The Best Pieces at This Month’s Biggest Watch Event

There’s something funny about a watch fair coinciding with fashion month. The procession of fashion weeks always puts the pressure on: what are the trends? Which pieces should I dog ear for later? How will this inform the way I’m dressing—and shopping—in just a few short months? New watches, on the other hand, arrive with much less burden, as was the case at LVMH Watch Week, the fashion conglomerate’s fair for new watches. Trends move glacially in the watch world, and aren’t meant for everyone all at once: there’s something soothing about knowing I’ll never own a neon-yellow Hublot made out of a translucent material similar to sapphire called Saxem. 

In that way, I love new watch release season, which only comes a couple of times a year. It’s easy to gorge on all of the newness at once, and then spend the rest of the year digesting. 2023’s already given us a ton to look at, but here are a few more: my favorite pieces I saw at the event. 

Zenith’s Defy Revival

I don’t know what they were putting in the coffee at watch manufacturers in 1969, but it was a huge year for the industry. NASA put a man (and the Omega Speedmaster) on the moon, while Zenith introduced the world’s first automatic chronograph. Zenith’s watchmakers were particularly busy that year: they also released the Defy, which is being faithfully resurrected 54 years later. The new version of the Defy pushes all the right vintage buttons: the awesome, stacked-up “pyramid” hour markers and that unlike-anything-else bracelet with small openings between the links. The bracelet, in my opinion, might be the star feature. Itsdesign, known as “the ladder,” was created by legendary bracelet makers Gay Frères, the go-to for the Swiss watch industry’s top players before Rolex absorbed it in 1998. Zenith, luckily, held onto the exclusive rights to this design and are bringing it back as part of the new-old Defy. And then, after all those nice vintage touches, the watch wallops you over the head with that brash ruby red dial. Maybe my favorite piece from the whole fair. 

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