Instead of journalists and watch enthusiasts flocking to a usually-sleepy corner of Switzerland for the largest and most impressive watch show in the world, this year we're all glued to our computer screens for Watches and Wonders 2021.
Glitzy stands filling the cavernous exhibition centre in Basel have been replaced by live streams and digital press centres, but one thing hasn't changed – we're seeing the best innovation and invention horology has to offer. Expect announcements from brands including Rolex, Tag Heuer, Hublot, Tudor and many more…
T3 has joined the digital fray and will be bringing you the latest releases from the show. These are the best watches announced at Watches and Wonders 2021 so far…
Rolex Explorer 36mm
Released in a yellow Rolesor version, the new-generation Oyster Perpetual Explorer is presented in a 36 mm case – the same size as the original model launched in 1953. Its Chromalight display is particularly impressive, and it is equipped with calibre 3230. The new Rolex Explorer Rolesor version will be priced at £8700, but the new 36mm Explorer will also be available as a Steel-only model for £5,150.
- Read more: All of the new Rolex watches announced at Watches and Wonders 2021 (opens in new tab)
IWC Big Pilot’s Watch 43
The new Big Pilot’s Watch 43 (Ref. IW3293) is an authentic interpretation of the iconic design. It features a 43mm stainless steel case for enhanced ergonomics and wearability, and a clear dial without either a date window or a power reserve display.
Powering the updated Big Pilot’s Watch 43 is the IWC- manufactured 82100 calibre. It features an automatic winding system developed by Albert Pellaton, which uses the rotor’s smallest movements in either direction to wind the mainspring. It also features components made of virtually wear-free zirconium oxide ceramic. When fully wound, the mainspring stores 60 hours of power.
The watch also features a new 'EasX-CHANGE' system which enables the wearer to quickly and easily change the strap. IWC will sell a wide range of accesories, such as calfskin and rubber straps in attractive colours, as well as a new stainless steel bracelet.
A reworked case construction also ensures the watch is now water-resistant to 10 bar.
The Big Pilot’s Watch 43 will be available from May 2021 through IWC boutiques, authorised retail partners or online at IWC.com.
Although it's not a traditional watch brand, Hermés always manages to wow us with its creations. The new Hermès H08 watch features a contemporary yet timeless sporting-inspired design, combining taut and flowing lines.
The new Hermès H08 line offers three 39mm-sized cushion-shaped models with a screw-down crown, housing the mechanical self-winding Manufacture Hermès H1837 movement.
The first features a graphene-filled composite case, topped by a satin-brushed and polished ceramic bezel. Its black gold-coated dial is punctuated by a minutes track, luminescent Arabic numerals, and black nickel-coated hands. It is paired with a black rubber strap secured by a titanium butterfly clasp.
Two other variants – the first in matt black DLC-coated titanium and the second in satin-brushed titanium – frame a black nickel-coated dial and are teamed with a blue or black webbing band, or a black or orange rubber strap.
Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight 18K
Tudor has introduced a bold new version of its popular model – the Black Bay Fifty-Eight – in 18ct yellow gold with an open case back. Both of these new features are firsts in Tudor's dive range. The 39mm case features a matt satin finish, and the dial a stunning matt "golden green" tone. The dial is finished with applied hour markers in 18 ct yellow gold. Inside the gold case is the manufacture Calibre MT5400, certified by the Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC) with a hairspring in silicon and a 70-hour power reserve.
Patek Philippe Nautilus 5711/1A-014
Following the announcement that 2021 will be the last production year of the stainless steel model Ref. 5711/1A, Patek Philippe has announced a totally new olive green sunburst dial for this icon of casual elegance. This new dial will also be available in a version featuring a bezel set with baguette diamonds.
Rolex Explorer II
Featuring a redesigned case and bracelet, the new-generation Oyster Perpetual Explorer II is fitted with calibre 3285 and benefits from an optimised Chromalight display. On the version with a white lacquer dial, the black hour markers and hands stand out for their matt finish. The new Rolex Explorer II will be priced at £6800.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Hybris Mechanica Calibre 185 Quadriptyque
Liberated by the unique design of the iconic Reverso, Jaeger-LeCoultre has created a world’s first: a double-faced case continuously driven by the in-house Calibre 185, and a double-faced cradle with indications synced and updated by the primary movement every day at the stroke of midnight by an ingenious mechanical system proprietary to Jaeger-LeCoultre.
If executed through conventional mechanical means, the 11 complications of the Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Hybris Mechanica Calibre 185 Quadriptyque would result in a timepiece far more suited for a desk than a wrist.
The 11 complications include a perpetual calendar, minute repeater, as well as indications of the synodic, draconic and anomalistic cycles.
Oris Dat Watt Limited Edition
Oris’s Change for the Better projects have covered the globe and now the focus falls on the Wadden Sea, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The new limited edition watch is based on the Oris Aquis diver’s watch and is named after a local dialect for the Wadden Sea.
The 2,009 limited edition pieces mark the year the Wadden Sea was awarded UNESCO World Heritage Site status The Dat Watt Limited Edition is a special watch. Its dial displays the lunar cycle and tidal range in the Northern Hemisphere via the Oris-developed Pointer Moon function, created for professional divers. This works using a central white pointer hand that once aligned with the correct day in the 29.5-day lunar cycle, shows the corresponding tidal range via the white outline on the dial. The same hand indicates the waxing and waning of the moon.
Tudor Black Bay Chronograph
On the 50th anniversary of its first chronograph, Tudor has relaunched the Black Bay Chrono model in steel with a reworked case and two dials with contrasting sub-counters in the purest tradition of the sporty chronograph. The satin-brushed and polished 41mm case in 316L stainless steel features a fixed bezel with an insert in black anodised aluminium and tachymetric scale. The case houses a manufacture chronograph calibre MT5813), with a silicon balance spring, a 70-hour power reserve, a column wheel and vertical clutch. The new Chrono comes with a choice of three bracelet designs: black Jacquard fabric, cuff in black aged leather or riveted steel.
IWC Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar Top Gun Edition “Mojave Desert”
Continuing its series of Top Gun models in sand-coloured ceramic, this is the first time the Swiss luxury watch manufacturer has used the material for the Big Pilot’s Watch. Dark brown subdued dials, sand-coloured hands and rubber straps, add to the eye-catching military-inspired design. It is powered by IWC-manufactured movements from the 52000 calibre family. You Can Be My Wingman Any Time…
Tudor Black Bay 925
The name of the radiant Black Bay Fifty-Eight 925 silver model is, of course, a reference to the precious metal of its case. The 39mm case has a matt satin finish and an open case back. Inside is the manufacture calibre MT5400, certified by the Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC) with a hairspring in silicon and a 70-hour power reserve.
Montblanc 1858 Geosphere Limited Edition
With two distinctive domed turning hemisphere globes and in-house world time complication, the Montblanc 1858 Geosphere became an instant hit. Montblanc has now unveiled a new Limited Edition model that pays tribute to legendary mountaineer Reinhold Messner's five-week solo trek across the Gobi desert in 2004.
Reproducing the rocky terrain colour scheme, the timepiece harmoniously combines a satin-finished bronze case with a special engraving on the case back, a bi-directional shiny brown ceramic bezel, a smoked brown and beige lacquered dial, and a matching vintage-brown Sfumato calf strap.
The case back unveils a unique engraving that shows the Gobi Desert’s famous Flaming Cliffs, also known as Bayanzag, that were on Messner’s route across Northern Asia.
Bvlgari Octo Finissimo Perpetual Calendar
Octo Finissimo has become a Haute Horlogerie icon in a very short space of time. After exploring ultra-miniaturisation in the fields of the automatic movement as well as the minute repeater, chronograph and tourbillon, Bvlgari has now released the Octo Finissimo Perpetual Calendar, the slimmest in the world.
The Octo Finissimo Perpetual Calendar calibre measures just 2.75mm, features no less than 408 components, and fits inside the slender 5.80mm case.
This new record is available in two variations: the “signature” titanium like all Bvlgari’s World Record, as well as a platinum version.
Panerai Luminor Marina eSteel
This is the first Panerai watch to feature one of the most remarkable technical achievements in the brand’s history: eSteel, a recycled-based material that represents a step in Panerai’s commitment to reduce the need for virgin material extraction and its associated high environmental impact.
89g of the Luminor Marina eSteel components are made of recycled-based materials, corresponding to 58.4% of the total weight of the watch. Panerai made sure that eSteel meets the same rigorous standards demanded of the steel cases that preceded it, and exhibits the identical chemical behaviour, physical structure and resistance to corrosion as a non-recycled alloy.
TAG Heuer Aquaracer Professional 300
Behold the new generation of TAG Heuer Aquaracer! With its striking, instantly recognisable aesthetic, epitomised by the Aquaracer’s signature 12 faceted bezel, and its high specifications, it’s entirely contemporary, and yet it recalls a legacy that TAG Heuer began more than 40 years ago. Almost every aspect of this watch has been upgraded, from the thinner and lighter case to the upgraded sapphire glass and re-engineered rotating bezel mechanism.
Breitling Premier Heritage Collection
The Premier Heritage Collection pays homage to Breitling’s very own Founders Squad: three generations of men who changed the history of timekeeping and made Breitling what it is today. Léon Breitling founded the company in 1884; his son, Gaston, who created one of the first wrist-worn chronographs with an independent pusher at 2 o’clock, and Léon’s grandson, Willy, who patented the second independent chronograph pusher at 4 o’clock.
A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 Perpetual Calendar
The new Lange 1 Perpetual Calendar is totally focused on the eponymous complication. Its integration into the prominent dial layout of the Lange 1 was made possible thanks to a peripheral month ring created especially for this design. The new timepiece comes in pink gold with a grey-silver dial or – in a limited edition of 150 watches – in white gold with a solid pink-gold dial. The moon-phase display with an integrated day/night indicator is a further special feature.
Big Bang Integral Tourbillon Full Sapphire
Working with the idea that 'less is more' Hublot has taken its Art of Fusion to its ultimate conclusion with a new integrated bracelet and case custom-made from sapphire. Hublot has yet again proven it has exceptional expertise working with sapphire (and many other materials). The clear case allows you to see the HUB6035 automatic manufacture calibre, entirely designed and manufactured in-house, beating at its heart.
Zenith Defy Extreme
Zenith is taking things up a notch with its new all-terrain 1/100th of a second chronograph. It features a larger 45mm case, sharper lines, more pronounced edges, and an overall silhouette that exudes robustness, and resilience. The design is reinforced by the addition of components protecting the pushers, and screw-down crown. Ergonomics as well as durability are enhanced, with a water-resistance of 200 metres – an impressive feat for a cutting-edge chronograph with a display caseback.
Cartier Tank Must
Taking things back to the 80s, the new Tank Must watch is available in three monochromatic colours that are embedded into Cartier’s brand: red, blue and green. The three steel watches favour minimalist dials with no Roman numerals or “rail-tracks” and a fully chromatic look with matching straps.
Another version of the Tank Must features a true technical feat that sees delicate and invisible holes punched in the Roman numerals. This allows solar energy to reach the photovoltaic cells hidden under the dial. It took two years for the development team to integrate this SolarBeat movement, and gives a lifespan of over 16 years.
This pioneering watch that also introduces a bracelet composed of around 40% plant matter, produced using waste from apples grown for the food industry in Switzerland, Germany and Italy.
Vacheron Constantin Overseas Perpetual Calendar Ultra-thin
The two latest ultra-thin perpetual calendar iterations – a skeleton version and another with a blue dial – come in a new white gold case, and embody adaptability through three interchangeable bracelet/straps that are delivered with each watch.
The respective perpetual calendar movements of these two new editions are each framed by a 41.5 mm white gold case. The ultra-thin 4.05mm 1120 QPSQ/1 skeleton movement is visible from the front, while Calibre 1120 QP/1 can be admired through the case back of the solid-dial version.
More to follow…