April birthstone: Dazzling diamond jewellery pieces to sparkle in
It was high times in Geneva for Watches and Wonders 2023. The glittering, week-long luxury watch show is the most important industry event of the year, with this edition featuring nearly 50 brands debuting their latest timepieces. From Patek Philippe and Rolex to Vacheron Constantin and Cartier, our watch and jewellery editor Kim Parker chooses her favourite new watches from the show.
After a muted couple of years with pandemic shutdowns and international press and buying teams stymied from attending, Watches and Wonders 2023 was back with a record-breaking bang. Taking place at in Geneva’s Palexpo conference centre, the fair saw the horological industry’s most esteemed innovators presenting their latest novelties in branded booths that are more akin to luxury boutiques than trade stands – think hand-blown glass accents, man-made waterfalls, intricately gilded panels and plush wall-to-wall carpeting. This year’s week-long event recorded its highest attendance figures, with 43,000 visitors (almost double last year’s figure) representing 125 nationalities viewing all of the new timepieces on show.
As ever, there were some truly beautiful and inventive pieces to try out. Makers including Patek Philippe, Rolex, Van Cleef & Arpels, Chopard and Chanel debuted colourful and eye-catching new watches that are guaranteed to sell-out fast. From space-age themes and bejewelled bracelets to handcrafted details designed to be as pleasing as they are practical, here are the timepieces worth investing in right now.
The Standout Timepieces at Watches and Wonders 2023
Oyster Perpetual Day-Date 36
In white, yellow or Rolex’s own ‘Everose’ gold, the jazzy new Day-Date is like a mini boost of joy for your wrist. Its rainbow-like puzzle dial in champlevé enamel, complete with gemstone hour markers, reveals a motivational word, like ‘Love’ or ‘Eternity’ every day at the 12 o’clock window, whilst the 3 o’clock window reveals one of 31 exclusive emojis instead of the date.
Ref 5261R Aquanaut Luce Annual Calendar
With an elegant grey-blue dial and strap, this rose gold watch is made to fit in with your life and your wardrobe. Its patented annual calendar complication is actually far from it – giving you the day, date, and month with a single glance.
Reverso One Precious Colours
Two spectacular new colourful cases embellished with an Art Deco-inspired design pay tribute to the Reverso’s inception in 1931, when it was created for polo players. Available in either green or blue, the watch’s gold case back has been entirely decorated with complicated grand feu enamel and set with diamonds – a masterclass in precision and craftsmanship.
Four new iterations of Vacheron Constantin’s iconic Overseas model were introduced at Watches and Wonders 2023, with the pink gold versions proving particularly lovely. They’re available in either a non-gem set size (34.5mm diameter) or with a diamond-set bezel (35mm diameter), with a striking blue or pale pink lacquered dial and a bracelet that can be swiftly swapped out for a sportier strap, so they look elegant on everyone.
Part of a capsule collection of watches inspired by the depth and endless beauty of the cosmos, and to Coco Chanel’s own fascination with stars, Chanel’s limited-edition Première X-Ray gleams with a galaxy of snow-set diamonds. Its bracelet contains links crafted from crystal, adding a space-age feeling and nodding to Gabrielle Chanel’s love of the material throughout her career.
Serpenti Tubogas Infiniti
I’m a huge fan of the seductively springy, coiling bracelet of Bulgari’s Serpenti watches. Debuting at Watches and Wonders 2023, this year’s glittering iteration also boasts a snow-set diamond dial, plus a gem-set bezel with a stunning streak of brilliants extending all the way to the watch’s tail.
Arceau Petite Lune
Originally conceived by Henri d’Origny in 1978, the Arceau is always deceptively understated yet astoundingly creative. The latest version is crafted from white gold, with a space-like dial sculpted from midnight-hued aventurine, with mother-of-pearl, aragonite and opal planets, orbited by a bezel set with 70 diamonds.
Majestic White Birch
This limited-edition, like many of Grand Seiko’s timepieces, evokes the environment around the brand’s manufactures in Japan. In this case, the watch’s completely engraved platinum case is inspired by a snowy birch forest in the east of Shinshu, close to where Grand Seiko watches are all made by hand.
Propilot x Kermit Edition
Who says watchmakers don’t know how to have fun? Oris’ latest piece is a collaboration with none other than Kermit himself. The bright, frog-green dial boasts a window at the 6 o’clock marker, at which the infamous Muppet appears on the first of every month. Watch this space for more of his pals to follow suit…
Enormous buzz surrounded the arrival of Cartier’s new Baignoire and it’s easy to see why. This elegantly oval-shaped watch, named for a bathtub, sits beautifully on the wrist – a masterstroke of simplicity and balance. Available in white gold and diamonds, as a pink or yellow gold bracelet, or with a leather strap, this is the everyday watch you didn’t know you needed and won’t be able to do without.
Gucci’s infamous ‘Dancing Hours’ watches get four colourful new additions to the lineup this year. Moved by an innovative Dancing Hours Flying Tourbillon movement, each ring of 12 coloured gemstones on the watch orbits the dial in 90 seconds or can be sent spinning about with the touch of a pusher on the crown.
Van Cleef & Arpels
Ludo Secret Watch
Taking its cue from a heritage ‘secret watch’ (usually a jewelled timepiece with the dial hidden from view so it can be checked discreetly) from 1941, Van Cleef & Arpels’ new high jewellery Ludo watch appears as gleaming gold bracelet punctuated with stars and set with either diamonds or pink sapphires. Its delicate dial is only revealed when the two arcs of its gem-set case are pushed together.
If you can get hold of Chopard’s new sellout L.U.C 1860, you’re in luck. This new watch brings together the handsome good looks of a fine dress watch, with its beautiful finishing and salmon-coloured guilloche dial crafted from solid gold, plus the sportiness of a chronometer-certified movement.
Classic Fusion Takashi Murakami
The third evolution in Hublot’s collaboration with pioneering artist Takashi Murakami, this new 45mm black ceramic watch revisits his Smiling Flower emblem with 13 limited edition timepieces, all crafted with rainbow-hued gemstones in and accompanied by their own unique NFTs.
Streamlined and updated in bright new shades, Tag Heuer’s 36mm Carerra Date has had a glow up in time for the 60th anniversary of the original racing inspired Carerra watch. It also contains an upgraded movement, the Calibre 7 Automatic, which boasts a superior 56-hour power reserve.
Eschewing a traditional dial, crown and hands, the ‘Freak ONE’ by Ulysse Nardin is an astoundingly clever piece of kit. The movement itself doubles as a minute hand, whilst the hour hand is represented by an arrow set on a rotating disc under the movement. Totally unlike anything else on the market.
Limelight High Jewellery Cuff Watch
Just three of these bejewelled Limelight High Jewellery Cuff watches were made, and each embodies all of the goldsmith-ing and gem-setting prowess that has made Piaget’s name. With painstakingly engraved gold, ornamental stone dials and sparkling bezels, each one-off piece is a work of art.