New Releases From Watches and Wonders 2022
Watches & Wonders 2022, the first time the fledgling event has been able to open its doors for a physical rather than virtual showing, has wrapped up for this year. The largest timepiece exhibition in the calendar, it certainly didn’t disappoint, with dozens of stunning new watches from some of the biggest names in the industry vying for attention.
From A. Lange & Söhne to Zenith, via the likes of Cartier, Hublot, IWC, Panerai, Piaget, Tudor and, of course, Rolex, all rocked up furnished with armfuls of wonders.
We’re going to cover all that Rolex brought to the party in a separate post, but below we check out the absolute best of the rest.
The Patek Philippe Annual Calendar Travel Time ref. 5326G
Patek have clearly had a busy year tucked away in their Plan-les-Oates lair and turned up to W&W with a whole bunch of new releases. However, there was not a Nautilus or even an Aquanaut amongst them, much to the chagrin of many a fan.
What they did have though was a host of beautiful and highly complicated stunners, including this, the ref. 5326G.
The 41mm white gold piece marks something of a design departure for the world’s finest watchmaker, and has been given a decidedly vintage air. Contained within its Calatrava-esque shell, complete with Clous de Paris hobnail detailing down both flanks, is a charcoal grey dial textured to resemble the case of an antique camera and hands and indexes with a definite beige tint.
This is also the first time the manufacture has combined two of their most desirable complications, the annual calendar and travel time.
The three calendar apertures, local and home time indicators and even a moonphase display all vie for attention on the face, with everything perfectly coordinated and oh so wonderfully readable. To help with that, the rose gold local time hand (which looks exactly like that little pin you get to take the sim card out of an iPhone) can be hidden away under the main hour hand when not needed.
The TAG Heuer Carrera Plasma Tourbillon Nanograph
Could someone check up on TAG Heuer and make sure they’re all right? The luxury Swiss brand arrived with some lovely updates to both their Monaco and Aquaracer ranges which were all well received.
And then they revealed that they had lost the plot completely and unveiled the Carrera Plasma, one of the most expensive watches to debut throughout the entire event.
It takes the company’s much-loved chronograph as its base, and then swamps it with over 11 carats of lab-grown diamonds.
The stones, created in conjunction with a new company called Capsoul, can be cut into any shape and you will find them melded into the PVD-coated aluminum case, used for hour markers and sprinkled across the entire polycrystalline dial itself. Best of all, the entire crown is made entirely of diamond.
The gems are grown using a process called Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD) technology, otherwise known as Diamant d’Avant Garde over at TAG, and it is the same process the brand used to grow the in-house carbon hairspring for the caliber, the HEUER02 Tourbillon Nanograph movement.
An incredible return to true high-end luxury watchmaking from a manufacture which has concentrated more on entry level pieces for the last few years, the Carrera Plasma Tourbillon Nanograph is a one-of-a-kind piece, with a price tag to match.
The Zenith Chronomaster Open
The wonderful Chronomaster line has been the flagship offering from Zenith since its debut in 1994, as well as being used as the main series to show off its famed El Primero movement.
The first ‘Open’ version of the watch, with a partially skeletonized dial, arrived in 2003 to great acclaim and this year, the marque expanded on it with an all-new version powered by the next generation of its renowned caliber.
The El Primero 3604 is a semi-open variant on the 3600, a very capable high beat chrono mechanism with the ability to time down to 1/10th second.
Up front, the traditional tricolor subdials are present and correct, with a blue counter at the 3 o’clock for the seconds, a grey counter at the 6 o’clock for the 60-minute totalizer and the running seconds at the 9 o’clock which features a Hesalite bubble over the dial allowing the wearer to see both the seconds hand as well as the 3604’s escapement working away underneath.
Available with either a steel or rose gold case, the Chronomaster Open continues to be a genuine alternative to the Rolex Daytona.
The Breitling Navitimer
2022 marked the 70th anniversary of that most iconic of pilot’s watches, the Navitimer.
To celebrate, Breitling favored Watches & Wonders with a whole slew of new versions, 16 in all, in a variety of dimensions and with some superbly thought out dial colors.
So we got 35mm, 41mm, 43mm and 46mm pieces, with new sunray finished faces of copper, blue and (a particular standout) green. However, it isn’t a case of one standard color for each model. The shade of each differs depending on the size of the watch, with the green on the 46mm model far darker than the one on the 41mm, for instance.
Most of the new releases are in steel, with a couple of rose gold examples included for good measure, one each in 41mm, 43mm and 46mm, and with more traditional panda or reverse panda liveries for their tricompax chrono layout.
Elsewhere, everything that made the Navi the legend that it remains is here, most notably the slide rule bezel which enables those rare souls who actually know how to use it to perform all manner of aviation related calculations, including flight times, ground speed, altitude, fuel burn and wind correction as well as working as a measurement converter.
Moser & Cie. Streamliner Chronograph ‘Blacker Than Black’
The favorite watch of heavy metal band, Spinal Tap (probably), the Streamliner Chronograph ‘Blacker Than Black’ is the latest inmate to have escaped from the H. Moser & Cie. asylum in Schaffhausen.
It is a continuation of the brand’s work with revolutionary material, Vantablack. For those wondering, Vantablack is the blackest manmade substance in the world, comprising of a carbon nanotube coating of microscopic tubes which measure 1/1,000,000 of a millimetre thick.
As a result, they absorb 99.965% of visible light. What that means for Moser’s newest addition is a watch so dark that when it was placed in front of a black background on its W&W display stand, the whole thing virtually disappeared except for its handset.
It is a model perfectly in-keeping with the brand’s irreverent nature, this being the manufacture which once launched a watch made of cheese. Unfortunately, for now, the Blacker Than Black is only a concept. Vantablack is too fragile a material to survive life on the wrist, but plans are afoot to come up with a way to stabilize it.
Even so, it stands as an incredible technical achievement.
— Featured Photo: BeckerTime’s Archive.