Although it feels like most of our world has come to a grinding halt, the watch industry has been showering us with new watches over the last couple of weeks. In lieu of the physical Watches & Wonders trade fair in Geneva, the organization set up an online event. Let’s have a look at some of this year’s W&W highlights from the most prominent brands. In part 1, we’ll be focusing on A. Lange & Söhne, IWC, Montblanc, Hermès, and Panerai.
A. Lange & Söhne
We start this overview at the top of the price range with A. Lange & Söhne. This year, the brand did not introduce a completely new model, instead bringing us new variations of existing models from both the Zeitwerk and Odysseus collections.
We’ve chosen the A. Lange & Söhne Zeitwerk Minute Repeater in white gold with a deep blue dial as the brand’s most important Watches & Wonders release. It’s a mechanical masterpiece that displays the time using a jumping numerals mechanism that resembles a digital watch. On top of that, this timepiece features a decimal minute repeater that chimes hours with a low-pitched tone, ten-minute increments with a double tone, and minutes with a high-pitched tone.
Although it’s not a new watch, the updated color scheme and materials do bring a more modern aesthetic to the Zeitwerk collection. This particular version features a white gold case paired with a deep blue dial. It gives the Zeitwerk Minute Repeater a more fresh look – at a fresh price. If you would like to own this watch, you’ll have to pay €449,000 (approx. $485,000). But make sure you’re quick because production is limited to just 30 pieces.
The big Watches & Wonders announcement from IWC was the updated Portugieser collection. For 2020, the Swiss brand decided to update the design of the full range, introducing an overall contemporary design for several new models and a large number of established models. We’ve selected the all-new Portugieser Automatic 40 for closer inspection.
The all-new Portugieser Automatic 40 draws its inspiration from the IWC Portugieser ref. 325 from 1939. It features the same ultra-clean design as the classic watch but brings it into the modern era. The Portugieser range is defined by round cases, clean dials with Arabic numerals, and railroad minute tracks. The Automatic 40 features a small seconds at 6 o’clock and a 40-mm case, which is smaller than what we are used to from the Portugieser collection.
The watch is available in four different variations: three in steel and one in 5N rose gold. For the steel versions, you have the choice between a silver dial with blue hands and numerals, a silver dial with gold hands and numerals, or a black dial with silver hands and numerals. Each costs €7,250 (approx. $7,850). The rose gold edition features a silver dial with gold hands and numerals and will set you back €17,000 (approx. $18,400).
Montblanc surprised us with a wide variety of new 2020 models. The Montblanc 1858 collection is inspired by Minerva watches from the 1920s and 1930s. For those of you who don’t know, Minerva is a well-known historical brand that is now owned by Montblanc. As a result, Montblanc has access to some of the world’s most beautiful chronograph movements and designs in the Minerva archives.
The 1858 collection features watches based on Minerva tool watches that were primarily created for military use and mountain exploration. The watch that stands out to us is the 1858 Monopusher Chronograph. This watch was introduced in two steel versions and a gorgeous limited-edition bronze model.
Both the steel and bronze variations feature the same 42-mm case. All of them have a black dial with a beige 60-second track and Arabic numerals with contrasting hands. The bronze version comes on a beautiful beige NATO strap with a bronze-plated stainless steel pin buckle – it’s the winner here if you ask us. The retro-inspired look will definitely win a lot of people over. The bronze version is limited to 1,858 pieces and costs $5,600. The steel version on a calfskin strap costs $4,900, and the steel version with a steel bracelet is available for $5,200.
One company that always has something spectacular to share is Hermès. Last year, the brand introduced the stunning Hermès Arceau L’heure de la Lune. This year, Hermès has released three limited editions of the same watch and once again, they are spectacular.
The Hermès Arceau L’Heure de la Lune takes everything we know about watches with a moon phase display and turns it on its head. Two discs indicating the time and date orbit each other in a beautiful cosmic dance above a stunning dial that features a pair of mother-of-pearl inlay moons. You read that right: There are two moons on the dial – one for the Northern and one for the Southern Hemisphere.
Hermès introduced three new limited-edition models this year, each with a unique meteorite dial. The first comes in a white gold case with a Black Sahara meteorite dial and costs €44,000 (approx. $47,650). The second version also comes in a white gold case with a Lunar meteorite dial and demands €35,000 (approx. $37,900). The third and most spectacular model comes in a platinum case with a stunning Martian meteorite dial. That’s right: This watch features a piece of meteorite from Mars. It is limited to just two pieces, which each cost €130,000 (approx. $140,800). Go check these watches out now because they are – quite literally – out of this world!
The last company in part 1 of our Watches & Wonders picks is Panerai. Our highlight from this brand is the Panerai Luminor Marina 44 mm PAM01117. It’s part of the all-new Panerai Luminor Marina ’70 Years Of Luminor’ collection. This watch takes luminous elements on a watch to a whole new dimension.
In normal daylight, the PAM01117 may look like your average Panerai Luminor. In reality, however, it is no normal watch. The titanium case is created by an advanced form of 3D printing called Direct Metal Laser Sintering, or DMLS. It gives the case a powdery look and feel that is quite spectacular.
Even more spectacular is the almost nuclear charge of the luminous elements. The outline of the case, all the essential elements, and even the stitching on the strap feature SuperLuminova X1. It is the latest generation of lume available and creates a watch that will be your guiding light in a dark night. It’s truly something special to behold. The Panerai PAM01117 is limited to 270 pieces and costs €19,000 (approx. $20,600).
That’s it for the first part of our 2020 Watches & Wonders recap. Read part 2 to see what Cartier, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Vacheron Constantin, and Piaget introduced in 2020.