I have mixed feelings this year. I had to watch from afar as I was writing remotely and not part of the lovely circus that is Watches and Wonders. But despite a few of our editors noting a rather lukewarm personal reception, I was surprised by some gems at the show and have some grail-worthy favorite Watches and Wonders 2024 releases.

While Rolex played it cool in the face of receding market values and Tudor offered a few nice but tweaked pieces, surprises were indeed on offer. And while some of my choices will undoubtedly be reflected in other editors’ stories (looking at you, Thomas), they’re good enough to constitute a perfect three-watch collection. Well, as long as I ignore budgets, that is.

Thor's favorite Watches and Wonders 2024 releases Hublot Big Bang Integrated 38mm

Thor’s favorite Watches and Wonders 2024 releases — Pick #1: The quietly spoken Hublot Big Bang Integrated 38mm

How ironic that my story’s most everyday-cool watch should be from Hublot. The brand blasted press releases with clear sky-blue sapphire cases and multi-complex series-coupled barrels, but that’s no surprise. There was even an ultra-cool orange ceramic Big Bang, but the everyday charm of Grade 5 titanium got to me. At €13,600, the Big Bang Integrated 38mm is way pricier than, say, the titanium Tudor Pelagos FXD. Instead, it fights the €14K Yacht-Master 42. And that pretty much sums it up. It’s not a tool watch, and it does not have the cachet of the “YM.” But I love its looks, and the “BBI” is a great interpretation of the integrated-bracelet chic everyone wants a piece of. It is a tougher, more defined version of the genre, and the 38mm size is much more comfortable than 42. So you can keep your Yacht-Master prestige.

Favorite Watches And Wonders 2024 Releases

And sure, I love the lightweight comfort of titanium, don’t get me wrong, but the rose gold version is even sweeter. King Gold, Hublot’s proprietary alloy, is delightfully lustrous and warm, especially with a satin finish. However, at a mad €49,100, this is a seriously overpriced 38mm watch. That doesn’t detract from its balanced design, Big Pilot-like numeral legibility, and desirability. The titanium version, however, is a very interesting lateral move by Hublot, and I’m all for it. More, please.

Favorite Watches And Wonders 2024 Releases Vacheron Constantin Overseas Chronograph green

Pick #2: Vacheron Constantin’s luscious green Overseas Chronograph

Big, butch gold chronographs exist in a separate sphere of the watch world, and I have a conflicting relationship with some brands. I have never been a big fan of the Daytona for its ubiquitous bling-symbol reasons, but after reviewing a few ADG-rebuilt versions, I’m turning. However, I am still a bigger fan of the alternatives and love an olive-green dial. It’s a difficult color to get right. If it comes too close to the official Rolex color, it is too flashy. I admit I also have a soft spot for Vacheron Constantin’s Overseas range. So seeing the press image of four new references in green caused a tingling sensation in my watch senses. The tone is just right, and rose gold packs a serious punch.

Favorite Watches And Wonders 2024 Releases

And why not change it up with a quick swap to Vacheron’s elaborate rubber strap? Sure, a new dial color is not revolutionary. Still, I have long seen the Overseas Chronograph as a superb alternative to the Big D. This solidifies it, and I’d take the included hobnail-pattern rubber strap over a smooth Oysterflex any day. Sure, this Overseas is large at 42.5mm wide and 12.67mm thick, but I rate the bracelet highly in the comfort stakes. Also, given that I could somehow magically acquire the €87,500 budget sum, the deep brushing of the Overseas with only a few choice touches of polish makes for a quieter gold ensemble than many brands offer. It will always be a big statement, but the 18K pink gold with a muted deep green dial is sublime.

Thor’s favorites Watches and Wonders 2024 releases — Pick #3: Laurent Ferrier Classic Moon

What’s this? Lume game on a Laurent Ferrier grail? Yes, and it also marks the brand’s first hand-finished foray into lunar complications with an adaptation of the École Annual Calendar’s movement but in the smooth 40mm Classic range. At CHF 70,000 in steel, the Classic Moon is an investment in small-scale watchmaking and a studied alternative to a Vacheron, Patek, or Lange. All of these watches keep going up in price, but does it matter when you have a €50K–100K budget? Anyway, this is not about everyday wearability, though this more casual gray-blue version would fit the bill. Mind you, it is as casual as any hand-finished piece of Haute Horlogerie can be perceived.

Favorite Watches And Wonders 2024 Releases

And I’ve perceived this as a breath of fresh air, underlining that independents like Ferrier mean more than big-brand prestige. With a cheeky dab of lume on the moonphase display, a traditional complication detail, the brand has crossed a line. It shows an audacity that belies the sober details of traditionalism, and just like Lange’s Lumen, it opens up new avenues. The Classic Moon appeals to the same people who loved the Sport Auto 40, but it stays true to its classical roots. The luminous moons are fresh details that only appear at night, while the watch is a picture of zen-like calm and restraint. With its twin personalities, the Laurent Ferrier Classic Moon duo follows the brand’s strong trajectory and sets the bar high for a strong presence at Geneva Watch Days 2024.

Honorable mentions

Perhaps I was too sensible in my choices, even if the costly solid gold Overseas Chronograph is anything but. Gold sure does add an extra dose of luster to a good watch design, and for me, it’s never about a status symbol or investment potential. That might explain my desire for the rose gold version of the reissued TAG Heuer Skipper. It’s already a gorgeous watch, don’t get me wrong, but the warm rose gold brings a magic touch to the deep blue dial with its fresh details.

And “wow!” for Zenith with the octagonal flare of the Defy Revival A3648, signaling (brightly!) the still-strong vintage trend. This must be the brightest orange-popping dial I have ever seen, closer to fluorescent than mandarin sweet. The angle-tastic case has a strong late-’60s vibe but also reminds me somewhat of the new Grand Seiko SBGC275. And what about those hands? They are pure orange with generous lume and a perfect rectangular plot on the seconds hand. Bravo, Zenith; this is an easy choice for any “favorite Watches and Wonders releases” list.

So, if the question were whether I found this year’s Watches and Wonders show lacking, I’d say “no.” The gems were there but not necessarily apparent at the first booth visit. What about you, Fratelli? Do you have any faves or derivatives of my selection above? Let me know in the comments.