MEET THE TEAM: Zach (and Andrew) share their top 5 picks from Watches & Wonders

MEET THE TEAM: Zach (and Andrew) share their top 5 picks from Watches & Wonders

Zach Blass

When I went to Geneva for Watches & Wonders, the best way to describe the journey would be a horological food coma of bliss. Never before had I engaged with so many brands and timepieces at once, a delectable 40-brand course meal for a week straight. Of course, with such a wide menu of watches I did find my favorite dishes. So, I won’t preamble any longer. Watch the video below to hear me and Andrew dig into our top five picks, or keep reading below for my five Watches & Wonders selects.

Rolex Datejust 36 ref. 126234 Mint Green

The Rolex Datejust, in my opinion, is the textbook example of a perfect “one watch”. It can as easily be worn with a t-shirt and jeans as it can with a three-piece suit. It is formal meets functional, and based on your desired configuration you can skew closer to one end of the spectrum than the other. The more casual take would be a smooth bezel with an Oyster bracelet, but the more formal, fluted, white-gold bezel on a jubilee configuration speaks more to me. The Datejust is near and dear to my heart, as it is the watch that first got me interested in timepieces. It was the one watch my grandfather, who sold watches for a living, would wear – a yellow Rolesor and white dialled Datejust, with a fluted bezel and Jubilee bracelet. It’s why I bought a Datejust 126234 late last year, and I absolutely love the watch to bits due to what it means to me and, frankly, how it looks, wears, feels, and performs. The mint green take above was stealthily introduced during Watches & Wonders, previously only available in the 31mm size. Now, however, it can be purchased in 36mm and 41mm as well. Had it been available when I got my Datejust 126234 in white Rolesor with a bright blue dial, I may have gone with mint green instead.

Case Material Stainless steel & white gold bezel
Case Dimensions 36mm x 12mm x 43.3mm
Water-Resistance 100m (screw-down crown)
Dial Mint green sunburst
Strap Jubilee bracelet with EasyLink adjustment
Movement In-house 3235 (automatic)
Power Reserve 70 hours
Complications Hours, minutes, seconds, date
Availability Now
Price $8,750 USD

Cartier Santos Dumont Limited Edition in pink gold with beige lacquer

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Time+Tide (@timetidewatches)

I just find this watch drop-dead gorgeous, and it was clear in the wake of its announcement that it was a sleeper favourite for both those in attendance and those tuning in from home. Watch collectors in the vintage space love a good cream colour, whether an aged white dial or aged luminescent plots. So, the appeal of the hue is definitely not random. But, in this instance, the colour is utilised in a novel, dare I say sexy, way. The Santos Dumont is already a striking design, and had it been left in just a standard pink gold case it would still be a looker. This limited edition, however, utilizes a light layer of beige lacquer on the entire front of the pink gold case. The dial also leverages a layer of creamy beige lacquer as well, its texture creating intriguing depth.

The overall aesthetic makes me think of palm trees, Havana, and a nice cigar. It is just such a distinct and attractive watch to me. On a deeper and less superficial level, while the manually wound calibre within does not have particularly boundary-pushing specifications, I do have a bit of a connection to its design. The calibre 430 MC inside, while billed as a manufacture calibre,  is actually Cartier’s take on Piaget’s in-house calibre 430P (a direct descendant of their legendary 9P calibre). As a former employee of Piaget, as a watch specialist in-store, it saddens me that I do not have a Piaget watch in my collection. But with this watch, I can tick two boxes in one go.

Case Material Beige lacquered pink gold
Case Dimensions 31.4mm x 7.3mm x 43.5mm
Water-Resistance 30m
Dial Beige lacquered
Straps Green leather
Movement 430 MC (manual-wind)
Power Reserve 38 Hours
Complications Hours, Minutes
Availability November 2022, 200 pieces
Price €12,000

Grand Seiko SLGT003 “Kodo” Constant Force Tourbillon

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Time+Tide (@timetidewatches)

When the initial T0 tourbillon concept movement was unveiled, many were intrigued to see how it would be incorporated into production in the years to come. While technically innovative, being a prototype the movement did not necessarily hold up to the Grand Seiko standard. Their grammar of design. With the new SLGT003 “Kodo” Constant Force tourbillon, we finally see the culmination of development for Grand Seiko’s first high complication piece – and boy was the wait worth it. Typically Grand Seiko is known for their play with “light” and “shadow”, but the 9ST1 calibre introduces the dimension of “space” into the mix.

five Watches & Wonders

The calibre shows off the finishing and peak technical prowess of the manufacture, as well as introduces the world to what we can expect from their new Atelier Ginza. Everything about the watch caught my gaze. It’s platinum and titanium case, which still includes a depth rating of 100m, a screw-down crown, and drilled lugs to make strap swapping that much easier. The constant force tourbillon mechanism, which, amazingly, is on a single axis I should add, almost appears like a spider or Stranger Things demigorgon, slowly creeping and inching in its rotation. The only shame with this watch is that there are only 20 pieces, and, regardless, I cannot afford it.

Case Material Platinum 950 and Brilliant Hard Titanium
Case Dimensions 43.8mm x 12.9mm x 50.6mm
Water-Resistance 100m (screw-down crown)
Dial Openworked
Strap Urushi lacquered black leather strap with folding clasp
Movement 9ST1 (manual-wind)
Power Reserve 72 hours, 50 hours Constant Force
Complications Hours, minutes, constant force tourbillon
Availability Now, Limited Edition of 20 pieces
Price $350,000 USD

A.Lange & Sohne Odysseus Titanium

five Watches & Wonders

While Ricardo and I may have to have a death-match to see who gets this watch in our fantasy draft of sorts, I am totally in agreement with his sentiments. In such a saturated category, where many timepieces share too many visual cues, the Odysseus is a rather original exercise in the integrated sports watch category (although it technically does not have an integrated bracelet depending on your definition). The German Glashütte watchmaking DNA is crystal clear in this piece, no porthole inspiration or octagonal bezel. The double apertured day and date complications are signature Lange, and the combination of textures is gorgeous to the eye. The steel and gold incarnations of the watch that preceded this limited-edition titanium take have brushed surfaces accented by polished touches.

The titanium, however, leverages a predominant matte finish, which somehow makes the polished bevels stand out even more. I also must mention the continuing desirable elements of a stunning in-house calibre, distinctly Lange decorated and with a full-balance bridge, as well as a micro-adjustment clasp that can be engaged even while on the wrist. I am a stickler for having a perfect fit, so to be able to find it while the watch is still on the wrist is an amazing capability. In my opinion, it is the best Odysseus yet, making a watch I already really dug that much better.

Case Material Titanium
Case Dimensions 40.5mm x 11.1mm
Water-Resistance 120 metres
Dial Icy gray-blue
Straps Titanium Bracelet
Movement L155.1 DATOMATIC – Automatic
Power Reserve 50 Hours
Complications Day, Date, Hours, Minutes, Seconds
Limited 250 Pieces
Price £48,600

Vacheron Constantin Les Historiques 222 Boutique Edition

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Time+Tide (@timetidewatches)

Don’t get me wrong, I am a fan of the modern Overseas design and its versatility. But sometimes the classics always triumph over the latest and greatest, and, with Vacheron meticulously reviving past icons in their Les Historiques range down to the most minute details, the new 222 Boutique Edition is your best chance to get the Jörg Hysek design in its most robust form. Sure, finding one at retail will be a challenge to say the least. That being said, even if a pipe dream, this is a watch worth waiting for. It retains all the charm of the vintage piece, while affording the owner with the benefits of a modern calibre and manufacturing techniques. It’s 37mm x 7.95mm are dream dimensions for my wrist, and this was definitely a piece I was reluctant to hand back over when it was time to leave the booth.

Case Material 18K Yellow Gold
Case Dimensions 37mm x 7.95mm
Water-Resistance 50m
Dial Gold-toned
Strap 18K Yellow Gold bracelet
Movement Calibre 2455/2 (automatic)
Power Reserve 40 Hours
Complications Hours, Minutes, Date
Availability Now, Boutique Only
Price $62,500 USD

 

Our full team recap of Watches & Wonders Geneva 2022

If you are wondering what the entire team thought of the fair, or just want to get to know us better, definitely check out the video above – pint of beer or whiskey in hand recommended.