The digitisation of this year’s edition of Watches & Wonders seems to have rendered obsolete the practice of buyers putting their names on lists and waiting months for the year’s latest launch to arrive in boutiques. Perhaps thanks to the fact they were able to focus their resources and attention on production rather than creating a physical spectacle, a number of brands have been able to coincide product availability with announcements of their novelties at the fair. While this isn’t the case for all brands, the likes of Panerai and Tudor are already putting watches on wrists almost as quickly as – if not sooner than – images of the watches go online. 9 new timepieces Patek Philippe unveiled at Watches & Wonders: an olive green 5711, new Nautilus and Calatrava models and more The watch fair, however, remains a place where innovations are offered and new ground is broken, and a number of watchmakers tease at new developments and future direction. However the brand chooses to play it, what remains unchanged is the clear indication of prevalent trends that will be sure to lead the industry in the next few years to come. Green machines One of the most obvious trends to pick up on each year is the hue or hues leading brands seem to silently – yet collectively – lean towards. Green shoots have been sprouting throughout the industry in the past few years, but in 2021 the colour has burst into full bloom. Patek Philippe discontinued the 5711/1A-010 , the Nautilus with a blue dial, earlier in the year. Fans of the stainless steel reference now have a new waiting list to put their name on. The 5711/11A-014 features the same recognisable stainless steel case and strap, but with an olive green dial. The watchmaker also launched a version of this piece with a diamond bezel. Tudor’s new Black Bay Fifty-Eight 18K is a departure from the brand’s no-fuss utilitarian identity. At first glance, it appears as though the brand has launched yet another bronze reference, this time paired with a green dial, bezel and two green straps that give a distinct military feel. But as the name suggests, the case is fashioned out of brushed 18 carat yellow gold, albeit with a tinge of green. This helps propel it into a bracket that – price-wise – is the most ambitious Tudor launch ever. As for within the 39mm case, an in-house automatic movement is backed by 70 hours of power reserve, all protected by a sapphire crystal caseback. Jaeger-LeCoultre launched one of the most complicated timepieces yet at this year’s show: the four-faced Hybris Mechanica Calibre 185 Quadriptyque, to mark the 90th anniversary of the iconic Reverso. Six years in the making and featuring every function you could possibly ask for in a watch, from tourbillon to a first-ever display of synodic, draconic and anomalistic moon phases, it is undoubtedly an ambitious undertaking. What makes the Reverso such a classic, however, is its ability to transform from displays as complicated as this to one as simple as hours, minutes and seconds on a dial, as seen in the Reverso Tribute Small Seconds. This year’s reference – small seconds and all – takes on a deep green, of course. It’s a fitting nod to a design dating back to 1931 – Jaeger-LeCoultre is said to be one of the only watchmakers at that time producing coloured dials. This tour of the trend for green would not be complete without an honourable mention for Rolex’s new Datejust 36 with a new palm leaf motif dial. Following last year’s colourful Oyster Perpetual launches, we’re now used to seeing colour not only in the brand’s ladies’ or bejewelled designs. A more toned-down play on colour compared to last year’s offerings, the olive green dial delivers a bit of restraint yet hints at tropical fun. 5 superhero watches: coveted comic book timepiece collabs, selling for up to US$5 million Smaller, better, stronger Bigger is not always better, as shown by several designs that see their iconic bold cases shrink to adapt to smaller wrists. Fans have already nicknamed Panerai’s Submersible Bronzo Blu Abisso PAM01074 the “Baby Bronzo”. Bronze watches are loved for the patina they develop over time, which is unique to the wearer. Shrinking from 47mm to 42mm means the piece – while still feeling substantial – can be appreciated by those with slimmer wrists. Here, the bronze is paired with a matt blue dial and matching blue leather strap with bronze buckle. The three-day power reserve comes from its automatic P. 900 movement, giving momentum to the hour, minute and small seconds hand, as well as to the date indication. The name itself says it all: IWC’s Big Pilot is known for its dominating dimensions. A case measuring 43mm would be large by any other standards, but it’s quite the change of pace for the Big Pilot, known for its 46mm broad, legible dial. The cone-shaped oversized crown remains a key part of the design and helps distinguish the Big Pilot, despite its downsized body. The in-house 82100 calibre self-winding movement gives the piece its 60 hours of power reserve. The Pasha de Cartier was relaunched last year in 35mm, a size that captures the androgynous, contemporary aesthetics of the design. This year, Cartier unveils two new sizes: 41mm and a dainty 30mm. The smaller reference retains that protruding cabochon sapphire, yet in the smaller dimensions it gains a softer, more graceful look. Iterations in stainless steel or gold, with or without diamonds, speak to the versatility of this quartz-powered timepiece. The maison took this icon to new sparkling heights with a diamond-clad rendition featuring a unique gem-setting technique pioneered in-house in 2015. As Pierre Rainero, Image, Style and Heritage director of Cartier International, reveals, Pasha de Cartier Serti Vibrant design brings a playful element to the timepiece. “Diamonds naturally play with light, but we wanted to set them in an aesthetic way to play with light only when you move your wrist,” he says. The vibrating diamond setting allows the gems to shake ever so slightly to the wrist’s movement; this, Rainero says, revolutionises the use of diamonds watchmaking. “The disposition and repetition of the diamonds in the setting is new; it was very geometric before, now its position is more natural and organised in the dial.” Rainero says the house looks to apply this technique to other gemstones in the future. About a decade ago, Rolex embraced the big watch trend, resizing the Explorer from 36mm to 39mm. This year, the watchmaker banked on nostalgia and brought back the 36mm case. It is the first time Rolex has used gold in a time-only reference; it’s a new iteration yet somehow seems to double down on the vintage aesthetics. Replacing the last generation’s satin-finished dial, the new Explorer brings back a glossy dial, with Roselor gold framing the numerals “3”, “6” and “9” and baton hour markers. Watches & Wonders 2020 highlights: Cartier, Panerai, Hermès and more launch daring luxury timepieces at Geneva’s first digital-only fair Glow, sparkle and shine A good jewellery watch isn’t always about having the most diamonds and other gems. Many times, less is more when the stones are used in a creative way. From demure touches of shimmer to pure radiance, such sparks of creativity lend these watches their irresistible glow. Chanel’s J12 has taken numerous approaches to gem-setting over the years, with the brand generally taking an understated approach to the current rainbow gem trend. The J12 Electro Star, measuring 38mm, is a case in point, with its bracelet, case and dial set entirely in baguette diamonds, with coloured sapphires only positioned on the edges of the case and the bracelet. At first glance, the piece is much like any other full-pavé diamond watch; then you catch the discreet touch of colour that offers a unique take on the rainbow gem trend. Hermès’ latest ladies’ reference is a flawless example of “less is more”. Though the luxury powerhouse’s Faubourg Polka comes in a range of gem sets from full-pavé to bezel only, the house offers a clever reminder that jewellery is as much about gems as it is craftsmanship. The bracelet, with or without diamonds, is a piece of jewellery in itself. Playing with facets and polishing, as well as the geometry of gem cuts, the bracelet channels inspiration from baguette and brilliant diamonds. In the full-pavé versions, diamonds are used to piece together the geometric bracelet; the half-pavé version takes rose gold links and polishes them to evoke the facets of a diamond. The five iterations of gem sets and metals convey distinctively different aesthetics, from casual to formal. Few watchmakers embrace colours the way Bulgari does, and thanks to its jewel-making roots, the results are often stunning and unexpected. This year sees it launch the Serpenti Misteriosi Cleopatra Cuff Watch. As the name suggests, inspiration comes from the sultry femininity often associated with Cleopatra, and Elizabeth Taylor, a loyal patron of Bulgari and the actress who brought that role to life on screen. The hexagonal design nods to the snake-scale motif prominent in the house’s Serpenti collection. Aquamarine, tourmaline, amethysts, tanzanite, peridot, rubellite, citrine and no fewer than 4,000 diamonds are used to create this masterpiece. While we often see diamonds sparkling on watches, their brilliance dims in the dark, of course. Enter Roger Dubuis with a new patent that brings the bling no matter what – a potential game-changer. The Excalibur Single Flying Tourbillon Glow Me Up does not have the sparkle of a full-pavé diamond watch but it does offer a glow like no other. Baguette-cut diamonds surround the bezel, not unlike many gem-set watches. Is an Apple Watch really better than a Swiss timepiece? But in this case, grooves are cut into the diamonds and filled with coloured Super-LumiNova, a photoluminescent pigment. The result is a watch that sparkles by day and glows colourfully by night. Vacheron Constantin’s Égérie sees new interpretations this season with high jewellery accents. It’s a mechanical jewellery watch in the most traditional, purest sense. The off-centre dial gives the piece more character than your usual round dial, diamonds set out the circles on the bezel, and the circles drawn by the pink gold bezel and setting around the dial bring extra visual impact. Want more stories like this? Sign up here. Follow STYLE on Facebook , Instagram , YouTube and Twitter .