Our Grail Watches from Watches and Wonders 2024

Watchonista Staff Picks: Our Grail Watches from Watches and Wonders 2024

With hundreds of novelties presented at this year’s Watches and Wonders, Team Watchonista decided to bring our readers two “Staff Picks” articles. Last week, we chose the new releases we would wear every day. This week, we’re looking at “grail” watches!

By Elena Fichtel
Deputy Managing Editor

As you might (but probably won’t) remember from our “Watchonista Staff Picks: Watches and Wonders 2023 Edition,” the black-dialed Alpine Eagle Cadence 8HF from Chopard was just barely edged out by the Hermès Arceau Petite Lune to be my “Staff Pick” for the 2023 show.

However, between the Chopard and the Hermès, it is the Alpine Eagle Cadence 8HF that I still think about every time either an Alpine Eagle or Chopard comes up in conversation.

So, while I was mulling over all the Watches and Wonders 2024 releases I could choose for this article, I came to one inescapable conclusion: I’m drawn to black-dialed watches, especially if they are made by Chopard.

That is why my “grail” pick for the 2024 edition of Watches and Wonders is the Chopard L.U.C Quattro Spirit 25.

This timepiece, with its 40mm case made from 18-karat ethical white gold, has everything needed for a “grail watch”: It’s a 100-piece limited edition; it has a stunningly elegant Grand Feu enamel dial (which gets bonus points because it’s black); the L.U.C 98.06-L movement powers its jump-hour display and provides an 8-day power reserve; and it has a $50,200 price tag, which means I will never have the pleasure of owning this watch without winning the lotto.

By Sebastien Aeberli
Design & Content Manager

During Watches and Wonders 2024, Parmigiani Fleurier unveiled a re-designed Toric collection that stole the hearts of most show attendees and observers. And, for me, the “Best of Show” this year was, without question, the Petite Seconde presented in a 40.6mm polished platinum case (8.8mm thick) with a soft almond green dial.

The sleek design features a 6mm crown and anti-reflective sapphire crystals on the front and back. Moreover, this timepiece is waterproof up to 50 meters. The standout feature of the new Toric is the distinct knurling on its bezel.

Even more remarkable, the PF780 hand-wound movement is protected by large 18-karat rose gold bridges. These bridges reveal the two barrels and the regulating device. Adorned with Côtes de Fleurier and hand-beveled edges interspersed with gold plate, the bridges exude an exquisite aesthetic.

The finesse and comfort of the beige nubuck strap immediately make the Toric Petite Seconde Platinum a watch I want to wear every day. However, with a price of CHF 52,000, this new timepiece remains a wish for the moment... Santa, are you available yet?

By Rhonda Riche

I may be a complicated person, but my taste in timepieces is relatively straightforward. I am happy with a time-only timepiece. But that’s not to say “simple” can’t be elevated.

My favorite of the fair is the DEFY Revival A3648 from Zenith. I literally levitated (i.e., jumped) from excitement when I first saw it in person. At $7,700, it’s not unattainable, but I’d still have to cut back on my avocado toast addiction to finance it.

Laurie Kahle

When it comes to choosing a splurge watch, it’s all about perspective. Sure, there were plenty of super-complicated and dazzling bejeweled pieces worthy of any wish list, but rather than opt for a fantasy piece, I went with a watch that is certainly out of my budget, yet one I would wear and enjoy on the regular.

Admittedly, I was tempted by the Rolex Cosmograph Daytona with a Tahitian mother-of-pearl dial framed by a diamond bezel and Patek Philippe’s Golden Ellipse on a gorgeous new gold bracelet. I was even almost swayed by Cartier’s Privé Tortue Monopusher Chronograph.

But in the end, my eye kept returning to the $48,400 Parmigiani Toric Petite Seconde in 18-karat rose gold because, in this case, less is certainly more.

I’m drawn to the design’s purity and neo-classical blend of minimalist modernity and ancient golden-ratio aesthetics, one of Michel Parmigiani’s lifelong guiding principles.

In fact, the Toric was the first wristwatch he designed in 1996, and this next-gen version pays tribute with its knurled bezel inspired by Doric columns. Moreover, the stunning beveled gold dials have a soft, almost suede-like finish achieved by a hand-graining technique inspired by Parmigiani’s restoration work.

Turn it over, and the 18-karat gold manually wound PF780 manufacture movement is finished with an unusual quilt-like Côtes de Fleurier pattern in yet another genius detail.

By Mike Espindle
Executive Editor

I only own a couple of what you might call “formal” timepieces. And, at my age, I really should be thinking about more. So, if the winds of fortune blow hard in my direction (like $50,200 hard), here’s a Geneva-debuted wristwatch on my wish list: Chopard’s L.U.C Quattro Spirit 25.

This 40mm showstopper is rendered in gleaming white gold with a rich, inky black enamel dial that is just begging to get tucked under a French cuff and a black dinner jacket sleeve. I might make a suave impression, but it’s a safe bet the dramatic jumping hours function will be the real hit of the party.

By Nicole Jarvis
Community Manager & Commercial

My “grail” watch from this year’s show is the Récital 28 Prowess 1 from Bovet, as the entirety of this timepiece fascinated me, from its mechanics and engineering to its maths and design. It’s a watch that can travel the world and adjust to any of the 24 global time zones.

Featuring a flying tourbillon, a perpetual calendar with roller-based indications, and an in-house movement with an impressive 10-day power reserve, the Récital 28 Prowess 1, which starts at CHF 650,000, is a fantastic mix of ingenuity and design.

By Cait Bazemore

I’m very much here for the trend of timepieces taking unconventional forms beyond the wrist, from Rihanna’s Jacob & Co. choker watch to Cartier’s carabiner clip watch. And while this may seem like a more modern fad, pendant and ring watches actually date back to the 17th and 18th centuries, long predating the advent of the wristwatch (which didn’t come until 1810).

Since contemporary offerings in this category are few and far between, I’ve spent the past couple of years scouring vintage dealers for the perfect jewelry watch to add to my collection. Now, thanks to Chanel’s new Couture O’Clock capsule collection, I have a new aspirational watch necklace (or “sautoir”) to add to my list of “grail” timepieces.

This capsule collection pays homage to Mademoiselle Chanel’s atelier and the tools her seamstresses used while crafting the garments that made the brand a fashion legend. Moreover, the Couture O’Clock capsule collection combines my two great loves – watchmaking and jewelry making – resulting in a selection of extremely limited pieces, including rings, necklaces, and secret watches.

It’s difficult to pick a favorite, but the piece I keep finding myself drawn to is the Couture Thimble Long Necklace, a limited edition of just 20 pieces featuring an 18-karat yellow gold construction clad with 585 brilliant-cut diamonds (totaling over eight carats) and 26 baguette-cut diamonds (totaling over three carats) across the thimble pendant, the chain, the dial, and the bezel.

At first glance, the necklace appears as a simple but gorgeous jewelry piece – a thimble-shaped pendant hanging from a long chain. However, at the base of the thimble, you’ll find a hidden time-only watch where you can discreetly check the time. Chic, feminine, elegant – I think Mademoiselle Chanel would approve (and so do I).

By Barbara Palumbo

While there were several releases that I adored at this year’s Watches and Wonders (a couple of which my colleagues chose as their “grail”), there was only one that was a clear standout to me in terms of mechanical perfection, outward elegance, horological importance, and, well, an impossibility for a single mother on a budget to buy. That watch was the Duometre Heliotourbillon Perpetual from Jaeger-LeCoultre.

Still, I’m not 100% sure why this is my “grail.”

Maybe it’s because I have no memory of a watch brand using the term “heliotourbillon” before, and as a wordsmith, maybe that six-syllable word gave me goosebumps like neither of my ex-husbands could. Whatever the reason, there was just something about the entire package that stuck in my head even days after the show was over.

In fact, not only is this my grail watch, but it was a watch that reminded me of a French lover I once had: beautiful, surprising, and filled with an energy I might never be able to explain.

By Ash Longet
PR & Business Development

For me, the standout debut at Watches and Wonders Geneva 2024 is unquestionably the Portugieser Hand-Wound Tourbillon Day & Night from IWC.

The first thing your eye gravitates to is the day-night indicator, which sits at 9 o’clock and takes the form of a small smooth globe split into deep black and gold hemispheres. Simple yet eye-catching, the globe interacts with you, while the “Obsidian” dial, lacquered in layers and brushed into a sunray pattern, absorbs your glance.

Encased within a 42.4mm, 18-karat Armor Gold case, this timepiece houses an IWC-manufactured calibre 81925 manually-wound movement with an impressive 84-hour power reserve and a tourbillon at 6 o'clock. Priced at CHF 80,000, the Portugieser Hand-Wound Tourbillon Day & Night probably represents everything IWC stands for today: technology, visual modernity, and watchmaking tradition.

(Photography by Pierre Vogel)

And receive each week a custom selection of articles.

Watchonista Staff Picks: Our Daily Wears from Watches and Wonders 2024

By Elena FichtelDeputy Managing Editor
Another Watches and Wonders has come and gone, and with hundreds of novelties presented at this year’s show, Team Watchonista decided to do two “...