My 5 Favorite Watches from W & W 2021

I’ve liked watches for as long as I can remember. It’s a strange hobby to some, but for me, it’s more like an obsession. I love time, the concept of keeping track of time, and also getting lost within time.

Clocks are the keeper of time for the public, but the wristwatch… That brings a physical relationship between the wearer and time. It is a choice that is both fashionable, sometimes valuable in cases of jewelry, but most importantly functional.

While many don’t wear wristwatches anymore or opt for smart watches, I still love the art of the watchmaking… Akin to the way we think of paintings versus a digital photograph. Both provide a function or a display if you will, but the emotion and the artistry is completely different. There is value in both of course. I am not anti-digital watches or smart watches, in fact I love all innovation in the space, specifically with health, materials, and production… But for my wrist, outside of exercise, I prefer the painting.

About Watches and Wonders

Every year watch brands release their new pieces so authorized dealers, media personal, and fans/ buyers can get a feel for the new pieces. It’s usually done through two big shows.

Baselworld and SIHH (Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie).

Baselworld was a massive trade show in Basel, Switzerland that used to host top brands such as Rolex and Patek Philippe.

SIHH took place in Geneva and featured brands from Richemont such as Cartier and Vacheron Constantin.

Because these shows are both in Switzerland they mostly feature Swiss watch brands, though German brands such as Nomos, Belgian brands such as Ressence, and Japanese brands such as Citizen also used to show at these events.

The past few years however have seen major changes. Though these shows used to be important for those connected to the watch industry, such as authorized dealers, so they can see which pieces fit their clients, the shows are extremely expensive for the brands. With the internet and many watch publications such as: Hodinkee, Revolution Watch, Time and Tide, and A Blog to Watch all covering new releases… Also YouTube, and social media… It becomes less important for brands to participate. Additionally some super-conglomerate brands decided to develop their own watch shows. LVMH (Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy) presents at LVMH Watch Week. Also the shows have traveled not only online but also to other locations such as Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Miami so it gets complicated to keep track.

Writing On The Wall

Bringing us to Watches and Wonders… W&W is a replacement for SIHH, changing the name for 2020. Great time to change because the shows only happened digitally for 2020 due to COVID-19. The writing was on the wall for the show even earlier when brands such as Audemars Piguet and Richard Mille announced in 2018 that they would stop attending the show by 2020, talk about a crystal ball! Additionally, Baselworld got screwed because Rolex, Patek Phillipe, Chopard, Chanel, and Tudor all pulled out of the 2021 in favor of their own event. Making Baselworld effectively irrelevant.

Watches and Wonders 2021

With everything so disjointed, the major brands are all showing either on their own or at Watches and Wonders, which is a digital event based out of Geneva April 7- 13, 2021 and in person in Shanghai April 14-18, 2021.

My Five Favorite Watches from W&W 2021

Disclaimer. I’m not sponsored by any watch brand. I’m just a fan. Also, I’m not putting the price on here because these watches are outrageous and I don’t want to take away from the beauty of the designs.

1) Zenith Defy Extreme

Just… Wow 😍.

Zenith has been crushing it this year with their releases and this watch is no exception.

It comes in three color-ways, but the blackout is my favorite.

The Defy Xtreme (how the old model was spelled) used to be a bit of a black mark in the watch industry. Theirry Nataf, the former innovative CEO of Zenith brought on the craziest designs imaginable.

Zenith Xtreme from 2007, Peak Nataf Era

Personally, I love wild. I mean… This should be fun, right? Many scoffed at the designs. So enter a new era at Zenith with Julien Tornare…

And I’m not complaining! What an awesome time it has been.

2021 Zenith Defy Extreme Blue

The new Defy Extreme is 45mm in Titanium with the El Primero 9004 automatic movement.

2021 Zenith Defy Extreme Gold 2 Tone

It’s big, it’s bold, and not for everyone, but I love it! Can’t wait to see this one in person.

2) Oris Diver 65 Cotton Candy

Oris Diver Sixty-Five Cotton Candy

Oris is one of the brands that used to get a big shoulder shrug from me. I’ve never been too excited about them.

That all changed with this release.

I mean… Look at the dials 😍.

Though I like all three of the colors, the pink is a favorite. I’ve been looking for a cool pink dial watch. I’ve never really found one in a man’s size that I liked until this one.

Bronze case, 38 mm size, and with a winding automatic movement. I could see people collecting all three.

One qualm with this watch is the fact that the date window color doesn’t match the color of the dial. Considering how distinctive the dial colors are, the pop of white on the date throws the design off a bit.

Overall though, a very cool unisex release.

3) Rolex Datejust 36: Green Leaf Dial

2021 Datejust 36mm

The Rolex Datejust has been around since 1945.

Datejust 1945

It looks pretty different now than it did back then, but it is one of Rolex’s longest standing models. It comes in a lot of sizes, but its most popular is the unisex 36mm.

Rolex released this cool leaf-like green dial design in 36mm, and I’ve never seen anything like it before from the brand. Maybe in the design of a Rolex boutique but never with such a colorful dial texture on the watch. Though this piece isn’t different technically from other modern Datejusts, the new dial keeps things fresh and interesting. I really like it, and hope Rolex continues to experiment with dials, because it’s just fun. I see this green dial being very collectable and cool for the summer.

4) IWC Big Pilot Mojave Desert

The Big Pilot (46mm) was re-released in 2002 to tremendous fan-fair. It has a cult following, even among celebrities such as John Mayer.

IWC made the first Big Pilot for the Nazi German Air-force in 1940. The watch was 55mm and the crown was tremendously large so a pilot could set the time while wearing gloves.

I don’t love the Nazi heritage relationship, but I think it’s cool that the design has remained relevant so many years later. There are many large pilots watches still being made today in Germany and Switzerland and most still look like this. Classic designs are classic designs after all.

The IWC Mojave Desert color way was initially released for the Top Gunner chronograph pilot’s watch in 2019.

IWC Top Gunner

IWC brought the color way to both the perpetual calendar model and the standard Big Pilot. It’s a great addition to the collections. I love the Mojave desert look. It’s very unique and I like the way they were able to lay out the dials and color everything so perfectly. There’s a tremendous balance with these watches and on the right wrists they would look amazing.

IWC also came out with a more classic looking Big Pilot watch this year in 43mm. It has a no-nonsense design that goes back to its heritage.

43mm Big Pilot 2021

I think the piece is handsome and will be a top seller, especially in the more wearable size. It’s still large, so it offers the wrist presence and style the watch is known for, but the design is more understated, symmetrical, and versatile.

5) Patek Philippe Annual Calendar 4947A

Just when you think Patek is getting boring with all the Instagram driven 5711 and 5980 hype… They drop this absolute stunner!

The annual calendar moon phase has been part of the Patek collection since 1996, however this is the first time they have made it in steel and with an entirely new dial.

I love the blue textured dial. My only qualm for the watch is that the date color is in white and not blue. The dial is unbelievably beautiful and the white date (with a font that is different from the rest of the dial) just throws it off balance.

I’ve never owned a moon-phase piece but I’ve always been fascinated by them. If set correctly, the shape and display of the moon on the watch will change with the moon in the sky. This is so cool because it dates back to early timekeeping when people used sundials and tracked the moon to tell the time and date.

Credit: Crown & Caliber

This model uses a Calatrava-type polished steel case. The movement is the same as the one offered in the white and rose gold versions of the watch.

I prefer this version to the white and rose gold versions (not new for 2021) as I love the beautiful blue dial color and the more simple bezel, bracelet and case design… With a moon phase, watching the dial change over time to follow the moon would be very satisfying as an everyday piece.

4947 Patek in Rose Gold (not a new 2021 model)
4947 in White Gold (not a new 2021 model)

At 38mm this watch can be worn by all genders. It also can fit as both a dress or casual watch depending on the situation.

Overall amazing release from Patek, I like the new direction. Developing designs for modern tastes but still keeping their heritage and quality. This would be a grail watch for me… If not for that ugly white date on the dial!

Final Thoughts

I had a great time writing this post as I love watches and love sharing my love of watches. Watches and Wonders is something new for the industry so it will be interesting to see how the show develops over time. Also it will be interesting to see how the events will look once the COVID-19 pandemic has died down.

I was talking about watches with a friend this week and I described the “watch game” as an expensive and somewhat pointless hobby… But one that love we both love so much!

I think it’s important not to take this stuff too seriously.

I hope you enjoyed this article on W&W 2021.

All the best,



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