Watches And Wonders 2022 — Some Of The Less Talked-About Releases From Panerai, IWC, Vacheron Constantin, And More
Watches And Wonders 2022 is officially over. After a week full of new releases, it’s time to look at some of the hidden gems. These timepieces were not among the most talked-about pieces of the show, but they are ones that deserve attention for a number of reasons. Let’s take a look at some of the watches that you might have seen but forgotten about, or maybe you haven’t seen at all due to the simply massive amount of new releases.
The biggest downside of a week full of new releases is that it is sometimes hard to keep up. Additionally, you might forget some of the models after a couple of days because what came after was equally worth your attention. Obviously, the big brands like Rolex, Tudor, and Patek Philippe take center stage when it comes to the most talked-about releases of the show. But this year, we have seen a number of other brands also get massive attention with some spectacular new watches. For me, that has been one of the biggest upsides of this year’s Watches And Wonders. But besides the watches that we all love to talk about, let’s take a quick look back at some of the less-discussed timepieces that still are great new introductions. While you probably have seen them, they weren’t amongst the most hyped releases. Here are my picks for the five new releases at Watches And Wonders 2022 that flew under the radar.
IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph 41 Top Gun Ceratanium
IWC focused on its colorful Pilot’s Watch Top Gun series in collaboration with Pantone, resulting in some stunning new releases. I love the new white Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Top Gun Edition “Lake Tahoe” that Lex wrote about. That white ceramic watch with its highly contrasting black dial looks absolutely stunning. While the green “Woodland” might be the more sensible option, the “Lake Tahoe” is truly impressive. The visual impact of that watch is refreshing. It’s also a bold move from IWC because white watches are a rarity. However, there is one “but” when it comes to the “Lake Tahoe”, and that’s its 44mm case size. Combine the size and the color and you will understand that it is quite a flashy timepiece. Yes, it’s one that I love, but it’s flashy nonetheless. On the total opposite of that spectrum, we find a stealthy watch that flew under the radar during Watches And Wonders.
It’s the 41mm Pilot’s Watch Chronograph in black Ceratanium. In 2019, we saw the release of the 44mm Double Chronograph Top Gun in black Ceratanium. Additionally, last year we saw the release of the “Tribute to 3705” that honored the iconic ref. 3705 from the 1990s. The new Pilot’s Watch Chronograph 41 Top Gun Ceratanium can be considered the modern, stealthy version of that watch. The 41mm timepiece features a case, crown, and pushers all executed in Ceratanium. The subdued dial design and the matching black strap only add more finesse to the tone-on-tone presence of the watch. If you turn the watch around, you will see the IWC caliber 69385 through the tinted sapphire crystal. Yes, even the crystal fits the concept! Until IWC comes out with a “Mojave Desert” version of its 41mm Pilot’s Chronograph Top Gun, this is my favorite of the Top Gun series at €13,500.
Zenith Chronomaster Sport Rose Gold
This year’s Zenith releases seemed a bit underwhelming at first. I must admit that I am not a fan of the new Chronomaster Open collection. I do greatly admire how Zenith has executed the concept, the legacy of illustrious former CEO Thierry Nataf. And everyone who sees the watches in the metal admits that the execution of the register at 9 o’clock is a thing of beauty. But, unfortunately, one brilliant detail does not make these watches look better for me. I am just not a big fan of the overall concept. But what I am a fan of, though, are the new Chronomaster Sport models executed in rose gold. The two models that were released look very impressive and make anyone who pays over twice the retail price for a rose gold Daytona look foolish. These rose gold sports chronographs show the power of the Chronomaster Sport at CHF 37,900.
I have to be honest, when the Chronomaster Sport first came out, it was hard to deny the likeness to the Daytona. After we had the Chronomaster Sport in the office, however, I changed my mind. Firstly, the watch, unlike the Daytona, doesn’t suffer from slightly higher, decentralized registers. Once seen on the Daytona, they cannot be unseen. Secondly, the iconic tri-color sub-dials give the watch a very distinct Zenith feel. And lastly, the brilliant El Primero 3600 movement is a joy to see, with its central chronograph hand making a complete rotation every 10 seconds. For these new rose gold versions, Zenith got rid of the black ceramic bezel, and that was a great move. The black-dial version, in particular, is an absolute stunner. These two watches remind me of the brilliant Italian El Primeros from the 1980s, and they are Zenith’s best releases this year.
Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Perpetual Calendar Chronograph
Let’s be honest, this spectacular timepiece is one for the happy few. But its execution and technical mastery deserve a lot of attention. With Vacheron Constantin releasing the hottest timepiece of Watches And Wonders 2022 with its Historiques 222, it’s hard to step out of the shadow and take center stage. And in addition to the Historiques 222, the Overseas Tourbillon Skeleton models were also great highlights of this year’s new introductions from Vacheron Constantin. As a result, this Traditionnelle Perpetual Calendar Chronograph was not heavily discussed. Nevertheless, it is one incredible timepiece that deserves all the attention it gets. And with the Patek Philippe 5270P in platinum with the rose gold dial being discontinued, this new release might just have great potential. The watch oozes excellence in all its elements.
The watch utilizes a round 43mm platinum case that measures 12.94mm in height. It features wonderful straight lugs, rectangular chronograph pushers, and a salmon-colored opaline dial with a black painted tachymeter scale. The applied hour markers and hour and minute hands are all executed in 18K white gold. I love the dial design with its slightly larger date register at 6 o’clock and its integrated 950 platinum moon disc. What a brilliant detail. Inside the case, you will find the manual-winding in-house-produced Calibre 1142 QP. This perpetual calendar chronograph movement is a testament to Vacheron Constantin’s greatness in watchmaking. The finishing touch comes in the form of a blue leather strap that matches the blue central chronograph hand. As I said, at €121,250, this is a timepiece for the happy few. The few that will get one, however, will enjoy a masterpiece.
Grand Seiko Evolution 9 GMT SBGE285
This year was the first year that Grand Seiko was part of Watches And Wonders. During the show, the brand received a tremendous amount of praise for its brilliant Kodo Constant-force Tourbillon. This masterclass in innovation and cutting-edge watchmaking was a true joy to see in action. Mike wrote about the stunning Kodo, and you all seemed to love it as well. When it comes to the more affordable and less extravagant timepieces, Grand Seiko introduced five new models to its Evolution 9 collection. At first glance, the new GMT models that Mike wrote about seemed a bit underwhelming to many enthusiasts. But my immediate reaction when I saw the SBGE285 “Mist Flake” was pure enthusiasm. I have always greatly respected the famous Snowflake, and I also loved seeing the recent White Birch and White Birch II with their impressive dials.
But, as it turns out, it takes more than a great white dial to be a success. The reason that I was so pumped to see the SBGE285 “Mist Flake” was the combination of the new angular case shape, the GMT bezel, and the dial. It starts with the modern titanium case that measures 41mm in diameter and 13.9mm in thickness. The clean lines in combination with the immaculate finishing won me over immediately. Secondly, I love a monochromatic color scheme. That’s where the “Mist Flake” delivers perfectly. The titanium 24-hour bezel with its new font, the light gray textured dial, and no contrasting GMT hand make this right up my alley. Add the modern Spring Drive Caliber 9R66, and this has quickly become a Grand Seiko favorite of mine. It is a serious contender for a new purchase when it comes out in August for €8,500.
Panerai PAM01232 Submersible QuarantaQuattro Carbotech Blu Abisso
Panerai focused a lot this year on the continuation of its story of sustainability. It’s a story that I respect greatly. In my opinion, one of the best panel talks during Watches And Wonders came courtesy of Panerai CEO Jean-Marc Pontroué who shared the stage with adventurer and long-time Panerai ambassador Mike Horn and a lady from IOC-UNESCO. Hearing Mike Horn talk about the changes he sees around him while traveling the globe was informative and sometimes even eye-opening. In the context of that talk, it is great to see that Panerai has released the Submersible QuarantaQuattro eSteel models. They’re a great continuation of the story that started with last year’s Luminor eSteel models featuring largely recycled stainless steel cases.
But the one Panerai that was not as talked about but does take the cake for me is the new Panerai PAM01232 Submersible QuarantaQuattro Carbotech Blu Abisso. It’s a mouth full for a watch that simply looks stunning. It was tough choosing between the equally brilliant PAM01226 Bianco (pictured above) and this one, but in the end, the color combination of the black Carbotech case and the blue dial and rubber strap make this an absolute winner for me. It’s a color combination that is part stealthy, part classy, and I love that. In general, Panerai chooses great shades of blue for its watches. The 44mm case executed in black Carbotech ensures it is light and scratch-resistant, and it also makes the watch look less prominent. Calling a Panerai understated would be a lie, but it is very humble compared to some of its peers. The watch is powered by the P.900 automatic movement and comes in at €17,400. It’s a steep price compared to €9,200 for the Bianco. It makes choosing tough, but for now, it’s not about price and all about looks.
There you have it — my five favorite watches that flew under the radar at this year’s Watches And Wonders. Now, I’ll pass the question on to you. What are some of your favorite releases from the show that you think deserve more attention? We would love to find out, so please let us know your top few picks in the comments section below.
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