Rolex pulled out all the stops this year, unveiling a dizzying array of Oyster Perpetual timepieces, led by the Cosmograph Daytona restyled for its 60th anniversary with an ice-blue dial and brown Cerachrom bezel, and powered by the new 4131 calibre. Along with the Yacht-Master 42 in RLX titanium, the second watch by Rolex to feature this lightweight alloy; the Sky-Dweller outfitted with Calibre 9002, which incorporates the Chronergy escapement and a fresh oscillating weight; and the GMT-Master II in yellow Rolesor or yellow gold with a Cerachrom bezel in grey or black ceramic, a Day-Date 36 with a vibrant puzzle-motif enamel dial that displays emojis and words of inspiration in the date and day windows respectively, and an Oyster Perpetual with a joyful bubble-inspired lacquered dial round out the selection.
Patek Philippe introduced 17 new models this year, including five new models of striking watches, among the grand complications emblematic of the manufacture. A fresh take on last year’s gem-set Grandmaster Chime comes in the form of the double-faced Grandmaster Chime Haute Joaillerie Reference 6300/403G-001, a marriage of high watchmaking and high jewellery with emeralds and diamonds held in place through baguette and invisible setting.
Meanwhile, a new addition to the Calatrava collection is the Calatrava Reference 5224R-001, with Travel Time dual time zone and an original 24-hour display, powered by the new Calibre 31-260 PS FUS 24H self-winding movement. What’s more: the Aquanaut Luce range gains its first annual calendar complication, in the form of the Aquanaut Luce Annual Calendar Reference 5261R-001.
Among the pizzazz of Bulgari’s Octo Roma now updated and outfitted with a chronograph, a first in the collection, and the release of the Octo Roma Automatic, in three dial-colour variations featuring the Clou de Paris motif, the maison adds four exceptional tourbillon models, each a unique representation of the complex mechanism. While the Octo Roma Striking Papillon Tourbillon and Octo Roma Striking Tourbillon Sapphire take a sporty design direction, the Octo Roma Precious Naturalia and Octo Roma Precious Tourbillon Lumière exude classic elegance. In a 38mm rose gold case, the latter runs on the Calibre BVL 208 manual winding skeletonised movement, decorated entirely by hand, accented with diamond and ruby hour markers.
Hublot shared its W&W platform with Sorai, its partner in the Hublot Xplorations initiative, and the Care for Wild rhino sanctuary in South Africa, to spotlight the threats the endangered mammals face from poaching. On the watches front, the brand unveiled a slew of novelties, headlined by the MP-13, which contains a new Hublot manufacture complication with both a double-axis tourbillon and dual retrograde display; the Big Bang with a micro-rotor tourbillon fitted in a lightweight but sturdy carbon fibre and Texalium case with integrated bracelet; and an astonishing 11 Square Bang Unico editions, either in varying levels of diamond setting or with their 42mm cases crafted from sapphire crystal or ceramic, both demonstrating Hublot’s exceptional expertise in materials and manufacturing.
Opulent jewellery watches dominated Piaget’s presentation this year—even the relatively conservative Polo Perpetual Calendar Obsidian added a dose of drama with an obsidian dial and a ring of deep blue sapphires along the bezel. Alongside three high jewellery sautoir watches, Piaget unveiled a trio of Limelight high jewellery cuff watches, whose comparative simplicity belie the extraordinary craftsmanship it took to create them. Powered by the 356P Manufacture quartz movement, they showcase asymmetrical gemstone dials and exquisite engraving on the bracelet—one such pattern is the maison’s exclusive Palace Décor motif—rendered in a frost-like motif in the white gold watch bearing black opal and round-cut emeralds.
The retrograde is having a moment among Vacheron Constantin’s novelties this year. It makes its debut in the Overseas collection, in the form of the 41mm steel Overseas moonphase retrograde date, and appears on the Patrimony retrograde day-date, which reimagines the retrograde displays of the 1920s and 1930s. The former comes fitted with the in-house Calibre 2460 R31L/2, with a 40-hour power reserve, while the latter runs on the Calibre 2460 R31R7/3, with a dial in a shade of pale salmon. The Overseas collection also welcomes new sizes, 34.5mm and 35mm, and more colourful references—with rose gold and pale pink lacquered dials—plus the option of a diamond-set bezel. And finally, the Traditionelle tourbillon retrograde date makes a powerful impression with its openworked dial offering a peek at the Calibre 2162 R31 and the plate distinguished by hand-brushing and guilloché. The 41mm pink gold case encircles a tourbillon that incorporates the outline of a Maltese Cross, housed in a hand-bevelled carriage interior.