Watches & Wonders 2023: Timepiece Highlights Of Day 2

Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, Chanel, Panerai, Zenith, Grand Seiko, Jaeger-LeCoultre


Tank Normale

The Cartier pillar Tank headlines the maison’s presentation this year. After the reissue of the Tank Française earlier in 2023, Cartier now turns its attention to bringing the Tank Normale into the fold of the Cartier Privé collection, intended for collectors. Unlike watches in steel or white gold, this unassuming piece comes in platinum with a black alligator strap and bears a ruby cabochon on the crown, as distinct from the blue sapphire cabochon more frequently seen among Cartier creations. There’s also a yellow gold version paired with a brown alligator strap. A bevelled sapphire crystal, attributed to the original Tank of 1917, is a nod to the Tank’s long history. And pushing the limits of the Tank design even further, Cartier releases a version with a skeleton movement and a 24-hour complication, where the hour hand makes one revolution in 24 hours instead of 12. 

Among Cartier’s more ornate novelties are the jewelled Tank quartz watches, in materials including onyx, black enamel, coral, chrysoprase, amethysts, rubies and diamonds, inspired by Cartier’s visionary creative director Jeanne Toussaint and the chromatic Art Deco colour combinations that have become synonymous with Cartier.

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Van Cleef & Arpels

Van Cleef & Arpels lends its romantic, poetic approach to jewellery to its timepieces and this year the maison presents watches from a jeweller’s point of view, with each novelty bearing a direct inspiration from the brand archives. Through considering watches’ popularity as precious items, from the 15th century till even up to the 20th century, and worn by women and men, Van Cleef & Arpels created wonders like the Mini Ludo jewellery watch, in the tradition of the secret watch and combining two maison signatures, the Ludo bracelet and the Mystery Setting technique; and Perlée long pendants that hide a watch behind a swivelling hardstone orb. Not to forget the Van Cleef & Arpels automatons, of which three were presented this year—extraordinary works of art and engineering that just happen to double as time-telling instruments.

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Chanel heads to outer space this year with its Chanel Interstellar capsule collection novelties, born of the maison’s long fascination with astronomical bodies and the mystery of the cosmos. Alongside comets, meteorites and five-point stars, which have a long tradition in the maison’s watch and jewellery collections, the capsule incorporated whimsical references to science and engineering, such as X-rays, the dial patterns based on the complexity of modern circuit boards and comical androids, woven into the maison’s signature timepieces, from J12 to Boy Friend to Première. 

Closer to the ground, Chanel’s Mademoiselle Privé Lion collection brought another house emblem back into focus: the lion, based on Gabrielle Chanel’s star sign, Leo. This quartet of métiers d’art pieces show a remarkable attention to detail in their life-like rendering of the lion head emblem, while black lacquer and coating provide an exhilarating contrast to the yellow gold, titanium and diamond-set features.


With its history as a supplier of accurate and tough watches to Italian navy divers, Panerai continues that legacy with the four Radiomir models it unveiled this year: the Annual Calendar, Otto Giorni, California and Quaranta Goldtech. New to Panerai and to the Radiomir collection, the annual calendar was adapted for the collection’s design, creating an easily legible dial that belies the sophistication of the complication. Powered by the automatic P.9010/AC calibre, the 45mm watch bears the design signatures of the Radiomir collection: cushion-shaped case, gradient sun-brushed sandwich dial, here in blue or burgundy, and cone-shaped crown.


A contemporary offering, Zenith’s new Pilot collection sees the brand returning to its enduring inspirations: aviation, adventure and emotion. Four Pilot models—the Big Date Flyback in black ceramic or stainless steel, and the Automatic in black ceramic or stainless steel—give one of the brand’s longest-standing lines a set of completely redesigned watches. The ceramic surfaces are microblased for a matte finish, while the stainless steel surfaces are vertically satin-brushed and chamfered. Dials bear the inscription “Pilot”, since Zenith is the only brand with rights to decorate its dials so. Inside, the new movements El Primero 3652 and El Primero 3620 keep the Pilot Big Date Flyback and the Pilot Automatic going.

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Grand Seiko

After presenting the GPHG-winning Kodo Constant Force Tourbillon last year, Grand Seiko returns with the Evolution 9 Collection Tentagraph, the first-ever automatic mechanical chronograph in the Grand Seiko collection. The chronograph movement features the 9SC5 high-beat calibre at its heart, running at the frequency of 36,000 vibrations per hour and providing an accuracy of +5 to -3 seconds per day. The chronograph with a 30-minute counter sits at 9 o’clock and the 12-hour counter at 6 o’clock. The 43.2mm titanium timepiece features Grand Seiko’s signature Mount Iwate engraving pattern on the dial, a nod to the mountain that overlooks the Grand Seiko studio in Shizukuishi, Japan.

Grand Seiko also presents the Spring Drive watch, inspired by the white birch forests of Shinshu, Japan—the silver dial and platinum case are zaratsu-polished and then hand-engraved to reveal an intricate, textured pattern. And taking the decorative potential of the Spring Drive to the next level is the Spring Drive Jewellery, a dazzling manual-wound watch with eight days of power reserve, distinguished by its diamond- and sapphire-set case, dial and crown.


The golden ratio, which has underpinned Reverso design since 1931, was the creative basis of this year’s presentation by the manufacture. A high jewellery timepiece—the first in Jaeger-LeCoultre’s history—the Reverso Secret Necklace features the Reverso design as an elaborate pendant watch with strong Art Deco design influences. With a case and chain set with diamonds and bearing accents of onyx, the limited run of 20 pieces exemplifies the myriad possibilities of the Reverso model. Meanwhile, the manufacture also unveils the Reverso Tribute Duoface Tourbillon, which sees the Calibre 847 connect a tourbillon with the duoface concept without adding any thickness to the resulting timepiece, which measures just 3.9mm thick.

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