Here we are, April 2021, and we have had the trade show Watches & Wonders, which includes Cartier, IWC, Vacheron (mainly Richemont Group brands) and a few others like Hermes and RESSENCE who have all dropped new launches. We also had AP last week alongside Patek – in short – it’s all happening. So instead of calling this round up “The Best of Watches & Wonders” – as it is more than that, we called it “10 New Watches For 2021 You Need to Know About” – which feels about right.
There have been three distinct themes for this year – reduction in case sizes (IWC have taken the Big Pilot down from 46mm to 43mm), quick change straps (AP have introduced these to all new Offshore Royal Oaks) and green dials (we have a new green 5711)! So, let’s get into it.
This maybe my sleeper hit of the year so far. Unlike the majority of new launches over recent years – this is true inspiration. A whole new thing, designed and built from the ground up – not a reissue. The H08 is a modern all-terrain watch that doesn’t have the classical notes we are used to from Hermes. The case is wonderful, and easy to spot across the room, playing off the numerals zero and eight, featuring circular shapes, softened edges, and pleasing curves contrasted by angular details that balance the composition. A real winner for around £5k.
Often mistaken for the Reverso, the Cartier Must is a classic square dress watch with real pedigree. The original Tank goes all the way back to 1919 and the Must de Cartier to the 70’s. These are quartz-powered, monochromatic, and oh so colourful variations on the classic Tank design that pay direct homage to similar monochrome Must de Cartier watches from the 1980s. All in stainless steel they come in green (there are more to come in the list), red and blue.
I have to confess; this was the one watch in the latest round of new drops that got under my skin. We all know and love the Explorer for its rugged sensibilities – so when Rolex released this one, eyebrows were raised. This new 36mm Explorer is two-tone Rolesor, a combination of steel and yellow gold. Since its release in 1953, the Explorer (known in some circles as the Explorer 1) has been a single-watch collection for Rolex – looking forward to seeing more reaction from this one in the weeks to come.
There are three new models for 2021 from the iconic Daytona family - firstly a white gold, black Cerachrom bezel, second, a yellow gold case, yellow gold bezel and yellow gold bracelet and finally an Everose gold case, Everose bezel and bracelet. Technically, these are the same old friends as you know and love, 40mm in size with the 4130 movement. The big kicker for this year – the meteorite dials – do let us know in the comments below what you think.
The Big Pilot you know and love, just a little smaller at 43mm. The big question on many people’s lips has been “does the Big Pilot still feel like a Big Pilot?” – I say it does. Having had the opportunity to handle one, it still has that iconic onion crown, dial legibility and riveted strap. The big design change is an open case back, fully lume markers and no power reserve. I think it’s a winner, opening up a classic to more wrists.
The news broke a few weeks back now at the end of March that Patek would be discontinuing the blue dial 5711 which we all know (and many love). Prices skyrocketed from £50k-ish to over £90k (and rising). Many thought we would see something similar, but few expected to see a green dial newbie. For many, it has been a little hard to digest as a daily wearer – but no doubt the market will speak, and it will become a classic.
Some will remember the green dialled, limited edition for boutiques only that JLC did a few years back. The smash hit success of that reference has paved the way for this beauty. If the deco design language speaks to you, you have to get a time only variation and in the slim Tribute package. The beautiful, faceted dauphine hands, rich green dial, applied bar indexes, and a small second’s display at 6:00 all come together to create a supremely elegant dress watch.
An all-time favourite of mine - the off-centre drivers watch with cushion case is a design icon and now 100 years old. There is a 36mm variation as well as the standard 40mm in white gold and now in platinum (boutique only). The key design elements are the applied markers vs painted and the platinum stealth wealth vibes not only on the watch itself, but also the platinum in the strap itself. No doubt, an understated classic.
The blue BB38 last year was a smash hit. This year we have a taupe bezel and dial, open case back (for the first time) and a solid 925 silver case. Interestingly, early diver watches were made in silver and while it maybe not be obvious on first inspection, this is a cracking new offering that will no doubt fly off the shelves.
Yup – a solid platinum Royal Oak "Jumbo" with a green sunburst dial. And not only does it feel the part on the wrist, but this green dial is something else! It really has to be seen to be appreciated. The 15202 is a hugely popular reference, and for good reason. It has perfect proportions and is the closest to the original in 72” as AP offer. It is not limited but only available at AP Houses. If you get offered one – take.