00 movement, equipped with a bi-directional winding construction, a shield-shaped rotor and a power reserve of 80 hours once fully wound.

There’s also a new version of the Carrera Skipper, now in 18k 5N rose gold, featuring both fine brushed and polished finishes. This new version pays homage to the historic Skipper Reference 7754 of 1968 by combining a blue main dial with contrasting subdials: a 12-hour counter in Intrepid Teal; and a 15-minute regatta counter divided into three five-minute segments of different colours – Lagoon Green, Intrepid Teal and Regatta Orange.

Rounding out the Carrera offerings is a trio of Carrera Date references. At 36mm, they utilise precious materials like gold, mother-of-pearl and diamonds. All models feature the new tapered Carrera H bracelet in steel or steel and 18k 5N rose gold, and, like the rest of the Carrera Date 36mm range, are powered by the Calibre 7 automatic movement with a 56-hour power reserve and angled 6 o’clock date display.

If you’re not feeling the Carrera, however, TAG Heuer unveiled the Monaco Split-Seconds Chronograph in red and blue editions. It’s not only visually stunning, but also incredibly light. The case, half crafted from grade 5 titanium and half from sapphire, weighs just 85 grams,
with a water resistance of 50 metres.

Van Cleef & Arpels

For Van Cleef & Arpels, a watch doesn’t just tell time; it tells a story, one tick at a time, of artistic ingenuity, of meticulous craftsmanship, and of a legacy that has turned moments into a timeless beauty.

Presented in Geneva as part of the Poetic Complications collection, the iconic Lady Arpels Jour Nuit watch returns in captivating 33mm and 38mm editions after three years of dedicated refinement. In them, diamond-pavéd moon and stars perpetually chase the sun, adorned with either snow-set yellow sapphires or meticulously crafted guilloché yellow gold. The Lady Arpels Brise d’Été, on the other hand, is all about celebrating the freshness of a summer morning. The 38mm white gold, diamond-set case makes a beautiful frame to the mother-of-pearl dial animated by a pair of butterflies, crafted from white and yellow gold and rendered in plique-à-jour enamel, that not only indicate the time but also flutter upon activation of the watch’s on-demand animation at 8 o’clock. The scene is brought to life with vallonné and champlevé enamels, creating a vivid scene of greenery and blossoms, enhanced by spessartite garnet pistils and tsavorite garnet grass blades.

As if these aren’t extraordinary enough, the Extraordinary Dials collection of the maison sees two captivating 41mm additions. After two years of development and 180 hours of assembling, Lady Arpels Jour Enchanté spotlights a graceful fairy picking flowers under the early morning sun, rendered through a combination of façonné and plique-à-jour enamelling techniques. Its counterpart, Lady Arpels Nuit Enchantée, reflects the same feminine energy, but instead the fairy is resting upon a moon-kissed flowerbed in a dazzling crystal cave. For this creation, the sapphires were expertly cut to sublimate the material, preserving the rugged aspect of the cave.


Tudor turned up at Watches and Wonders 2024 committing to its mantra of “Born to Dare” with a bold
new selection of Black Bay models. For years, Tudor aficionados have been calling for a smaller, thinner GMT. And here it is, finally. The all-new Master Chronometer certified Black Bay 58 GMT is a joy on the wrist with a 39mm diameter and a reduced thickness of 12.8mm, made possible thanks to the new mid-size movement within. The MT5450-U Dimensions aside, the GMT features a burgundy and black aluminium “Coke” bezel insert with a gilt 24-hour scale, plus a subtly radial-brushed domed black dial with gilt elements on the hour indices and signature Snowflake hands. Tudor offers the Black Bay 58 GMT exclusively with a stainless steel case, but with the option of either a rivet-style steel bracelet or a black rubber strap, both of which benefit from the easy-to-use T-Fit clasp, allowing on-the-go adjustments across five positions spanning 8mm.

Tudor’s second reimagination of the Black Bay 58 reveals its daring contrast of hues, pairing a satin-finished solid 18k yellow gold case with a brilliant “golden green” dial. Previously only available on a strap, the new Black Bay 58 18K comes on a matching 18k yellow gold rivet- style bracelet. Its movement, the COSC-certified Tudor Manufacture Calibre MT5400 with 70 hours of power reserve, is visible through the novel sapphire case back.

We now also have a new monochrome Black Bay, available with a durable stainless steel three- or five-link bracelet, or to keep in theme with the diving watches, a rubber strap; as well as an updated Clair de Rose collection featuring the “Tudor Blue” dials.

Ulysse Nardin

Twenty-three years after the unveiling of the delightfully unconventional watch that is the Freak, Ulysse Nardin just gave birth to another Freaky baby: the Freak S Nomad. Defined by a futuristic spaceship-inspired movement, this 99-piece limited edition functions on the Freak S’s Calibre UN-251 Manufacture movement, a flying carousel that rotates around its axis. It’s equipped with a double oscillator that showcases an innovative pioneering surface treatment called DiamonSIL, a diamond-coated silicon, for exceptional durability. Winding is taken care of by Ulysse Nardin’s Grinder winding system, an automatic system twice as efficient as a traditional automatic system. Devoid of hands, devoid of crowns and devoid of dial, the Freak S Nomad indicates the minutes via a pointer set into the one-hour orbital flying carousel, and the hours via a pointer set on a rotating hour disc that sits under the movement. The bezel serves as the mechanism for setting the watch, activated when the locking mechanism at
6 o’clock is lifted, releasing the setting system.

Vacheron Constantin

As if we needed a reminder, Vacheron Constantin can do it all. It can keep it simple, dress it up, or put on a full mechanical show, as demonstrated by its 2024 showcase. The iconic Overseas collection now welcomes four new pink gold references, all furnished with olive green sunburst dials. Each of the watches, like their predecessors, are supplied with a pink gold bracelet and matching green leather and rubber straps. The new quartet comprises both men’s and women’s models, including the Overseas Self-Winding in 35mm and 41mm sizes, as well as the Overseas Dual Time and Overseas Chronograph.

Meanwhile, the Patrimony line celebrates 20 years with a trio of watches featuring a new dial colour the brand is romantically referring to as “old-silver-toned”. Two 39mm pieces, one in white gold and the other in rose gold, channel the celebrated Vacheron Constantin watches from the 1950s with a clean, slightly convex dial punctuated by slender hour markers, and a “pearl” minutes track. A third, for those looking for a little more complication, comes with a retrograde date display and moonphase in a 42.5mm white gold case.

And, in undoubtedly the boldest display yet of its mastery of both the technical and aesthetic aspects of watchmaking, Vacheron debuted the 72mm Les Cabinotiers – The Berkley Grand Complication. This specially commissioned pocket watch is the world’s most complex watch, boasting 63 complications and the first-ever Chinese perpetual calendar.


Instead of updating existing collections, Zenith filled gaps in its catalogue with three targeted entrants to its Defy line. Launched two years ago as a time-only piece, the Defy Skyline now welcomes a chronograph version, available in blue, silver or black with a star-pattern dial. Designed to be worn with style and comfort, it comes delivered on a stainless steel bracelet, with an additional star-patterned rubber strap included. Triple counters add detail and complexity, enhancing the overall look and masculinity of the watch. Powering the Skyline Chronograph is the El Primero 3600, the latest generation of Zenith’s signature movement. With a high frequency of 5Hz, it also features a high-speed seconds hand that completes one revolution every 10 seconds, enabling measurement of elapsed times of up to 1/10th of a second.

Next, the Defy Extreme Diver sets itself apart from modern dive watches with a ceramic unidirectional ring infused with lume nestled between the fixed 12-sided steel bezel and case. Offered in black and blue variations with corresponding ceramic bezels, it has four-pointed stars – a characteristic of the Defy series – patterning the sunburst dials. A Defy to dive with, the watch offers a water resistance of 600 metres and is equipped with a helium escape valve. Inside beats the El Primero 3620, functioning at the brand’s signature 5Hz frequency and promising 60 hours of power reserve.

Lastly, Zenith decided to bring back the legendary A3648 of 1969 in a modern version, which retains the same angular 37mm case, distinctive 14-sided bezel, striking orange, and 600-metre depth rating.

Also see: Watches and Wonders roundup (part 3 of 4)

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