The Best of Watches and Wonders Shanghai

The Best Of Watches & Wonders Shanghai

Yesterday, Watches & Wonders Shanghai wrapped up, so today, Watchonista recaps the best moments from the in-person Chinese show.

By Alexandra Cheney

Although a staggering amount of news came out of the 38 brands that participated in Watches & Wonders Geneva, the largest watch event ever held online, the five-day Watches & Wonders Shanghai opened its literal doors at the West Bund Art Center on April 14th as the digital one powered down. Nineteen brands participated in the in-person event, which was nearly double the amount of last year.

In advance of the weekend, 1,000 drones took to the sky above the Bund for a sound and light choreography display that went from floating, rainbow-colored clouds to interlocking gears to a half-dome topped with an outline of the Shanghai skyline.

Many watchmakers showcased some of the timepieces revealed online during Watches & Wonders Geneva, which we weighed in on here. But interestingly, and perhaps more importantly, those in attendance were the first to see new models created especially for the Chinese market and witnessed watch unveilings reserved for the physical event.

The Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tribute Nonantième

On the first day of the event, Jaeger-LeCoultre debuted its Reverso Tribute Nonantième. Considering the splashy premiere of the Reverso Hybris Mechanica Calibre 185 Quadriptyque in Geneva, Jaeger-LeCoultre allowed this limited edition Reverso, arguably its most iconic watch design, a separate spotlight.

Meaning 90th in French (as the Reverso is celebrating its nine-decade anniversary), the pink gold Nonantième evokes words like elegant and classic, which also easily embody traditional versions of this model. The classic front dial features a sunray-brushed silvered gray dial with a large date display, dauphine-style hour and minute hands, moonphase, and a small seconds sub-dial. The turn of the dial, though, uncovers a completely new expression.

On the reverse dial, two round apertures of different sizes are arranged like a figure-eight. Housed within the smaller upper circle is a semi-jumping digital hour indication – a Reverso first. According to Jaeger-LeCoultre, this complication recalls digital displays developed by the manufacturer for wristwatches in the 1930s. And below the hour, the large circle displays the minutes on a rotating disc that is partially concealed by a three-quarter plate lacquered in vivid blue, sprinkled with tiny golden stars, and acts as a day/night indication.

The Armin Strom Pure Resonance Sky Blue

Swiss watch brand Armin Strom called its Shanghai presentation of the 42mm, 18K white gold encased, special edition Pure Resonance Sky Blue a “unique piece … that represents nothing less than a redefinition of the practical limits for marine chronometer precision in a wristwatch.”

And with practically no bezel and a sky blue hand-guilloché dial from Kari Voutilainen, the three-piece special edition Pure Resonance Sky Blue (ref. PUR-3214) focuses on advanced chronometry via movement simplicity. There are no surplus functions here, just the time in marine chronometer precision.

IWC Goes Holographic

Although IWC chose to reveal all of its new offerings in Geneva, CEO Christoph Grainger-Herr opted to showcase “its engineering spirit and high-tech expertise” through a different kind of technology.

He presented the brand’s collection in Shanghai while remaining in Schaffhausen, Switzerland, via a life-sized hologram from the Los Angeles-based PORTL, a company specializing in the broadcasting of holographic live recordings of people and objects across the globe in a process known as holoportation.

The Panerai Luminor Chrono Goldtech Blu Notte (PAM01111)

Panerai introduced a host of chronographs in Geneva but saved the Luminor Chrono Goldtech Blu Notte (PAM01111) for Shanghai. Consistent with the new Luminor Chronos, this timepiece features the Luminor’s signature crown-protecting bridge on the right, shifting the chronograph buttons to the left side of the 44mm case. The deep blue dial is encircled by a brushed Goldtech case, Panerai’s proprietary alloy that features high percentages of copper and platinum.

The watch comes on a deep blue alligator leather strap with a Goldtech buckle. A secondary deep blue rubber strap accompanies the piece as well. Retailing for $26,700, the PAM01111 relies upon the P.9200 automatic movement (read: 42 hours of power reserve stored inside a single barrel and water resistance up to 5 bar, or 50 meters).

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