Geneva Watch Days 2023: up close with five new reveals

James Gurney reports from Geneva Watch Days 2023, the mini fair that spans the design-led, the ultra-traditional and the achingly avant-garde

Geneva Watch Days 2023 - Ressence Type 3 EE green dial detail
Ressence Type 3 EE, among the reveals at Geneva Watch Days 2023
(Image credit: Courtesy Ressence)

In Switzerland for the fourth incarnation of Geneva Watch Days (GWD, until 2 September), a grassroots (if you can have such a thing in the watch world) mini fair that showcases mostly smaller boutique makers, there’s an energetic buzz in the air with everyone bringing their best beach tans to the party. It’s a heterodox gathering that takes in pure horology, design-led brands, the ultra-traditional and the achingly avant-garde. And supporting the whole enterprise are a handful of more recognisable names, including Breitling, Bulgari, Girard-Perregaux, Oris and Ulysse Nardin.

GWD caters to a sector that’s still enjoying its Covid bounce (as work from home merged seamlessly into shop from home) and that was evident in the sheer creativity on show. The following five are just a taster of what the 40 or so brands taking part had to show.

Geneva Watch Days 2023 highlights

Bulgari Octo Finissimo CarbonGold Automatic 

Bulgari Octo Finissimo CarbonGold Automatic watch

(Image credit: Courtesy Bulgari)

Bulgari’s transformation over the past 20 years into fully fledged watchmaker has been astonishing; only Cartier now comes close to rivalling the brand’s volume, range and depth. The new version of the Octo Finissimo, a perpetual calendar in ‘Carbon Gold’ is horological magic – the whole watch is a bare 2.75mm in profile and is cased in carbon fibre, while the movement bridges visible through the back are in rose gold.


H Moser & Cie Endeavour Tourbillon Concept Vantablack

H Moser & Cie Endeavour Tourbillon Concept Vantablack watch

(Image credit: Courtesy H Moser & Cie)

H Moser & Cie has acquired a fast-growing legion of followers by combining studiously traditional watchmaking values with a contemporary aesthetic and clever tech. The Endeavour Tourbillon Concept Vantablack matches a reworked tourbillon movement with a dial in Vantablack, the ultra-low reflective surface coating associated with Anish Kapoor.


Singer Reimagined 1969 Timer

Singer 1969 Timer watch

(Image credit: Courtesy Singer Reimagined)

Singer Reimagined grew out of a partnership between famed Californian Porsche specialist Singer Vehicle Design and Marco Borraccino, an Italian watch designer (and lecturer at Geneva’s HEAD). The result is a series of watches built around the most advanced chronograph movement on the market that have a unique look with plenty of motorsport cues as in the tonneau-cased 1969.

CHF29,900 (€31,000),

Ulysse Nardin Blast Free Wheel Marquetry

Ulysse Nardin Blast Free Wheel Marquetry

(Image credit: Courtesy Ulysse Nardin)

In a competitive field, Ulysse Nardin can lay claim to being the single most revolutionary watchmaker over the last 20 years. It’s a position they balance with being a more or less traditional watchmaker. Blast Free Wheel Marquetry lives up to the revolution side with a movement that’s all technical fireworks, from the silicon ‘flying anchor’ to the laser-etched dial.


Ressence Type 3 EE

Ressence Type 3 EE green watch

(Image credit: Courtesy Ressence)

Ressence designs watches that show time through concentric discs, a seemingly ultra-modern concept that has its roots in clockmaking from the 17th century. With all the gearing hidden beneath the surface, the design of the Type 3 EE favours colour over detail, though the new watch debuts a number typeface that allows deeper a SuperLuminova fill.

CHF38,200 (€40,000),

James Gurney has written on watches for over 25 years, founding QP Magazine in 2003, the UK’s first home-grown watch title. In 2009, he initiated SalonQP, one of the first watch fairs to focus on the end-consumer, and is regarded as a leading horological voice contributing to news and magazine titles across the globe.