Ah, the simple joys of attending a watch show. Walking the exhibition hall floor, getting free swag from watch brands, doing way too many surreptitious wrist checks and of course: seeing new watch releases in the flesh. We truly miss those days. But with Baselworld 2020 cancelled, the experience of viewing new watches in 2020 has changed considerably.
Still, there’s been some consolation during this difficult time. Tudor has given collectors several much-needed gifts during the spring and summer of 2020. First, it bestowed a new Tudor Black Bay 58 in a dark navy blue. Then, only a few months later, Tudor dropped the 2020 Tudor Royal on a gorgeous integrated bracelet.
After fears of no new Rolex releases in 2020, Rolex delivered a bevy of new updates on September 1. Rolex collectors saw the premiere of an updated 2020 Submariner with the most advanced movement yet, Oyster Perpetuals evoked classic Stella dials, and a whole host of other tweaks, design changes, and movement improvements to the Crown’s reference lineup debuted.
This big, unexpected release got thirsty collectors through the end of August when there was big news from Switzerland. Geneva Days 2020 was going to be held in person(!). After all, nothing screams “new normal” like viewing watches from 6 feet away (or, in Geneva, from 1.8 metres.)
Geneva Watch Days is always great for introducing us to our new super-rare grail watches. You know, the kinds of watches you’d buy if your spinster aunt suddenly died and left you her entire fortune because you always brought treats to her parakeet, Reginald - those kinds of watches. Geneva Days is also a showcase for new advancements in movement technology. It’s smaller, elite gathering where watch brands come to flex. We’re talking tourbillon-level flexes. Even though participants were masked, Geneva Watch Days 2020 was no exception to that rule. We wanted to share the top highlight from the show, but we couldn’t pick just one. Instead, let’s talk about our favorite watch brand from the show and the delightful runner-up.
The Runner Up: Ulysses Nardin
Ulysses Nardin is a name synonymous with watch perfection, and the 2020 releases showed the reason for that association. We were partial to the updated, limited-edition 44 mm Diver X with a truly unique bezel material and pattern, and siren-orange accents on the dial. Nardin also cranked it to 11 with the new 43 mm Freak X Magma in two editions: Ice and Fire. The Fire Freak X Magma features a black and red mix of epoxy and carbon fiber in a wood grain pattern on the titanium case that houses the UN-230 carousel tourbillon. For €27,000, it’s a nice addition to the stable. Of course, if you’re looking for something a little less plebeian, the 45 mm Blast might be a perfect choice. It’s a white gold number with a storied tourbillon movement inside, and will only cost you a mere CHF 410,000 to possess its perfection - a pittance to pay for a legitimate work of art.
The Clear Winner: H. Moser & Cie
The watch brand that stole the show (and our hearts) was H. Moser & Cie, an OG Central European brand.
We’re such suckers for Moser’s subtle classic looks, horological bona fides, and long Swiss history. In 2020, the update to the 40mm Streamliner Centre Seconds was the talk of the show. (Admittedly, that talk was somewhat muffled due to masks.)
Even in 2020, it’s hard not to be impressed by a well-executed flyback chronograph, in this case the time-only HMC 200 in-house movement. The 2020 Streamliner embraces and then elevates the integrated bracelet, which pairs beautifully with an emerald-green fumé dial. When such an innovative movement is encased in truly exquisite craftsmanship, the price tag of CHF 19,900 starts to look downright reasonable.
With New Watch Releases, When It Rains, It Pours
For a year that started out looking like there would be a dearth of new references, there have been all sorts of shiny toys to distract from the strangeness of 2020. There truly is a silver lining to every rain cloud, and our silver lining is definitely the color of polished stainless steel. If you need more accoutrements to keep you entertained while waiting for new releases, check out our watch rolls and rubber watch straps to refresh and home your personal 2020 collection.
Written by Meghan Clark
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