The Watches and Wonders hangover is not something to joke about. It’s not the days of constantly “swimming” against a constant stream of champagne that wear you down. It’s not the standing in the cold, early morning hours waiting for a scheduled shuttle that never arrives. It isn’t even the average of 21,000 steps you do daily while running from one end of the exposition hall to the other. Rather, it’s the never-ending stream of impressions that slowly but surely starts to take a toll. After spending four days filled to the brim with touch-and-feel sessions, interviews, and one-on-ones, the body and mind slip into a buzzing state with a constant vibrating of the muscles and brain. It’s the feeling you have after a proper bender. But what better way to cure my Watches and Wonders hangover than with highlights from Jaeger-LeCoultre, Piaget, and two other brands?

People who have spent a 9:00–7:00 day at Palexpo during Watches and Wonders know what I’m talking about. The mixture of the wining and dining the long night before, the early rise, the wait for the shuttle that never comes, the long walks back and forth to the different brand booths, steaming-hot temperatures, and the air that’s dryer than August in Dubai wreak havoc on your physique. The mind is challenged as well but in a very different way. It’s overstimulated by people and, above all, watches. Now, I do think that Watches and Wonders 2024 wasn’t the most exciting event for the big brands that do the big numbers. However, there was very interesting, innovative, and intriguing stuff from others.

Watches And Wonders highlights Jaeger-LeCoultre Duometre Quantieme Lunaire

Curing my Watches and Wonders hangover: Jaeger-LeCoultre Duometre Quantieme Lunaire

Interestingly, my desire to see and experience more complications — read my take on the topic right here — was fulfilled by a string of watchmaking maisons. That overload of technical tours de force takes a toll on the senses. Feeling overwhelmed, excited, and enthusiastic produces all kinds of stuff in the brain, resulting in some sort of “watch high.” And that high clouds your thinking. So, after a full day of taking in watches, answering a simple question like “What’s the best watch you saw today?” becomes impossible. But now that the fog has lifted from my mind, I can do it. Allow me to give you a few daily highlights that emerged from my brain mist. These watches got me excited and will get me excited again, thus curing the Watches and Wonders hangover I’m struggling with this Monday morning.

I said it once, and I will say it again: the Duometre returns!

As I said last week, “The Duometre from 2007 might have been the first of its kind, but way back in 1881, Jaeger-LeCoultre built the Cal. 19/20RMSMI, a pocket-watch movement equipped with two barrels. The goal was to create a movement with a complication that stopped drawing power from the main barrel and thus disrupting the constant supply of energy required for an escapement to function as precisely as possible. It was an experimental movement with just one gear train, and it didn’t really do what it was intended to do, so it never made it into production.” Last week, though, JLC presented a completely revised Duometre, the modern incarnation of that late-1800s concept. While the Heliotourbillon Quantieme with the watchmaker’s first triple-axis tourbillon at 9 o’clock might be the most impressive newcomer, the “entry-level” one made a longer-lasting impression on me.

Watches And Wonders highlights Jaeger-LeCoultre Duometre Quantieme Lunaire

It was the combination of the almost pebble-like, pocket-watch-inspired case shape and the gradient blue dial that got me. Other creations in the lineup have an opening in the dial, but the Duometre Quantieme Lunaire doesn’t. Consequently, nothing takes the attention away from the sectorized dial finished in various styles. There’s opaline on the top of the dial, a satin finish on the center of the counters, circles of blue surrounding them, and a sunray finish enriching both power reserve indicators. And while you’re looking at the rich blue dial, the central seconds and the foudroyante make the visual spectacle even more dynamic.

The watch’s party piece is the foudroyante hand in the sub-dial at 6 o’clock. It constantly makes a complete revolution every second, with six “jumps” per full rotation.

Everyday Haute Horlogerie

On the reverse side, you get hypnotized by the beauty and complexity of the twin-barrel Calibre 381. The movement has two separate gear trains connected to a single regulating organ. One gear train is dedicated to indicating the time, while the other is for the complications. What you see is a ballet of finely decorated components — sunray Côtes de Genève, chamfered bridges, blued screws…you name it.

The Duometre Quantieme Lunaire — the first-ever Duometre in steel — might be the entry point to the complicated collection, but, as you’d expect, it doesn’t exactly have an entry-level price. Still, €48,400 does buy you a lot of watch. JLC has paid incredible attention to the design and finishing of the Duometre’s case — I almost forgot to mention that it’s impossible to feel where the domed crystal ends and the case begins. Then, there’s the charismatic blue dial paired with a deep blue strap and the mesmerizing movement, of course.

The new Duometre Quantieme Lunaire looks and feels like an Haute Horlogerie creation that pays homage to the past in a contemporary way. At the same time, its looks, size, proportions, and color make it a watch you could wear every day of the week. I will request one for a hands-on to find out if that’s truly the case. Stay tuned.

Watches and Wonders highlights Piaget Altiplano Ultimate Concept Tourbillon

Seemingly spinning in one dimension: Piaget Altiplano Ultimate Concept Tourbillon

Bvlgari just snatched back the world record from Richard Mille by creating the thinnest mechanical watch in the world. Congrats to the brand on that. But it’s the Piaget Altiplano Ultimate Concept Tourbillon that captivates me more. It’s “way beefier” than the Bvlgari, measuring 2mm thick, but it speaks to me more. Is that because the round Piaget looks more like a watch than the Bvlgari? Maybe. The Octo Finissimo case design is very sophisticated and builds a bridge between watch design and architecture. However, in my opinion, the extreme thinness of the watch leans into the architectural aspect too much. The Piaget, on the other hand, benefits from a round case that, no matter how flat it is, will always look like a watch.

Watches and Wonders

In 2018, Piaget set a world record with a 2mm-thick Altiplano. Then, in 2022, Bvlgari snatched that record away. And now, in the year that the manufacturer from La Côte-aux-Fées celebrates its 150th anniversary, Piaget comes with another 2mm-slim watch. This time, though, it has a flying tourbillon inside.

Watches and Wonders

Cobalt blue goes well with denim

As the name suggests, the dark blue Altiplano Ultimate Concept Tourbillon features a flying tourbillon. The movement is just 1.95mm thick, and the case and crystal add another 0.5mm for a 2mm overall thickness. That case is made of a PVD-coated cobalt alloy, and that color in combination with a strap in the same shade leads to a watch that looks good with denim, the unofficial theme of Watches and Wonders 2024 (the staff at Rolex wore double denim, for instance, and you saw the Patek straps).

Watches and Wonders highlights Piaget Altiplano Ultimate Concept Tourbillon

Back to the scarily thin Altiplano that looked awesome on the wrist. The movement also doubles as a dial and triples as the case back. The hand-wound caliber 970P-UC requires a special key to wind it, and it boasts a one-minute flying tourbillon sitting at 10 o’clock. The spinning masterpiece of this 28,800vph (4Hz) caliber is also visible through a small opening in the back of the case/movement. You will find the barrel between 6 and 7 o’clock, next to the Piaget logo.

The watch is stunning in all kinds of ways, but it’s also scary. Are you familiar with the phobia that you won’t be able to stop yourself from jumping to your death when in a very high place? No? Neither was I. Anyway, that’s a thing. What if you buy this exceptionally thin watch that is not as rugged as a “Sub,” and its overwhelming thinness gives you the impossible-to-resist urge to snap it in half? Well, it will be a €600,000 once-in-a-lifetime experience you will regret forever.

Watches and Wonders highlights Parmigiani Fleurier Toric Petite Seconde

The oh-so-charming Parmigiani Fleurier Toric Petite Seconde in platinum

Parmigiani Fleurier has surprised us once more. No, not with another integrated-bracelet watch but with a new Toric. The Toric collection debuted in 1996, and although it was a classic, it was also a bit outdated. King Charles II loves his Toric Chronograph, but he’s hardly the best watch ambassador ever. The new Toric models live by “simple” rules — manual winding only, movements and dials in gold exclusively, indexes and hour/minute hands strictly in gold, and cases also only in precious metals.

The platinum Toric Petite Seconde (PFC940-2010004-300181) hit me hardest. The softness and subtlety of the celadon-green dial and its meticulously hand-grained texture are just perfect. So is the knurled platinum bezel and the classic shape of the 40.6 × 8.8mm platinum case. Inside beats PF780 caliber in rose gold. It’s a 4Hz, 157-part, 28.4 × 3.15mm movement with a thickness of just 3.15mm. And it’s decorated with Côtes de Fleurier and beveled edges.

The classic yet contemporary Toric has ARunic sapphire crystals on the front and back, never impeding the stunning view. It also has a beige hand-stitched nubuck alligator strap with a very refined-looking platinum pin buckle. The price tag that will hang off that applaudable, elegant buckle when this watch hits stores in September will read CHF 52,000.

Watches and Wonders highlights Frederique Constant Manufacture Classic Moonphase Date

An honorable mention for the Frederique Constant Manufacture Classic Moonphase Date

Mentioning the Frederique Constant Manufacture Classic Moonphase Date proves that four days at Watches and Wonders have not made me lose touch with reality. After singing the praises of out-of-reach watches, I’m curing my Watches and Wonders hangover with the new green-dial Frederique Constant Manufacture Classic Moonphase Date (FC-716GR3H6). This €3,895 watch underwent a subtle metamorphosis for the better. It’s no longer 42mm in diameter but now 40mm wide and 11.78mm thick. Also, inside, there’s an in-house automatic FC-716 movement with an increased power reserve of 72 hours.

The bright and clear sunburst dial in deep British racing green is vivid without being too bright and shiny. This is the watch you buy and enjoy without it causing a hangover.

Watches and Wonders

Let me know what you think of these four watches and what other Watches and Wonders novelties caught your eye.