Top 10 Drops of Watches and Wonders 2021

The biggest watches from the industry’s first all-digital trade show.

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As Watches and Wonders 2021 comes to a close, with the final day reserved for closing addresses and presentation reruns, HYPEBEAST looks back at the biggest watch drops of the past week.

Patek Philippe

Patek bookended Watches and Wonders 2021 with the olive green dial of the 5711/1A-014 Nautilus at one end and its all-new 5236P perpetual calendar at the other. Inspired by a 70s pocket watch, the Ref 5236 presents day, date and month in a single line using four concentric wheels mounted on the same plane and loaded with failsafes to prevent the kind of user-inflicted abuse perpetual calendars are prone to.

Roger Dubuis

Roger Dubuis‘ most eye-catching drop revealed a new technique for applying Super-LumiNova to the grooves on the reverse of invisible-set diamonds, allowing the brand to take the sparkle of diamonds one step further. Glow Me Up is a run of eight rose gold Excalibur flying tourbillon pieces, which only reveal their multi-colored luminescence after dark.

Hermes

Hermes‘ first dedicated men’s collection, H08, looks to be the surprise hit of the whole show, generating positive  feedback from all quarters. The rounded square case and intricately balanced dial tread the finest of lines between Hermes’ own house style and an everyday titanium practicality.

Zenith

CEO Julian Tornare continues to exhibition an uncanny touch with Zenith which, after years in the wilderness, now can seemingly do no wrong. While he certainly makes good use of Zenith’s stylish 1970’s back catalogue, Tornare is keenly aware of the need to be relevant in the present as illustrated by the Defy Extreme, a rugged 46mm titanium chronograph making good use of Zenith’s next-gen 1/100th second El Primero 21 movement.

Tudor

While the launch of solid silver and 18k gold versions of its Black Bay Fifty-Eight diver might have proved  divisive among fans of the brand, its completely reworked chronograph, to tie-in with the 50th anniversary of Tudor‘s original chronograph, seems to have been well received. Slimmer than Tudor’s 2017 chronograph, its replacement is also offered in panda and reverse panda models.

Cartier

Cartier has revived the spirit of Must de Cartier, its entry level collection from the 1970s which at the time helped rebuild the brand. From September, Tank Must will represent a new $2,500 USD entry point to the Tank collection with a clever ‘Solarbeat’ movement that takes in enough light through invisible micro-perforations in its Roman numerals to keep it powered for 16 years before a battery change is required.

Jaeger-LeCoultre

Jaeger-LeCoultre turned its usually dual-dialled Reverso into a four-faced mega complication as part of its range-topping Hybrid Mechanica line. The brand’s watchmakers built into the Reverso’s usually passive case cradle for the first time, linking the two both mechanically and horologically at the hinge. The addition of 11 separate complications makes this one of the most complicated watches the brand has ever produced.

Vacheron Constantin

While it would eventually prove popular with drivers, no-one’s entirely sure what prompted the 45 degree twist of dial and movement inside the Historiques American 1921, a watch that celebrates a somewhat arbitrary 100th anniversary this year (Vacheron clearly preferring the design of the 1921 update to the 1919 original) with a 100-piece platinum run.

Rolex

Rolex drops, such as its 2021 Explorer II, are as subtle as they come, with even the brand admitting a side-by-side comparison with its predecessor would reveal little. But it’s these incremental updates (in this case a white lacquered dial, matte black dial furniture and a new 3285 movement) that have helped Rolex build a world-beating reputation for reliability and performance.

Audemars Piguet

The first watch under Audemar Piguet‘s new partnership with Marvel is, at 42mm, the most wearable Royal Oak Concept to date. The Royal Oak Concept Black Panther Flying Tourbillon is encased in sandblasted titanium and features a handwound 3Hz movement with a flying tourbillon at the six o’clock straddled by a laser-engraved, hand-painted white gold figure of Black Panther.

In other watch news, Timex is about to drop a summer-ready Q in tropical shades.

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