SIHH was rebranded as Watches & Wonders and rescheduled for a time interval that would have allowed visitors from outside Switzerland to see it simultaneously with the Baselworld fair. 2020 did indeed bring a change, yet not the one that had been anticipated. It was more like a roller coaster: both fairs were cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has fueled pre-existing conflicts in the industry. However, the organizers of Watches & Wonders, infinitely more skillful and inspired than Baselworld’s organizers, have managed to provide a digital platform that would serve as an expedient not only for launching and studying watches live, but also for the journalists’ meetings with the brand specialists. It is a necessary mouthful of oxygen, which, however, cannot replace fairs at such.
In the meantime, here are my favorite timepieces from Watches & Wonders. I must admit I had a hard time choosing them, because there are many more models that could have made it to this top 3.
1. So well designed is the new watch launched by Laurent Ferrier, that it managed to appeal to me before the ones presented by the great manufactures. Grand Sport Tourbillon is representative for the entire concept of tradition, which very few brands know and follow like Laurent Ferrier does. The three decades spent by Laurent Ferrier at Patek Philippe, where he was part of the team that worked on the famous Nautilus, say a lot about his devotion to perennial watchmaking values. One can find these features in the beautiful watches designed by the master under his own brand. Grand Sport Tourbillon is the watchmaking reflection of Ferrier’s passion for car races. A robust, ergonomic, masculine model, with a generous 44mm case and a plain dial, this timepiece is a paragon of watchmaking sophistication. Laurent Ferrier chose not to display the tourbillon on the dial; he does not have to prove to anyone his capabilities as an experienced watchmaker, which is why the complication is only visible through the caseback, its role being exclusively functional, rather than aesthetic. An automatic watch, in an edition of only 12 pieces, Grand Sport Tourbillon is an undisputed success since its launch.
2. More than 8 decades after its first version, Cartier Tank Asymétrique remains just as seductive as ever. Cartier divided the 2020 models of Tank Asymétrique into two lines, based on their design and caliber (with manual winding, in both cases): 1917 MC, with a classic dial, and 9623 MC, with a highly skeletonized dial. Although the skeletonized versions create a much stronger visual impact, I choose the one with a ”full” dial and yellow gold case, a material which I hope will be used more and more often in watch collections. And since we are talking about Cartier and their appetite towards polygonal cases, I have to mention the delicate feminine model Maillon de Cartier, launched in seven gold references, of various colors (with the simplest version also in yellow gold), with or without diamonds and tsavorites.
3. IWC maintains an impeccable presence, as they do every year, and the new Portugieser models are truly spectacular, both in number and variety. The watches incorporate the most diverse functions and complications, from the perpetual calendar, the chronograph and the Moon Phases to combinations such as tourbillon-retrograde date display-flyback chronograph or tourbillon-perpetual calendar. I really like the ”simple” chronograph, with a Burgundy red or green dial and a 41mm steel case. For those who prefer noble metals, there is a Portugieser Chronograph version in rose gold, this time with a blue dial. My preference for the Portugieser chronograph is, in fact, a vote for all the IWC models this year.