If you live in Melbourne like I do, you’ll agree that it’s one of the best damn places to live in the world. Unless it’s a week of new watch releases in a pandemic. The whole Time+Tide team has been living in multiple timezones this week thanks to Watches & Wonders, which has been as utterly exhausting as it has been stimulating. Luckily we’ve all got the power reserves of the original IWC Big Pilot (168 hours for those playing at home) and we’ve been working hard to bring you all of the action from the online watch fair.
The reason we’re posting this guy who dreams of watches is not because he’s lying to his partner – that’s not the funny bit to us. It’s relatable content. We too are eating, drinking and sleeping watches. They are all around. We feel you, bud. Ps – follow @watch.memes.
So yes, W&W. This week has seen new releases from over 40 watch brands, including the majority of the heavy hitters: Rolex, Patek Philippe, Tudor, IWC, Cartier, Zenith, Bulgari, TAG Heuer, Hublot and Vacheron Constantin among others. With such a maelstrom of new releases, we thought we’d try and cut through the filler and ask the team for a single killer watch each. This is what they said.
Watches that caught our eye
Andrew McUtchen – Bulgari Octo Finissimo Tadao Ando
When Fabrizio Buonamasa-Stigliani described the experience of creating this extraordinary extension of the ‘black hole’ themed first Japan-Only Limited Edition, I got suckered in big time by the power of first person storytelling. His anecdote about stripping off the Bulgari branding which was left on the first design of the watch by Tadao Ando out of respect, had me craving the minimal, totally enchanting result: “He was too polite,” Fabrizio says. “I said, we can take it all of. We should take it all off.” Check out the review right here.
Nicholas Kenyon – Cartier Tank Must
If you read my review of the new Cartier Tank Must collection, you’ll be aware of how I feel about these colourful new members of the Tank family. They pay homage to the recent history of Cartier and offer a fantastic new entry point into Cartier watches. Check out the review right here.
Zach Blass – Breitling Premier B25 Datora 42 Copper
My favorite Watches & Wonders week watch is not even technically a W&W novelty. The Breitling Premier Datora 42 Copper, for me, is the winner this week with its superb salmon dial, triple calendar complication, and reasonable pricing. Some may dismiss the watch as being an homage to the reverred Patek Philippe 5270P, but I personally find this stainless steel offering 1/16th the price of the venerated 5270P to be a distinct and stunning novelty that leverages and re-interprets Breitling heritage and history. I am normally not particularly head over heels with modern Breitling, but this watch really caught my eye and may be something I will want to find a way to add to my collection. Check out the review right here.
Thor Svaboe – Patek Philippe Nautilus Ref. 5711/1300A-001
Patek Philippe have blown me away with this watch, with the baguette set bezel, peak olive green (in the green year of 2021) and a stainless steel case. Bravo! Check out the review right here.
Fergus Nash – Bulgari Octo Finissimo Perpetual Calendar
I’ve always been a sucker for an Octo Finissimo, and just another record broken has me sounding like a broken record. The titanium reference on bracelet keeps the art-deco influence as always, yet the extra subdials allow some semblance of sci-fi to bleed into the atmosphere. Check out the review right here.
Luke Benedictus – Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921
I’m dying to try this watch on. There’s something about the soft white glow of the platinum on the classic cushion case plus, of course, the added intrigue of that rotated dial. Check out the review right here.
Mike Christiensen – Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight 18k
I like sporty and I like colour on my wrist so the green and gold coupled with the satin finishing and the 39mm sizing makes this a keeper in my book. Check out the review right here.
Matt Pickering – Rolex Explorer II ref. 226570
Having previously owned a 216570 and moving it on due to its bulk, I’m very interested to get this new model on the wrist. To me this is Rolex doing what Rolex does best – incremental improvements instead of sweeping changes. Check out the review right here.
The only conversation you need to hear about the new Rolex launches, with Eric Ku
Watches & Wonders isn’t just about sleepless nights. It’s also an opportunity for the watch industry and community to come together and discuss the new watches that have been released, passionately arguing the position of a date window, or the choice of a case material. Basically, to get down in the trenches together. One person who is always worth listening to when the opportunity presents itself is Eric Ku, the US based collector and dealer who has handled some of the finest watches ever made. Eric and Andrew lined their schedules up and discussed everything Rolex, from the new two-tone Explorer 1 to the news you will now be able to buy a Sky-Dweller on a jubilee bracelet. Enjoy two Rolex lovers geeking out on the new watches.
3 of the biggest surprises from Watches & Wonders 2021
Baume & Mercier Riviera
Baume & Mercier have looked back to the 1970s for this collection, blending the integrated bracelet that was so popular at the time with the kickass Baumatic movement and dial options. What’s not to like? Check out the review right here.
Breitling Premier B25 Datora 42 Copper
Breitling weren’t playing around this year, and you only need to look at this watch to see evidence of their complicated intentions. Capturing the essence of 1940s design, this stainless steel complete calendar chronograph only gets better the closer you look at it. Check out the review right here.
Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight 18k
Tudor continue to double down on the collections that enthusiasts love, with two fresh new expressions of the Black Bay 58. While one of them was cased in rather unusual 925 silver, this reference is hewn from solid 18k gold. You read that right, a solid gold Tudor dive watch. At $22,880AUD the are playing in a totally new price point with this watch, and the excitement it has generated is real. Check out the review right here.