There was a time when new watch launches were reserved for just two major trade shows.
Customers and critics alike would have to patiently wait for SIHH and Baselworld before they’d get their first taste of the year’s watchmaking manna.
But since the pandemic – and the dissolution of Baselworld – this particular rulebook has been thrown out of the metaphorical window.
From early January, we've already been treated to some phenomenal new timepieces.
And now it's time for Watches & Wonders – the launch site for many brands, especially the likes of Rolex and Patek Philippe.
In this article, we’ll aim to drop every significant release as and when it happens. So if you’re a fan of luxury watches, bookmark this page – and we’ll see you back here soon…
Cartier Privé Tank Normale
Cartier launched the Privé collection in 2017 as a limited-edition “collectors’ collection” of its most iconic references. That it has taken the storied brand a full six years to introduce a faithful reimagining of the original Tank Normale, one of the greatest watch designs of all time, is somewhat surprising.
But we’re all for the virtues of patience and this rip-roaring rendition, known as the Privé Tank Normale, was certainly worth the wait.
The Privé Tank Normale is inspired by the very first Tank designed by Louis Cartier in 1917 and released to wide acclaim two years later. More than a century on, this new watch borrows the same proportions as the original, as well as some of the key aesthetic codes that became the cornerstone of the collection: the square shape, the bevelled sapphire crystal, the satin-brushed brancards (the most tank-like feature on the watch) and, of course, the Roman numeral dial with inner railroad track.
There are five new references in the collection, including two skeletonised models featuring a quite unusual 24-hour display, but for us the classic closed-dial iterations in either a yellow gold or a platinum case have captured our interest.
The star of the show here is the matching precious metal seven-row bracelet. It’s the first time since the 1980s that Cartier has executed such a bracelet in platinum and the result is absolutely exquisite. The seamless integration of the bracelet onto such an iconic design is quite the aesthetic payoff.
Royal Oak “Jumbo” Extra-Thin model (ref. 16202)
Tapisserie too linear for you? Standard Jumbo too, er, jumbo for you. Don’t worry – AP has you covered with its latest Extra-Thin white gold version of the Royal Oak, complete with a deliciously textured blue grained dial. Just a shame that sapphire crystal is in the way, as we want to scratch it!
This limited edition is powered by the Calibre 7121, the latest extra-thin movement that was introduced in January 2022 for the 50th anniversary of the Royal Oak. The limited-edition timepiece comes in a white gold case and will be available exclusively in Audemars Piguet boutiques.
Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda PF Minute Rattrapante
The new Tonda PF Minute Rattrapante takes the concept of last year’s GMT Rattrapante, and applies it to what Parmigiani is calling the ‘scuba function’.
If you think of the rotating bezel on a dive watch and how this is used to mark how many minutes of oxygen you have in your tank, Parmigiani here has taken that concept, removed the bezel, and in place used a second minute hand to highlight your remaining time. It’s a very clever, very elegant solution to a specific problem.
Operated via push buttons at eight (five minute increments) and ten (one minute increments) to set the minute to dive, the rattrapante function on the crown then resets the time - hiding the hand beneath the main minute hand.
As one of Parmigiani’s marketing team described it to us, “If you don’t want to wear it on a dive, it’s a very stylish way to time how long to boil an egg.” Who needs an egg timer, right?
The Hermès H08 was one of the most talked about watches of 2021. This year, it gets a material makeover.
It starts with the DLC-treated titanium case-back which is then topped by a rose gold case middle. This contrasts with a black ceramic bezel and crown.
Alternating between satin-brushed and polished finishes, it’s a masterpiece in two-tone finishing.
Certina DS-2 Turning Bezel Sea Turtle Conservancy
A tonneau-shaped case; a vintage design that harks to the 1960s; and an automatic movement with an 80-hour power reserve and NivachronTM hairspring… there’s a lot to like about Certina’s DS-2 Turning Bezel.
And then you find out that it supports a great cause, too: this grey-blue Sea Turtle Conservancy Special Edition is also dedicated to the future – namely, the preservation of our oceans and their inhabitants.
Panerai Submersible S BRABUS Verde Militare
Panerai makes butch watches; BRABUS makes butch cars. Put the two together and you get a watch Action Man would be proud of.
The new Submersible S BRABUS Verde Militare Edition, with its skeletonized structure, comes in a limited edition of 200 pieces and is water-resistant to 300m.
Christopher Ward C65 Dune Automatic
A proper field watch from Christoper Ward, the C65 comes in a few guises – an Automatic, a GMT and a limited edition Bronze.
Our pick is the standard Automatic – especially in this desert-inspired colourway. There are some classy 1960s/70s vibes about it – such as the box crystal – alongside a water-resistance of 150m, and power courtesy of a Sellita SW200-1 movement.
Grand Seiko Tentagraph
It’s amazing to think that in more than 60 years of production Grand Seiko has never created a mechanical chronograph. That is, until now, of course. The Japanese watchmaker has righted that particular wrong in emphatic fashion with the launch of the Tentagraph; a world first ten-beat chronograph with a whopping three-day power reserve.
This being Grand Seiko, the devil is in the details. The Tentagraph boasts a dual-impulse escapement, which twins indirect impulses from the pallet fork with the direct impulse from the escape wheel to create an incredibly efficient movement capable of beating at 36,000 times per hour for three days straight. On top of this, you have a vertical clutch column wheel to ensure high accuracy of +5/-3 seconds per day. Those are some impressive numbers.
As its first mechanical chronograph, Grand Seiko has changed up its testing regime to ensure each timepiece meets its famously exacting standards. The watches are tested in six positions at three different temperatures over a period of 17 days, before an additional three days of testing with the chronograph running to guarantee perfect operation.
It might have taken 60 years, but Grand Seiko’s first mechanical chronograph was worth the wait.
Vacheron Constantin Overseas Chronograph Panda
Vacheron Constantin's sporty number, the Overseas, gets the panda treatment for the first time. Made in steel, this is raciest colourway yet: silver-toned, sunburst satin-finished dial, snailed black counters, black velvet-finished flange, and 18K white gold markers and hands.
The watch also comes with three tool-free interchangeable bracelets and straps; steel, calf leather and rubber – depending on your mood and your outfit.
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Selfwinding Chronograph 42mm in black ceramic
New for 2023, AP’s Royal Oak Offshore Selfwinding Chronograph 42 mm gets its first ceramic bracelet. Matched with a black ceramic case and black Petite Tapisserie dial, this is a monochrome masterpiece. It's a fitting tribute to the watch affectionately nicknamed 'The Beast' – this year celebrating its 30th anniversary.
It’s powered by the Calibre 4404, Audemars Piguet’s integrated chronograph movement complete with flyback function.
Breitling Navitimer B01 Chronograph 43 Boeing 747 Limited Edition
The final ever Boeing 747 rolled out of the factory in December 2022 ending a 54-year production run. To celebrate the Queen of the Skies, Breitling has released this Navitimer B01 Chronograph 43 Boeing 747 Limited Edition in tribute.
The colours on the dial echo the palette found on the original Jumbo Jet from 1968, captured in its cream dial with black subdials and red-and-white slide rule with blue accents. The “Boeing 747” name is also integrated into the slide rule’s inner scale.
Grand Seiko ‘Urushi’
Grand Seiko is a master of re-creation. Its first of 2023 is a tribute to the first ever Grand Seiko, released in 1960.
It pays homage to the complex skills of watchmaking and local Japanese artisan craftsmanship undertaken to create that watch – and every model it's produced since.
Isshu Tamura, Grand Seiko's master lacquer craftsman, uses the 380-year-old Kanazawa craft of Kaga maki-e to create each dial. The Urushi lacquer dial is layered then carefully polished to a mirror-like finish.
Accutron Astronaut T
You’d be forgiven for thinking Omega was the only watch brand to make it into space.
But Accutron – the world’s first fully electronic watch – was also one of the key timepieces that the US government and NASA utilised in the Space Race.
The watch was ideal for aerospace usage due to it being electronic and not relying on your typical mainspring.
During May of 1963, the Accutron Astronaut watch was worn for the first time in space on mission Mercury-Atlas 9, which orbited the Earth. By 1968, the ‘T’ version was officially issued to all pilots of the USAF X-15 experimental rocket-powered aircraft programme.
And now, 55 years later, Accutron has brought it back as the brand’s very first re-edition, with a 41mm stainless steel case including sapphire crystal and anti-reflective coating, and a partial exhibition case back showing its SW330 GMT movement
Seiko Presage Takumi 'The Laurel' 110th Anniversary Edition
Back in 1913, Seiko built Japan’s first ever wristwatch, named the Laurel. To celebrate its 110th anniversary, Seiko has released a new Presage which pays homage to it.
The case shape, the arabic numerals, the enamel dial, even the large onion crown are all faithful reconstructions of the original, while the piece is brought up to date with a modern automatic movement within.
Limited edition of 2,500 pieces, £1,600, seikoboutique.co.uk
TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph 60th Anniversary
The first Heuer Carrera was released 60 years ago – and there’s no way TAG Heuer can let that pass by without celebration.
The 600-piece edition TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph 60th Anniversary is a fitting tribute. The panda dial alone is enough to get our motor running.
Watches under £1,000
Tissot Chemin des Tourelles
Tissot’s Swiss headquarters on Le Chemin des Tourelles was established in 1907. Fast forward to 2023, and the brand has released an evergreen classic in its honour.
The Chemin des Tourelles boasts a retro domed sapphire crystal, which sits over a domed soft-sunray dial. Slimline hour markers are curved and gently faceted adding to the depth of the timepiece.
From £730, tissotwatches.com
Grand Seiko Majestic White Birch
Grand Seiko’s Micro Artist Studio is responsible for some of the most intricate pieces of craftsmanship you’ll see anywhere on the planet, and its latest creation only goes to underline this point.
The Grand Seiko Majestic White Birch certainly lives up to its regal name, featuring a staggering hand-engraved platinum case and matching metallic dial, with the mighty manual-wind Spring Drive at its heart.
Pictures simply don’t do this phenomenal piece of craftsmanship justice. In the metal, the handiwork is nothing short of dazzling with every turn of the wrist starting a veritable light show of colour and shade. It’s like a piece of optical art that tricks the eye into seeing motion where there is none.
One neat little touch is the seconds hand finished in a tempered grey so as to not interfere with the overall visual effect.
Given there’ll be just 50 pieces worldwide, the craftsmanship isn’t the only illusory trick Grand Seiko has played; blink and you’ll miss this rare creation.
Grand Seiko ‘Lake Suwa Before Dawn’
Continuing Grand Seiko’s ‘Nature of Time’ inspiration, its latest watch is inspired by Lake Suwa in the moonlight. The lake is located near the Shinshu watch studio where the watch is made.
It’s powered by the Spring Drive calibre 9RA2 – with its mighty 120-hour power reserve.
Audemars Piguet Code 11.59 in steel
AP has given the Code 11.59 a new coat of steel armour. Formerly only available in precious metals, and then with some integrated ceramic, Code 11.59 now has six new stainless steel references to choose – in both Selfwinding and Selfwinding Chronograph form.
But perhaps more exciting than the material is the brand-new stamped dial. The new pattern has been specially developed for the occasion, and is made up of concentric circles that create a unique ripple effect. The pattern of waves that move outwards from the centre of the dial is decorated with hundreds of tiny holes that play with the light.
Our favourite is this version which combines steel with black ceramic – who said beige was boring?
Audemars Piguet Code 11.59 Ultra-Complication Universelle RD#4
Audemars Piguet is a dab hand when it comes to creating some of the most intricate and ingenious high-complication watches, but its latest timepiece is one of its most impressive to date.
The Ultra-Complication Universelle RD#4, part of AP's Code 11.59 collection, is the most complicated watch it has ever made, incorporating an eye-popping 40 functions, 23 complications, and 17 special 'technical devices' which the brand say will form the backbone of new movements for years to come.
Most impressive of all, perhaps, is the fact that the Universelle is assembled from 1,100+ components and yet still fits on a 42mm wide wristwatch with a slim-enough depth of 15.55mm; truly a staggering feat of microengineering.
Price on request, audemarspiguet.com
Read our in-depth analysis of the Universelle here.
Hamilton Jazzmaster Face-2-Face III
This is genuinely eye-catching watchmaking for an incredibly competitive price. Hamilton has released a rotating, double-sided case with a semi-skeleton layout, in a limited edition of 999 pieces for well under £3k.
The double-sided dial concept has one face doing the time-telling and chronograph functions, and the other featuring measurement scales and an exhibition movement.
Zenith DEFY Skyline Skeleton
Last year’s DEFY Skyline has been given the skeleton treatment. The different finishes – combining matte, satin-brushed and polished surfaces – further accentuate the depth of this timepiece.
But despite its almost sci-fi quality, its unique octagonal geometry still nods to the early DEFY models of the 1960s.
Hublot Big Bang Tourbillon Automatic in Neon Yellow Saxem
Renowned for its shy and retiring watches (ahem), Hublot has made its Big Bang Tourbillon Automatic stand out from the crowd with a neon yellow finish previously unseen in watchmaking.
Saxem stands for "Sapphire Aluminium oXide and rare Earth Mineral" – developed for satellites then hijacked by Hublot for watches. Available as a limited edition of 50 pieces, it will be a rare sighting in the wild – but you certainly won’t miss it.