The virtually-held Watches & Wonders 2021 officially came to an end, surprising us once a with a wide array of super interesting novelties. Regardless whether it is a reversible watch for 1.6 million euros or the 7th world record for the 7th year in a row, this year’s watch fair had (almost) everything.
Let’s have a look at the ten most noteworthy new watches.
Exactly one year ago, Bulgari made headlines in a big way: six world records in six years. The world record chase began in 2014, when Bulgari managed with the Octo Finissimo to fit a tourbillon, which was not even 2mm flat, into a watch case that was only 5mm flat. Also this year, the engineers and watchmakers at Bulgari did everything in their power to not let this record-breaking streak stop.
What came out is the new Bulgari Octo Finissimo Perpetual Calendar, which takes the familiar design features of the Octo Finissimo series and adds the world’s flattest perpetual calendar on top. Despite 408 individual parts, the movement is only an incredible 2.75mm high, whereas the entire watch has a total height of 5.8mm.
Notwithstanding the 50th anniversary of the Explorer II collection, which was first launched by Rolex in 1971 and was only given a mini-facelift this year, the new edition of the Explorer (1) was much more interesting for us. There comes down to two reasons: By returning to a 36mm diameter, Rolex has not only answered many fans’ prayers, but has also returned to a more historic case size for the company.
In keeping with Rolex’s philosophy of “evolution not revolution,” the new Explorer Ref. 124270 may look like its predecessor at first glance, but traditionally, 36mm (instead of 39mm) and the Rolex Explorer simply belong together. In addition to the reduced diameter, you now also get the high-end caliber 3230, which promises a power reserve of 70 hours.
The legendary blue Nautilus (Ref. 5711-1A-010), which was still available until recently, was probably the most hyped watch you could get for your money, with used market prices in the six-figure range. As a result, the news around it discontinuation hit like a bomb… just like the news around its succession.
For exactly one year, Patek Philippe will now produce an olive green Nautilus 5711 to give the legendary watch a fitting farewell. Admittedly, the watch is virtually identical to its blue predecessor, with the exception of the new dial color and the framed date window of course, but most buyers won’t care anyway, given the watch’s cult status.
TAG Heuer’s Aquaracer collection is still the first port of call for many (budding) watch enthusiasts when it comes to high-quality yet affordable diving watches. Besides the reliable Calibre 5, the watches always meet the current taste and are of impeccable quality in typical TAG Heuer manner. What’s not to love?
The revised Aquaracer Professional 300 models all present themselves a bit more elegant and with more design cues from older vintage watches. The new date window is now located at 6 o’clock and a more distinguished 36mm size is now available, which should make the collection interesting for even more wrists.
Chopard’s L.U.C watches are definitely among the most underrated timepieces out there for us, as few other Swiss watch brands combine such a degree of vertical integration with such obsession for detail and history.
A good example of this is the new “Quattro Spirit 25”, which gets by with just one hand and represents haute horlogerie in its purest form. The fine minute hand makes its rounds on the Grand Feu enamel dial, which is set in a 40mm case made of ethical red gold. However, the real highlight of this novelty is arguably the L.U.C 98.09-L caliber, which not only has an impressive power reserve of 192 hours, but also a jumping hour complication. With this, the hour hand is replaced by a disc with all twelve hour numerals.
IWC’s pilot’s watches are legendary, because few brands embody this type of watch as much as those of the traditional Schaffhausen brand. However, what has always been a slight drawback for many fans of the brand is the enormous size of the watches. Only very few people can pull off an IWC Big Pilot with 46mm.
This changes with the new Big Pilot 43, which – surprise, surprise – is only 43mm in diameter. Talking about a small watch here would be absurd, but we are sure that many out there will find joy in this less large watch. Unlike its big brother, the case height has been reduced by 2mm and the lug-to-lug distance by 3mm, which should now make the watch an option for many former non-interested parties as well.
Breitling introduced its latest Premier Heritage collection in memory and homage to the brand’s founding fathers – Léon Breitling, Gaston Breitling and Willy Breitling. This comprises a total of six watches divided into three models: the Premier Heritage Chronograph, the Premier Heritage Duograph and the Premier Heritage Datora.
The watch that directly stood out for us was the Premier B25 Datora 42, as it once again proves what Breitling is capable of. The design was borrowed from a Breitling watch from the 1940s and refreshed a bit for this new launch. The chronograph includes a tachymeter scale, a moon phase at 6 o’clock, and a day and date display at 12 o’clock.
As an epitome of a classic timeless wristwatch, the Cartier Tank has been around for over 100 years and is one of the great unisex classics on the watch market. Andy Warhol is said to have once said of his favorite watch: “I don’t wear a Tank to tell the time. In fact, I never wind it. I wear a Tank because it’s the watch to wear.” However, don’t be fooled into thinking that the new SolarBeat Tank Must is of old-fashioned nature.
The Tank Must series originated in 1977 and was, in the face of the quartz crisis, considered an affordable answer to the higher-priced Tank models with mechanical movements. The current reissue once again taps into the current zeitgeist, as it takes a big step towards sustainability: Thanks to a solar-powered movement, the watch only needs to be serviced every 16 years, according to Cartier. In addition, 40% of the new leather strap are made of plant fiber components from apple waste.
4 dials, 6 years of development, 11 complications and 12 patents, these are the bare data of the new Reverso Hybris Mechanica Calibre 185 Quadriptyque. With this superlative watch, the Jaeger-LeCoultre brand has once again lived up to its unofficial title as the watchmaker’s watchmaker and presented the most complicated Reverso reversible watch of all time – at a staggering price of around 1.6 million euros.
Thanks to three different lunar cycles, the watch can announce astronomical events such as a solar eclipse. If that’s not enough, you’ll certainly enjoy the perpetual calendar or the tourbillon, which JLC’s watchmakers somehow managed to fit into the case, which is only 15mm high by the way.
Oh, did you know the watch also features a minute repeater and a moon phase?
The Black Bay Fifty-Eight collection has been a huge success since its launch back in 2018, as there always seems to be a market for well-proportioned divers with a historic design and super-precise movement. The new Black Bay Fifty-Eight 925 in sterling silver is no exception to this rule.
After black and gold, Tudor is now breaking new ground by presenting their new crowd-pleasing collection in a completely new hue: taupe. In addition to the brown-gray color scheme, the material used is also new. Moreover, the Black Bay Fifty-Eight 925 now features a sapphire crystal case back, through which the balance of the new MT5400 caliber can be viewed as oscillates back and forth.
Are you currently in the market for an awesome new watch to to kick-start your collection? Make sure to check out our Top 10 Picks Under 500€.