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Watches & Wonders Geneva - The Top Five Technical Watches Of Watches & Wonders Geneva

Watches & Wonders Geneva The Top Five Technical Watches Of Watches & Wonders Geneva

Dedicated to all the horological geeks out there

Even with the reduced number of new watches that we’ve seen this year from brands who are trying to remain on the cautious side in terms of product release, there is still plenty to interest those of us who need their regular horological fix. Watches & Wonders Geneva held their inaugural edition this year under circumstances vastly different from what they — or any of their exhibitors — expected, but watchmakers are a remarkably resilient and ingenious lot. The foundation of watchmaking, after all, is about finding solutions.

Previously, we brought you articles summarising the most significant feminine timepieces and the top heritage-related releases of Watches & Wonders Geneva. This article is one for the geeks — here, in no particular order, are the top five innovative or technical watches that debuted at Watches & Wonders Geneva 2020.

Roger Dubuis Excalibur Diabolus In Machina Minute Repeater

Watches & Wonders

Excalibur Diabolus In Machina © Roger Dubuis

I’ve spoken about the Excalibur Twofold a number of times, on our WorldTempus Instagram account, in an article I wrote at the launch of Watches & Wonders Geneva, and in a video that you can see right here. I haven’t discussed the Diabolus In Machina as much, even if, strictly speaking, it is a more complicated watch. A tourbillon (even the double tourbillon of the Excalibur Twofold) is not only considered less traditionally prestigious than a minute repeater, it is not even counted as a complication, if you use the textbook definition of “complication”. What’s interesting to me about the Diabolus In Machina is, unsurprisingly, the material used for the chiming mechanism — a sophisticated cobalt-chrome alloy manufactured using powder metallurgy that radically boosts the quality and tonal purity of the chime. There’s a lot to say about this watch, but this isn’t the article to do so, not yet. The watch is undergoing some last refinements at the moment, but when it’s ready, you’ll realise it was worth the wait.

H. Moser & Cie x MB&F Endeavour Cylindrical Tourbillon

Watches & Wonders

Endeavour Cylindrical Tourbillon H. Moser x MB&F © H. Moser & Cie

I have a thing for hairsprings. Who wouldn’t? They’re such small, delicate components, and they control everything about how a watch works. Cylindrical hairsprings are few and far between — they’ve never been common, because of how much space they occupy and how hard it is to find someone with the skill to work with cylindrical hairsprings. They are an instant symbol of chronometric performance, having been used in ultra-precise marine chronometers in the 18th century. The H. Moser & Cie collaboration with MB&F resulted in two of the most exciting and nerd-tastic releases from Watches & Wonders Geneva, and while I have nothing but love for the Moser-fied Legacy Machine 101, it’s the Endeavour Cylindrical Tourbillon that fully enthralls my inner geek.

Panerai Luminor Marina Fibratech PAM01663

Watches & Wonders

Luminor Marina Fibratech PAM01663 © Officine Panerai

This is another special one for the little material scientist in all of us. Fibratech is a composite material that is light, tough and corrosion-resistant. In other words, it’s everything you want in a robust sports watch. You want to know just how robust it is? Its main component is rock. That’s right. The fibres in this composite material are made of basalt, meaning it started off as magma under the earth’s surface, was spat out of a raging volcano as lava and gradually cooled to become this super hardcore igneous rock. Wearing a watch made of a material that originated deep within the earth is kind of like wearing a diamond-studded watch — but more manly. (And probably more affordable).

Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers Grand Complication Split-Seconds Chronograph

Watches & Wonders

Les Cabinotiers Grand Complication Split-Seconds Chronograph © Vacheron Constantin

There are three complications that make up the traditional Grande Complication, the trifecta of high watchmaking that serves as the defining accomplishment of a watch brand. They are: the split-seconds, or rattrapante, chronograph; the minute repeater; the perpetual calendar. There are some people who argue that a tourbillon may replace any of the above complications and the result can still be considered a Grand Complication. Do not listen to these people. Listen to Vacheron Constantin. They know what they’re talking about. Their Traditionnelle Twin Beat Perpetual Calendar of 2019 was a mind-blowing renewal of the concept of a long power reserve, and you might think they would have been justified in taking a nice relaxing break in 2020. Instead they’ve brought us the Les Cabinotiers Grand Complication Split-Seconds Chronograph, a watch that deserves every ounce of its weighty name. Two faces, 24 indications, 65 hours of power reserve, 1,163 components. Vacheron Constantin brought their A-game; the rest of us can go home now.

IWC Portugieser Yacht Club Moon & Tide

Watches & Wonders

Portugieser Yacht Club Moon & Tide © IWC

If you’re going to name a watch the Yacht Club and place it within a marine-inflected collection like the IWC Portugieser, you have to give it the appropriate functions that go with the genre. This is the first time that IWC is presenting the indication of the tide in one of their watches, and it feels just so right. The indication of tides is a rare complication to begin with, and was previously only seen in highly specialist watches that included a whole bunch of other esoteric stuff and came with operating manuals that weighed as much as a baby elephant. Of course, because this is an IWC watch, you know that the tide indication is sufficiently robust and straightforward, without the slightest hint of overengineering. And that’s the real accomplishment here. Any watch company can do a complicated movement. How many of them can do it in the purest form possible? This is horological poetry at its finest.

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