The “largest watchmaking summit ever held in Geneva,” Watches and Wonders 2022, closed its doors last Tuesday, with some brands having sold out their new pieces before the event concluded.
“With nearly 22,000 unique visitors, including nearly 1,000 journalists who traveled to Geneva for the event, generating more than 30,000 overnight stays, this year’s salon has ended on an extremely positive note. Thanks to the 38 exhibiting Maisons, including 19 newcomers, the salon was buzzing during a week of extraordinary dynamism.”Watches and Wonders
Needless to say, WatchTime’s international editorial team was also attending the show, with Sabine Zwettler (Contributing Editor), Roger Ruegger (Editor-in-chief), Martin Green (Editor-at-large) covering the releases for the U.S. site and social media. These were their impressions:
In one sentence, how would you describe this year’s Watches and Wonders?
RR: The show definitely was a worthy successor of the SIHH and previous Watches & Wonders editions in Geneva, and I felt that a large number of brands showed novelties based on strong, creative ideas.
SZ: I haven’t been in Geneva, but from afar it looked like the brands pulled out all of the stops and showed technical prowess and magnificent craftsmanship.
MG: A feast of recognition, fine-tuned to an even higher degree of perfection, that all brands celebrated by giving it their best, and some more.
What were the main trends this year?
SZ: GMTs were big, minute repeaters, and, in the sports field, diver’s watches. Chronographs not so much.
MG: The world is once more your oyster, which means that there was an abundance of watches displaying one or more timezones. The other thing that is hot are all the colors of the rainbow, sometime even combined in a single timepieces.
RR: Indeed. Not sure if we were seeing a side effect of the travel restrictions of the past two years, but GMTs were everywhere. Also, astronomical complications, and – of course – a suspiciously large number of color variations.
What was your personal best in show?
SZ: The Cartier Masse Mystérieuse with its mind-boggling movement shape.
MG: Very tough one, but when pressed I have to say the Parmigiani Tonda PF GMT Rattrapante.
RR: Indeed, the PF GMT Rattrapante looked gorgeous. I was also pretty impressed by Vacheron in general. It felt like the brand managed to perfectly align its heritage, product communication and, ultimately, the new releases this year. Vacheron never felt that hot.
Who or what surprised you most?
SZ: The Montblanc 1858 Iced Sea Automatic Diver.
MG: The new Hublot Square Bang Unico surprised me the most. What I thought would be a Santos look-a-like turned out to be one of the most comfortable oversized watches I have worn in years.
RR: Obviously, no one saw the left-hand GMT from Rolex coming, but while it was clear that Grand Seiko would eventually show a watch based on the T0 Constant-force Tourbillon, I somehow was not prepared to hold the stunning Kodo Constant-Force Tourbillon Ref. SLGT003 in my hands.
What watch came with the most unusual material?
SZ: Czapek Frozen Star S with osmium dial.
MG: Once again have to agree with Sabine; the Czapek Frozen Star S.
RR: Not per se a material, but I spent a lot of time in front of the Streamliner Vantablack from H. Moser & Cie.
What was your favorite travel watch?
SZ: Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda GMT Rattrapante.
MG: Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda GMT Rattrapante.
RR: To add another contender, Patek’s new Travel Time Ref. 5326G-001.
And what was your favorite dive watch?
RR: The brands exhibiting in Geneva traditionally don’t have that many dive watches lined up (especially with Rolex and Tudor concentrating on GMT watches this year), but the Aquaracer Superdiver from TAG Heuer certainly was interesting, both in terms of over-engineering and movement choice.
SZ: The Montblanc 1858 Iced Sea Automatic.
MG: The TAG Heuer Aquaracer Professional 300 Orange Diver.
Favorite new chronograph?
MG: The Angelus Chronodate Titanium.
RR: I initially wanted to go with the Montblanc 1858 Geosphere Zero Oxygen, but felt it was a bit tall when I finally saw it in the flesh. Therefore, the 1858 Minerva Monopusher Chronograph Red Arrow LE88 is my choice.
How about women’s watches this year?
SZ: The Chanel J12.
MG: The Van Cleef & Arpels Lady Arpels Heures Florales.
RR: The Rendez-Vous Dazzling Star from Jaeger-LeCoultre.
Favorite complicated watch?
SZ: Patek Philippe Travel Time Ref. 5326G-001.
MG: Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Perpetual Calendar.
RR: That one was indeed nice, I would therefore pick the L.U.C Strike One for its simplicity.
How about this year’s astronomical watches?
SZ: The Master Hybris Artistic Calibre 945 from Jaeger-LeCoultre.
MG: Ulysse Nardin Blast Moonstruck.
RR: Same here, but I also have to mention the Planétarium automaton from Van Cleef & Arpels.
Who was your most memorable interview with?
MG: IWC’s museum curator Dr. David Seyffer. We share both an interest in history as well as a passion for automotive so any interview with him always results in a fun conversation around these topics.
RR: My interview with Chopard’s Co-President Karl-Friedrich Scheufele to talk about the 25th anniversary of the L.U.C – and I will certainly never forget Anthony de Haas, Director of Product Development of A. Lange & Söhne, talk to us in perfect Swiss German.
Your advice to anyone attending the show in 2023?
MG: Get your planning in order. There is so much to see, so many people to speak, that this is vital to make the most of it.
RR: Wear comfortable shoes, stay as long as possible, get enough sleep.
If you could have kept one watch (regardless of its price), which one would you’ve taken home?
SZ: A. Lange & Söhne Richard Lange Minute Repeater
MG: Rolex new platinum 36mm Day-Date. Why? Because to me it is one of those watches that you could wear everyday for the rest of your life and don’t look back.
RR: Interestingly, the Vacheron Constantin 222 also fits that description, even though I usually don’t favor rose or yellow gold watches. Ultimately, I think I would have boarded my train home with the new Travel Time from Patek.