A day without fanfare at Watches and Wonders Geneva is as likely as a sunny January day in the Scottish highlands. So it is that our third day at the fair must begin with a watch that no one can buy, and for which there is no price: the Roger Dubuis Monovortex Split Seconds Chronograph. The watch is a wild one, packed with what we can only call brazen innovations, including a “vortex” tourbillon, which the marketing team tells us does not really qualify as a true tourbillon. It also leans into the gravity element of the story, as tourbillons do, with a special rotor called the turbo rotor. Roger Dubuis happily tells us that they wanted to be a bit silly, and thus the rotor — being arranged perpendicularly to the movement — finds itself in a disadvantageous position. The goal of this concept is to push boundaries into the realm of the cool — hyper cool, one might say. This message, delivered during the product presentation, is a little at odds with the official position, but this will just join our list of questions for the future, as we note at the end. For now, we know that Roger Dubuis calls all this extravagance hyper horology, to distinguish it from vanilla haute horlogerie. It is even called Hyper Horology, with a “TM,” in a nod to how seriously takes Roger Dubuis takes its mission to find a bit of fun in timekeeping.
In a totally distracting and disarming move, Roger Dubuis had all kinds of robots on display in its stand, including a Boston Dynamics robot dog (that may just look like that robot because we didn’t ask) that attempted to make friends with everyone. The coming robotic apocalypse never looked so appealing… Similarly, Tudor stole the show from under its own novelties by turning its manufacture into a digital participant in its debut video. The video showcasing its new facility in Le Locle was deeply absorbing, besides being indicative of Tudor’s plan to go all the way on the METAS path. Speaking of which, Tudor does indeed have a whole slate of new models that will be available for wrists everywhere, including its second-ever METAS model, the Black Bay in 41mm. This watch seems like another step towards Tudor adopting this certification across its range. The firm is obviously able to control more of its production with the addition of the new manufacture. Still, production facilities and certifications do not mean any given watch will be a good one, which is why the new variations of the Black Bay GMT are key. We think Tudor is paving the way for big things, but that is only possible with more and more novelties that fire people up.
While we have already paid our respects to more than two dozen brands, this story should close with TAG Heuer, where we discovered that we were both right and wrong about the Carrera. Yes, there is indeed a new Carrera in town, but the current model remains in the picture. This is similar to what happened when the new Aquaracer debuted in 2021, with both old and new versions of the same model family coexisting. The new 39mm model is quite the festive number, even earning itself the catchy glassbox moniker (TAG Heuer proposed this themselves and the Internet took the bait, even though it is a bit confusing, but we can think of nothing better ourselves), and even sports an evolved version of the automatic calibre Heuer 02 called the TH20-00. It is all a bit mysterious since there are two models here, with date windows on opposite ends of the dial, and thus two variations of the calibre, which is a reasonable assumption. As always, it would not be a watch fair if we left with more answers than questions, but we have the rest of 2023 to figure it out.
Read about our Watches and Wonders 2023 Day 2 Highlights here.
For more watch reads, click here.