Watches and Wonders 2024: Editor’s picks

Stylish chronographs and refined dress watches dominate the list of favourite timepieces

So, we are off to the races. The annual Watches and Wonders fair in Geneva, by far the planet’s largest and most important horological exposition, is well underway, and we just cannot get enough of the fresh new timepieces that are being stridently rolled out.

With titans like Vacheron Constantin and Patek Philippe flexing their wares alongside fearless independent brands like Laurent Ferrier and Norqain, it feels like Christmas has come early. Indeed, one must attempt to wade through that wave of outstanding offerings with caution and discernment. With boots on the ground and experience honed from over two decades of covering the annual watch fair, allow yours truly to navigate you through the chaos with watches that have made the biggest impressions so far.

A. Lange & Söhne Datograph Up/Down

A. Lange & Söhne Datograph Up/Down. Photo by A. Lange & Söhne

A deeper cut creation for Lange fans who have been initiated by the Lange 1 and Zeitwerk collections, the Datograph is as much of a grail watch as its aforementioned peers. First launched in 1999, it featured the brand’s first in-house chronograph movement. For the collection’s 25th birthday, Lange has dropped a triple complication version featuring a perpetual calendar and tourbillon alongside its signature flyback chronograph with outsized date. However, it is this ‘Up/Down’ version that harks back to the original that purists like me will love. Housed in a white gold case and blue dial that features a power reserve indicator, the watch is backed by an improved movement from 2012 that grants the watch 60 hours of power reserve. As time has passed, the Datograph retains its majestic appearance, continuing to define the standard for Lange’s chronograph designs.

A. Lange & Söhne

Cartier Tortue Monopoussoir Chronograph

Cartier Tortue Monopoussoir Chronograph watch
Cartier Tortue Monopoussoir Chronograph. Photo by Cartier

The most anticipated Cartier watch release of each year hails from the Privé collection – taking collectors on a trip down memory lane with revitalised takes on iconic classic models. This year, the Tortue assumes the spotlight. Designed by Louis Cartier in 1912 and named for its gently curved profile that resembles a tortoise, the Tortue has housed some of Cartier’s most exclusive complications, including the mono-pusher chronograph from 1928. Considered a grail watch by many Cartier fans, the storied complication makes a return in all its sensuous and tactile glory this year. Limited to 200 pieces, this year’s must-have Cartier watch is housed in a platinum case featuring more pronounced horns and reworked by an ultra-thin movement—Cartier’s thinnest yet—measuring just 4.3mm in height.


Chopard L.U.C XPS Forest Green

Chopard L.U.C XPS Forest Green. Photo by Chopard

Military-esque but wouldn’t look out of place with a suit, the L.U.C XPS Forest Green intrigues with its dressy demeanour laced with a tinge of adventure. Encased in 40mm polished steel, the lovely forest-green dial, matched with brown calfskin strap nails that outdoorsy spirit. But lest you are mistaken, the watch is loaded with horological gravitas, driven by a high-performance ultra-thin movement with double barrels and a micro-rotor that is COSC-certified for precision.


Grand Seiko Evolution 9 Manual-winding Mechanical Hi-Beat 36000 80 Hours Limited Edition

Grand Seiko Evolution 9 Manual-winding Mechanical Hi-Beat 36000 80 Hours Limited Edition. Photo by Grand Seiko

Grand Seiko’s latest dress watch, featuring its first hand-wound, high-beat movement, will transport collectors back to when they first fell in love with mechanical watches. Although its name is quite a mouthful, the watch’s allure is simple: it invites you to simply wind it up and, as you do so, appreciate the tactile act of imbuing life into the timepiece, accompanied by the hypnotic, ASMR-esque sounds of the winding gear clicking in unison. Meanwhile, the epoch-making Calibre 9SA5 that powers this rose gold watch traces its lineage back to the high-beat Grand Seiko watches of the 1960s.

Grand Seiko

IWC Schaffhausen Portugieser Eternal Calendar

IWC Schaffhausen Portugieser Eternal Calendar. Photo by IWC Schaffhausen

Ok, we have heard of perpetual calendars. But an eternal calendar? IWC isn’t playing when it stuck the E-word on this watch. The watch’s chic monochromatic appearance, complete with domed double glass-box sapphire case framed by a polished platinum chassis, suggests top-rated mechanical intelligence within. And the Eternal Calendar lives up to its sobriquet with an insanely engineered calendar complication that can compute the date differences of months and leap year cycles up to the year 3999. Additionally, the moon phase display will be accurate to a staggering 45 million years. Sure, it not technically an eternity. But you get the drift.

IWC Schaffhausen

Montblanc 1858 Unveiled Minerva Monopusher Chronograph

Montblanc 1858 Unveiled Minerva Monopusher Chronograph. Photo by Montblanc

I’ve been a fan of Montblanc’s ‘Unveiled’ series of chronographs crafted by its subsidiary Minerva since the first models from 2022. Housed in lime gold and stainless steel when the watches were introduced, the Unveiled Minerva Monopusher Chronograph was offered in a grungy distressed steel case in 2023, and appears this year in a more conventional stainless steel case. Limited to 100 pieces, the watch’s bare-all quality remains its biggest allure. Here, the intricately finished skeletonised chronograph movement is flipped from the back to showcase the complication’s beautiful architecture on the dial-side.


Parmigiani Fleurier Toric Petite Seconde

Parmigiani Fleurier Toric Petite Seconde. Photo by Parmigiani Fleurier

If you have a thing for exacting discretion, as I do, the Toric Petite Seconde has a place on your wrist. While Parmigiani’s devotion to eradicating superfluous design is plain to see—just hands to tell the hour, minutes and seconds—the brand also has a knack for subtle sophistication. This scrupulously understated remake of the brand’s eponymous founder’s first watch is deceptively simple. Though a ‘basic’ time-only watch, there is nothing plain about its execution, evidenced by the bevelled gold dials that have been grained by hand for a unique sandy finish, to its in-house, manual-winding movement with 18k rose gold bridges adorned with the Côtes de Fleurier pattern and twin barrels that deliver 60 hours of power reserve.

Parmigiani Fleurier

Patek Philippe Golden Ellipse

close up of Patek Philippe Golden Ellipse
Patek Philippe Golden Ellipse. Photo by Patek Philippe

Can a watch be both showy and simple at the same time? Patek Philippe’s Golden Ellipse demonstrates that this is indeed possible, enhancing the timepiece’s signature retro style with a touch of innovation and ornamentation. The model’s renowned curved rectangular case, a hallmark since its debut in 1968, is revitalised this year in rose gold, accompanied by an exquisite chain-style bracelet. Comprising more than 300 individually assembled links, the bracelet took almost 15 years to develop, replicating the look of traditional chain bracelets – but with the flexibility of adjusting the length. Powered by an ultra-thin automatic movement that measures just 2.35mm in height, the new Golden Ellipse is also the slimmest watch in Patek Philippe’s regular collection to date, marrying 18th-century-inspired aesthetics with modern mechanical sophistication.

Patek Philippe

Roger Dubuis Central Tourbillon Orbis in Machina

Roger Dubuis Central Tourbillon Orbis in Machina. Photo by Roger Dubuis

Roger Dubuis is on a tourbillon frenzy for 2024, offering several iterations of the gravity-defying complication from a double-tourbillon to a titanium-clad version. But it is the sci-fi movie sounding Orbis In Machina that tops my list. Dramatic, innovative and performance-driven—as all good tourbillons should be—the watch is distinguished by a central flying tourbillon, perched and rotating majestically at the middle of the dial. Framed by three-dimensional discs for the time display, the tourbillon’s enchanting mechanical dance is not just for show, though. Powered by the hand-wound Calibre RD115 that stores up to 72 hours of power reserve, the tourbillon is engineered to be magnetic resistant in a titanium and chrome cage, which makes it ultra-light and super-energy efficient.

Roger Dubuis

TAG Heuer Monaco Split Seconds Chronograph

TAG Heuer Monaco Split Seconds Chronograph. Photo by TAG Heuer

The Monaco’s bold angular profile is the perfect canvas for a high-octane complication such as this. Immortalised in Steve McQueen’s iconic racing movie Le Mans, and bearing the distinction of being the watch that housed the world’s first automatic chronograph movement, the Monaco gung-ho spirit always shines through. On the model, the eponymous chronograph complication takes the lead. Beside the ability to measure two elapsed timings at once, the automatic chronograph movement is also noted for its being constructed almost entirely in titanium, making it one of the lightest ever calibres of its kind constructed by TAG Heuer.

TAG Heuer

Vacheron Constantin Overseas Tourbillon

Vacheron Constantin
Overseas Tourbillon. Photo by Vacheron Constantin

I do love a no-frills tourbillon sports watch and the new Overseas Tourbillon gets its game on with its forthright machismo. Although the watch appears to dominate the wrist with its 42.5mm case, it is thin enough to slide under the shirt cuff and is extremely light, thanks to its titanium case and bracelet. While the blue lacquered dial is captivating—Vacheron Constantin seems to have perfected the royal blue hue on the Overseas watches—the tourbillon takes the spotlight, naturally. Encased in the brand’s signature Maltese Cross-shaped cage, the tourbillon is crafted with artful technical refinement expected of the 269-year-old watchmaking house.

Vacheron Constantin

Zenith Defy Revival A3648

Zenith Defy Revival A3648. Photo by Zenith

Zenith’s Revival collection is a go-to for collectors with a penchant for nostalgia. But more than a retro-style wrist statement, the watches offer a sense of what it must have been like for Zenith’s watchmakers to be bold and creative back in the 1960s and 1970s. Like the rest of the timepieces in this series, the Defy Revival A3648 is a faithful reproduction of a discontinued vintage model—the A3648 that was launched in 1969. As one of the first Defy dive watches, the original occupies a special place in Zenith’s history. As it is with the historic model, the modern iteration in steel exudes the presence of a true tool watch, accented with striking black and orange colourways, and clad in a unique case with a fourteen-sided bezel set atop a round rotating bezel.