: Watches & Wonders Geneva 2023 – Part 2
Text Sean Li, Cherie Wong, Francis Cheung
Photos Francis Cheung

Continuing with our coverage of the new watches presented at this year’s Watches & Wonders Geneva fair, we turn our attention to the classic watches. Here we see examples of tributes to iconic timepieces from the past decades as well as examples of the timeless styling that fine watchmaking is arguably best known for.


Baume & Mercier – Riviera 10715

It’s incredible to think that the Baume & Mercier Riviera is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. A true mainstay of the maison’s collection, it has long stood for a sporty, understated elegance, an emblem of the Mediterranean lifestyle that gave it its name. Going with that theme, we see this year the introduction of a 39mm case size, perhaps aiming for the sweet spot between its previous 42mm or 36mm iterations. We were particularly drawn to the 10715 model with its smoky grey sapphire dial and metal bracelet, a colourways that is quite versatile and can be worn in or out of the boardroom, which can be quickly adapted as it also features a quick-change strap mechanism. It’s powered by the Baumatic manufacture calibre that provides a 5-day power reserve.

(4) Cartier Privé – Tank Normale watch

Cartier – Tank Normale

This year, Cartier continues the ethos of revisiting its vintage iconic designs from the 20th century. The Cartier Privé collection has welcomed its seventh series, the Tank Normale, bridging the maison’s first tank design with a contemporary interpretation in six models. Bearing the calibre 070, the hour/minute version, takes quite a number of historical traces from the original watch such as the square dial in vintage sized brushed rectangular case (in platinum or yellow gold), as well the bevelled sapphire crystal that creates a visual distortion on the edge of the dial. The yellow gold version has considerable visual impact through vintage features such as blued baton hands and blue cabochon crown. Like other Cartier Privé launches in recent years, the dial is finished in a satin texture while the secret signature at VII replaces the usual Cartier brand name with 1917, commemorating the debut of the original version. Also the Tank Normale l is the first in the Privé collection with an option for a bracelet version.

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Chopard – L.U.C 1860

The original Chopard L.U.C 1860 is a landmark reference, establishing the maison as a manufacturer of haute horlogerie. This year, we see a modern iteration of the watch, in their proprietary alloy Lucent Steel, paired with a salmon colour gold dial. Other than the unassuming case size of a 36.5mm, this watch demonstrates the Chopard’s capacity in traditional watchmaking, which features many of the classical elements that enthusiasts find attractive. On the dial side, it has a hand guilloché’d pattern, a time-only complication (purists will appreciate the omission of the date indication), a snailed small second counter, and the white gold hour markers and dauphine hands. In terms of the movement, however, the COSC certified, L.U.C 96.40-L calibre is finely finished and decorated with the lovely chamfering and Côtes de Genève motif found throughout, and a twin barrel, micro-rotor layout that balances between thickness and power reserve.

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IWC Schaffhausen – Ingenieur

Perhaps anticipated by the watch crowd, IWC this year revamped the Ingenieur, paying homage specifically to the Ingenieur SL (reference 1832) that came out in 1976, a commissioned design by the lauded watch designer Gerald Genta, with the vision to develop a robust yet elegant steel sports watch. The new Ingenieur features the much recognizable five recesses on the bezel, a new distinctive “grid” pattern of small lines offset by 90 degrees to each other, the H-link bracelet, and the soft-iron inner case structure that protects the watch from magnetism. However, the ergonomics of the watch is now greatly improved with the newly engineered middle-link attachment, and a curved casing ring so that the watch drapes more comfortably around the wrist. Out of the four iterations, the titanium version is especially eye-catching with contrast between sandblasted, satin-finished, and polished surfaces finishes, effortlessly matching the grey dial.


Panerai – Radiomir Otto Giorni

Panerai’s focus is on their iconic Radiomir collection. Dating back to 1935 when the first Radiomir prototype was presented, the design has a significant value in Panerai’s watchmaking history as the origin of the sandwich dial construction, and being the predecessor of the Luminor case design. This all-new Radiomir Otto Giorni continues this legacy by utilising a new finishing technique called “brunito”, with a dark PVD coating applied to the case followed by a hand-finishing process to give it a weathered patina that is unique to each watch. It is also worth noting that Panerai also brings the use of eSteel in this watch, a metal obtained from per-consumer recycled steel scraps (of up to 95%), as a continuous effort to promote sustainability. It comes with two dial variations, both gradient, in blue and brown, featuring the sandwich dial composed of two superimposed plates, as well as the calibre P5000 that packs 8 days of power reserve, just as the name of the watch suggests.


Parmigiani – Tonda PF Minute Rattrapante

Riding on the success of new branding and the launch of the Tonda PF collection in 2021, Parmigiani has further introduced a new complication to the collection, the Tonda PF Minute Rattrapante. The idea of this complication shares the same concept as the Tonda PF GMT Rattrapante with the similar calibre PF051. Unlike the GMT version though, which is equipped with two hour hands, using the rattrapante concept to split the hour indication into distinct home and travel times in one hour increments, the Minute Rattrapante focuses on the minute intervals, which can be set in one or five minute increments according to which pusher on the side of the case is activated, the similarity being with a diving interval rather than a travel time. As with the GMT model, the two hands can be brought back together with the reset pusher embedded in the crown. The new minute rattrapante complication increases the number of components in the PF052 calibre to 271, compared with 215 in the GMT rattrapante PF051.


Patek Philippe – Aquanaut Luce Annual Calendar ref. 5261R

Patek Philippe has, for the first time, introduced a complication to the Aquanaut Luce collection, the reference 5261R. For the case size sitting at 39.9mm, the dial has a rather compact arrangement to balance between the calendar information from the two sub-registers and the date window at 6 o’clock, the Arabic numerals hour marker, and the moon phase. The maison has opted for an interesting colour combination, using slate blue on the dial and the rubber strap, and rose gold on the case and hour marker. The watch altogether emanates a subtle elegance on top of the recognisable, sporty look of the Aquanaut, easily matching any modern attire, which is perhaps why the watch also attracts the attention of collectors of all genders.


Tudor – Black Bay 54

Tudor presented a new addition to the Black Bay collection with the Black Bay 54, bringing back the long-lost proportions of a 37mm divers’ watch, first seen in the reference 7922 from 1954. To honour this important design, Tudor put together some of the very iconic elements of their vintage references, much loved by enthusiasts, including the subtly domed dial with gilt printings, a bezel with the hash marks omitted, and the “snowflake” hands. Despite bearing a vintage-inspired look, the specification is undoubtedly modern: the watch is equipped with the COSC-certified MT5400 calibre, a 200m depth rating and 70-hour power reserve, and the “T-fit” clasp for an easy, quick length adjustment within 8mm, available on both the rubber strap and bracelet. For such an all-rounded package the Black Bay 54 surely speaks to vintage watch enthusiasts and those who enjoy wearing watches of a classical size.


Vacheron Constantin – Traditionnelle Tourbillon Retrograde Date Openface ref. 6010T

There are occasionally cases where a watch truly surprises when seen in person rather than in photos or videos alone, and we would say that Vacheron Constantin’s Traditionnelle Tourbillon Retrograde Date Openface would certainly be such a timepiece. Perhaps the most representative of the maison’s focus at the fair on the retrograde mechanism, it’s the aesthetic interpretation and various technical finishes applied to the components that truly make it much more than the sum of its parts. The retrograde date display is definitely brought to the fore, atop an openworked sapphire dial atop a hand guilloché’d plate. The retrograde mechanism is visible on the upper part. The dark grey NAC treatment on many surfaces varies subtly such that the play of light on each will also be different, given the watch a very different outlook depending on the ambient light. Of course, the impeccably hand-finished tourbillon takes pride of place, with a peripheral winding rotor on the back ensuring that it always remains visible. This timepiece genuinely embodies the modern aspects of Vacheron Constantin with subtle reminders of the artistic and technical expertise gained through its storied history.

Baume & MercierCartierChopardGenevaIWCIWC SchaffhausenOfficine PaneraiPaneraiParmigianiPatek PhilippeTudorVacheron ConstantinWatches & WondersWWGF