April 2023


The latest Wilbur watch is out of this world.

While the Wilbur LEO is round and rests on the wrist like a traditional watch, its sculptural, multi-part titanium case does not enclose traditional hour, minute and seconds hands. The LEO instead displays the time in an unusual manner on a dial that looks like a satellite tumbling its way around Earths orbit.

The Wilbur LEO

At the center of this 48.5mm by 46mm titanium puzzle the LEO displays the hour prominently and digitally. 

The hour digit that appears in the LEO’s central aperture is actually a mash-up of two otherwise indecipherable symbols that meet once per hour.

One clear sapphire disks and another brushed-black sapphire disk rotate twice a day on either side of the hour display. When they meet, those ‘alien’ symbols form the correct hour digit at the dial’s center. 

To display minutes and seconds, the LEO returns to earth, displaying each at the end of fixed bridges that double as hands.

Wilbur’s other-worldly method of creating the hour digit is put into practice by Swiss movement engineering company Concepto, and is a global premiere.

Jason Wilbur, company founder and chief designer, explains that the LEO took him seven years to finalize. The idea originated from learning about the Roswell, NM, ‘alien’ stories.

Jason Wilbur in his design studio.

“I wanted to create something that sprang from learning in my youth about the Roswell incident with all its alien stuff,” he recalls. 

For the LEO, Wilbur created a type of coded language to feed the unusual jump hour display. 

“No one on Earth who saw those pieces would know what the Roswell symbols mean. So I created my own code. On the watch the hours come together with coded symbols,” he adds.

Limited Editions 

Wilbur will make fifty examples of the LEO in its initial JW 1.1 version, but he plans to eventually build three-hundred LEO watches in a variety of hues and with customized finishes and materials.

The LEO complements WILBUR’s existing lineup, which also includes the EXP watch and the Launch Edition, both of which are square-cased modular watches built with an artful mix of steel, ceramic and silicon components.

“We’ll make those in about 5,000 units per year,” he explains. “Two models are on the website now and two more are coming.” He notes that these modular designs offer him the creative leeway to create some ‘crazy’ Wilbur watches. 

The Wilbur LEO JW1.1 is priced starting at $32,500. 

Specifications: The Wilbur LEO JW1

Case: 48.50mm X 46.00mm X 16.50mm 8-part modular titanium (materials can vary by edition), sapphire crystals w/ anti-reflective coating, 30 meters of water resistance, hand finished , exhibition back.

Movement/Dial: In-house Engine One automatic jump-hour, made in Switzerland by Concepto,, hours displayed on proprietary sapphire & aluminum jump-hour disks shown under central window, minutes on hubless ring disc (fixed pointer on bridge) and seconds on small disc (fixed pointer on bridge). JW1 movement chassis,JW 1 rotor

Strap: Black silicone with Cordura option.

Base price: $32,500. 

“Die Unerreichbare” (The Unattainable) is the name of this Tetra with a silver dial and a small seconds dial in pink.

Nomos adds four new models to its square-cased Tetra collection, each with a dial that includes a shade of pink, and each with its own quirky name.

One of the four new Nomos Tetra watches. Its name, “Die Wildentschlossene,” means The Fiercely Determined.

The English names for the four models are: The Unattainable (silver dial with pink small seconds), The Fiercely Determined, (pink dial, silver small seconds), The Mad One (light purple with a milled small seconds) and The Capricious (a ‘nude’ tone with small seconds dial in silver).

This is Die Fuchsteufelswilde (The Mad One). And for the first time, the Tetra now comes on a strap made of vegan velour.

Each model in the new Tetra quartet measures 29.5 in diameter and each one arrives a vegan velvet grey velour strap that Nomos is utilizing for the first time here.

Die Kapriziöse (The Capricious) is the name of this new Tetra.

All four watches come with either a clear sapphire crystal back or a solid steel caseback (suitable for engraving). 

The same manual-wind Nomos Alpha caliber power each watch, no matter which ‘quirk’ the buyer chooses. 

Well established within Tetra, this caliber offers a level of technical features well above what you would likely find in any other manual-wind movement watch at this price range.

These features include a stop-seconds mechanism, a Glashütte three-quarter plate, a regulation system adjusted in six positions, tempered blue screws, rhodium-plated surfaces with Glashütte ribbing, a perlage-finished ratchet wheel and a crown wheel nicely finished with a Glashütte sunburst pattern.  

Prices: $2,080 (steel caseback) and $2,320 (clear caseback).  

By Nancy Olson

Storytelling and imagery are important players in communication, creating connection, emotion and, as a result, remembrance.

Watches and Wonders 2023 in Geneva was rife with stories, often told most dramatically by the watch brandsrespective exhibit space. From the fantasy of jewels at Van Cleef & Arpels to A. Lange & Sohnes Odysseus Chronograph, there was a lot to take in and even more to inspire.

The Montblanc booth at Watches and Wonders 2023 featured an oversized nib as a pendulum.

Walking into the Montblanc booth, for example, was like entering a mountain landscape, where shades of gray, white and wood conjured the primary palette and motif of this years watch debuts. The bold imagery also served as a link between the art of writing—Montblancs foundation in pens since 1906—time, and the theme of exploration. And owing to the brands reputation in handcrafting its pen points, the centerpiece was a dramatic oversize Montblanc nib pendulum, which uninterruptedly drew mountain scenes on a round canvas suggestive of a watch dial.

Each watch in the new Montblanc 1858 Zero Oxygen 8000 Capsule Collection features a Sfumato dark grey Glacier pattern dial, replicating the color of the rock and ice at 8,000 meters.

Montblanc’s Managing Director Watch Division Laurent Lecamp emphasized the importance of imagery and storytelling to share important themes. Story is the soul of the world of Montblanc,” he explained to me during our recent interview. Thus the company often engages high-profile individuals, fans of the brand, to help recount the narrative.

The back of the Montblanc 1858 Geosphere 0 Oxygen 8000 pictures K2, the world’s second-highest mountain.

Reinhold Messner and Nimsdai Purja, mountaineers and Montblanc Mark-Makers,” inspired Montblanc’s intricate art-inspired booth space, as well as the new watches in the collection. Even the walls told a tale, incorporating the mens words taken from their written accounts of climbing expeditions.

The new Montblanc 1858 Geosphere 0 Oxygen The 8000, with MB 29.25 automatic worldtime movement.
This Montblanc 1858 Iced Sea Automatic Date Boutique Edition comes in a 41mm stainless steel case.

Following suit, the 1858 Zero Oxygen The 8000 watch collection on display for the first time revealed colors that recall the rock and ice found at high altitudes, made using zero oxygen technology.

The new Montblanc 1858 Geosphere Chronograph 0 Oxygen The 8000 LE 290 44mm .

All four of the Montblanc 1858 Zero Oxygen 8000 Capsule Collection debuts join Montblanc’s Zero Oxygen series. The collection’s  timepieces boast zero oxygen inside their cases to not only eliminate fogging, but also to prevent oxidization.

The new Montblanc 1858 Unveiled Secret Minerva Monopusher Chronograph LE 88. Inside is a reversed Minerva caliber.

Taking the imagery one step further, the very beautiful and complex Montblanc Unveiled Secret Minerva Monopusher Chronograph, while not specifically among the 8000 Capsule Collection models, nonetheless displays a distressed steel case created partly by tumbling and brushing the metal with quartzite straight from the company’s namesake mountain, Mont Blanc.



At its annual World Presentation of Haute Horologerie (WPHH) a few weeks ago Franck Muller unveiled seventeen new models, including numerous updates to its Curvex CX series of emblematic ‘Curvex’ tonneau-shaped watches.

The new Franck Muller Curvex CX Grand Central Flash Tourbillon, available in a variety of case metals and with colorful markers and straps.

Here we’ll detail the new Curvex CX Grand Central Flash Tourbillon, one of the focus debuts in 2023 for Franck Muller.     

Inspired by futuristic car designs, Franck Muller created the new Curvex CX Grand Central Flash Tourbillon to highlight its hot, award-winning central tourbillon design while also expanding the collection’s case material options.

You may recall that with the existing Grand Central Tourbillon series Franck Muller’s watchmakers found an innovative way to place the hour and second hands around the tourbillon cage, highlighting the large central tourbillon and – for its debut series – a guilloché dial.

Now Franck Muller places the same technical design into a much more contemporary setting, surrounding the skeletonized tourbillon with brightly colored fluorescent indexes set into a deep matte black dial. The series includes models cased in titanium, steel and carbon composites. 

Franck Muller explains that the new design is meant to focus the eye to center of the dial to highlight the Central Tourbillon.

To assist, Franck Muller also added a fluorescent arrow to the tourbillon’s cage bridge to act as the seconds indicator. “This arrow rotates around the Central Tourbillon like an electron around its nucleus,” notes Franck Muller’s in-house description. 

The Curvex CX case is an effective frame for the tourbillon. The watch’s sapphire crystal extends all the way to the bracelet, and the watch’s fairly thin bezel also maintains the focus on the dial, while also can be treated with either a matching or contrasting finish.

Franck Muller maintains a technical mind-set by attaching many of the new watches to colorful textile straps. 

Price: $130,600. 

Other 2023 Curvex CX Debuts

Also new in 2023, Franck Muller adds its Giga Tourbillon to the Curvex CX collection to create the new skeletonized Curvex CX Giga Tourbillon (below).

In addition, Franck Muller expands the Curvex CX collection to include two new sizes, 30mm and 33mm, which makes the collection now available for feminine or smaller wrists.

The new Franck Muller Curvex CX Lady.

Also new in 2023, look for a more subdued model in the collection, the Curvex CX Piano ($9,400 to $18,100), which offers glossy black dial with no markers. This classy model accentuates a stunning black lacquér dial and is offered in a variety of case metals.

The new Franck Muller Curvex CX Piano, available in steel and gold cases.

We’ll have more about these additions to the Curvex CX collection, plus details about the new Skafander watches and a host of new Vanguard watches, in future posts.

A selection of 2023 Franck Muller debuts.

Next week, we’ll start with details on one of those new Vanguard models that includes three variations cased in Damascus steel. In the meantime check the Franck Muller website for details about these all the other WPHH 2023 debuts. 

Reservoir pays tribute to Eugene Bullard, an African-American pilot who fought for France during World War I, with the new Reservoir Black Sparrow, the latest model in the French watchmaker’s retrograde minute, jump hour collection.

The new Reservoir Black Sparrow, here in a black PVD case.

The U.S.-born Bullard carried out around twenty aerial combat missions during WW1 and was described as a “true French hero” by Général de Gaulle, earning the nickname “The Black Sparrow of Death”.

Eugene Jacques Bullard, the first African American combat pilot, who fought for France in WWI.

Reservoir designed the Black Sparrow’s dials to recall the colors and styles of WWI cockpits, which collectors may also recognize from early 20th century pilot watches.


All maintain the Reservoir jump hour dial layout, which indicates minutes via a large hand sweeping 240-degrees across the dial and jumping back to restart each hour. Hours are shown digitally in the aperture at the 6 o’clock position.

The launch encompasses a new 42mm steel or black PVD case and black or sand-colored dials with Art Nouveau-inspired luminescent numerals. Reservoir mounts these on a black or brown Barenia leather strap.

All the debuts picture a propeller and wings laser-printed onto the watch’s clear sapphire caseback.  Reservoir explains that the propeller and wings is a popular military insignia used to identify various aviation-related military units especially the French Aeronautique Militaire.

Through that back you’ll see the Reservoir Caliber RSV-240, the watchmaker’s latest update of its signature jump-hour movement.

Introduced last year, the caliber is made in association with the Swiss engine manufacture TELOS. The automatic caliber makes use of a La Joux-Perret LJP-G100 base with a proprietary 113-piece module. With the new Caliber RSV-240, power reserve jumps to an impressive fifty-six hours

Price: $3,800.