This week, there won’t be a regular Top 5 list. Instead, I had a chance to pick my five favorites from Watches and Wonders 2024 as part of our current Fratello Favorites series. Funnily enough, most of my picks are variations of existing models. Is it proof that Watches and Wonders wasn’t too exciting? I would say it sure is a reflection of that. Then again, it’s still a list of watches that I was excited to see. So while there weren’t as many pieces with the “wow factor” at this year’s Watches and Wonders, these five picks stood out for me.

Sitting here thinking about the watches that impressed me last year, I can come up with a list of favorites that stand out more than this year’s releases. Some of the watches that immediately come to mind are the duo of yellow gold and two-tone Rolex GMT-Master IIs, the titanium Yacht-Master, the Cartier Privé Tank Normale in platinum, and the Alpine Eagle XPS with the salmon dial. The year before that, the gold Vacheron Constantin 222, Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda PF GMT Rattrapante, Tudor Black Bay Pro, and A. Lange & Söhne Odysseus in titanium were nice highlights. This year, I had to think harder to create a list. While these watches might not be as immediately impressive, I find all of them interesting and would love a chance to check them out up close for a while. So, let’s jump into my picks for this year.

Watches and Wonders 2024 favorite #1: Cartier Santos Medium brown dial

My first pick is a Cartier that I would pick as my daily watch. I adore several of the brand’s releases from this year and previous ones. Some of them are stunning. Most of them were part of the exclusive Privé Collection of limited editions. However, Cartier added a very nice regular Santos with a brown dial to the lineup this year.

As some of you might know, I wrote an article stating that 2024 might become the year of the brown dial. While that might not happen after all, it is nice that Cartier surprised us with a brown-dial Santos.

To be more precise, the brand released a Medium and a Large version. I would pick the former as it forgoes the date aperture at 6 o’clock and offers a very clean layout. In addition, the Medium version of the Santos on the bracelet has enough visual presence not to look too small on my wrist.

The watch has a 35.1 × 41.9mm stainless steel case that is 8.83mm thick and water resistant to 10 ATM. Cartier equips the watch with its self-winding caliber 1847 MC with 42 hours of power reserve. All in all, this is about the new brown sunburst dial. It works super well and gives this €7,700 Santos a super classy look that I adore.

Favorite #2: Patek Philippe Golden Ellipse

Not too long ago, I wrote a Top 5 article about some great pre-owned picks, and it featured a classic Patek Philippe Golden Ellipse. As I explained, I love that the Golden Ellipse is a majestic style statement. The watch has remained a part of Patek Philippe’s collection since its debut in 1968.

Its design is based on the golden ratio, and it has become a veritable industry icon. While we often see the Golden Ellipse on classy leather straps, nothing beats the watch on a gold chain-link bracelet. That’s how it becomes a truly stylish timepiece that resembles the perfect combination of a watch and a bracelet.

This year, Patek Philippe released a new rose gold version of the watch on a brand-new bracelet. The new Golden Ellipse ref. 5738/1R-001 has a 34.5 × 39.5mm case that is only 5.9mm thick. This rose gold case is paired with an ebony-black sunburst dial with rose gold hour markers and hands. Powering the watch is the brand’s ultra-thin automatic caliber 240, which measures just 2.53mm thick. It operates at a 21,600vph frequency and has 48 hours of power reserve.

It’s all about the bracelet creating a genuine style statement

The case is fitted with a newly developed bracelet that looks stunning. This bracelet is a true work of art that, according to Patek Philippe, was 15 years in the making. It was created with CNC machines but finished and assembled by hand with seriously impressive results. It is constructed of 363 parts, including more than 300 links. Additionally, it comes with a beautiful clasp featuring a pattern in the bracelet’s style and Patek’s Calatrava cross.

The folding clasp is another detailed element that looks amazing in all its functional glory. At a little less than €60,000, the Golden Ellipse 5378/1R-001 is a brilliant addition to the Patek Philippe lineup. Sure, it is not an all-new watch, but the combination of the watch with this new bracelet is truly special. Visually, it’s a feast for the eyes, and the level of detail and craftsmanship that went into creating this bracelet makes this the one Patek release for me this year.

Watches and Wonders 2024 favorite #3: Tudor Black Bay

Last Sunday, I explained what makes this new Tudor Black Bay such a great release for me in our weekly Sunday Morning Showdown series. I love that Tudor created a clean version of its 41mm Master Chronometer Black Bay that does not have the vintage-inspired look of last year’s burgundy version.

As the Sunday Morning Showdown article explained, I loved the burgundy version and had a chance to go hands-on with it. The main issue I had with it was its aesthetic. I like this year’s clean, modern look a lot better than the retro vibes that defined last year’s model.

That’s why this is the first black-dial Black Bay that is truly an affordable alternative to the Submariner in my book. Sure, you can debate Rolex versus Tudor regarding quality and perception and why you should buy one or the other. The answers to that are very personal. But what Tudor did with this new Black Bay visually is right up many watch fans’ alleys.

As a reminder, the watch offers a 41mm case that is 13.6mm thick and 50mm long with a 21mm lug spacing and a 200m depth rating. Inside the case is the Kenissi-manufactured MT5602-U, a METAS-certified Master Chronometer caliber with a 70-hour power reserve. The new Black Bay is hard to beat at €4,510 on the Oyster-style bracelet or €4,620 on the Jubilee-style bracelet. It makes this relatively simple line extension one of the best of this year’s fair.

Favorite #4: A. Lange & Söhne Datograph Perpetual Tourbillon Honeygold “Lumen”

Now we go from a relatively straightforward release to one of the most complicated of this year’s fair. As some of you know, A. Lange & Söhne is my favorite high-end brand, and it never ceases to mesmerize me. Last year, I fell for the Odysseus Chronograph and the titanium Odysseus a year before that.

This year, the brand introduced us to the Datograph Perpetual Tourbillon Honeygold “Lumen.” I had the pleasure of writing the introduction article. It’s always nice to be introduced to a complicated timepiece as it forces you to sit down and focus on everything that makes it special. And with A. Lange & Söhne, that is always a treat.

To celebrate 25 years of the Datograph, the Glashütte-based brand introduced this special version of its famous chronograph. It brings a Honeygold case that is 41.5mm in diameter and 14.6mm thick. Considering that this watch combines several complications, it is very wearable. The watch features a flyback chronograph, a perpetual calendar, and a tourbillon.

On top of that, it boasts the brand’s famous “Lumen” execution. This translates to a dial made of semitransparent sapphire crystal and a luminous coating on the different displays and functions. This ensures you can use the watch and all its functions during the day and the night.

The magic continues on the back of the watch

The new manufacture caliber L952.4 is responsible for all the mechanical wizardry. This column-wheel chronograph caliber consists of 684 parts, operates at 18,000vph, and has a power reserve of 50 hours. It is visible through the display case back. The visible one-minute tourbillon with a stop-seconds mechanism is part of the magic on the backside.

The movement is a true work of art finished in great Lange fashion. This Honeygold Datograph also comes on a beautifully matched brown alligator strap. Lange will only sell 50 units of this new masterpiece. Officially, the price is available on request only, but RJ heard it was around €620,000. Yes, that is an incredible amount of money, but what you get in return is nothing short of stunning.

Watches and Wonders 2024 favorite #5: Czapek Antarctique Mount Erebus

My last pick for this list of five Watches and Wonders favorites is the duo of Czapek Antarctique Mount Erebus watches. Technically, they were unveiled two weeks before Watches and Wonders. But for many, the Geneva fair was the first opportunity to see the watches in the metal. For me, the two Mount Erebus models show that the Czapek Antarctique looks brilliant not only in stainless steel but also in yellow and rose gold.

While that is hardly surprising with the proof right in front of us, it’s nice to know that the brilliance of the design is perfect for precious metals. Czapek will produce 100 pieces of the rose gold model and 50 of the yellow gold model. If I had the chance to get one, I would pick the latter.

Both watches have a case measuring 40.5mm in diameter, 10.6mm thick, and 45mm from lug to lug. The case is paired with a brilliantly integrated bracelet with that distinct Antarctique style. You can opt for polished or brushed intermediate links. In this case, I would choose the polished versions as they look great when alternating with the brushed links. The case and bracelet are combined with a very nice deep blue dial with a highly textured lamé finish.

The ultimate proof of concept

The dial features applied gold luminous indexes, gold hands, and a date window at 6 o’clock. Inside the case, you will find the much-praised 28-jewel SXH5 caliber, which operates at 28,800vph and offers a 60-hour power reserve.

At €56,700 in yellow gold and €55,000 in rose gold, these two watches are the perfect precious-metal proof of the Antarctique’s brilliant concept. While it’s hardly surprising, the confirmation is nice, and it adds another chapter to the story of why I adore the Czapek Antarctique.

What do you think of my favorite Watches and Wonders releases this year, and what were yours? Let me know in the comments below.