High Times in Geneva: The Best New Pieces From Watches & Wonders 2024

The best watches are about more than simply marking the passage of time. At Watches & Wonders Geneva, the recent exposition of more than 50 of the world’s foremost watch brands, the pieces that stood out were the ones that reinterpreted this centuries-old accessory in daring and beautiful new ways. From watches that push the boundaries of technological know-how with complex mechanical movements to ones that showcase the carefully honed skills of gem setters, enamelers, and other traditional artisans, these are the brands and pieces that moved the needle.


J12 X-Ray Pink Edition, CHANEL.

Gabrielle Chanel’s signature blend of precision and whimsy remains a guiding influence in Chanel’s watches as much as the brand’s coveted couture. In addition to a selection of sleek, modern wristwatches, Chanel’s 2024 timepiece collection included a wide array of pieces from cuffs to necklaces, each of which subtly incorporates a timepiece while paying homage to the Maison’s rich legacy.

BOY-FRIEND Skeleton Pink Edition, CHANEL.

In tribute to its founder’s love of pink, the stars of the 2024 collection are new versions of the J12 and BOY-FRIEND models with a limited-edition makeover en rose. The J12 X-Ray Pink Edition, limited to 12 pieces, features a 38 mm pink sapphire crystal case with 18K beige gold accents, and matching bezel set with 46 baguette-cut pink sapphires. The 55-piece J12 Pink Edition, meanwhile, combines 18k beige gold accents and a pink sapphire bezel with a 33 mm case made out of crisp white ceramic. The BOY-FRIEND watch gets a similar dual treatment in the Skeleton Pink Edition and an X-Ray Pink Edition, the latter featuring a stunning pink sapphire case enclosing a manual-winding mechanical skeleton movement with rose-hued accents.

Van Cleef & Arpels

Lady Jour Nuit, Van Cleef & Arpels, $240,000.

Savoir-faire is French for “know-how,” and at Van Cleef & Arpels it translates into a wide range of time-telling creations united under the “Art of Time.” The Lady Arpels Jour Nuit and Lady Jour Nuit watches, are a pair of new models with 33- and 38-mm white gold cases that feature an animated night sky revolving beneath a piece of intricately-carved mother of pearl. With a diamond moon, diamond stars, and a sun set with snow-set yellow sapphires or guilloché yellow gold on a dial made of Murano aventurine glass, the heavens revolve almost imperceptibly on a 24-hour rotating disc.

Lady Arpels Brise d’Été, Van Cleef & Arpels.

Said to be inspired by a fresh summer morning, the Lady Arpels Brise d’Été’s matte mother-of-pearl dial depicts a flower garden in full bloom. A pair of white- and yellow-gold butterflies rendered in plique-à-jour enamel tell the time as they flutter around the edge of the dial between vallonné enamel flowers decorated with spessartite garnet pistils. With a push of a button on the 38mm white gold case, however, a complex set of mechanical automatons bring the scene to life, animating the flowers on their miniature-painted stems as if caressed by a summer breeze.

Apparition des Baies, Van Cleef & Arpels.

The Apparition des Baies automaton, a mechanical table clock sitting on a base of Dalmatian jasper and pink-hued thulite, takes things to another level of complexity with a bouquet of 112 lacquered rose-gold leaves that glides open at the touch of a button. A white-gold, diamond and sapphire bird spreads its wings and takes flight with remarkable fluidity to a dulcet music box melody, before gracefully settling back into its nest beneath the foliage. As impressive as this display may be, the Apparition des Baies’ main function is telling the time, which it does via a white-gold butterfly on a rose-gold branch that marks the hours on a rotating ring embellished with yellow gold and diamonds.