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The Best Watches We Saw At Watches & Wonders 2023
— Updated on 27 June 2023

The Best Watches We Saw At Watches & Wonders 2023

— Updated on 27 June 2023
Co-author: Randy Lai  | 
Nick Kenyon
Nick Kenyon

Widely regarded as the ‘Superbowl-meets-CES’ of luxury watchmaking, Watches & Wonders is the horological event of the year, bringing together the best and brightest brands – including the likes of Rolex, Patek Philippe, Cartier, Grand Seiko, and many many more – in picturesque Geneva.

With a week’s worth of new releases now unveiled to the public, we think it’s appropriate to revisit a handful of our favourite novelties from the different brands. In case you missed it, be sure to check out all of our previous Watches & Wonders 2023 coverage here.

RELATED: Grand Seiko Showcases Craftsmanship & Technical Expertise In 2023 With Two Special Watches

The Best Timepieces From Watches & Wonders 2023

  1. Rolex 1908
  2. TAG Heuer Carrera ‘Glassbox’
  3. Cartier Privé Tank Normale
  4. Tudor Black Bay 54
  5. Piaget Polo Perpetual Calendar Obsidian
  6. Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tribute Small Seconds
  7. Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Tourbillon Retrograde ‘Open Face’
  8. Grand Seiko ‘Hana-ikada’ (SBGY026)
  9. Hermès H08
  10. A. Lange & Söhne Odysseus Chronograph
  11. Chopard L.U.C 1860

Rolex 1908

Best Watches Wonders 2023

While the Rolex Cellini collection never quite gained the same traction as many of the Big Crown’s other collections, this year the brand has announced both its retirement and replacement with the all-new Rolex 1908 collection, delivering an elegant dress watch with an appealing heritage-inspired dial. Arriving with a solid gold 39mm case and matching gold clasp to secure the leather strap, it’s powered by the Rolex manufacture 7140 calibre with 66 hours of power reserve and accurate to -2/+2 seconds per day. – Nick Kenyon

TAG Heuer Carrera ‘Glassbox’

Far and away my favourite thing that TAG Heuer has unveiled thus far in 2023, the Carrera ‘Glassbox’ is a tasteful – and better yet, highly contemporary – progression of the eponymous three-register chronograph’s original design language. A couple of noted watch journalists have talked about how expertly TAG has achieved a kind of ‘confluence’, with this watch, between the classic and ultra-modern; and I think that’s really a spot-on assessment.

The 39mm case’s sharp, chamfered profile wears smaller (in a really flattering and ergonomic way) yet never distracts from all the little vintage-inspired details which have been lifted from other historical Heuer references (e.g. the date window that apes the Ref. 3147N ‘Dato’). Throw in the sporty ‘reverse panda’ livery, and you’ve got a watch that really feels like a conduit to Heuer’s past – and TAG Heuer’s future. – Randy Lai

Cartier Privé Tank Normale

Best Watches Wonders 2023

Every year, the Cartier Privé collection is a bright spot in the world of new watch releases and the 2023 Tank Normale is no different, reviving an iconic archive design that delivers solid wrist presence in an unusually small package. Featuring platinum or yellow gold cases that measure a unanimously modest 32.6mm long, 25.7mm wide and 6.85mm thick, the pairing of a solid precious metal brick-style bracelet delivers literal weight and social gravitas in equal measure, while powered by a reliable manually wound movement. – NK

Tudor Black Bay 54

Best Watches Wonders 2023

Size isn’t everything and if you ever needed proof, the new Tudor Black Bay 54 is an absolute belter despite its modestly proportioned and thoroughly unisex case size of 37mm. Taking direct inspiration from the reference 7922, as the very first Tudor Dive watch, its smaller size is historically accurate and its straightforward legibility is a study in restraint, all of which is powered by the rock-solid Manufacture Calibre MT5400 (COSC) with 70 hours of power reserve. – NK

Piaget Polo Perpetual Calendar Obsidian

The all-new Piaget Polo Perpetual Calendar Obsidian is a perfect example of technical sophistication and geology expertise and is one of our favourites of the 2023 collection with its impressively well-executed stone dial and meticulously set sapphire bezel. Measuring 42mm in diameter and 8.65mm in thickness, it exudes a level of everyday elegance that’s compellingly straightforward despite getting better the closer you examine it. – NK

Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tribute Small Seconds

While the Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tribute Small Seconds is a tried and true classic from the Vallée de Joux-based watchmaker, this year the collection boasts a quartet of colours, three of which arrive in an all-new and ultra-thin pink gold case. Of those three new references, our favourite is the burgundy dial, which perfectly compliments the warmth of the precious metal case and is a remarkable 7.56mm in thickness (nearly 1mm slimmer than the previous generation) taking dress watch elegance to a new level for a case design of such complexity. A modest improvement on paper, but a world of difference on the wrist. – NK

Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Tourbillon Retrograde ‘Open Face’

The continuation of a series of watches that Vacheron Constantin has been steadily developing since it unveiled the ‘Twin Beat’ in 2019, the new Traditionnelle Tourbillon Retrograde (which I’ve taken to off-handedly calling the ‘Open Face’) is precisely the sort of highly cerebral, totally unrelenting exercise in haute horlogerie I’d expect – and indeed, applaud – the brand for tackling.

In line with the overarching ‘retrograde’ theme of Vacheron’s other 2023 novelties, the Open Face manages to combine a tourbillon and backwards-traveling date complication in an extremely desirable 41mm package. The whole execution comes together in a manner that feels tethered to the Traditionnelle line’s unique blend of high watchmaking vs. contemporary aesthetics.

The two-piece dial (half vertically brushed, half guilloche) lends significant visual depth; with the retrograde display actually raised above the base layer, and (in a virtuosic display that reminds you just how obsessive Holy Trinity watchmakers can be) the movement’s NAC coating is mirrored on one of the individual screws within the tourbillon cage. Proper weapons-grade nerdery. – RL

Grand Seiko ‘Hana-ikada’ (SBGY026)

A new and not-so-distant relation of the SBGA413 ‘Shunbun’, the new ‘Hana-ikada’ (floral raft) is my pick of the litter when it comes to the Grand Seiko novelties at this year’s edition of Watches & Wonders. Limited to just 100 pieces, it replicates the delicate floral dynamism of the ‘Shunbun’ dial – albeit now in a dressy, rose gold 38.5mm proportion.

Devoid of any additional distractions – barring the central handset – this watch embodies Grand Seiko at the Japanese marque’s most elemental. Luxurious in a very discrete and meditative kind of way (the 72-hour ‘Spring Drive’ movement probably has a lot to do with that) this one is worthy of serious consideration if what you’re in the market for is a classic, no-expense-spared dress watch. – RL

Hermès H08

The Hermès H08 collection has continued from strength to strength in recent years, but its latest iteration uses a  ‘composite’ case material of fibreglass coated in aluminium and graphene powder to great visual effect and a lightweight presence on the wrist. Thoroughly sporty, luxurious in its choice of materials and arriving with a remarkably comfortable rubber strap, this in-house movement-powered calibre H1837 is a watch that approaches the realm of perfect as far as everyday timepieces go. – NK

A. Lange & Söhne Odysseus Chronograph

Best Watches Wonders 2023

If there’s an award to be handed out for ‘mechanical innovation’ at Watches & Wonders, then A. Lange & Söhne would be a likely recipient. For its 2023 novelties presentation, the German marque has revealed the first complicated entry in its burgeoning Odysseus collection and boy oh boy, is it a doozy.

Working within the confines of the Odysseus’s distinctive design language (complete with double dato and running seconds) Lange’s watchmakers have managed to develop a novel and highly engaging alternative to the tradition two/three-register chronograph. In this execution, the rehaut (graduated for 60 minutes) is used in conjunction with an additional minute hand – giving this the appearance of a split-second chrono – in order to indicate elapsed time – leaving the majority of dial space to be taken up by the trademark oversized date displays.

Utilising a completely new self-winding calibre – powered by a rotor fashioned from 950 platinum – the Odysseus chronograph sets a new bar for quality in the world of sporty, precision-timing luxury watches. Big (at 42.5mm), pricy and unapologetic in its lurid complexity, this is the sort of intelligent craft that gets deep-cut watch geeks excited. In short, you love to see it. – RL

Chopard L.U.C 1860

Best Watches Wonders 2023

Although not technically a ‘new’ watch in the conventional sense of that word, Chopard’s latest iteration of the L.U.C 1860 – which pays tribute to the first reference released back in 1997 – is one hell of a re-issue. Where brands often sabotage these sorts of throwbacks by failing to temper their creative urges, Chopard has stuck the landing.

Whereas previous iterations of the 1860 had an unseemly date window wedged inside the running seconds, this release takes things right back to basics with the absence of any numerals on the dial – so wearers can fully appreciate the wave-like guilloche pattern that is applied by rose-turning a gold plate. Most of the fine print will be familiar to those who know and love the 1997 original – meaning that the modern L.U.C. wears like the most classic of classic dress watches.

Truthfully, the most contemporary detail about this release is the case material. Made in ‘Lucent’ steel – a partially recycled alloy that is 50% harder than 316L steel and unique to Chopard – the new 1860 sits comfortably in the gulf between a true dress watch and daily wearer. That the brand has been emphatic in declaring this won’t be a limited edition (“limited production”, rather) is just the icing on the cake. – RL

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Nick Kenyon
Nick Kenyon is the Editor of Boss Hunting, joining the team after working as the Deputy Editor of luxury watch magazine Time+Tide. He has a passion for watches, with other interests across style, sports and more. Get in touch at nick (at) luxity.com.au


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