Their presence at Watches and Wonders stood out. Not least because they couldn’t miss an appointment like this. And so if Watches and Wonders somehow celebrated the return of the chronograph as a trend, (at least judging by the novelties seen and touched by hand), an important space of attention was still occupied by divers. (Here all our posts about Watches and Wonders).
In the year celebrating 60 years of an icon like the Cosmograph Daytona, Rolex took the opportunity to turn the spotlight on a brand new version of the Yacht-Master 42 offered in RLX titanium. And that’s not all. For the Geneva-based company, 2023 is an important year because it also coincides with the 70th anniversary of another legendary reference that goes by the name of Submariner.
And it is not certain that there will be another surprise in the coming months. Speaking of excellent anniversaries, this year Baume & Mercier is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Riviera collection and for the occasion has also presented a diver’s version intended for the wrists of those who love to explore the abyss. A liveliness and dynamism that once again confirm how this type of timepiece continues to enjoy a high level of appreciation among customers and the public. Already the public. A factor that proved to be decisive in what was the first edition of an event that returned to welcome professionals from all over the world and that also opened its doors to visitors for the first time. In short, the 2023 edition of Watches&Wonder not only heralded a return to much-needed normality after the privations linked to the pandemic, but also confirmed the excellent state of health that the watch industry is experiencing (in 2022, the world watch market reached 24.8 billion Swiss francs). Some figures confirm the trend better than many words.
The watch fair closed its doors on 2 April, bringing record numbers: 43,000 visitors (in 2022, there were 22,000); 5,400 dealers of 125 nationalities; 1,400 journalists present in Geneva; while on a digital level, the show reached an estimated audience of 600 million people through numerous posts on the various platforms. And then, absolutely new, the show, usually reserved for insiders, also opened its doors to a wider public.
The 12,000 tickets on sale literally sold out. But the most relevant news is that 25% of the coupons were purchased by people under 25 years of age, the average age of ticket purchasers was 35: an audience that was particularly won over by the LAB experience, which proposed a vision of what tomorrow’s watchmaking will be like. The Show thus brought together and associated two to three generations at the same time in a single place of exchange dedicated to watchmaking. Finally, the number of brands present reached 48 and among the new entries were the names of Bell&Ross, U-BOAT and Frederique Constant. Sea Time was also present at the Geneva show and here is a first taste with a selection of 5 proposals related to the world of the sea. But the best is yet to come.
Watches and Wonders: Rolex Yacht-Master 42
In the news is the use of RLX titanium for the case and bracelet. This is a special grade 5 titanium alloy developed by the Geneva-based company and first introduced last year with the Oyster Perpetual Deepsea Challenge. The advantages it offers are many: starting with the fact that it reduces weight by around a third compared to a similar model in steel. The Yacht-Master 42, successfully tested by British sailing champion Ben Ainslie, Rolex’s ambassador, has a 42mm case with a classic bidirectional rotating bezel and a ceramic Cerachrom disc in matt black on which the numbers and graduations in polished finish stand out. The deep black dial features minimal graphics and generates an elegant colour contrast with the grey tone of the case and bracelet. The hours, minutes, seconds and date functions are regulated by the calibre 3235 self-winding mechanical movement. Water resistance is guaranteed up to 100 metres. Price: 14,150 euros.
Patek Philippe Aquanaut Chronograph
Launched for the first time in 1997, this collection immediately distinguished itself for its sporty and, at the same time, refined style. A success story that is set to continue with the new Aquanaut Chronograph Ref. 5968R-001. This new entry extends an offer that already includes white gold and steel versions. A distinctive feature is the pink case with a diameter of 42.2 mm and sapphire crystal case back, a solution that allows one to contemplate the refined architecture of Calibre CH28-520 C/528, a mechanical self-winding flyback chronograph movement. A distinctive feature is the sun-brown dial with black shaded sunray finish, on which the engraved Aquanaut motif stands out, and the applied gold numerals with white luminescent coating. Water-resistant to a depth of 120 metres, it is paired with a composite strap whose hue echoes that of the dial. Price: €76,310.
Panerai Radiomir California
Many absolute firsts in a single reference. In the year which celebrates the Radiomir, a watch which has written significant pages in the great Panerai book, the Maison has wished to pay tribute to this important collection by introducing a brand new version with a California dial proposed for the first time on a 45 mm case. Another first is the green shade which, we can bet, will make this reference particularly sought-after among collectors. Inspired by the Ref 3646 watch from the Maison’s archives, Panerai’s California dial features alternating Roman and Arabic numerals, bar hour markers and a minute track. Hours 10, 11, 1 and 2 are marked with Roman numerals, while hours 4, 5, 7 and 8 are indicated by Arabic numerals. The result is a dial in which each half is marked with two different types of numerals. The 45mm case with its characteristic cushion shape is made of eSteel, a material obtained from recycled steel that has now become a distinctive feature of Panerai’s offering. Adding a further touch of elegance is the vintage patina obtained through PVD (Physical Vapor Deposition) treatment. The Radiomir California is combined with a strap in supple brown calfskin leather. The hour and minute functions are regulated by the calibre P.5000 hand-wound movement with an 8-day power reserve. Available only in boutiques. Price: 12,500 euros.
Watches and Wonders: Baume & Mercier Riviera Azur 300m
1973 is an important date in the history of the maison. It marked the launch of a collection that at the time succeeded in introducing something truly new to the scene. A success linked to strong stylistic codes that had the ability to break the mould of watchmaking aesthetics by rewriting its rules. Riviera was immediately distinguished by a unique look highlighted by its compact case and dodecagonal bezel. In 1981, Baume & Mercier added a new chapter to this history by unveiling the first Riviera diver, capable of capturing the codes of the time without losing any of its personality. The dial is black, as is the bezel. A date window appears at 3 o’clock and the luminescent hands are extremely legible. The diver’s version represents a real breakthrough for the collection. This year, for its 50th anniversary, it plunges back into the sea of the Côte d’Azur that has accompanied the most joyous moments in its history. With a 42 mm diameter stainless steel case, it reinvents itself by integrating into its stylistic codes all the elements that have contributed to consecrating its prestige. The new Riviera Azur 300m water-resistant to 30 ATM, (approximately 300 metres), is available in two versions: in blue or grey smoked sapphire crystal with a transparent applied wave motif, and dials in blue or black. The use of smoked sapphire crystal is the House’s signature and characterises all Riviera models equipped with Baumatic calibres manufactured by Baume & Mercier. Price: €4,350 black dial version; €4,150 blue dial version.
Oris Aquis Date Cal 400
The house of Hölstein has an unbreakable bond with the marine element. A history that is renewed and celebrated through collections that have become a reference point not only for divers but also, and above all, for watchmaking enthusiasts. Among the novelties presented by Oris on the occasion of Watches and Wonders is the Aquis Date Calibre 400 in a new version with a shaded green dial combined with a bezel with a green ceramic insert. The 43.5 mm stainless steel case houses the Calibre 400. The jewel in the crown is a mechanical self-winding movement with a five-day power reserve, which is entrusted with setting the hours, minutes, seconds and date functions. Water-resistant to 300 metres, the Oris Aquis Date Cal is offered either with a steel bracelet (€ 3,500) or with a black rubber strap (€ 3,400).