Monochrome Watches
An online magazine dedicated to fine watches

Just Ahead of the 2022 Edition, Here are 5 Highlights of Watches & Wonders 2021

With Watches & Wonders just around the corner, we’re looking back at some of last year’s best watches.

| By Robin Nooy | 6 min read |
2021 Rolex Explorer 1 36mm 124270 - 124273

We’re only days away from travelling to Switzerland again (yes, finally!) and meeting up with our friends and colleagues from the watchmaking industry and affiliated media outlets. It will be stressful, running from appointment to appointment and seeing tons of watches (boohoo, have pity on us) and get the news out to you as soon as possible so you’re all caught up on all the novelties to come. And as ever, when looking forward, it never hurts to look over one’s shoulder in the process. So with that in mind, we’ve looked back and listed what we think were the five stand-out novelties from Watches & Wonders 2021.

IWC Big Pilot’s Watch 43mm

Out of the five selected watches, this one has certainly caused a lot of debate. While we applaud the introduction of the smaller, wrist-friendlier IWC Big Pilot’s Watch 43, we also feel for the fact some people do not consider it a true Big Pilot’s Watch. As it does without the emblematic 7-day power reserve indication or at least a subdial of some sort at 3 o’clock, it seems to be lacking something. The specs are rather solid though, both from its exterior components and the mechanical side of things. It relies on IWC’s central-seconds calibre 82100, comes in steel, with black or blue dials and interchangeable bracelet and strap options. It retails for EUR 8,950 on leather, and EUR 9.950 on steel bracelet.

2021 IWC Big Pilots Watch 43 IW329304

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Quick Facts – 43mm x 13.6mm – stainless steel case, brushed and polished – sapphire crystal on both sides – screw-in crown – 100m water-resistant – matte black or sunray brushed blue classic Pilot’s dial – painted numerals and markers with Super-LumiNova – rhodium-plated hands with Super-LumiNova – IWC Calibre 82100, in-house – automatic winding with Pellaton system – 22 jewels – 28,800vph – 60h power reserve – hours, minutes, seconds – interchangeable leather or rubber straps and steel multi-link bracelet – EUR 8,950 on leather strap, EUR 9,950 on bracelet

Patek Philippe Nautilus 5711/1A-014 Green

Everyone knows by now, the Patek Philippe Nautilus 5711 is no more. Until Patek decides to launch special editions after the olive green farewell edition that is. If the announcement of the discontinuation sparked discussion, the introduction of a green dial version, and later a Tiffany blue one were even more controversial. Nevertheless, it is a monumental watch and rightfully one of the highlights of last year’s Watches & Wonders. It exchanged the deep blue for an olive green tone on the dial, with literally nothing else changing. It still measures 40mm by 8.3mm and is made in stainless steel, with that iconic porthole-style design, on a brushed and polished bracelet. Inside, we still find the Calibre 26-330 S C which was introduced in the Nautilus in 2019. Even though it had a retail price of EUR 30,400, it was far from easy to get a hold of one, and the prices have gone insane on the pre-owned market.

2021 Patek Philippe Nautilus 5711 Green Dial - 5711/1A-014

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Quick Facts – 40mm x 8.3mm – stainless steel case, brushed and polished – sapphire crystal front and back – screw-down crown – 120m water-resistant – grooved and sunray-brushed olive green dial – gold applied indices and hands with luminescent coating – calibre 26-330 S C, in-house – Patek seal – automatic winding – 30 jewels – 212 components – 28,800vph – 35-45h power reserve – hours, minutes, seconds, date – integrated stainless steel bracelet with folding clasp – EUR 30,400

Bvlgari Octo Finissimo Perpetual Calendar

Bvlgari has pulled the covers off the world’s thinnest mechanical watch ever produced only days ago, continuing its relentless push in ultra-thin watchmaking. Last year it was the Octo Finissimo Perpetual Calendar that claimed the title of the world’s thinnest QP ever made, which hasn’t been bested since. It was the seventh record-breaking watch by Bvlgari, and a mighty impressive one. The case measures only 5.8mm in height, with the movement coming in at an ultra-slim 2.75mm. It ticks all the Octo Finissimo boxes and even pays homage to Gerald Genta’s love for retrograde indications. The in-house BVL 305 calibre indicates the time, date, day of the week, month and leap year. It was presented in a full titanium suite and a platinum case with a blue dial and blue leather strap. The Bvlgari Octo Finissimo Perpetual Calendar is priced at EUR 60,000 and EUR 90,000 respectively.

Bulgari Octo Finissimo Perpetual Calendar - world record thinnest perpetual calendar

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Quick Facts – 40mm x 5.8mm – sandblasted titanium or satin-brushed and polished platinum case – titanium or white gold crown – sapphire crystal front and back – 30m water-resistant – sandblasted titanium or blue lacquered dial – retrograde date at noon, leap year at 6 o’clock, day of the week and month in lower segment of dial – skeleton hands – Calibre BVL 305, in-house – integrated automatic QP movement with micro-rotor – 36.6mm x 2.75mm – 35 jewels – 21,600vph – 60h power reserve – hours, minutes, date, day, month, leap year – sandblasted titanium bracelet or blue leather strap – EUR 60,000 (titanium) or EUR 90,000 (platinum)

Rolex Explorer 1 36mm 124270 & 124273

Last year Rolex introduced the new 36mm size for the Explorer 1, in two new references. With this, it went back to a more classical dimension, in which it was produced between 1953 and 2010. In terms of aesthetics, one is not to expect a revolution at Rolex, and neither was the case with the Explorer 1. It became available in Oystersteel (Ref. 124270) and two-tone Rolesor (Ref. 124273). The solid black lacquered dial is as classic as can be, with the familiar 3/6/9 numerals gracing the dial. With the update also came a new movement, the Calibre 3230, known from the Submariner no-date and Oyster Perpetual collection. This includes several of Rolex outstanding technical developments like the Chronergy escapement and the Parachrom hairspring. The Explorer 1 retails for EUR 6,100 in Oystersteel or EUR 10,300 in Rolesor. If you can get hold of one, that is.

2021 Rolex Explorer 1 36mm 124270

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Quick Facts – 36mm diameter – Oystersteel or Rolesor case, bezel and crown – solid Oystersteel caseback – sapphire crystal with AR coating – 100m water-resistance – black lacquered dial – applied numerals and indices in white or yellow gold – Chromalight filling – calibre 3230, in-house – Superlative Chronometer – automatic winding (bidirectional) – 31 jewels – 28,800vph – Parachrom hairspring – Paraflex shock absorbers – Chronergy escapement – Paramagnetic pallet fork and escape wheel – 70h power reserve – hours, minutes, seconds – Oyster bracelet in Oystersteel or Rolesor with folding Oysterlock clasp and Easylink extension – EUR 6,100 (Oystersteel, ref. 124270) or EUR 10,300 (Rolesor, ref. 124273)

Tudor Black Bay Fifty Eight 925 Silver

During Watches & Wonders 2021 Tudor put up a surprising pair of Black Bay Fifty-Eight watches with a gold or silver case. While the full-gold version of the brand’s immensely popular retro-diver might have been too big of a stretch price-wise, the 925 silver Black Bay Fifty-Eight is actually a very handsome and unique rendition. The sterling silver case is made of a special alloy said not to tarnish, or at least very little and very slow. Combined with the subtle taupe-toned dial and bezel insert it was a refreshing take on the concept of the Black Bay, which was launched 10 years ago already. Power came from the MT5400 manufacture calibre, with a very decent 70-hour power reserve. It would also be the first time we would see a sapphire crystal caseback on a Black Bay. Retailing for CHF 4,100, it’s quite a fair deal with a unique appeal.

Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight 925 Silver Case 79010SG

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Quick Facts – 39mm diameter – 925 silver case, brushed – unidirectional diving bezel with anodized aluminium insert – sapphire crystal with AR coating – screw-down crown – open caseback – 200m water-resistant – domed, taupe-coloured dial – rhodium-plated hands and indices with Super-LumiNova – manufacture calibre MT5400, automatic – COSC certified – 27 jewels – 28,800vph – 70h power reserve – silicon balance spring – hours, minutes, seconds – brow grain leather strap or taupe fabric strap with silver streak with silver buckle – CHF 4,100

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