With COVID-19 disrupting our year, Watches & Wonders Geneva (former SIHH) presents 2020 novelties from the thirty participating Houses in a unique and unprecedented way.

On-line, until we can really see and handle the pieces, we can nevertheless already spot our preferences.  Here are three of mine.

The Grand Sport Tourbillon, the first sport watch from Laurent Ferrier, was introduced in 2019 with a taupe rubber strap. Like its predecessor, the 2020 model comes in a 44mm stainless steel case, is waterproof to 100 meters, has orange Super-LumiNova on the white gold indexes and hour and minute hands, and …  the rotating cage of the manual-winding tourbillon movement with double balance spring and a power reserve of 80 hours (no less!) is visible through the sapphire case back.  Finishes are supreme.

So what’s new? The opaline dial is now gradient blue to black (instead of brown), and (more importantly?) the Grand Sport Tourbillon 2020 is equipped with an integrated bracelet in stainless steel — a first for the brand, to match the case.  Why is this important?  Simply because its form, the links, and satin-finish and mirror-polish make it one of the best-looking integrated bracelets ever seen, and we all know from other brands’ recent examples that this is not always easy to achieve.  I can’t wait to see it personally, and especially touch it, because one of the hidden qualities of Laurent Ferrier watches is the very sensual “caressability” of the pieces.

IWC enhances its Portugieser family (created in the late 1930s) with new models including this nautical sports watch: the 44 mm Portugieser Yacht Club Chronograph (Ref. 3907) in stainless steel, with a matching stainless steel or two-tone stainless steel and 18 carat 5N gold bracelet.  Like all the watches in the new collection, it has a filigree bezel and flat casing ring, and is equipped with an in-house calibre — this one is the automatic 89361 that displays the stopped hours and minutes in a single totalizer at 12 o’clock, with a flyback function and power reserve of 68 hours.  The movement is visible through the transparent back of a case that’s water-resistant to 6 bar.

IWC knows how to make more complicated and mightier machines, but I like the user-friendly simplicity, and sporty yet elegant layout of this chronograph.  It comes in 3 versions: with a blue dial and rhodium-plated hands and appliques, a silver plated dial with blue hands and appliques, and my favourite – the silver-plated dial with gold plated hands, and 18 carat 5N gold appliques to match the two-tone gold and steel bracelet.  Perfect to flatter the sun’s rays while at sea or in the city.

And from Piaget…As usual from the prestigious Geneva watch show, known especially for the technical prowess and larger sizes of “toys for boys” there are not many novelties specifically made for ladies.  Happily, Piaget excels at both, and this year brings us sparkling new editions of the Limelight Gala, ultra-feminine and totally dazzling.

Glamourous, 1960s-inspired, launched during the swinging celebrity parties of the “Piaget Society” in the 70s (think Jackie Kennedy, Dali, Elizabeth Taylor and Andy Warhol),  the curves, arched case and perfectly integrated asymmetrical lugs are crafted in 18K white or rose gold, set with precious stones, ornate dials, and dark blue or burgundy alligator leather straps with gold diamond-set buckles. There is also a stunning hand-engraved white gold bracelet with integrated clasp model.

In case sizes of 32 and 26mm, the bezels are set with diamonds and/or blue sapphires, with mother-of-pearl, blue enamel on white gold, or aventurine glass dials.  I particularly love the aventurine models set respectively (depending upon the size) with 1.76 or .87 cts of diamonds, limited to 300 pieces each, or the “Precious” version set with 4.80 cts of diamonds, limited to 200 pieces.

And if these aren’t enough, three Limelight Gala “High-Jewellery” models are also proposed, with diamond-set bezels, lugs, and dials! or an Australian black opal dial version surrounded by yellow to orange sapphires and marquise-cut rubies.

All are equipped with the Piaget manufacture 56P quartz movement for hours and minutes.  Because yes, these are also timepieces.

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