Yesterday we shared our favorite watches from this year’s W&W show. Now we’re back with a look at the watches that caught us off guard. The word surprise means something different to each of us, and this list includes pieces we never thought we’d see, as well as pieces we liked more than we thought we would. Some are complications filled with emojis, others with Muppets. The rest threw us for a loop for various reasons. But in the end, all of these watches surprised and delighted us. Without further ado, here are our most surprising creations from the 2023 Watch Fair.
Audemars Piguet isn’t the only brand making perverted blue ceramic pieces. Not that many collectors will compare the Top Gun to the Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar, but for what it’s worth, this highly readable pilot’s watch is easier to find, more affordable, and perhaps even more wearable. As documented on this site, my wrist is about the size of a cabbage patch doll – so I was shocked at how naturally this replica rolex yacht master fit on my arm. Yes, the strap has shades of the infamous Hublot Big Bang Jeans. That only makes me like it more. Nick Marino
I chose the newly revamped Tudor Black Bay as my favorite, and I stuck with the Shield, using the new Black Bay 54 as my surprise choice. I mean, who knew we needed a smaller version of the Black Bay 58? I certainly didn’t, and I don’t think my colleagues did either. The 39mm case of the BB58 is the perfect size for many wrists, and it’s hard to imagine Tudor changing that formula. I think we’re all wrong.
With a diameter of 37 mm, the Black Bay 54 now gives wrists of more sizes the opportunity to experience the vintage inspiration of the TUDOR Black Bay. This time, TUDOR took direct inspiration from their first diver, the reference 7922. Not only is the case smaller than the BB58, but Tudor has made some welcome functional and visual design improvements to the bezel, crown, and even includes a T-fit clasp that wasn’t available on the BB58 (I’m guessing not yet). I have a 7.25″ wrist and always liked the way the original BB58 fit, but after trying on this new version, I have to say that I like the look of the BB54 better. Who knew? – Brandon Menanjo.
Last year, when I first experienced the Chopard Alpine Eagle in person – the green dial. I thought the 36mm size would be a better fit for me, but as I put the 41mm lucite steel on my wrist, I began to appreciate the engineering and ergonomics of the AE case and bracelet design. I even looked past the 4:30 date window that is usually inherent in the 41mm size. Then came the 2023 watch show. I sat at the Chopard booth with Malaika and Tony when a box was opened in front of me to reveal the new Monte Rose Pink (“salmon” in Chopard parlance) dial Alpine Eagle XPS.
This is a 41mm Alpine Eagle taken to a new level. In many ways, this model has always represented value in the face of other luxury stainless steel integrated bracelet sports replica watches. By installing the L.U.C 96.40-L movement and raising the price to over $22,000, this watch represents something different. It is now a fine timepiece. I like the decision to drop the date window and move the small seconds display to the six o’clock subdial. Most importantly, the color of the dial with the eagle iris motif is just stunning. I was ready to be blown away this year, but it still caught me off guard to see Chopard combine its newly popular sports model with serious watchmaking. But seeing it in person left me in a quandary if this might not be my favorite at the show. For now, we’ll leave it to surprises, and I can’t wait to see it again soon. – Danny Milton
I don’t believe any of the people claiming they weren’t surprised by this Rolex release. This is the level of surprise that Jennifer Coolidge’s White Lotus character was killed off at the end of season two.
After spending a little quiet time – after the chaos of Palexpo – I was finally able to mentally process the new emoji Day-Dates. I think that for most of us, the level of shock on this one was pretty straightforward and understandable. Emojis and “inspirational words” replace the “date” feature, kind of like a Balenciaga knockoff – Lay’s chips clutch bags anybody?
But I like it. Why not have fun in a world that takes itself too seriously? I’m really looking forward to the next time I’ll be able to set emojis on “dates”.