At the peak of the pandemic, when the larger Geneva watch fair, Watches and Wonders, missed its turn to hold a physical event, eight prestigious watch brands: Breitling, Bulgari, De Bethune, Girard-Perregaux, H. Moser & Cie., MB&F, Ulysse Nardin and Urwerk came together in September 2020 to launch a unique watch salon called the Geneva Watch Days. Based on a cooperative philosophy, the salon was designed to be self-managed, providing a common platform to showcase the latest in fine watchmaking, while giving participating brands the opportunity to host individual events. Supported by the Canton, the City of Geneva, and the Geneva Chamber of Commerce, Industry, and Services (CCIG), the show caters to retailers and the media, while being open to the public.
This year, almost 40 brands participated. Here is our pick of the five showstoppers from the event.
Bulgari Octo Finissimo Carbongold
Bulgari adds two milestones to its most decorated men’s line: the Octo Finissimo with the launch of the Octo Finissimo CarbonGold Automatic, and the Octo Finissimo CarbonGold Perpetual Calendar. Crowned with eight records since 2014, the brand picked two record-holders — Octo Finissimo Automatic (2017) and the Octo Finissimo Perpetual Calendar (2021) — and launched them in high-tech anthracite carbon, offset by luxurious touches of gold.
An expert in smithing gold, and also in working with high-tech materials such as titanium and ceramics, Bulgari excels in surprising with original creations in advanced materials. The Octo Finissimo has already explored the technical and aesthetic possibilities of platinum, yellow and rose gold, titanium, ceramics and stainless steel, with myriad surfaces like polished, brushed polished or matte.
With the new Octo Finissimo CarbonGold, the luxury brand combines gold with forged carbon. The case, strap, and dial are made of extremely lightweight, matte-finish anthracite-colored carbon. The crown is crafted in gold with a black ceramic insert, perfectly complemented by matching rose-coloured hands and indices.
Continuing the journey on the Octo Finissimo Perpetual Calendar, which won the coveted Aiguille d’Or prize at the Grand prix d’horlogerie de Genève (GPHG) in 2021, the new ultra-thin classic perpetual calendar complication — requiring no adjustment till 2100 — takes on a contemporary look in carbon gold. The transparent case-back of the Octo Finissimo CarbonGold is held in place by eight precious metal screws, with the Côte de Genève-decorated rose gold bridges and oscillating weight forged from rose gold-plated platinum.
CarbonGold Automatic at approx. ₹25 lakh , CarbonGold Perpetual Calendar at approx. ₹84 lakh
Breitling Navitimer, 36MM and 32MM
Breitling has introduced two additions to the Navitimer collection, one of the most recognisable watches ever made. What began in 1952 as a tool for pilots eventually made it to the collector’s list and has been among the bestselling models over the years. The new additions in 36 mm and 32 mm sizes are for connoisseurs who love the look and feel of a Navitimer but in smaller diameters. These new models are adding pastel shades, mother-of-pearl, and traceable precious materials to the Navitimer’s distinct beaded bezel to create a jewellery-like watch with a versatile elegance.
The 36 mm Navitimer retains its signature look by featuring the beaded bezel and iconic circular slide rule (used by pilots as an analog calculator). It is now presented in three chic metallic dial colours of mint green, silver, and anthracite with baton indices, or with a white mother-of-pearl dial set with round-cut diamonds.
As a first for Breitling, the watch comes in mother-of-pearl dials in powdery pink and light-blue. It is also available in classic white. The watch is powered by Breitling’s precise SuperQuartz™ Calibre 77.
Navitimer 32 upwards of ₹3,44,000, Navitimer 36 upwards of ₹4,12,800
Oris X Bracenet
The problem of plastics in the oceans is real. Scientists believe the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (GPGP), an area of plastic waste drifting between Hawaii and California, is four-and-a-half times the size of Germany, and 46% of the GPGP is made up of fishing nets. Experts estimate that up to a million tonnes of fishing nets enter the oceans every year.
To bring attention to the issue to pollution of the oceans by plastics, Oris has partnered with the Hamburg-based social enterprise Bracenet, which makes accessories from upcycled ‘ghost’ fishing nets including watch dials.
These dials are made by gently warming the small green, blue and white offcuts until they melt into the raw material. They harden into a thin sheet of material when they cool down. This is then cut to size, planed, and sanded down to 0.3mm thickness. The material contains no additives, fillers or glues and no two dials are the same.
The watches come in two stainless steel versions, one with a 43.50 mm case and a second with a 36.50 mm case.
Oris X Bracenet is priced at ₹2,26,000
Lederer Central Impulse Chronometer
Lederer has launched the GPGH 2021’s Prix de l’Innovation, (Innovation) award-winning chronometer with its revolutionary escapement in a 44mm case in a rare 904L steel version with a Pacific green grey-green open dial, and an 18K rose gold version with a black rhodium grey-black open dial.
Within the case, Bernhard Lederer’s award-winning calibre combines a new type of constant-force escapement with a double-gear train. This duality is manifested by two perfectly synchronised seconds hands — a unique and unprecedented development in watchmaking — running in opposite directions within two intertwined apertures.
Following the success of the first two limited series in 2021, Lederer Watches unveiled the two final series of the Central Impulse Chronometer at GWD 2023. As with the first two, they are limited to 25 pieces each.
Lederer Central Impulse Chronometer is priced upwards of ₹1 crore
De Bethune DB28XP Kind of Blue
The independent watchmaker’s latest addition to its collection of iconic timepieces is the result of the union between the proven elegance of the DB28XP and the timeless charm of the DB28 Kind of Blue, offering watch enthusiasts an exceptional piece that harmoniously combines tradition and innovation.
The DB28XP Kind of Blue is the natural evolution of two iconic models from De Bethune, embodying the best of both worlds by combining the sleek and refined design of the DB28XP with a completely blue look, inspired by the DB28 Kind of Blue.
It is all about levels of interpretation, reliefs, and the interplay of light with shadows and reflections. Crafted from blued titanium, the watch reveals an architectural fusion of space, time, and light at first glance. Its deep and luminous blue is achieved through the natural oxidation of the material, making each watch a unique work of art.
The dial, entirely made of microlight, reimagines and modernises the traditional guilloché technique. On its expansive flat surface, this technique gains new meaning and enhances the structure. By playing with shadow and light, it adds depth and delivers a more architectural and dynamic result. The overall effect becomes more contemporary.
Located at 6 o’clock is the high frequency 5Hz tourbillon, made of contemporary materials like silicon and titanium, that weighs just 0.20 grams. A blued openworked bridge anchors the tourbillon, which completes its rotation every 30 seconds.
Limited to five pieces, De Bethune DB28XP Kind of Blue is priced upwards of ₹1.8 crore
(Prices mentioned are based on the rates in Swiss Francs in Switzerland at the time of the launch)