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Article: Four of 2024’s Best Pre-Watches and Wonders Releases

Four of 2024’s Best Pre-Watches and Wonders Releases

Four of 2024’s Best Pre-Watches and Wonders Releases

As the watchmaking industry’s novelty season begins to turn its head and the community gets excited for the trade shows that will be taking place in the next month or so, we ought to step back from the glitz and the glamour that is promised to us and examine the new novelties that brands have already released in the first three months of the year. While Watches and Wonders certainly promises to showcase the year’s best new releases, we have already seen a plethora of incredible watches make their way to market since the start of the year, so let’s go over some of our favourites so far. 

Piaget Polo 79

Kicking things off with perhaps one of the most widely spoken about releases of the year takes us to Piaget, the esteemed watch part maker turned jeweller turned watchmaker and jeweller. A brand with a deep-rooted history in watchmaking, Piaget is often overlooked due to its work as a jeweller. People typically assume their watches aren’t worth looking at, and boy, could they not be any further from the truth.  

In recent months, their work with stone dials in the 1970s and 1980s is beginning to attract the plaudits they deserve. Their unique designs are becoming rather popular, with the Polo, the vintage version, gaining plenty of traction. Luckily for Piaget, they managed to strike while the iron was hot, and in February, they launched the new Polo 79, an incredibly faithful vintage-inspired revival of the original Piaget Polo in all of its golden glory. 

Made of 18kt yellow gold and boasting an integrated bracelet, the Polo 79 has stayed true to its roots with brushed surfaces, bevelled edges and polished gadroons (the horizontal bars) galore. Powered by the ultra-thin cal. 1200P1automatic movement instead of the almost exclusively used quartz movements used in the vintage versions, this new 38mm-wide Polo 79 is a step up in sizing and a step up in horology, a rather fitting move considering the cult following the Polo has been growing.

However, there are some negatives. In order to increase the Polo 79’s case size, Piaget altered the ratio of the bracelet’s width to the case, meaning the construction doesn’t flow just as well as it used to. Additionally, Piaget has opted for larger branding on the dial, which we can forgive in fairness. The one thing that does knock this stunning watch off its perch a bit, though, is its price tag of $73000. It’s a little rich, but if you don’t want to pay that much, you have a plethora of vintage options to choose from instead. 

Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch White

The Omega Speedmaster is as iconic as a watch can get. Being the first watch to land on the Moon and being that it was used extensively in space, the Speedmaster has earned the nickname “Moonwatch.” Along with this nickname, a certain design has always been at the core of the Speedmaster’s aesthetic, with a black dial being paramount to that aesthetic. However, white dials have been used from time to time. Think of the Snoopy variants, the Alaska Project and the Apollo XI 35th anniversary models for example; Omega have been known to branch outside of black dials for the Moonwatch from time to time, but typically within the confines of limited edition or precious metal variants. 

However, just this month, Omega launched the white dial stainless steel Speedmaster Professional after teasing it on the wrist of Daniel Craig some five months ago. Featuring the exact same sapphire sandwich construction and manual-wind cal. 3861 movement as its black-dialled sibling that was launched in 2021, this new model’s dial is only its new point of intrigue, and what a point of intrigue it is. Silvery-white in colour and featuring blacked-out applied indices and hands, it brightens the Moonwatch’s aesthetic while retaining its intensely legible display, and Omega fans already can’t get enough of it with some ADs reporting it to have longer waiting lists than any other Speedmaster that Omega have ever released.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar John Mayer

Moving onto the most recent release of the article takes us to one of the watches that AP debuted as part of their recent batch of novelties. Designed by their new “Creative Conduit” John Mayer of Rolex “John Mayer” Daytona fame (he’s a musician too, so we hear), this new Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar takes some inspiration from the hand-hammered Tuscan dials found in vintage Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar ref. 25654’s. Featuring a so-called “Crystal Sky” dial with a texture akin to that of sandpaper, these dials are exceptionally beautiful and somewhat novel in the world of modern watchmaking, given that no one else produces dials like these. 

A striking shade of blue throughout, these dials add the perfect punch of colour to the already-stunning 18kt white gold Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar, so John Mayer has certainly (hand-) hammered some authority on his new role within AP. Powered by the incredible extra-thin automatic cal. 5134 that debuted in 2015, this new timepiece retains a mechanical link to its heritage alongside its aesthetic link. With 200 pieces made and priced at $180,700, this isn’t a watch for everyone but we sure do like it, so let’s hope we see it on one of our Watch Stands soon. 

TAG Heuer Carrera Dato ‘Glassbox’

The Carrera has been one of Heuer’s mainstays since the 1960s, but in 2015 TAG Heuer revamped its design with its new ‘Glassbox’ variant. Boasting a tall domed sapphire crystal akin to the acrylic crystals used in vintage Carreras, the ‘Glassbox’ lacks a bezel so as to maximise the size of its dial. While any Glassboxes launched before 2023 were limited edition variants, things changed when TAG Heuer first released a variant for general sale in 2023, and in January this year, TAG added another general sale variant, the stunning Carrera Dato ref. CBS2211 with a gorgeous teal green dial. 

Featuring concentric brushed graining, a concentric guilloche-engraved 30-minute subdial at 3 o’clock and a date window at 9 o’clock, this stunning timepiece boasts a beautiful display that is stunning as it is unusual, and we love it. While watchmaking enthusiasts might overlook TAG Heuer, the ‘Glassbox’ family is certain to get those same enthusiasts excited about TAG Heuer again. 

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