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Three new(ish) watches to get you ahead of Watches & Wonders Geneva

April 13, 2024

Greetings, dear readers; we hope you enjoyed the elongated weekend we just received, and for those who celebrate Easter, we hope you had a wonderful time. I am sitting and typing this wondering if I'll ever want to eat chocolate again, although there's not much hope for that happening as next week the horology world's biggest event of the year gets underway: Watches & Wonders Geneva, where over fifty brands get together at Palexpo in Geneva and show off their latest collections. Swiss hazelnut praline, anyone?

Even for the brands that aren't exhibiting there, like Breitling and the entire Swatch Group of brands (Omega, Blancpain, Breguet etc), it's this coming week that's their busiest. While we're sure there will be some fantastic new watches to see, it'll still be a while before they filter down and make their way to our showroom [for which you can book an appointment]. We're talking months here, by the way, as lots of brands, including the biggest of them all, still take a while to get their new watches out to their customers. 

So, if you're in the market for something and you don't want to wait an indeterminate amount of time, we've compiled another list of watches which are pretty new that you can purchase from us today.

Rolex GMT-Master II 126710BLNR 'Batgirl'

Precisely why this one is called the Batgirl is a little confusing, is it because of the Jubilee bracelet? This bracelet is just as masculine as the Oyster one it replaced for a time. Perhaps it's just a result of the word Batgirl getting stuck in the minds of the fandom, or maybe it doesn't matter at all anyway. Rolex makes loads of different versions of their legendary GMT-Master II collection, and at the time of writing all of them have a two-tone ceramic bezel. 

The ceramic bezels on these watches are all one piece with two different colours on them, which required Rolex to develop a whole new way of making the bezels. The 116710BLNR was the first example of them achieving that goal, and now every piece has a two-tone coloured bezel of some kind. With that said, the blue and black of the BLNR is hard to beat. Some other versions come close, like the red and blue 'BLRO' models, but the blue and the red on those don't seem that vibrant and it allows the colours of the BLNR to pop out even more. We think the BLNR is the one to have. 

The watch has a classy polished 40mm Oystersteel (Rolex's special 904L steel blend) case with a Jubilee bracelet and a clasp with a hidden extension link. The GMT-Master II allows you to figure out the time in up to three different timezones simultaneously, all you need to know is how many hours apart they are and whether those timezones are before or after the current one. Being designed at first for aircrew in the 1950s who presumably knew that stuff as a part of their job, you can see why it would be useful then. Although our phones do all those calculations instantaneously, it's nice to set a mechanical watch like the 126710BLNR into 'away' mode when you're on holiday.

Breitling Chronomat B01 42mm

So you don't fancy a Rolex or Omega, we get you! Lots of people will suggest Cartier as the next go-to brand for watches if you're not interested in the other two, but Cartier's watches are quite unique and their designs aren't always made to suit the masses. So, if you want something a bit more traditional in form and a bit less quirky, yet still unique enough to have presence, then Breitling's Chronomat could well be the watch for you.

The Chronomat line of watches isn't new at all. In fact, it dates back to 1941 and was the first watch made by Breitling to feature a slide rule on its bezel, allowing the user to perform mathematical calculations using just their wristwatch, a pencil and some paper. The Chronomat, therefore, predates the now iconic Navitimer, which is most renowned for this exact feature. In fact, the Chronomat name is a portmanteau of the words Chronographe and Mathèmatique.

The current Chronomat may not have that iconic slide rule bezel anymore, but it does have its own iconic design, which, incidentally, is partly thanks to its unique notched bezel. Other details include the rouleaux or 'roller' type bracelet, which offers exceptional comfort, and the uniquely shaped crown, which sort of reminds me of the brain slugs from Futurama. The version we currently have is a two-tone model with a classy blue dial and Breitling's in-house-made B01 calibre around the back. It's an ideal modern piece for someone looking to add their first chronograph to the collection.

TAG Heuer Aquaracer WBP201A

TAG Heuer's Aquaracer is a classy sports watch that's designed with a purpose, that purpose being to go to the depths of the sea and survive without issue. Does it look a little bit like Omega's Seamaster Diver 300m? Yeah, it does actually, but it does have its own identity still and its own history. TAG Heuer's legacy as a maker of diving watches began in the late 1970s when the company was called Heuer, although a lot of TAG Heuer's resurgence as a maker of watches can be attributed to the diving watches it produced.

The current generations of the Aquaracer, like this model WBP201A, look crisp and modern and form a key part in TAG Heuer's return to form as a maker of cutting-edge watches instead of a maker of watches that seem to have looked the same for over a decade. It comes with all the mod-cons you could want, but the highlights are most definitely the 300m water resistance, the dial with straight lines engraved on it and the luminescent markers applied to it. 

Inside it is the self-winding TAG Heuer Calibre 5 which began life as an ETA 2824-2, or possibly a Sellita SW200 depending on which supplier was being used at the time of manufacture. The specs for the movements are nearly identical, and the watch has a practical 42-hour power reserve and a 4Hz beat rate, which is the industry standard for today. All that's wrapped up in a pristine 43mm stainless steel case, it's so pristine in fact that it's not yet been unwrapped from its protective plastic wrapping applied in the TAG Heuer factory!

Keep an eye out over the coming weeks as more and more watch news gets published, there are lots of exciting releases coming soon!

These are only four of the many watches we stock at Watches of Wales, please note that these were available at the time of writing and may have been sold. However, we'd love for you to get in touch with us even if we don't have one of these, we can usually find one for you or find something you like even more.

Did you know we also run competitions where you can win your own luxury wristwatch with tickets starting as low as £1.99? Head over to our Competitions page to find out more.