Borna’s top 5 Watches & Wonders 2023 releases Borna’s top 5 Watches & Wonders 2023 releases

Borna’s top 5 Watches & Wonders 2023 releases

Borna Bošnjak

In the weeks since Watches & Wonders, I’ve been ruminating on the numerous releases, and have realised that this year has been one of the toughest to pick favourites from. Nevertheless, through sheer determination and perseverance, I’ve managed to come up with five that excited me. Some inclusions are surprising – a modern Rolex being one of them, while others – platinum Cartier, and vintage re-issue Chopard, for example – are less so. Let’s get into it.

Rolex Perpetual 1908 with a white dial in yellow gold

To anyone who knows me, and to the even fewer that care, the inclusion of a modern Rolex in any “favourites” list of mine is a big deal, and the Perpetual 1908 seems like it’s going to be a big deal for Rolex as well. The crown phased out the tired Cellini line in favour of a brand new line, which has its sights set on the entry-level offerings from the members of the Holy Trinity and its satellites. Its inspirations are vintage, going back to the very first watch fitted with a rotor, the design itself dating back to Oyster Perpetual models from 1931.

My favourite iteration of the 1908 is the white dial in a yellow gold case – coincidentally the most faithful to its vintage origins. 39mm in size and with short lugs, it’s compact on-wrist, though I would certainly opt for a 36mm variant should it become available. The movement is also impressive, and a departure from Rolex’s regular scheduling, though still finished with plenty of machine help.

Brand Rolex
Model Perpetual 1908
Reference Number 52508
Case Dimensions 39mm (D) x 9.5mm (T)
Case Material 18k yellow gold or white gold
Water Resistance 50 metres
Dial Matte white or black
Crystal(s) Sapphire crystal front and back
Strap Black or brown alligator leather
Lug Width 20mm
Movement Calibre 7140
Power Reserve 66 hours
Functions Hours, minutes, small seconds
Availability Now
Price A$31,100 (yellow gold)
A$32,850 (white gold)

Grand Seiko SBGY026 Hana-ikada

Where Rolex took a turn from their usual scheduling, Grand Seiko doubled-down with the Hana-ikada. The cherry blossom-inspired dial is my favourite the brand has ever made, and I’ve been considering splurging on the SBGA413 Shunbun for ages – a watch that another T+T colleague already fell victim to. While the Shunbun sports a chunky 40mm x 12.8mm 62GS case, the Hana-ikada’s 18k rose gold elegance case shrinks to 38.5mm in diameter and 10.2mm in height – a perfect pairing for the rosy dial.

On the reverse side, a flat sapphire crystal caseback reveals the manually wound 9R31 calibre – and good heavens is it pretty. Countersunk and blued screws, chatons, and inky blue-filled engravings, it’s a thing of beauty even though most of it is covered up.

Brand Grand Seiko
Model Elegance Spring Drive “Hana-ikada”
Reference Number SBGY026
Case Dimensions 38.5mm (D) x 10.2mm (T) x 43.7mm (L2L)
Case Material 18k rose gold
Water Resistance 30 metres
Dial Textured pink
Crystal(s) Double-domed sapphire front, sapphire back
Strap Crocodile leather with three-fold clasp
Lug Width 19mm
Movement 9R31 calibre, in-house, Spring Drive, manual winding
Power Reserve 72 hours
Functions Hours, minutes, seconds
Availability Limited to 100 pieces
Price A$37,950

TAG Heuer Carrera Date 36mm in pink

Even though it only occupies the third spot on this list, the pink Carrera Date 36mm may as well be first, as the A$30k+ price tags of the first two entrants land them squarely in the kidney-for-sale category. With the new Carrera Date, it’s mostly a story of refinements, even though the new dial colours are much bolder than anything the previous Three Hands collection had to offer. What impressed me most is the fit and feel of the watch, and particularly the pink variant. The subtle curvature of the sunray brushing of the dial to create a snailing effect is just lovely, and so is the 36mm Carrera case that was slimmed down to just 10mm.

The movement got an upgrade, too – and yes, I hear you say “bUt IT’s jUsT An ETA”. While I’d certainly love to see TAG Heuer invest into their in-house/manufacture movement department owing to their work with Kenissi and AMT, the specs of the 2892, as well as its slimness, are well-suited for this watch, at this price point.

Brand TAG Heuer
Model Carrera Date 36mm
Reference Numbers WBN2313.BA0001
Case Dimensions 36mm (D) x 10mm (T) x 41.6mm (L2L)
Case Material Stainless steel
Water Resistance 100 metres
Dial Snailed sunburst pink
Crystal(s) Sapphire front and back
Strap Stainless steel H-link bracelet with folding clasp
Movement Calibre 7, ETA 2892 base
Power Reserve 56 hours
Functions Hours, minutes, seconds, date
Availability Now
Price A$4,600

Cartier Privé Tank Normale in platinum with a platinum bracelet

Back we go to our regularly scheduled unaffordable content. If anything epitomises the apparent TikTok stealth wealth trend that I’m being informed is hot right now, it’s gotta be Cartier’s Privé Tank Normale in platinum with the matching bracelet. Few watches are so damn cool that wearing them would give you just a sliver of what it must feel like to be John Goldberger, as you’ll inevitably have to battle the feeling of your wrist attire screaming trust fund kid. These are all good things, I promise. Shame it’s limited to 100 pieces, though.

Brand Cartier
Model Privé Tank Normale
Case Dimensions 25.7mm (D) x 6.85mm (T) x 32.6 (L2L)
Case Material Platinum
Water Resistance 30m
Dial Brushed silver
Crystal Sapphire crystal
Bracelet Platinum bracelet
Movement Manually wound Calibre 070
Power Reserve 38 hours
Functions Hours, minutes
Availability 100-piece limited edition
Price US$53,500

Chopard L.U.C 1860 re-issue

Last, but not least, it’s the result of Chopard’s long and impressive history, as well as a sign that the L.U.C line might be heading in the right direction. The L.U.C 1860 sports a 36.5mm diameter case that’s wonderfully slim at only 8.2mm, thanks to the 96.40-L micro-rotor movement that powers it. It brings subtle improvements to an award-winning design from the late nineties, cleaning it up via the exclusion of a date window and a more distinct case shape. With many L.U.C releases in the past, there were small things that kept them from being truly great in my eyes, whether that was the size, choice of indices or other tiny thing I can nitpick. The new 1860, however, I find difficult to fault, except for the fact that one is not in my watch box already.

Brand Chopard
Model L.U.C 1860
Case Dimensions 36.5mm x 8.2mm
Case Material Lucent steel
Water Resistance 30m
Crystal(s) Sapphire
Dial Salmon-toned gold
Strap Anthracite calfskin
Movement L.U.C 96.40-L
Power Reserve 65 hours
Availability Available now
Price US$23,200