Watches & Wonders Recap: Tag Heuer, Zenith, Grand Seiko, and Parmigiani Fleurier
Esquire creative director Nick Sullivan is on the ground at Watches & Wonders in Geneva—the first big in-person watch event in three years—bringing us the best new releases from brands big and small. To kick things off, he's wrapping up key introductions from his first day. Keep reading to see what's coming from Tag Heuer, Zenith, Grand Seiko, and Parmigiani Fleurier.
Aquaracer Professional 1000 Superdiver
Tag Heuer is a brand defined both by its accessibility and its dedication to sport. A no-fuss maker of performance watches, it has been front and center in multiple sports for generations. So, a new titanium diver, the Aquaracer Professional 1000 Superdiver, available to buy now for shipping in July, is par for the course and the latest in a long line of serious dive watches that stretches back to the early 1980s and the original 1000m diver.
This one, however, comes with some interesting new developments both inside and out. Rated to ISO 6425:2018—the performance parameters for professional dive watches—but tested (just in case) to 1250m, the watch comes in a robust new 45mm case with a specially developed crown guard that moves in tandem with the crown. A fully integrated bracelet, also in titanium, maintains the bulky look without the excess weight of stainless steel. A bright orange gasket on the stem matches the orange-accented bezel and helps you ensure you have it safely screwed down before a dive. On the dial Grade X1 SuperLuminova glows brighter and, critically, longer than conventional SuperLuminova. On the inside, a first for TagHeuer is the exclusive, COSC-certified TH30-00 chronometer movement, specially developed with movement maker Kenissi—a middle ground between an external and in-house movement.
The 41mm Chronomaster Sport features an updated El Primero 3600 movement whose central seconds hand whips round the whole dial at alarming speed (i.e. six seconds) in order to record time down to a tenth of a second. This was a neat thing to show off at the pub when the Chronomaster Sport first emerged in 2020 in steel. Now it’s also available (staring in April) in rose gold or in bi-metal rose gold and steel, underlining the twin obsessions of Zenith: playing on the storied performance of the iconic El Primero movement, the first automatic chronograph movement to hit the market early in 1969, and matching it with an unalloyed sense of modern luxury. Along with the center hand—normally reserved for recording full seconds instead of tenths of them—two separate sub-dials in the Chronomaster Sport are devoted to recording seconds, one at 3 o’clock for the chronograph seconds and one at 9 o’clock for the running seconds.
SLGA015 Spring Drive Diver's Watch
Grand Seiko’s reputation for consummate finishing and relatively low-key and timeless design keeps the fans coming back for more. Yet the Japanese brand’s debut at Watches & Wonders Geneva was the occasion for it to pivot hard into a new range of sports watches that put the emphasis on more muscular watches while still paying homage to the design tenets of the brand that was founded in 1960. Evolution 9 is the rather cryptic name given to a triumvirate of large titanium watches with GMT, chronograph, and diver functions, ranging in size from 41mm (the GMT) to almost 46mm (the chronograph). For us, the pick of the bunch however is the 43.8mm diver with an unmissable hammered dial named after the Kuroshio Current, a warm-water ocean current off the west coast of Japan that is known as the Black Stream. Special dials are a particularly collectible thing at Grand Seiko, with highly artisanal finishes derived from ancient Japanese arts something of an obsession for the brand. The diver features a high-beat 9RA5 movement with an accuracy rating of half a second per day. The diver is, like the other two new watches, in continuous production and available starting in August.
Tonda PF GMT Rattrapante
Rattrapante is a French word for the more mundane sounding “catch up.” It refers to the ability of certain, especially sporty, watches to track time (usually in seconds), be stopped, and then regain their timing function without loss of the original data, for example, for split timing a race. Parmigiani Fleurier’s take, however, in its all-new Tonda PF GMT Rattrapante is altogether different. The steel case carries a platinum bezel and a micro grain d’or guilloché decoration that is 1,000 percent PF, the brand founded by watchmaking legend Michel Parmigiani in the late 1990s. It was Parmigiani who first pushed the idea of raising standards in finishing and bringing watch movement manufacture in house, a move that defines much of what drives major brands today. But PF watches have always relied on ingenious functionality as well as great beauty. Which is where the rattrapante part comes in.
The 40mm automatic GMT features two hour hands, one in rose gold to denote home time, and one in white gold for local. When you’re traveling you can see both home time and local time. The clever bit is that when you’re at home (or just don’t want to know what time it is at home), a press of the monopusher in the crown instantly hides the gold home time hour hand behind the local time. Pressing the button again flicks out it to its ongoing position. But unlike other rattrapantes, driven by the need—say, during a race—for a rapid return to running timing, the GMT hand takes just a tiny bit more time to disappear behind the local time hand. Partly that’s dictated by the needs of dampening the kinetic energy of a relatively heavy hour hand made in gold. But we also like to think it’s more dignified, too.
From: Esquire US