I needed some time for Watches and Wonders 2023 to sink in. This exhibition started as a digital exhibition during the pandemic and transformed into a physical exhibition in 2022. It is, so to speak, the successor to SIHH and Baselworld. Last year’s show quickly turned into the Vacheron Constantin Historiques 222, the Rolex GMT-Master II “Destro” and the Tudor Black Bay Pro being the most talked about pieces. However, this year’s Watches & Wonders was less about hype and more about “just good watches”.
Watches & Wonders 2023 Review
Before I forget, the watches that got more attention than the Historiques 222, the “Destro” and the Black Bay Pro were the 11 MoonSwatch models Swatch released just days before Watches & Wonders 2022. And while some brands did try to get the hype machine going, this year turned out to be a completely different story. Of course, all the brands tried to make their watches the center of attention, or at least a special highlight. But this year, on the whole, there was no hype. You could argue that the Rolex Day-Date “Jigsaw” and Oyster Perpetual “Celebration” models caused a bit of a stir. Then again, people are raving about everything Rolex anyway. That hasn’t changed since I’ve been to these shows (since 2007.) IWC’s Ingenieur made some waves, but it didn’t have the impact that Vacheron Constantin’s Historiques 222 did last year.
We have seen some very good watches.
Overall, I would say we just saw a lot of good watches. And that’s a good thing. The hype caters to speculators and makes it almost impossible for enthusiasts and collectors to get the watches they want. If Vacheron Constantin had actually come out with a stainless steel or even a two-tone 222 Historic Record best replica watches, it might have looked completely different. But no, Jaeger-LeCoultre has done a Jaeger-LeCoultre thing and just released some really nice Reverso models. In fact, they are so handsome that I had forgotten about the 44% price increase over last year.
Patek Philippe 5905R
Patek Philippe changed the dial color of the annual calendar 5905(R), and Lange did what it always does, make a small change or improvement to an existing model, and boom, there’s a new watch worthy of connoisseur attention. Zenith introduced a new Pilot’s Watch and also added some Defy models. Hublot showed off its MP-13 Double Axis Retrograde Tourbillon and the CHF 500,000 Big Bang Integrated Tourbillon All Sapphire, but the brand also managed to get Nico Leonard to wear them (admittedly, on April Fool’s Day). I have to admit that this golf watch has piqued my interest, and so has the Classic Fusion Orlinsky.
TAG Heuer did a great job
TAG Heuer has surprised us with the Carrera Glassbox models. They are so good that I can forgive the 36mm Carrera date watches for being boring to me, despite their candy-like dial color. But that’s just my opinion; I’m sure these watches will sell like hotcakes to the masses. But the Carrera Glass Box watch is something different! Inspired by the glass boxes of the 1960’s apparently! The inspiration is clearly from the TAG Heuer Carrera models of the 1960s, including the date at 12 o’clock. The movement, however, is brand new and even has a column wheel. What I like most about this watch, however, is the dial. It has a curved flange with a tachymetric scale on the outside and a minute track on the inside. Here, tradition meets modern design in perfect harmony. While 6,500 euros is not small, you do get something original in return.
Rolex is a powerhouse, and no one can deny that. I bet you’re either super excited about some of the brand’s releases, or just sighing out loud after seeing them. I’ve noticed that not many people are somewhere in between when it comes to Rolex. The Jigsaw/emoji Day-Date isn’t for me, but the rest of our team loves it. One high quality watches replica I really like, though not specifically for me, is the 18k yellow gold Day-Date with a carnelian dial. This orange stone combines so well with the yellow precious metal that it really blows me away.
The Rolex Perpetual Calendar 1908, which essentially replaced the Cellini, is a beautiful 39mm formal watch that received a good press. For some, the 39mm is (again) too big, but on the wrist, it wears nice and thin. The Rolex line is strong, with the new precious metal GMT-Master, the 40mm Explorer, and the 42mm titanium Yacht-Master. Admittedly, the last one was somewhat expected, as we’ve seen the prototype of this watch many times.