Geneva Watch Week: The Time+Tide team picks their favourite watches from all of the fairs Geneva Watch Week: The Time+Tide team picks their favourite watches from all of the fairs

Geneva Watch Week: The Time+Tide team picks their favourite watches from all of the fairs


Editor’s note: Yes, you all know very well that the latest edition of Watches and Wonders was just held. But, really the week as a whole, beyond just the Palexpo, is known as Geneva Watch Week where, running alongside Watches and Wonders, you also have Time to Watches, AHCI, and brands independently presenting their latest and greatest at venues like the Beau-Rivage and President Wilson hotels or even within their own boutiques or manufactures. TLDR: there are a lot of new ‘effing watches to see and we certainly saw a lot. Below, the editorial team picks their favourites.

Russell’s pick: TAG Heuer Monaco Split-Seconds Chronograph

tag heuer monaco split seconds chronograph red

This is not the type of watch I normally go for. I have built a bit of a reputation for slim, classical, dress watches that place refinement and elegance above all else. But when a brand’s personality, history and capabilities are so well captured in one place, it is very hard for me to ignore. Before I am a watch lover, I am a lover of a good story and the TAG Heuer Monaco Split-Seconds Chronograph, to me, is the physical embodiment of the brand TAG Heuer is today.

Monaco Split Seconds Chronograph caseback

The racing history, with a constant presence in the world of motorsport paired with the current ability of the company’s personnel and image have coalesced into what we see here. A wonderfully complex, aesthetically modern, yet conceptually old, racing timepiece that signals perfectly what TAG Heuer stand for now and in the future. Openly bringing in the expertise of Vaucher shows maturity at the leadership level, despite having the talented Carole Forestier-Kasapi as Movement Director, they knew that to pull off this company first at such an impressive level would require external assistance.

Yes, this is prohibitively expensive, but a brand like TAG Heuer needs a watch at this level to show exactly what it is capable of, and act as a concept car would for a company such as Mercedes. You will never get to drive it, but once you shift down in your E-Class, you know that some of that technology is powering you down the Autobahn. This is exactly the same. While I may well be a long way off owning a split-seconds from TAG Heuer, I can take some comfort in knowing that my “run-of-the-mill” Skipper was designed and built with the same level of care and expertise that created this glass box horological racing machine. And that is a story I can’t do justice in words.

Brand TAG Heuer
Model Monaco Split-Seconds Chronograph
Reference Number CBW2181.FC8322 (red)
CBW2182.FC8339 (blue)
Case Dimensions 41mm (D) x 15.2mm (T) x 47.9mm (L2L)
Case Material Black DLC titanium case, polished sapphire fixed bezel
Water Resistance 30 metres
Crystal(s) Sapphire front and back
Dial Sapphire crystal dial, semi-openworked
Strap Hand-stitched textile and calfskin strap with titanium butterfly clasp
Movement Calibre TH81-00, produced in collaboration with Vaucher Manufacture Fleurier, automatic
Power Reserve 65 hours (chrono off) / 55 hours (chrono on)
Functions Hours, minutes, seconds, chronograph, split-seconds function
Availability Available from June 2024
Price CHF 165,000

Buffy’s pick: Patek Philippe Grand Complications Perpetual Calendar Rare Handcrafts 5160/500R

Patek Philippe Grand Complications Perpetual Calendar Rare Handcrafts 5160:500R WW24

Anyone who’s seen my small watch collection knows that I prefer eccentric choices, but not just for the sake of weirdness. I want my watches to tell a story through their design, whether its a character I can imagine wearing it, or evoking a specific time period. The moment I saw the new ref. 5160/500R from Patek Philippe’s Grand Complications line, I was smitten. Every minuscule detail works in harmony to create a specific feeling, one which, to me, reminds me of 18th-century royalty for whom watchmaking was an elite craft.

Additionally, it’s almost like a high-luxury take on what Seiko did with their Age of Discovery collection (it’s not blasphemy to compare the two, okay?), capturing a swashbuckling attitude through decadence and charm. The fact that the 18k gold case is entirely hand-engraved is just an added bonus and no less than you would expect from a brand that is repeatedly considered the best in the world. Even the dial layout is adventurous, adorned with floral engravings, a retrograde date with characterful numerals, and a classical moonphase to complete the ensemble.

Patek Philippe 5160:500R caseback

From a specifications point of view, the Patek Philippe 5160/500R also ticks a lot of my personal boxes. 38mm is about as big as I will comfortably wear, and the 11.81mm thickness isn’t overbearing. The 26-330 S QR movement is packed with a perpetual calendar that’s laid out in a clean, easy-to-read manner, and you wouldn’t necessarily guess that it was a perpetual calendar just by looking at it.

I do carry the unpopular opinion that an engraved solid caseback is better than a sapphire exhibition caseback in many cases, so I am totally behind this ornate display of florals which totally evinces the pocket watch inspiration on offer. Thankfully, the hunter caseback can swing open to reveal the movement anyway, which will make the party trick of showing off your movement even more mysterious and fun.

D.C.’s pick: Hermès Cut Large 36mm

hermes cut 36mm steel bracelet wrist

There was a flurry of impressive models released at this year’s Watches and Wonders, featuring everything from furiously whirring tourbillons to perpetual calendars that will outlive us all, but my favourite release has no such ambitions. Hell, it doesn’t even have a date window. No, the Hermès Cut 36mm in steel is my watch of the fair.

It’s remarkable for all the things it isn’t: big, overly busy, fragile, and derivative. The Cut doesn’t overcompensate by adding on, it exudes confidence by removing excess. Yes, it’s on the smaller side, so it won’t work for absolutely everyone, but it has real presence, wearing bigger than its 36mm diameter might suggest. Yes, it’s marketed toward women, but that’s selling it short. The all-steel version is a great GADA choice, with a continental charm that doesn’t shout its arrival, and it’ll look fantastic on a huge swath of the wrist-having public. It may have far fewer details than all those hyper-complicated limited editions, but those details are perfection.

hermes cut 36mm straps

Those details include great fit and finish, subtle orange dial accents, a matching orange-enamelled “H” on the 1:30 crown, and a sublime, softly contoured H-link bracelet. The whole package is pure Gallic cool, without being too try-hard. And this is no dainty brunch companion, it’s 100-metres water-resistant too. That it’s robust enough to not worry about falling off your yacht is just icing on an already delicious cake. It’s got a legit movement, too, the no-date H1912 automatic from Vaucher Manufacture Fleurier, featuring a 50-hour power reserve and H-branded detailing under the display caseback.

Make no mistake, the 42mm Hermès H08 is an estimable stomper of a sport watch, with the brand’s DNA front and centre, along with an interesting array of case materials, but it can be a bit extra in some settings. Not so with the Cut: it keeps the celebrated Hermès design language intact, but its versatile size and effortless style make this one a modern design classic, one that can be mentioned in the same breath as the Datejust, Tank, and other single-named icons.

Brand Hermès
Model Cut
Case Dimensions 36mm (D)
Case Material Steel
Steel and rose gold
Water Resistance 100 metres
Crystal(s) Sapphire crystal front and caseback
Dial Opaline silver-toned
Strap Steel or steel and rose gold bracelet with clasp
Coloured rubber straps with pin buckle
Movement Hermès H1912, Vaucher, automatic
Power Reserve 50 hours
Functions Hours, minutes, seconds
Price Starting from €5,400

Jamie’s pick: Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Tourbillon Chronograph Excellence Platine

Vacheron Constantin Traditionelle Tourbillon Chronograph in platinum flatlay

Vacheron Constantin dropped the mic this year at Watches and Wonders by casually unveiling Les Cabinotiers Berkley Grand Complication – the most complicated watch of all time – but it wasn’t that hefty pocket watch that turned my eye. Instead, it was the Traditionnelle Tourbillon Chronograph in platinum, which isn’t just one of the “most platinum” watches I’ve ever come across, but a truly glorious example of why Vacheron Constantin is such an exciting watchmaker.

What do I mean by “most platinum”? Well, not only does it feature a platinum case, but it also features a dial made from a single piece of 950 platinum. The buckle is platinum, and even the stitching on its strap is braided platinum and silk. That’s demonstrative of both VC’s attention to detail as well as its capacity (and panache) to produce unrestrained luxury.

vacheron constantin traditionnelle tourbillon chronograph excellence platine dial

Indeed, it’s the little details that really make this watch. Like how the tourbillon cage – which is shaped like a Maltese cross – features a blackened screw at one of its points, so you can use it as a small seconds indicator. Or how the tourbillon carriage’s conical suspension bar takes a whopping 12 hours to polish by hand alone. Then you’ve got the hour and minute hands, which are half-polished and half-micro-blasted, to aid legibility.

I also like how the blued chronograph and power reserve hands match the blue of the strap. Oh, and the monopusher itself is easily the crispest and most confidence-inspiring one I’ve ever actuated. I haven’t even talked about the movement and its delicious côtes de Genève… Can you tell I’m gushing?

vacheron constantin traditionnelle tourbillon chronograph excellence platine movement caseback

I also love how weirdly subtle it is. Okay, a 42.5mm platinum tourbillon watch is hardly going to fly under the radar, but yet this Traditionnelle Tourbillon Chronograph exudes a sort of restrained, confident quality that I find extremely compelling. At 11.7mm thick, it actually sits on the wrist rather nicely (especially on a larger wrist like mine), and the dark blue strap/silver-coloured dial combo lends it an air of dressiness. The tiny platinum hallmark at 4:30 on the dial is such a subtle flex, too. Big dick energy.

I don’t normally like chronographs, and regardless of my financial situation, I don’t know if I’d have room in my life for a big platinum watch like this one. But my God, am I besotted with this thing, and boy am I glad VC made it. Forget the green and gold Overseas models or that crazy one-off pocket watch: this was the standout release from VC of the week and in my opinion the standout, full stop.

Brand Vacheron Constantin
Model Traditionnelle Tourbillon Chronograph Excellence Platine
Reference 5100T/000P-H041
Case Dimensions 42.5mm (D) x 11.7mm (T)
Case Material 950 platinum
Water Resistance 30 metres
Crystal(s) Sapphire front and back
Dial 950 platinum, 18k white gold indices and hands
Bracelet Dark blue alligator leather, 950 platinum clasp and stitching
Movement 3200, in-house, manual-winding, 2.5Hz, Geneva Seal
Power Reserve 65 hours
Functions Hours, minutes, monopusher chronograph, tourbillon, power reserve
Availability 50 numbered pieces, boutique exclusive
Price POA

Borna’s pick: Ferdinand Berthoud FB RES

ferdinand berthoud fb res blue dial

Some of the accounts you’ll read in this article are clearly connected to the watches in question on a deeper level. My intrigue with the new Ferdinand Berthoud FB RES stems from a purely monosensory experience. Let’s get the “but what is it?” out of the way first. Ferdinand Berthoud, (the naming rights for it purchased by the Scheufele family in 2006), launched in 2015 with the FB1, immediately winning a GPHG for the watch of the year in 2016. Ever since, the brand has been a paragon for ultra-high-end watchmaking, and the FB RES is the most recent example of that. The brand is proud of its developments, mainly for skeletonising movement components and revealing more of the constant-force escapement and its components, alongside a configurator that will likely render each of the 38 pieces that will be produced unique.

ferdinand berthoud fb res blue dial movement caseback

The sheer beauty of the fusée-and-chain and remontoir d’égalité calibre could be enough to make it my pick of the fair, but what really solidified it for me is the way it sounds. No, there’s no chiming complication, but the loud ticking of the locking and unlocking of the escape wheel of the dead-beat seconds is just glorious. And then, there’s the winding experience. When I wound this watch in our touch-and-feel presentation, I wouldn’t be surprised if you could hear it on the other side of the room. Well, I lied – it wasn’t just the auditory experience that grabbed me. The feel of the winding was the best I’ve ever felt, the interplay of the ratchet wheel, click and click spring was so perfect, and the amount of resistance on the crown was just enough for a smooth wind, without any backplay. And I haven’t even mentioned the decoration of the movement.

Brand Ferdinand Berthoud
Model FB RES
Case Dimensions 44mm (D) round or octagonal
Case Material Rose gold, white gold, stainless steel, titanium, ceramised titanium (round or octagonal)
Platinum (round only)
Water Resistance 30 metres
Crystal(s) Sapphire front, back, and in case side
Dial Openworked nickel silver, satin-brushed or sandblasted, champagne, anthracite or blue
Bracelet Leather, adjustable folding clasp or gold pin buckle
Movement FB-RES.FC, in-house, manual winding, COSC-certified
Power Reserve 50 hours
Functions Hours, minutes, dead-beat seconds, power reserve, stop-seconds, constant force, fusée-and-chain, remontoir d’égalité
Availability 38 movements
Price Starting from CHF 217,000

Zach’s pick: De Bethune DB28xs Purple Rain

DeBethune DB28 Purple Side

Watch fairs are meant to be a time where novelties are unveiled, but often we see simply new dial colours for an existing model. Yes, this new DB28xs uses the same dial layout and movement in a new colour. But, the major flex here is that the new dial colour and case colour is the result of heating the titanium titanium material to the perfect purple hue – something I have never seen executed in this fashion. The De Bethune DB28xs already has my favour with its smaller case diameter of 38.7mm, slender 7.4mm thickness, and lug-to-lug span range of 44.9mm to 48.7mm with the brand’s signature and patented flexing lugs. So much traditional horology can be found within this futuristic-looking watch, a perfect melding of tradition and innovation without one compromising the other.

DeBethune DB28 Purple Back

Headlining features include, of course, its purple grade 5 titanium case and “random guilloché” dial (billed as a world-first) with a white gold starry sky motif, and a six-day manually wound movement. The DB2005 calibre boasts finely black-polished and chamfered surfaces, an anti-magnetic silicon escape wheel, a titanium balance with white gold inserts “optimised for temperature differences and air penetration”, and a triple pare-chute shock absorbing system. The watch utilises five patents held by De Bethune, four of which regard the movement alone. If you asked me to paint a picture of what a mechanical watch would look like in the year 2124, I wouldn’t have to – it’s the DB28xs Purple Rain.

Brand De Bethune
Model DB28xs Purple Rain
Reference DB28XSPR
Case Dimensions 38.7mm (D) x 7.4mm (T) x 44.9mm-48.7mm (LTL)
Case Material Polished purple grade 5 titanium
Water Resistance 30 metres
Crystal(s) Sapphire front and back
Dial Guilloché purple titanium, white gold starry sky motif
Bracelet Alligator leather, purple grade 5 titanium buckle
Movement DB2005, in-house, manual-winding
Power Reserve 144 hours
Functions Hours, minutes
Availability 25 pieces
Price US$99,000

Andrew’s pick: IWC Portugieser Hand-Wound Tourbillon Day & Night

iwc portugieser hand wound tourbillon day night wrist close up

Out of all of the new Portugieser releases, the stand outs, for me, were the obsidian dial models due to the effect of their multiple black lacquer treatments. I’ve never seen a black dial so deep and so mysterious, and the way that they’ve been paired with gold cases… I just find the contrast absolutely intoxicating. The best of all the obsidian models is no doubt the IWC Portugieser Hand-Wound Tourbillon Day & Night – and it’s not because of the flying tourbillon at 6′ which brings a touch of high horology to the Portugieser. It is its very minimal, elegant, and aesthetically pleasing day/night indicator in the form of a golden sphere that has black on one side and gold on the other. And as it rotates you beautifully and three-dimensionally get a legible and simple indication of whether it is night or day based on the amount of black or gold that is visible.

iwc portugieser hand wound tourbillon day night movement caseback

The beauty of the story, as well, is that it was an idea put forward by an apprentice. By a young watchmaker. Their idea was not only heard, but actually actioned and implemented. I just think it is such a great credit to IWC that they’re hiring innovative young watchmakers, and if their ideas are deserving, that they’re going all the way through to the final product. There’s obviously something of a meritocracy at IWC with their next wave of watchmakers. It’s an absolutely stunning piece ‘in the metal’ and I think few watches will impress you as much in hand as this watch and the obsidian-dialled range as a whole.

Oh, last thought: this Hand-Wound Tourbillon Day & Night has a little trick up its sleeve that’s worth having an extra look at. As a bonus, you get to see this rotating sphere as well through the open caseback… And these casebacks put the OPEN in open caseback. They are so open that looking at the movement feels like you are staring at, truly, a widescreen 4K caseback like you’ve never seen before.

Brand IWC
Model Portugieser Hand-Wound Tourbillon Day & Night
Reference IW545901
Case Dimensions 42.4mm (D) x 10.8mm (T)
Case Material 18k Armour Gold
Water Resistance 60 metres
Crystal(s) Sapphire front and back
Dial Lacquered obsidian black
Bracelet Santoni alligator leather, curved spring bars, 18k Armour Gold folding clasp
Movement 81925, IWC-manufactured, hand-wound
Power Reserve 84 hours
Functions Hours, minutes, hacking tourbillon, day/night indicator
Availability Now
Price A$125,000

Pietro’s pick: Cartier Crocodile Jewellery Watch

Cartier Crocodile Jewelry 1

During the past week, I’ve had the chance to be hands-on with many of the releases – both within Palexpo and outside of it. While having touched many of them, and being exposed to the digital version of countless others, the ones I really remember are those I had the pleasure to handle. Playing with the light and seeing how shadows and reflections change is the only way to fully understand and enjoy a watch – and between all of them, one really stood out and, in all honesty, I was pretty surprised it did.

I think I’ve got a pretty conservative taste regarding watches I like – they are usually thin, elegant timepieces with clean dials, and usually manual winding, too. Well, this Cartier definitely doesn’t check any of those boxes. because it’s a triumph of shapes, stones, colours and the cherry on top: it’s quartz. Oh, and it doesn’t fit my wrist at all. I can’t even close the alligator strap. I feel words don’t give this watch (is it even a watch? Probably better to call it an artwork) justice. The rounded white gold case serves as a canvas for the meticulously cut mother of pearl, gemstones, and enamel scales of the white gold sculpted crocodile encrusted with diamonds.

Cartier Crocodile Jewelry 2

As you probably can see it’s one of the only mentions in this article that just has press pictures, and not because we didn’t see it in person. Between Borna, Jamie and I, we were so mesmerised by the beauty of this watch that we completely forgot to take pictures while handling it for a considerable amount of time. Would I get this Cartier? Probably, if the price was not in the six-figure territory. Would I wear it? Probably not. But who cares? I could stare at this thing forever…

Brand Cartier
Model Crocodile Jewellery Watch
Case Dimensions TBC
Case Material 18k white gold, tourmalines, emeralds, mother-of-pearl, sapphires, diamonds
Water Resistance N/A
Crystal(s) Sapphire front
Dial 18k white gold, tourmalines, emeralds, mother-of-pearl, sapphires, diamonds
Bracelet 18k white gold, gem-set or alligator leather
Movement Quartz
Power Reserve TBC
Functions Hours, minutes
Availability TBC
Price POA