Monochrome Watches
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Buying Guide

The New Models of Watches & Wonders Below €10K, Including our 6 Favourites

The (sort of) accessible models of Watches & Wonders 2021.

| By Brice Goulard | 7 min read |
2021 Rolex Explorer 1 36mm 124270

The largest watch fair of the year is just over, so it’s time for us to sit down and to look back in details at what exactly happened during this very intense week. Watches & Wonders, previously named SIHH, is the initiative of the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie… and as expected with such a name, the focus isn’t really on accessible watches. Still, there was a substantial number of newcomers for the 2021 edition, many of them playing in a more reasonable side of the market. And all in all, there have been numerous new watches launched in a price range that a larger portion of watch enthusiasts can actually consider. So here are most of the new models launched at Watches & Wonders 2021 priced below EUR 10,000, as well as our 6 favourite watches. 

Carl F. Bucherer Heritage Bicompax Annual “Orca”

Not per se an entirely new watch, but a very handsome evolution of an already attractive watch. The Heritage Bicompax Annual was introduced in 2019, with a so-called panda dial. This year, the brand adds a new limited edition to the collection, with a reversed panda dial, or as nicknamed by the brand’s CEO Sascha Moeri, an “orca” dial – something that we find quite cool actually. What we have here is a black dial with contrasting sub-counters, but mostly, a very strong package. Well proportioned, nicely designed, this watch packs a two-register chronograph and an annual calendar function with large date. And the price, despite all the functions, remains very reasonable at EUR 6,400. A really strong offering. More details in our article here.

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Quick Facts: 41mm stainless steel case, sapphire crystal front and caseback, 30m water-resistant – CFB 1972 automatic (modified base ETA 2894) chronograph movement, annual calendar module – leather strap or rubber strap – Limited to 888 pieces – EUR 6,400

Hermès H08 Collection

Hermès watches are somehow unique in the watchmaking field, and that has to do with their design. Elegantly different, differently elegant… There’s a strong identity running in the entire collection and the brand’s newest watch is no exception to the rule. An all-rounder model with a sporty attitude, the new H08 collection plays with shapes, fonts, textures, colours and contrasts in a very appealing way. It is indeed different, still very Hermès but with a far more casual style and a titanium case, more in line with current expectations from the market. Inside is an automatic movement produced by Vaucher and multiple straps/bracelets are available, including this very Hermès orange rubber. More details in our article here.

Hermes H08 Collection

Quick Facts: 39mm titanium case (with or without DLC), sapphire crystal front and caseback, 100m water-resistant – calibre manufacture H1837, made by Vaucher, automatic – rubber strap or titanium bracelet – as of EUR 4,900

IWC Big Pilot’s Watch 43

If not the first watch to relaunch the Flieger collection, the Big Pilot is, without doubt, the most emblematic of all the models. Ultra-large, bold and powerful, this is a watch that many have looked at and praised, but some were reluctant to pull the trigger because of its 46mm case. This year, IWC introduces a downsized version of the Big Pilot, with a more accessible price, a slightly simplified movement and multiple upgrades to make it a very attractive and solid offering. Now measuring 43mm, it is powered by an in-house automatic movement with 60h power reserve and its display has been simplified to the max. The look is typical Flieger, the case now comes with 100m water-resistance and a practical quick-change system has been added to the strap/bracelet. More details, including a video review, in our article here.

IWC Big Pilots Watch 43 IW329301

Quick Facts: 43mm stainless steel case, sapphire crystal front and caseback, 100m water-resistant – IWC calibre 82100, in-house, automatic – leather strap or steel bracelet with quick-change system – from EUR 8,950

Nomos Metro Neomatik Update 41

For its first participation at Watches & Wonders, Nomos, a relatively young manufacture from Germany, came with a quite complete collection, including this new take on the Metro watch. A more youthful, more cosmopolitan, and more modern take on the brand’s clean design language, the Metro has a very casual and fresh vibe. It now receives the Update Neomatik movement, with its original date display on the periphery, with a series of small apertures frame the date with two neon orange markers. Under the sapphire caseback is an ultra-thin in-house movement that looks the par. It is worn on a sporty grey textile strap with quick-release spring bars, but will look good on multiple other straps. More details, including a video review, in our article here.

Nomos Metro neomatik 41 Update

Quick Facts: 40.5mm stainless steel case, sapphire crystal front and caseback, 50m water-resistant – DUW 6101 neomatik calibre, in-house automatic – dark grey textile strap with quick-release spring bars – EUR 3,500

Rolex Explorer 36 Oystersteel

For its first participation at the Geneva watch fair, Rolex has been, according to most, playing on the safe side. While we can agree on the new Explorer II, this isn’t the case for the classic Explorer. Not only the brand launched an unprecedented two-tone version, but importantly, the watch is going back to its original size of 36mm. And that is not a detail, it is a bold move from Rolex. Some will love this, some will hate… For the rest, we have a typical Rolex update, with a design that remains familiar, a very well executed stainless steel case and Oyster bracelet and a movement that is upgraded to the latest generation, the Calibre 3230. If the overall design is highly conservative, the reduced diameter is not, and this is exactly why this watch matters. More details in our article here, with the Oystersteel and Rolesor models.

2021 Rolex Explorer 1 36mm 124270

Quick Facts: 36mm Osytersteel case, sapphire crystal dial side, 100m water-resistant – Calibre 3230, Superlative Chronometer, in-house, automatic – Oystersteel Oyster bracelet with Oysterlock clasp – EUR 6,100 in Oystersteel

Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight 925

While the Black Bay and its smaller, more vintage edition, the Fifty-Eight, are classic models from the Tudor collection, the newest model presented by the brand is far from classic, at least in terms of material. It is indeed coming with a solid silver case, a material rarely seen anymore in watchmaking and that brings a unique appeal to this watch. Entirely brushed, it has a unique hue and brilliance, making it far more precious than stainless steel, with more brightness. It is nicely paired with a faded grey “taupe” dial and bezel, resulting in a warm and casual looking watch. Inside, and for the first time visible under a sapphire caseback, is the brand’s manufacture calibre MT5400. And even though we might have one or two reservations concerning how the material will age, the watch looks absolutely stunning in the metal. More details in our article here.

Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight 925 Silver Case 79010SG

Quick Facts: 39mm 925 silver case, sapphire crystal front and caseback, 200m water-resistant – calibre MT5400, manufacture, COSC-certified, automatic – grained leather strap or fabric strap with silver band – EUR 4,050

All the other new models below EUR 10,000

Whole we’ve just presented our 6 preferred models of Watches & Wonders 2021 priced below EUR 10,000, there were far more watches presented in this price range. Here are (most of) the new watches presented during the fair, at least those that we’ve covered, with the corresponding articles:

Carl F. Bucherer Patravi ScubaTec Maldives EditionBallon Bleu de Cartier 40mmPasha de Cartier Chronograph 41mmChronoswiss Open Gear ReSec Paraiba Limited EditionIWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph 41Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tribute Small Seconds GreenMaurice Lacroix Aikon Master Grand DateMaurice Lacroix Aikon Automatic Chronograph TitaniumMaurice Lacroix Aikon Venturer Bronze 43 AnthraciteMaurice Lacroix Pontos Chronograph Blue SunNomos Tangente neomatik 41 Update Midnight BlueNomos Tangente 38 “50 years of Doctors Without Borders”Oris AquisPro Date Calibre 400Oris Dat Watt Limited EditionPanerai Luminor Marina eSteel CollectionRolex Explorer II 226570Rolex Oyster Perpetual Datejust 36 Motif dialsTAG Heuer Aquaracer Professional 300 Automatic CollectionTAG Heuer Aquaracer Professional 300 Tribute to Ref. 844Tudor Black Bay Chrono 79360N

13 responses

  1. So Hermes made an analog apple watch 🙂
    Very wearable and sporty-elegant

    When will traditional watch producers realize that apple took big chunk of their market share also because they make very few watches sub 40mm?

  2. Never thought I’d like anything from a handbag brand like Hermes, but that H08 looks dapper. They’ve even done a better job with the 4:30 date window than 99% of watch brands.

    As for my personal fave, I really liked that new AquisPro by Oris, even if I can’t make the size work on my wrists.

    Rolex was a big nothingburger this time round. They insulted the Explorer by adding gold (though some could argue that the insulting started back when they added white gold hands to all their SS sport watches), tried do do a Grand Seiko (and failed miserably) with that palm/weed Datejust, and auditioned for the new Tacky & Tackier film with those diamond studded monstrosities.

  3. Hello Monochrome, thank you for this summary and especially for the awesome pictures. Your photography is truly outstanding.
    Please pardon my sarcasm, but here’s my take on the watches presented in your article:
    > Bucherer Orca: looks like a cheap Datograph;
    > Hermès H08: a miniature handbag to which a set of hands have been applied (I am exaggerating, I actually like it … ;-);
    > IWC Pilot 43: after years of fruitless attempts, Schaffhausen finally realized that a pilot watch does not need a date and off-center power reserve;
    > Nomos Metro 41: an ophthalmologist’s watch. He no longer needs any additional equipment to test your eyesight;
    > Rolex Explorer 36: yawn & yikes (two-tone);
    >Tudor Black Bay 925: a dive watch made of the most unpractical material ever;
    I don’t mean to be destructive, I just found some of the releases a bit underwhelming …

  4. great choices, thanks for this article, and I appreciate that you always include info on water resistance as well!

  5. @Matti – As for Hermès, they indeed made a great job with this new collection… It is very pleasing in the metal and has its own personality

  6. @Brice – thank you for your reply. My pleasure.
    I will continue to bother you guys … 😉

  7. @Hendrick – Breitling wasn’t part of the 38 brands participating in Watches & Wonders. Hence why it isn’t listed here

  8. Some foolish around here people need to read up on Hermes watch making history.

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