What watch will be the star of Watches and Wonders 2023? The 70th-anniversary Submariner, perhaps? Could be. Could very well be. I have no clue what it will look like, though; maybe a brown dial with a light blue ceramic bezel? Or is that way too wild? On the other hand, a new Milgauss might be easier to foresee and make a mockup of. So that’s what we did. And Fratello’s Watches and Wonders 2023 predictions also include visuals of a new Rainbow from Zenith, two versions of last year’s star of the show, the Vacheron Constantin 222, plus a very blue Tudor Pelagos 39, a dive watch that could very well become the star of W&W 2023.

The 2021 Pelagos FXD showed us the way to come up with a blue version of the Pelagos 39. The 39 does have a few advantages over the FXD that measures 42 × 12.75mm with a 52mm lug-to-lug length. No, it’s not very thick, but since you have to wear it on a strap that goes under the case — the strap bars are fixed, remember? — it sits quite high on the wrist.

Tudor Pelagos FXD

Watches and Wonders 2023 predictions: Tudor Pelagos 39 Blue

Many of you will agree when I write that the Pelagos 39 is sized to perfection. It measures 39 × 11.8mm with a 47mm lug-to-lug length. And because of the regular spring bars, you can wear the watch any way you like it. At Fratello, we think that the color of the regular blue Tudor Pelagos M25600TB-0001 is not as nice as the slightly darker blue of the FXD. So it would be good to see the Pelagos 39 Blue in that same shade. And if that particular blue tone is strictly for the FXD, Tudor could at least make it a bit darker and more intense than the blue of the regular Pelagos.

Watches And Wonders 2023 predictions

Prediction: Tudor Pelagos 39 Blue

The Pelagos 39 in its original black attire looks a bit like the missing link between the Black Bay and the standard Pelagos. It has one foot in tradition and the other in modernity. A blue version will be more contemporary without losing the on-trend connection to history. It would look great with denim too. Just sayin’.

Watches and Wonders 2023

Prediction: Rolex Milgauss 126400GV

Watches and Wonders 2023 predictions: Rolex Milgauss 126400GV

We pretty much did this one with our eyes closed. The current Milgauss reference 116400GV is basically the same as the discontinued Air-King 116900 that debuted at Baselworld 2016. It’s cosmetically different, yes, but inside the identical 40mm steel cases beats the automatic caliber 3131. The recently updated Air-King 126900 uses the more advanced caliber 3230. The case is different too. Now it has crown guards befitting a professional tool watch.

The upcoming Milgauss — let’s give it the reference number 126400GV, shall we? — will go the way of the most recent Air-King, so we will see the same 40mm case with crown guards and the caliber 3230 inside. The exact colors of the dial and sapphire crystal are easy to predict as well. We expect to see the return of the white dial plus a black one with a green sapphire crystal over it. We just can’t get enough of that funky green crystal. It’s like in the 1975 Parliament song “Give Up the Funk (Tear the Roof off the Sucker)” that goes, “Oww, we want the funk, give up the funk / Oww, we need the funk, we gotta have the funk.”

Watches and Wonders 2023 predictions

Prediction: Zenith Chronomaster El Primero Rainbow Flyback

Watches and Wonders 2023 predictions: Zenith Chronomaster El Primero Rainbow Flyback

This is more wishful thinking than it is predicting an upcoming watch release. Still, it would be really cool if Zenith would bring back the El Primero Rainbow Flyback. Not as a reinterpretation of the 1997 reference 02.0480.405, but as an evolutionary model based on the current Chronomaster in a 39.5mm steel case. You might wonder why we don’t predict/hope for a Rainbow based on the Chronomaster Sport with its 41mm case and ceramic bezel. Well, when we started fiddling with the two different El Primero chronographs, we preferred to have all the rainbow colors under the crystal instead of also on a colorful ceramic bezel.

Zenith El Primero Rainbow Flyback ref. 02.0480.405 — Image: Atelier De Griff

Colorful ceramic bezels don’t always come out of the oven looking the way you want. That’s why we steered clear of a potential disaster — just like you would have done when at the helm of the yacht Rainbow, the original name-giver of the watch and the winner of the 15th America’s Cup in 1934 — and opted for carefully created and controlled colors on the dial. What do think? Are you on board?

Watches and Wonders 2023

Prediction: Vacheron Constantin Historiques 222 in steel

Final predictions: Vacheron Constantin Historiques 222 in steel and steel and gold

Raise your hand if the Vacheron Constantin Historiques 222 was your favorite watch of Watches and Wonders 2022. Well, you’re not alone. The rebirth of the 1977 original had many cheering. We feel it’s safe to say that last year’s 222, a 37 × 7.95mm yellow gold creation that stayed very, very close to the original design of Jörg Hysek, will get a successor in the shape of another 222 made of a different metal. Which metal? The original one came in steel, so why not steel? A historically correct two-tone version is also plausible. Yellow gold and steel do create the warm nostalgia that everybody is still craving.

A pink gold, platinum, or titanium case that encloses the caliber 2455/2 is more unlikely. But since the second version of the reborn 222 will undoubtedly be another humongous success, all the alloys you can think of are on the way sooner or later.

Watches and Wonders 2023

Prediction: Vacheron Constantin Historiques 222 in steel and yellow gold

Tell us what you think of our predictions, and also tell us what you have seen in your crystal ball in the comments below.

Find and follow me at Lex Stolk • Instagram.