WATCHES & WONDERS 2022
Cheery news for the watch industry came earlier this month when Watches & Wonders announced that it will return to Geneva in a physical format as well as digitally next year.
The watch fair - the successor to Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie which ran for almost two decades - will take place at the Palexpo from March 30 to April 5.
Due to the pandemic, the last two editions of the fair in the Swiss watchmaking capital were digital affairs.
Watches & Wonders 2022 will see 40 participating brands, including Rolex, Patek Philippe, Vacheron Constantin, A. Lange & Sohne, Ferdinand Berthoud, H. Moser & Cie and Grand Seiko.
HARRY WINSTON UPDATES PROJECT Z TIMEPIECE
Harry Winston is better known as a high-end jeweller, but it has serious horological cred too. This is most evident in the timepieces produced under Project Z, an avant-garde series in the brand's classic Ocean collection.
Two new models have just been added to the line-up. Zalium Variation Orange and Zalium Variation Yellow (both above) reinterpret the original design of Project Z's 10th timepiece, which was inspired by the architecture of the Manhattan Bridge in New York.
These 42.2mm watches are fashioned from Zalium - a light, strong and corrosion-resistant zirconium-aluminium alloy developed by the brand.
They boast a striking open-worked dial, made even more so by an artful combination of black with bursts of vivid orange or yellow and a black grid structure.
There is a subdial at 12 o'clock which shows the hours and minutes; and a date window at six o'clock flanked by a seconds hand on the left as well as a day indicator on the right - both with a retrograde function.
Powered by the HW3305 movement, the watches have power reserves of 65 hours and come with matching yellow or orange alligator leather straps with rubber bases. Price: Available upon request
FRESH TAKES ON AUDEMARS PIGUET ROYAL OAK OFFSHORE
Almost half a century after it made its debut, the Royal Oak continues to hold court with watch lovers.
Over the decades, it has been updated, reimagined and reinvented. In 1993, the Royal Oak Offshore - a hardier, sportier and more aggressive take on the original timepiece designed by Gerald Genta - was introduced.
Since then, it has become a mainstay in the maison's collections either in stainless steel or titanium.
The brand recently dropped several new iterations of the Offshore, including two 42mm Selfwinding Chronograph models. Both sport a "Mega Tapesserie" dial - a powder-blue one for the stainless-steel version and smoky khaki for the titanium model (both above).
The hour-markers, Arabic numerals and Royal Oak hands are fashioned from white gold with luminescent coating.
The movement driving these two timepieces - and visible through the watches' sapphire casebacks - is the new self-winding integrated chronograph, Calibre 4404, equipped with column wheel and flyback function.
These models come with textured rubber straps which match the dial colour, as well as black calfskin leather straps. The brand's new interchangeable strap system makes strap-switching a cinch. Price: $48,300
PATEK PHILIPPE'S NEW CHRONOGRAPH STUNNER
Patek Philippe has just added three new complicated chronograph models, including the spectacular Ref. 5204R-011 Split-seconds Chronograph (right).
Watch lovers have always coveted the Ref. 5204 because it combines two of the watchmaker's signature complications: the chronograph and the perpetual calendar.
A real stunner, this new model is fashioned from 18-karat rose gold and boasts a hypnotically beautiful slate-grey dial.
The movements may be complex, but the design aesthetics are not. Two in-line apertures at 12 o'clock clearly display the day and month while the date hand at six o'clock incorporates the moon-phase aperture.
In fact, all of the watch's complicated perpetual calendar and chronograph indications are neatly and legibly displayed through strategically placed in-line apertures, subsidiary dials and hands.
The intricacy of the calibre CHR 29-535 PS Q can be admired through the watch's transparent sapphire caseback. Price: $408,400