After unfortunate worldwide cancellations of all fairs and major events due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the outlook for the watch industry looked bleak at first. However, one of the largest fairs for luxury watches found a way to fight the coronavirus: Last weekend, Watches & Wonders launched a sort of virtual fair, giving many watch manufacturers the opportunity to present their latest innovations to the public during this online event.
News from Watches & Wonders 2020
On Saturday, 25 April 2020, at 12:00 PM, the Watches & Wonders website launched a unique online multimedia platform for presenting the latest watch models and developments from the world of luxury watches. 18 different brands, including industry giants such as Vacheron Constantin, A. Lange & Söhne, Cartier and Jaeger-LeCoultre, introduced their new collections at the online premiere of Watches & Wonders following the motto "Let's Connect".
The 18 brands that have participated so far were just the beginning. 12 further manufacturers, including Fabergé, Parmigiani and Ulysse Nardin, will also use the website to showcase their latest creations over the next weeks and months.
The highlights of Watches & Wonders 2020
As every year, the selection of admirable timepieces is huge and just overwhelming. But there are some wristwatches that have caught our attention in particular. These are the highlights of Watches & Wonders.
Four songbirds from Vacheron ConstantinThe legendary manufacturer Vacheron Constantin is launching four unique new models, each featuring a songbird on a colourful enamelled dial. The Les Cabinotiers "La Musique Du Temps" collection pays tribute to the fine craftsmanship of watchmaking through a series of elaborately and delicately designed timepieces with a striking mechanism. With every single beat, the delicate sounds of the minute repeater remind us of the fine mechanics and the elaborate craftsmanship that went into making it.
A. Lange & Söhne now takes a sporty approachThis year, Vacheron Constantin is not the only one to inspire. The Glashütte manufacturer A. Lange & Söhne is entering new territory with its sporty "Odysseus" collection. Like its namesake from ancient Greek mythology, the Odysseus presents itself adventurous and daring, without losing any of the comforting reliability of an A. Lange & Söhne watch. For the first time, the company is presenting a watch for sports activities that can also be fitted with an optional rubber strap. Without a doubt, this is one of the most exciting innovations of the year.
Furthermore, A. Lange & Söhne presented a new version of the Zeitwerk Minute Repeater, originally launched in 2015, in white gold with a blue dial. It is said to have a louder and a fuller sound than the platinum version.
Panerai surprises with a 70-year warrantyPanerai also came up with a very creative idea. In celebration of the 70th anniversary of the luminescent material called Luminor, the company presented a special promotion that surprised everyone: People who purchase the new Panerai Luminor Marina DMLS, Carbotech and Fibratech models, each limited to 270 pieces, receive an impressive and unprecedented 70-year warranty.
Cartier presents an exceptional dress watchMore than just another surprise was provided by the Parisian maison of the famous watch and jewelry manufacturer Cartier. In addition to new versions of the Tank Asymétrique, Pasha and Santos, Cartier surprised us with a new series of ladies' watches that are pioneering in terms of design.
With the "Maillon de Cartier" collection, the company combines a completely new design with the unmistakable Cartier DNA in an extraordinary dress watch. Although this ladies' watch rather looks like a jewelry bracelet than a wristwatch, given the small size of the case of only 16 by 17 mm, Jaeger-LeCoultre already proved in 1929 with the Calibre 101 that this concept works very well. The bracelet of the Maillon de Cartier is made up of individual links that do not seem to fit together, but of course they do perfectly, as this fine ladies' watch offers excellent wearing comfort. Moreover, this collection is solely available in precious metals or with pavé set diamonds.
Watchmaster's favourites of the Watches & Wonders
As every year, there are watches that fascinate some more than others. Of course, in the end this is a question of taste. Nevertheless, we would like to share with you our personal favourites from the Watches & Wonders event of 2020.
So let's first take a look at the new Cartier Santos series mentioned above. With the Santos-Dumont XL, Cartier is paying its respects to the world's first men's wristwatch with a limited edition of engraved watches with the hand-wound caliber 430 MC. Some of the models come with the familiar blue sapphire cabochon or, in this particular case, with a red cabochon. Limited to 30 pieces, this model has a "La Demoiselle" engraving on the case back. The "La Demoiselle" is probably the most elegant plane of Alberto Santos Dumont, with which he conquered the skies in 1908. The watch itself has a cream-white dial on a 46.6 mm by 39.9 mm platinum case attached to a cream-white strap made from woven linen. In the center of the dial there is again a square of woven linen. This material is reminiscent of the Panama hats that Alberto Santos Dumont wore back then. Another special feature of this model are the Breguet hands, untypical of the Santos. But that is by far not enough: If you are one of the lucky buyers of this rare watch, you will also receive a travel case and another watch strap made of brown alligator leather as well as a pair of white gold Santos cufflinks set with tiger eyes.
Apart from the new Cartier watch, we were also impressed by manufacturers such as IWC with its new edition of the Portuguese Yacht Club – now for the first time also available with a metal bracelet. The new Yacht Club effortlessly joins IWC's series of sophisticated chronographs and impresses with its partially satin-finished and polished metal bracelet. This ensures excellent wearing comfort and gives the Yacht Club an even sportier character. In addition, the dial has been given a slightly more modern look, making the Portuguese Yacht Club a magnificent chronograph for every occasion. We particularly like the steel model with the dark blue dial and the reference IW390701. The increased case diameter of 44.6 mm also offers enough space for one of the reliable automatic calibers made by IWC.
As an alternative to the sporty design of the IWC, Jaeger-LeCoultre offers the Master Control Chronograph Calendar in rose gold. Besides the striking "La Grande Rose" case on an alligator leather strap, this extravagant dress watch features the new manufacture caliber 759 and a variety of complications. The watch comes with a chronograph, a moon phase, a hand date and a display window for day and month. With this watch on your wrist, you can be sure to make an impressive appearance at any time.
Last but not least, we would like to introduce you to another one of our this year' s favourites: the Baume et Mercier Hampton (Ref. 10523). Typical of an "underdog", the Hampton managed to take our hearts by storm. This timepiece in art deco design offers a date window at 12 o'clock and a second time zone with day and night indication at 6 o'clock. A black alligator leather strap ensures comfortable wear around the wrist. With this new model, Baume et Mercier offers a great watch for everyday use that brings a smile to our faces. On the back of the rectangular case you can admire the Swiss automatic caliber.
Final summary of the digital Watches & Wonders 2020
The Watches & Wonders online event has so far been very convincing and has offered many surprises, which in turn raises high expectations for all upcoming brands. As a continuing trend, rose gold is still very much in demand and will probably be seen more and more on the wrists of the world over the coming months. We are thankful for the innovative approach to launching a digital version of Watches & Wonders in response to the effects of the corona crisis, and we look forward to seeing what the other brands will be offering.
From 9 to 13 September 2020 Watches & Wonders will take place in Shanghai – although it's not open to everyone, but by personal invitation only. Visitors can look forward to the exhibiting brands A. Lange & Söhne, Baume & Mercier, Cartier, IWC Schaffhausen, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Panerai, Parmigiani Fleurier, Piaget, Purnell, Roger Dubuis, and Vacheron Constantin.