The 10 Must-See New Timepieces From Watches And Wonders 2023
Illustrations by Mr Jaume Vilardell
For watch fans, the year revolves around one week at the end of March, when Watches and Wonders comes to Geneva and the biggest brands reveal their new watches. Heavy hitters such as Patek Philippe, Vacheron Constantin, IWC Schaffhausen and Rolex are all in town, along with dozens of others, with hotly anticipated new designs to show off. We have picked out 10 new watches launching today from brands available on MR PORTER – watches we’re excited to see and share with you. There’s a new Ingenieur from IWC, the Radiomir collection is back in the limelight at Panerai, and there’s an absolutely gorgeous Cartier Tank. Be sure to keep an eye on our Instagram all week, as we’ll be highlighting many more of the new releases every day, from big brands and indie artisans alike.
Cartier Tank Normale
When the first watch addicts beep through the turnstiles of Watches and Wonders on day one, they make a beeline for Rolex and Patek Philippe, to know what the two most-discussed brands in the industry have created. These days, there’s a third stop on the gotta-see-it-first sprint: Cartier. The king of jewellers has been riding a wave lately, and this year’s additions are sure to further fuel the hype. There are several standout pieces, but our pick is this Tank Normale with a platinum case and bracelet. As the name implies, it was the very first Tank design, but the original existed only in small numbers before giving way to myriad iterations. This year, Cartier inducts it into its Privé collection with a series of limited editions. We are just in love with that slinky, heavy platinum bracelet.
Panerai Radiomir California PAM01349
Over the last five years, Panerai has really focused on its Luminor collection, as well as establishing the more hardcore Submersible diver as a range in its own right. The original Panerai shape, the Radiomir, has been somewhat overlooked. Now, that all changes, with a whole new suite of Radiomirs being unveiled. Our eyes were drawn by this somewhat weatherbeaten stainless steel model, which stands out both for its “pre-worn ”case and the California dial. This style of numeral arrangement, combining Roman and Arabic numerals and named in honour of the Californian jeweller who popularised them, is a bit of a Panerai calling card, and it’s great to see it make an appearance among the new Radiomir collection.
Oris ProPilot X
The ProPilot X – often shortened to PPX – was one of the major talking points of Watches and Wonders 2022. For that to be the case tells you everything about how popular Oris is right now, if it can steal some of the limelight from the biggest players in the game. It’s not because it represented groundbreaking horology or a daring break with tradition; Oris simply made an existing design smaller and gave it some pop of colourful dials. But the end result was a watch every journalist who clapped eyes on it wanted to walk away wearing. This year, the PPX returns with a vivid shade of green on the dial, thanks to a partnership with none other than your favourite Muppet, Kermit the Frog.
Chopard Alpine Eagle XPS
The St Moritz, Chopard’s contribution to the sports-luxe steel bracelet designs of the 1970s and 1980s, came roaring back in 2019 – renamed as the Alpine Eagle. The dial design drew praise, with its powerfully textured eagle-eye finish, and the design of the case and bracelet ticks all the right boxes. For some, however, one thing was missing: why hadn’t Chopard given the Alpine Eagle a movement from its highly respected L.U.C range, the in-house haute horlogerie collection that houses all the brand’s finest creations? Now, it has done exactly that with the Alpine Eagle XPS, a thinner version of the regular automatic, powered by the L.U.C. calibre 96.40-L and topped off with a salmon-pink dial to boot.
Vacheron Constantin Overseas Moon Phase Retrograde Date
From the sneak preview we were given of Vacheron Constantin’s Watches and Wonders releases, it seems fair to say the maison is leaning hard on the retrograde date complication, trying to make it something of a signifier for the brand as a whole. To that end, the stainless-steel Overseas is issued with a retrograde date – an arc-shaped display whose needle, when it reaches the end of the month, flies back to 1 to start all over again. Watchmakers view retrograde mechanisms with caution, because they entail allowing energy to build up and release explosively, over and over again, rather than running along nice and steady. So leaning into it is kind of a flex, albeit a highly nerdy watchmaking flex that only other watch cognoscenti will appreciate. How very appropriate.
IWC Schaffhausen Ingenieur
The great watch designer Mr Gerald Genta created the Patek Philippe Nautilus in 1976, and to judge by its success today, could justifiably have taken the rest of that year off. In fact, in the same year he also created a revamp of IWC’s Ingenieur, which debuted as the Ingenieur SL. It didn’t take the world by storm, selling just over a thousand pieces, but has been the inspiration for various successor designs down the years. For 2023, IWC has redesigned the Ingenieur collection once more to align it more closely than ever with Genta’s overlooked classic. It retains elements of the last generation Ingenieur – such as the crown guards – but is elevated by a finer dial execution and a sleeker, sharper finish to the case and bracelet.
Hermès Timepieces H08
Two years on from the debut of Hermès Timepieces H08 and there’s still very little to touch it for fresh, lively design at its price point. We’re still eagerly waiting to see what a more complicated H08 might look like, be that a GMT, chronograph or some other evolution, but in the meantime Hermès has given us what we want in the form of bright, colourful variations on that oh-so-popular shape. We’ve chosen to spotlight the H08 in green, but the new collection will include blue, yellow and orange, too.
Montblanc 1858 Geosphere Zero Oxygen
Coming exclusively to MR PORTER from the end of this week, this Montblanc 1858 Geosphere is the latest reference in the wildly successful Iced Sea collection. Ostensibly a range of stainless-steel tool/sport watches like any other, they stand out for the mesmerising dial decoration that Montblanc has developed – a semi-transparent effect that truly replicates the appearance of centuries-old glacial ice, complete with jagged cracks and shadows that appear to float within the material. This year, Montblanc brings its own idiosyncratic take on a dual time-zone watch, the Geosphere complication, to the Iced Sea collection, with a fittingly icy-blue dial and bezel for good measure.
Bell & Ross BR 05 Skeleton Golden
You know a watch design has been a success when year after year, new variants crop up like spring bulbs, giving you more colour and variety than you ever expected from the initial offering. Bell & Ross’s BR05 is entering its fifth year of life and continues to add new references with carefree abandon. This year we welcome the BR05 Skeleton Golden, alongside a Skeleton Green and a full-on super-lux solid gold model with green dial called, simply enough, the Green Gold. This stainless-steel automatic adds a beguiling translucent gold dial, through which you can just glimpse the openworked movement. Limited to 500 pieces, the watch comes on either a complementary orange-brown rubber strap or, as seen here, a steel bracelet.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tribute Monoface
Within the Reverso collection, there is a distinction that’s perhaps not immediately obvious: models are either “classic”, or “tribute” in style. The former has Arabic numerals and baton hands, the latter has baton markers and “alpha”-style pointed hands. Generally, the tribute pieces evoke a more heritage-inspired feeling and are a little more sought-after by purists. Until now, the only tribute reference in pink gold has been the Reverso Tribute Duoface Calendar – a complicated model that adds day, date, month and moon-phase indications. If you wanted a simple time-only in gold with the tribute aesthetic, you’d be all out of luck – until now, with the arrival of this Reverso Tribute Monoface in 18k pink gold. Thank goodness for that.