2024 Watches & Wonders: Taking a Shine to Switzerland

Watches & Wonders showed us bright, new things in brilliant diamonds

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Serious watch nerds obsess over the intricacies of the tiny machines they love, the mostly unseen interior architecture that gives them their essential functions. And at the annual Watches & Wonders exhibition in Geneva, they converge worldwide for a few days, ready to talk tourbillons, tachymeters, and trade notes on the record-breaking watchmaking feats that impressed them most. But don’t be fooled; this crew isn’t immune to the appeal of eye candy, especially where diamonds are involved.

Every year, some of the most lusted-after new launches are the ones that serve some serious carat weight along with technical innovation, whether on a high jewelry confection that would be just right at the Met Gala or a handsome diamond-set reference that Jay-Z might wear to a Lakers game. These are some of the new releases that will inspire wait lists, even before they drop. When it comes to diamond watches, it’s what’s inside and out that counts. 

Hidden Gems

Not all watches are jewelry, but some have a place in both worlds. There’s a new fashion for elegant jewelry pieces that is a throwback to when it was considered impolite to wear a watch at a black tie event. They conceal their time-telling function so well that it’s almost invisible to everyone except the person wearing it. Who doesn’t want to appear free from watching the clock at a festive, fancy night out? These pieces achieve that effect with pure, all-out glamour. No one would suspect Cartier’s luminous cuff conceals a watch in its contours or that Vacheron Constantin’s diamond-set jewel is a watch that can transform from a bracelet to a necklace, too. And while we all want to be in the moment, it can still be handy not to lose total track of time. Even Cinderella was supposed to be sure she made her exit by midnight. 


Seated Lion Long Necklace in 18K yellow gold, onyx, diamonds with black lacquered dial. Price upon request: chanel.com.

Vacheron Constantin

Grand Lady Kalla in 18K white gold bracelet watch with no less than 131 diamonds, plus a sautoir containing an additional 268 diamonds (totaling over 46 carats), Akoya pearls, and onyx. Price upon request: vacheron-constantin.com.

Grand Lady Kalla in 18K white gold bracelet watch with no less than 131 diamonds, plus a sautoir containing an additional 268 diamonds (totaling over 46 carats), Akoya pearls, and onyx. Price upon request: vacheron-constantin.com.


Reflection de Cartier jewelry watch, 18K white gold, diamonds. Price upon request: cartier.com.


Swinging Sautoir Watch. Price upon request, piaget.com.

Blinded by the Light

We’ve heard a lot about quiet luxury for a few years. That approach to fashion will always have its acolytes: lavishly inconspicuous dressers wafting through life in thousand-ply cashmere and watches so rare only experts will…clock how special they are. But let’s hear it for the peacocks, too; they eschew muted Roy family Succession wardrobes for something more eye-grabbing. We need the flamboyant souls that want you to see their swag from across a colosseum; they’re bold enough to wear just-released masterpieces flaunting diamonds racking up double-digit carat weights and far-out avant-garde designs. Fans of extroverted, edgy timepieces can take their pick from some standout releases that tested the abilities of top-notch talents in the craft of watchmaking and gem setting. They boast mechanical substance—skeletonized chronographs and artful day/night complications—to go along with all that shine. Each of these will get knowing nods of approval from serious watch snobs and jewelry fanatics, too. 


Alpine Eagle 33 Frozen in 18K white gold with full-cut and trapeze-cut diamonds. Price upon request, chopard.com.


Spirit of Big Bang Sang Bleu High Jewelry watch in 18K King Gold with dial, case, and bezel set with baguette-cut diamonds. $396,000, hublot.com

Grand Seiko 

Masterpiece collection Spring Drive 8-day jewelry watch SBGD215 in platinum with diamonds and sapphires. $300,000, grand-seiko.com.

Van Cleef & Arpels

Lady Jour Nuit watch in 18K white gold featuring diamonds, blue-painted mother-of-pearl, aventurine glass, self-winding mechanical movement. $91,000, www.VanCleefArpels.com, 877-VAN-CLEEF.

Game Time

Among their many merits—ravishing beauty, timeless chic, sentimental attachments—diamonds are the hardest materials found in nature. It’s one of the reasons that they’re no-brainers for jewelry that’s worn all the time, like engagement rings, and a go-to for watches. Even the klutziest among us doesn’t need to worry much about dinging the diamonds that light up a dial, bracelet, or bezel. And it’s not just dainty dressy watches or styles designated for “ladies” getting the diamond-dusted treatment. This year, many new releases feature a healthy dose of diamonds, an unfussy sporty sensibility, and styling that defies stale boundaries along gender lines. If there’s anything we’ve learned from recent breakout watch choices across generations and style persuasions (see: Timothée Chalamet in a Cartier Crash, Jay-Z rocking a Patek Philippe annual calendar, or Michelle Yeoh in anything Richard Mille), getting decked out in diamonds is an equal opportunity obsession. 


Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona in 18K white gold with diamonds and a black mother of pearl dial. Price upon request: rolex.com


Hermès Cut with steel case and 18K rose gold bezel set with diamonds on a glycine rubber strap. $16,300, hermes.com

Patek Philippe

Aquanaut Luce in 18K white gold featuring diamonds and blue sapphires. Price upon request: patek.com.


Clair de Rose measuring 34mm in stainless steel with diamonds. $3,375, tudorwatch.com.