Fashion contributor Priya Raj gives The Sybarite readers an insider look into the future of horology.
Watches & Wonders is a bit like fashion week for the horology world. It’s an industry-only event for the biggest watchmakers to put their cards on the table, and show what direction they're taking their brands in; both in design and innovation. And this year it's not just the usual suspects. Along with the cream of the crop, like Rolex and Patek Philippe, you’ll find releases from less traditional brands like Tudor and Oris. Here are my favourite picks from this year.
Cartier Baignoire Bangle
Cartier are masters at creating - and recreating - a classic. The Baignoire [French for bathtub] was originally released in 1912 and has since lived many lives. In this new incarnation, Cartier has taken the hallmark oval face and married it to the world of fine jewellery; arguably the most loved line of the Maison. Available from June 2023, the watch-bracelet hybrid will live on every stack lovers wrist.
Rolex Oyster Perpetual
Rolex are among the most anticipated designs at the annual show, not just because it opens up prospective buyers to maybe actually getting their hands on a watch, but year after year Rolex comes out strong as a brand willing to mould to the wishes of their clientele. And this year was no different. The Oyster Perpetual is the dream of every colour connoisseur. The light blue shaded face is flooded with five hues of bubbles, each bubble representing the five colours Rolex released the same style back in 2020 - as a nod to their past and a step into the future.
Rolex Emoji Day Date
I’m not ashamed to say, I have a favourite. As someone who likes to be a bit different, this watch was the one I sent in all my group chats with one word attached “WOW”. The new “Emoji” Day Date marries the most clean-cut Rolex model with an unmatched level of witty design. The traditional presidential strap, available in white or yellow gold on a turquoise face, or in Everose gold with an orange face is reimagined with two firsts for Rolex. The arc window days of the week are replaced with positive affirmations “HAPPY, ETERNITY, GRATITUDE, PEACE, FAITH, LOVE, and HOPE” while the date window reveals 31 different emojis - rumoured inclusions are smileys, a four-leaf clover, playing card, ladybug, peace sign, and panda face. Unfortunately, this is also one of the off-catalogue pieces and so won’t be an easy one to get a hold of.
Chopard Haute Joaillerie
Chopard is famed for their jewellery and big fat diamonds - their watches are almost exclusively adored by their loyal fan-base rather than the masses - but all that is about to change. Along with others, there is a clear angle towards sustainability this year, a running theme through the whole luxury world. Chopard put their hat in the ring by releasing two high jewellery watches, one is encrusted with 28 carats of diamonds and 21.65 carats of emeralds, and set with fairmined-certified white gold.
La Panthére de Cartier
Cartier’s most recognised symbol, the Panther, has usually been exclusive to their fine jewellery line, and has now swanned into the brand's line of watches - it is their take on toeing the line between watches and jewellery. The architectural design of the bracelet [with no visible hinges] makes the bracelet move fluidly, like a Panther, whose face is perched on the upper edge of the bezel - the perfect power statement.
Tag Heuer Carrera Plasma
Another brand making the first step into unknown sustainable territory. Tag Heuer made their commitment by using coloured lab-grown diamonds to mark the 60th anniversary of the Carrera. The Tag Heuer “Diamant d’Avant-Garde” technology creates diamonds with identical properties to naturally mined diamonds, not unlike other lab-created diamonds. The brand uses a single 1.3-carat pink diamond carved out as the signature crown, the epitome of new world glamour.
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