9 Mechanical Watch Wonders
Lunar rhythms, globe-trotting satellites, tiny knights: these are only a few of the flights of mechanical watchmaking fancy debuted at this year’s Watches and Wonders 2022. Showcasing the highest level of mechanical expertise and artistic vision, the world’s most renowned masters, from Ulysse Nardin to Patek Philippe, presented mechanical wonders of haute horology that defied boundaries of the expected. From double tourbillons to arresting skeletonized mechanisms and geometric innovations, these incredible mechanical watches are true wonders of the art of watchmaking.
Blast Moonstruck Watch by Ulysse Nardin
Known for its nautical watchmaking aptitude since1846, Ulysse Nardin is now prepared to set off on a voyage through outer space. Capturing the rotation of the moon, sun movement, and a tidal chart, its new Blast Moonstruck watch speaks to aspiring astronomers and novice star fans alike, showing an easy-to-read geocentric display that translates the interplay of moon and sun into a poetic dance. Moon phases are displayed in a round aperture at the apogee of an ellipse that represents its orbit, shown in the same ecliptic plane as Earth. A 45 mm, domed sapphire crystal case is micro-engraved with a silhouette of global continents; while the surrounding 18 ct rose gold ring is engraved with the days of the month. The model comes in black ceramic and black DLC-treated titanium versions, on a sleek black alligator, velvet or rubber strap for a piece as practical as it is ambitious.
Master Hybris Artistica Calibre 945 Galaxia Watch by Jaeger leCoultre
Decorative arts and technical ingenuity collide in a celestial creation that takes watchmaking out of this world. Jaeger-Le Coultre’s new Master Hybris Artistica Calibre 945 Galaxia watch puts a new spin on its Grande Complication Calibre 945, displaying constellations that can be seen in the sky in real time. In a celebration of artistic mastery, the watch is handmade using grisaille enamel for its dial and star map – a rare antique art technique that stems from 16th-century France, used by Jaeger-Le Coultre here for the first time. The finely detailed enameled dial paints a stunning picture of the night sky and its constellations. Set with transcriptions for months and tourbillon seconds, the dial is laid out in multiple levels under a domed structure wrapping the Cosmotourbillon, evoking the subtle illusion of a dome formed by the sky above us when gazing up at the stars.
Nautical Navigation Wonder
New Yacht-Master 42 Watch by ROLEX
The Rolex Yacht-Master has charted the course for nautical timekeeping since its launch in 1992, tailored specifically to the exacting needs of navigators and skippers. With the company’s sailing legacy going back to the 1950s, the watch has become recognizable for its functional style and bidirectional graduated bezel made from precious metal or high-tech ceramic. This emblematic timepiece is now available in a refined new version. Offered, for the first time ever, in yellow gold, this new model features the original bidirectional and rotatable bezel, lighted display, and a sleek insert in a matte black Cerachrom, a type of extra-durable ceramic developed by Rolex. A waterproof 42 mm case is crafted from solid 18kt gold and sapphire crystal, held on an Oysterflex bracelet made from curved metal blades under a flexible high-performance black material called elastomer. Like all Rolex watches, the Yacht-Master carries the Superlative Chronometer certification, ensuring its outstanding performance.
Tonda PF Skeleton Watch by Parmigiani
Parmigiani Fleurier’s new Tonda PF Skeleton redefines the skeletonized watch concept in a restrained, pared-down approach. Two models, in 18K rose gold or stainless steel and platinum, are artfully executed to unveil the hand-chamfered latticework and innermost workings of the self-winding mechanism. A 40-mm case envelops a graphite-colored openwork dial with floating hour markers and alternating sandblasted and satin-brushed textures. A transparent caseback displays the lace-like structure and allows witnessing of the complex dance of the mechanism’s 187 components, including the 22ct rose gold oscillating weight. A polished bezel sits on a flexible yet solid bracelet in continuation of the minimalist aesthetic, and the openwork barrel lets in a peek of the spring’s contracting and relaxing at 28,800 vibrations per hour, wound by the motion of the wearer’s wrist.
Grand Complication Wonder
Minute Repeater Perpetual Calendar Watch by Patek Philippe
Patek Phillipe’s new Minute Repeater Perpetual Calendar watch showcases its Reference 5374 design in a luxurious Haute Joaillerie version. A total of 228 baguette-cut diamonds pave the platinum case in a geometric pattern, as well as the bezel and dial flange. Together, these form a dimensional ‘amphitheatre’ effect around the blue lacquered dial, which itself is set with diamonds and sapphire hour markers. The self-winding mechanical Caliber R 27 Q is equipped with two intricate complications: a perpetual calendar, indicated by the hands and highlighted with a black gradient rim against the dial background, and a minute repeater mechanism which chimes with a deep sound on two “cathedral” gongs wrapped twice around the movement. A hand-stitched, glossy dusk blue strap in square-scaled alligator leather completes the sophisticated style, finished with a diamond fold-over clasp.
Square Bang Unico King Gold 42mm Watch by Hublot
In an all-new creative foray, Hublot is expanding beyond its standard round and barrel watch shapes to one that has not previously been on its radar: the square. The geometry of the square watch has long intrigued the watchmaker, due to the challenge it presents in accommodating the movement, which is round due to the shape of the calibre wheel. Going in a radical new direction, Hublot designed the case of its Square Bang Unico King as a modular construction to allow various combinations, displaying the Unico movement in an openwork dial. Sapphire crystal provides a clear view of the inner workings. The 42 mm watch comes in titanium, black ceramic, or King Gold versions as well as two mixed-material models. Adding to the bold modern feel is the rubber strap, textured with ‘chocolate squares’ that echo the watch’s geometric identity.
Grand Voyageur Wonder
Arceau Le temps voyageur by Hermès
A trusty watch is every traveler’s must-have companion; and no one knows how to travel in style like Hermes. The House’s appetite for exploring the world comes through in the Arceau Le Temps Voyager. A successor to the original Arceau watch designed by Henri d’Origny in 1978, the model contains the Hermès H1837 mechanical self-winding movement and a “Travelling time” mechanism developed exclusively for the House. The round case, available in platinum and titanium or steel, presents a new take on the classic Haute Horlogerie complications, displaying hours around the world. A disc display shows 24 time zones, while the satellite moves over an artistic rendition of a map, originally created by artist Jérôme Colliard for a Hermes silk scarf design. The elegant model is fitted with an alligator or Swift calfskin strap, crafted in Hermès Horloger’s workshops using traditional saddle-making and leather craftsmanship expertise.
Double Tourbillon Wonder
Astronef Watch by Louis Moinet
In 1816, Louis Moinet made watchmaking history when he invented the world’s first chronograph. Now, the Atelier continues to uphold its founder’s commitment to “produce an excellent and curious effect,” and to challenging the boundaries of technological progress with its new ASTRONEF. The ultra-complex superwatch, with only eight pieces released, doubles the magic with two high-speed satellite tourbillons, made to rotate in opposite directions around the dial. Housing this innovative mechanism is an 18K gold case requiring unusual technical construction: a sapphire container is mounted on the frame, with openworked lugs and a welded bezel ring under a sapphire dome. Over three years of research have gone into the watch’s development, which was deemed impossible and nearly discontinued at various stages. It was due to the team’s unyielding efforts that this marvel of watchmaking and engineering was finally brought to fruition – a process that required assembly of its 471 components, with each movement taking a month to craft in Moinet’s Saint-Blaise workshops.
Miniature Sculpture Wonder
Knights of the Round Table Watch by Roger Dubuis
Strength and nobility are the distinguishing marks of truly remarkable timepieces, and so it’s only fitting that a watch came along inspired by the very embodiment of these qualities—the figure of the noble knight. Bringing to life King Arthur’s famous legend, Roger Dubuis’ Knights of the Round Table watch presents a quest for the highest levels of horological technique and artistic design. The 45mm rose gold case plays host to twelve micro-sculptures of the knights, each handcrafted in meticulous detail. The figures mark the hours around the dial ‘table’, made of crystal sapphire with Murano glass blocks. Emerging at the watch centre is Roger Dubuis’ signature complication, the Monotourbillon, which equips the piece with advanced mechanics. The artful masterpiece is certified by the coveted Poinçon de Genève, with only eight pieces available.