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Highlights from Watches & Wonders 2020

In spite of Covid-19, the show must go on.

Highlights from Watches & Wonders 2020
Vacheron Constantin

The inaugural Watches & Wonders 2020 (previously known as SIHH) in Geneva was originally scheduled to take place from April 25 to 29 at Palexpo, if not for the Covid-19 pandemic. Replacing the physical fair is a digital platform housing all the presenting Maisons’ new launches for 2020 – here are the highlights:

(Image: A.Lange & Sӧhne)

A.Lange & Sӧhne | Zeitwerk Minute Repeater

Providing an unusual take on the traditional minute repeater is this decimal repeater from Lange that chimes the hours, 10-minute intervals (instead of quarters) and minutes. Activated via a pusher at 10 o’clock instead of a traditional slider mechanism (thereby guaranteeing water resistance up to 20m), acoustic time indication is made up of a low-pitched tone for every hour, a double tone for each elapsed 10-minute block and a high-pitched tone for each passing minute.

First introduced in 2015 and previously offered only in platinum, new this year is a limited edition and boutique-exclusive 30-pieces-only white gold variant featuring a deep blue dial. It remains the world’s only watch that combines a mechanical jumping numerals display with a decimal minute repeater. To ensure that a clear and harmonious acoustic signature is achieved, the unusually shaped gongs have been repeatedly disassembled, retuned and reassembled by hand.

(Image: Baume & Mercier)

Baume & Mercier | Clifton Baumatic Day-date Moonphase

Practical, well-priced and elegantly made watches are Baume & Mercier’s forte. And this new model is no exception: it is driven by the Baumatic BM14 in-house calibre, a COSC certified movement with a silicon escapement and a generous 120 hours power reserve. Equipped with a useful day-date function as well as a moon phases display, it is offered in stainless steel or rose gold with satin-polished double-bevelled edges to highlight the fume effect lacquered grey dial.

(Image: Cartier)

Cartier | Tank Asymétrique

The latest addition to Cartier’s exclusively limited Cartier Prive collection is the Parellelogram from 1936, later christened Tank Asymétrique. Although its essence has been retained — classic style, lozenge case, slanted Arabic numerals — the time indicators have been redesigned completely to give it a modern spin. They also bear a new Manufacture 1917 MC manual winding movement that replaces the calibre 9P2 found in the older models. Offered in three variants (platinum, pink or yellow gold), they all sport a sapphire or ruby cabochon crown, a signature trademark in all of Cartier’s contemporary timepieces. Each aesthetic is offered in a limited edition of 100 numbered pieces.

(Image: Hermès)

Hermès | Arceau L’heure de la lune

Hermès’ poetically beautiful Arceau L’heure de la lune collection adds three new variants to the collection. Featuring dials of lunar, Martian or Black Sahara meteorite inlaid with mother of pearl hemispherical moons, each one features two satellite discs showing the time and date floating above the main dial. The discs glide around the circumference of the dial leisurely at a pace of one revolution per 59 days, hiding and exposing the moons in accordance to their lunar cycles.

This intriguing module was exclusively developed for Hermès and has a patent pending. Extremely limited in production, there are only 30 pieces with the Black Sahara dial, 36 pieces with the lunar meteorite dial and two with the Martian dial; all of them are numbered editions. Look for the Pegasus transfer hidden within the Southern moon that is inspired by the Pleine Lune motif designed by artist Dimitri Rybaltchenko.

(Image: IWC)

IWC Schaffhausen | Portugieser Perpetual Calendar 42mm

Integrating its iconic perpetual calendar (developed by master watchmaker Kurt Klaus) for the first time with an in-house movement from the IWC-manufactured 82000-calibre family is this highlight from IWC’s new Portugieser collection. At 42mm, it’s the smallest perpetual calendar in the family, made possible thanks to the movement’s compact build. Calibre 82650 advances the calendar module with a single impulse during the night while the automatic Pellaton winding that is equipped with zirconium oxide ceramic components drives 60 hours of energy reserve. The three subdials show the date, month and day of the week, all perfectly synchronised with each other until 2100 and easily adjusted via the crown. Offered in stainless steel or gold with a silver-plated dial, there is a version in gold with a blue dial that is sold exclusively in all IWC boutiques.  

(Image: Jaeger-LeCoultre)

Jaeger-LeCoultre | Master Control Chronograph Calendar

The highlight piece for the newly revamped Master Control line is also the first Jaeger-LeCoultre watch to feature the combination of a column wheel chronograph, a triple display calendar and a moon-phase. Good dial readability is a key factor behind its design rationale, which explains why the timely indicators are laid out in an intuitive and instinctive manner. At 3 and 9 o’clock, two subdials show the 30-minute counter and running seconds respectively; day and month indicators are shown on two apertures at 12 o’clock while the moon-phase and date indicator is reflected at 6 o’clock. Encircling these indicators is a pulsometric scale, while the large central chronograph seconds hand anchors the whole display. Offered in a 40mm steel or Le Grand Rose Gold (a new proprietary gold that is resistant against oxidation thanks to its palladium content) case, it has a sapphire case back that reveals the newly developed self-winding calibre 759.  

(Image: Montblanc)

Montblanc | 1858 Geosphere

Inspired by glaciers and snow-capped mountains, Montblanc adds new blue and white additions to its adventure-themed 1858 line. One example is the 1858 Geosphere that offers a refreshing take on the world timer. Presented in titanium for the first time, it is offered with a blue vintage Sfumato calf strap, alligator leather strap or a new steel and titanium bracelet. The two rotating domed globes on the dial offer a unique worldtime display with the top globe reflecting the time zones in the Northern hemisphere, while the bottom one shows the time zones in the Southern hemisphere. Bordering each globe is a fixed 24-hour scale that is also used as a day and night indicator while a luminescent blue line highlights the prime meridian for both hemispheres. Additional features such as a second time zone display, date, and the marked locations of seven of the highest mountains of each continent, as well as Mont Blanc, can also be found on the dial.

(Image: Panerai)

Officine Panerai | Submersible EcoPangaea Tourbillon GMT — 50mm Mike Horn Edition (PAM01108)

Only five lucky gents will have the honour of owning this massive watch. Extremely limited in production, its 50mm case is built from EcoPangaea high-tech steel, composed of recycled metal taken from the 35-meter drive shaft of the Pangea, the sailing ship owned by Mike Horn, explorer and Panerai brand ambassador. And yet, as rare as this watch may be, acquiring it means more than just owning a trophy piece — it also accords the owners a once in a lifetime experience in the Arctic with Horn.

Built for adventure, the watch houses a soft iron ring that guards the movement from the debilitating effects of magnetic fields. Its skeletonised hand-wound caliber P.2005/T in titanium features a 30-second tourbillon and a series of three barrels responsible for a generous 6-day power reserve. Water-resistant up to 300m it comes with a rubber strap and a fabric strap made of recycled PET material.

(Image: Piaget)

Piaget | Altiplano Ultimate Concept

The latest jewel in the King of Thin’s crown is now the thinnest mechanical watch in the market. The result of six years of intensive research and development, it was first unveiled in 2018 purely as a concept piece. It took the watchmaker about two years to iron out the remaining kinks so it could be commercialised. Achieving its slender 2mm proportions is no mean feat: it includes a case — made of a strong cobalt-based alloy — in which the movement baseplate is directly machined into, a flat crown flushed against the case that requires its own winding tool, a staggered winding stem, a mainspring without a cover or drum that is mounted on a single ceramic ball bearing and pared-down wheels and sapphire crystal, amongst other space-saving alterations.

On top of all that revolutionary patent-protected innovation, it is also highly customisable, with up to 10000 permutations available: clients can choose the colour of the bridge, dial, and strap; and even the finish of the hands and the mainplate.

(Image: Roger Dubuis)

Roger Dubuis | Excalibur Diabolus in Machina

This is not Roger Dubuis’ first attempt at a minute repeater and flying tourbillon combi. However, the watchmaker has equipped this new model, made of the patented alloy CarTech Micro-Melt BioDur CCMTM, with a few nifty features that certainly reflects its rebellious streak. Like other regular minute repeaters, it chimes the hours, quarters and minutes. However, Roger Dubuis added a visual element to the auditory pleasure: located at 11 o’clock is a mobile disc bearing the words ‘Hours’, ‘Quarters’ and ‘Minutes’, that rotates as the minute repeater is activated to show the time intervals being chimed. There is also a functional indicator between 3 and 4 o’clock that shows if the crown is in winding or time-setting position, as well as an All or Nothing indicator, a safety feature to indicate whether the push button is pressed in far enough to trigger the striking mechanism.

As for how it derived its ominous name, Roger Dubuis was inspired by the famous “Diabolus in Musica” chord outlawed in medieval religious music. Translated from Latin to mean “The Devil in Music”, it is referred to in musical theory as the tritone because it is made of three whole steps, and is what Roger Dubuis chose to tune its minute repeater.

(Image: Vacheron Constantin)

Vacheron Constantin | Overseas Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin Skeleton

Four years since it first launched, the Overseas Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin line is joined by a new skeletonised variant. Powered by the manufacture’s beloved Calibre 1120 QPSQ, an openworked mesmerising work of art that’s a mere 4.05mm thin, the movement has been given a slight aesthetic twist to suit the contemporary style of the Overseas collection.

For starters, there is no ornate hand engraving on the movement; instead finishing techniques like straight graining, bevelling, circular brushing, sunburst finishing, circular graining and polishing have been used to ensure the movement radiates with a three-dimensional effect. Some movement components, including the openworked oscillating weight that has been styled in the shape of a Maltese cross, have also been given a NAC electrolytic treatment to give it a modern anthracite grey shade. Available in 5N gold with a fitted gold bracelet, it also comes with two additional straps in blue alligator leather and blue rubber.

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