monsieur de chanel superleggera edition intense black 2024

Future Classics: Top Five New Releases from Watches and Wonders 2024

My personal favorites include two jump-hours, a minute repeater with whimsical horse-shaped hammers, a timepiece from one of the industry’s most renowned independent watchmakers, and the debut creation from one of the youngest talents in the industry.

By Henri Lee

When our Executive Editor, Mike Espindle, tasked me with writing a piece on my favorite novelties from the 2024 edition of Watches and Wonders Geneva, it felt like a dream assignment.

However, with a dazzling array of new releases at both the main event and the smaller fairs/exhibitions concurrently happening in Geneva, narrowing down the winners to a short list wasn’t easy.

My top criteria? I asked myself, “Are we still going to talk about these watches in five years,” because predicting future classics is one of a watch enthusiast’s favorite thought experiments.

These are the models that I think are destined to be future classics.

Vianney Halter Art Deco Metropolis

Vianney Halter requires no introduction among aficionados of independent watchmaking. His early creations, the Antiqua and Classic (circa 1998-2000), have achieved legendary status as groundbreaking modern art timepieces. And with less than 500 total pieces (spread across ten different models) produced thus far, his watches are highly sought-after.

Then, on April 9, 2024, when Vianney unveiled the new Art Deco Metropolis, which pays homage to the Art Deco Era, I was totally blown away!

At first glance, the Art Deco Metropolis exhibits a clear lineage to the Classic – in fact, Vianney referred to it as a “new Classic.” However, upon seeing this 39.8mm timepiece for the first time, my attention was immediately drawn to its exquisite details, each resonating with Art Deco aesthetics and style, including the radiating solid gold rays, Art Deco fonts, the sword-shaped hands, and even the gold rivet hour markers and stepped lugs.

Finally, the blue dial provides a striking contrast with white numerals and gold accents. Meanwhile, the watch abounds with straight lines and geometric shapes. It is undeniably a wearable piece of art!

Chanel Monsieur Superleggera Edition Intense Black

The combination of jumping hour and retrograde minute displays offers an interesting way to display time. And the Monsieur de Chanel is a collection dedicated to this novel display, along with a seconds sub-dial.

A new model – the Monsieur Superleggera Edition watch – was released at Watches and Wonders Geneva, featuring an all-black aesthetic with a 42mm ceramic and steel case. Meanwhile, its 240° retrograde minute display is reminiscent of car instruments, giving the watch a sporty and contemporary look and feel.

Turning the watch over reveals a hand-wound movement with the gear train elegantly arranged under a circular bridge. In fact, the manual-winding Calibre 1 inside this watch marks Chanel’s first in-house movement developed in collaboration with master watchmaker Romain Gauthier.

A 100-piece limited edition, the Superleggera name, which means “super-light” in Italian, is printed at the 12 o’clock position in yellow.

Sartory Billard SB08 Jumping Hour and Minute with Tourbillon

The theme of jumping hours continued with Sartory Billard, which unveiled a working prototype of the SB08, featuring a jump-hour and jump-minute display, further elevated by the addition of a tourbillon.

This announcement ignited discussions among watch collecting groups, with enthusiasts drawing comparisons between the SB08 and the ZEITWERK by A. Lange & Söhne, which was the first mechanical wristwatch to display hours and minutes via jumping numerals.

Armand Billard, the sole owner of the brand, also revealed plans for a 12-piece subscription to finance the development of the SB08. And in line with the brand’s ethos, all clients will have the opportunity to customize their watches with preferred materials and aesthetics, with several enticing design mockups already having been shared.

Armand has assembled a highly experienced team to drive the movement development while collaborating with outside specialists. As a result, I think the SB08 will undoubtedly be an incredible achievement! We extend our best wishes to Armand and his team.

Hermès Arceau Duc Attelé Minute Repeater and Tourbillon

The Arceau Duc Attelé, which artistically combines Haute Horlogerie with equine iconography, is the most complicated Hermès watch ever made. This timepiece, unveiled at this year’s Watches and Wonders Geneva, embodies a unique composition featuring a triple-axis tourbillon and a minute repeater.

At the heart of the dial lies the mesmerizing tourbillon, boasting three separate axes and rotation speeds (completing one full turn in 300, 60, and 25 seconds) within a curved, eccentric hour circle. Lower on the dial, the hammers and gongs of the minute repeater, with hammers shaped like horses, await activation.

When engaged, these “nodding horses” produce heavenly chimes for hours, quarters, and minutes. What a whimsical and breathtaking creation!

Powering all these complications is Calibre H1926, which elevates the intricate movement design to new heights. Like playing a hidden object game, it’s a delight to discover the horse head, horse leg, and many carriage wheels represented by the mechanical parts.

No wonder the watch is named Duc Attelé, meaning “the Wheels of Carriage,” as explained by Laurent Dordet, the CEO of Hermès Horloger.

Khemea By Shona Taine

While we started with a veteran independent watchmaker, Vianney Halter, we will end with a young independent watchmaker and an AHCI candidate, 26-year-old Shona Taine. A tourbillon with a moonphase and date indication on the dial, and a power reserve indicator on the movement, Khemea is Shona’s very first creation.

The novel date display (to the right of the hours/minutes dial) consists of 31 holes. Only one hole is highlighted with a different color, indicating the date.

Interestingly, Shona has been wearing the prototype for a year now, and while she is still finetuning the dial design, including the color scheme for the date display, the first watch, in a white gold case with an anthracite dial, will be delivered this summer as part of a 12-piece limited edition.

This first release will then be followed by another 12-piece limited edition in a rose gold case with a white guilloché dial.

Despite gloomy predictions about the current status of the watch industry by some business magazines, horology as an art form, along with the industry itself, will endure and flourish. Future classics will be crafted by imaginative minds and skilled artisans, perhaps even encompassing some of the watches mentioned here.

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