Watches & Wonders Geneva 2023 is quickly becoming the most important event of the year for watchmaking, replacing the long-running Baselworld tradeshow. At the event, the biggest brands in the industry reveal their newest offerings, many of which are highly anticipated all year long. What are the up-and-coming trends in watchmaking? Which trends will our favorite watchhouses embrace? And which ones will be left in the dust? Avid collectors and industry professionals alike turn to the annual show to stay in the know and get exclusive first looks at what their favorite brands have in store for the rest of the year. As you can imagine, Watches and Wonders shape the industry and is worth keeping tabs on, whether you’re a novice collector or the CEO of Rolex.
If you didn’t get a chance to attend this year, fret not. We’ve compiled a comprehensive guide to all the best releases and trends we’ve seen from this year’s Geneva Watches and Wonders 2023 tradeshow. Read on to find out which direction the watchmaking industry is moving in.
Watches and Wonders: Top Notable Brands
The biggest announcements from Watches and Wonders 2023 came from all the top players in the industry, including:
Grand Seiko developed their first in-house mechanical chronograph, and Chopard graced us with a new high-frequency Alpine Eagle model. We also saw a lot of bold dials, from Rolex’s enameled jigsaw Day-Date and “Celebration” bubble dial to Cartier’s vibrant disco ball-inspired Tank Louis Cartier.
Rolex finally announced the discontinuation of the Cellini and Milgauss and delighted collectors worldwide with the return of the yellow gold GMT-Master II and the release of the first all-titanium Yacht-Master 42. Rolex has never been one to follow the competition, preferring instead to improve upon their current lineup. However, it appears the brand is hopping on the growing Titanium trend by broadening its RLX-branded titanium lineup. Purists of the brand are divided, but we can’t help but agree with our follower Ghostly and their sentiment that the new Yacht-Master 42 is “All the vibesssssssss 🔥🔥🔥🔥.”
Rolex Daytona Release
2023 marks the Rolex Cosmograph Daytona‘s 60th anniversary. The watch-collecting community as a whole was expecting big things from the brand at this year’s Watches and Wonders, and we were not disappointed. The 2023 Rolex Daytona is driven by a brand new movement, the caliber 4131, with a longer 72-hour power reserve, a new Perpetual rotor, and a beautiful new decorative finish called “Rolex Côtes de Genève.” This move was significant for Rolex as the Daytona has used the same caliber 4130 movements since 2000. Now, like the rest of the professional series, the Daytona sports a shiny new movement.
It keeps the same 40mm diameter but now features a few case upgrades, most notably the ceramic bezel, which is framed in the same material as the case itself. Many Daytona enthusiasts were quick to point out that this design element was added as a nod towards the inaugural 1960s Daytona. It’s about as close as we’ll ever get to a heritage Daytona from Rolex. For the first time in Daytona history, the collection also includes a platinum model with an exhibition case back. Could this be a sign of things to come for Rolex now that the caliber 4131 is decorated with an intricate new finish and a transparent case back officially exists?
- Metal Finishes: Oystersteel, Yellow Rolesor, Yellow Gold, White Gold, Everose, Platinum
- Case: 40mm
- Water Resistance: 100 meters
- Crystal: Sapphire
- Movement: Caliber 4131
Oris turned heads with a new edition of their innovative ProPilot Altimeter, this time in lighter carbon fiber and with a thinner case for improved functionality. The legendary Swiss watchmaker also embraced the booming green watch trend by releasing a cheeky green dial ProPilot X Kermit Edition, complete with the adorable Muppet in the date window at 6 o’clock.
And it’s so much more than just a green watch with a quirky nickname. It’s literally a Kermit watch with official branding. Bob’s Watches follower Jay Beezy said it best, “I dig it! It can be sporty. It can be dressy. It’s just plain fun.” Could we see even more future collaborations between watch brands and other pop culture icons?
If you’re as big of a fan of Oris as we are be sure to view our ultimate Oris watches buying guide here.
Speaking of green dials, Cartier is also incorporating the colorful dial trend into its catalog by adding a deep green dial to its medium and large-sized stainless steel Santos de Cartier models. Cartier relaunched the collection in 2018, which has since received numerous upgrades to stay on trend, including new movements and now a few new dial colors. Cartier also noticeably released four new editions of the Tank Louis Cartier with patterned and minimalist dials and a new Tank Américaine with a refined case. Be sure to read our full buyer’s guide on Cartier watches here.
Turning our attention to Tudor, the company leaned even more into its heritage roots, and a growing favorability for smaller-sized Black Bay Tudor watches with a brand new Black Bay 54. It features a 37mm case inspired by a dive watch produced by the brand in 1954, which we expect will be a successful new offering for Tudor in a market flooded with robust, oversized watches. We were also delighted to see Tudor add a striking Opaline dial to the Black Bay GMT – a refreshing take on the Pepsi bezel trend.
Grand Seiko Evolution 9 Collection Tentagraph Release
Grand Seiko fans were overjoyed with the release of the brand’s first mechanical chronograph. The model is named “Tentagraph,” a creative moniker describing the movement. It operates on ten beats per second, has a three-day power reserve, and has an automatic chronograph. Outwardly, the watch is undeniably a Grand Seiko masterpiece with exceptional polishing and attention to detail on the dial. With the new movement, the Tentagraph also appears to be a step forward for Grand Seiko in upping their chronograph game to compete with the likes of the Rolex Daytona. But will they successfully cross over into that realm? Only time will tell.
So far, there has been some criticism for the Tentagraph because it is on the larger side at 43.2mm in diameter and 15.3mm thick. However, the lightweight Titanium finish is a redeeming quality that might be enough to win over dubious collectors.
- Metal Finishes: Titanium
- Case: 43.2mm
- Water Resistance: 100 meters
- Crystal: Sapphire
- Movement: Caliber 9SC5
Tudor Black Bay 54 Release
Another one of the most notable Watches and Wonders releases from this year’s tradeshow was the new Black Bay 54. It’s smaller and thinner than the rest of the lineup. Still, the watch maintains water resistance up to 200 meters. It fills a void in the Tudor catalog that will speak to many Tudor enthusiasts who generally seek a smaller dive watch with all the appeal of a classic Tudor heritage model. Looking at the finer details, the bezel doesn’t feature the typical hash marks, giving it a cleaner aesthetic. The domed dial is decorated with striking gilded details, alluding to the Black Bay 54’s vintage-inspired roots. As watches, such as the Rolex Submariner, get bigger and bigger, Tudor keeps it simple with a modest 37mm model, and we’re happy to see it.
- Metal Finishes: Stainless Steel
- Case: 37mm
- Water Resistance: 200 meters
- Crystal: Sapphire
- Movement: Caliber MT5400
Emerging 2023 Trends
This year was all about bold dials, from dramatic Cartier skeleton dials and the colorful enameled jigsaw Day-Date to the Kermit Oris and even some splashes of color on the Patek Philippe Calatrava. We also saw several offerings in Titanium this year, including Grand Seiko and Rolex. Rolex added the Daytona to its roster of upgraded movements. Also, the neo-vintage trend, it seems, is here to stay. One example that turned heads this year so far was the new Panerai Radiomir Otto Giorni with a distressed case and Gradient dial decorated with tan lume.
Watches and Wonders Geneva 2023 certainly did not disappoint this year, with a charming collaboration between Oris and Disney’s The Muppets and Rolex’s first all-titanium watch. Rolex also gave us some fresh new upgrades in time for the Daytona’s 60th anniversary, which begs the question, what does the company have in store for the Submariner’s 70th anniversary next year?
From what we’ve heard so far, Watches and Wonders 2023 was a packed house and will only continue to grow with each coming year. As more brands hop on board with the new luxury watch platform, its reach will only grow and influence all aspects of the industry.