An exciting and inspiring week comes to an end. We saw double moons, a candy-shop full of colourful timepieces and a Lamborghini for the wrist. We found out, that you can practice sustainable watchmaking with recycled PET bottles, that a power reserve of 65 days (world record) is possible and that a new trend colour is on the rise. Here are our highlights from this years SIHH watch fair in Geneva.
Category: Pure Aesthetics
- A. Lange & Söhne Zeitwerk Date
When the ‘Zeitwerk’ was first launched ten years ago, it was already an eye-catcher – the first mechanical watch with accurate jumping digital time display. By now it has become an icon within the sophisticated mechanical watch community. The design is distinctively linked to A. Lange & Söhne. On the occasion of its 10th anniversary, the manufacture has equipped the ‘Zeitwerk’ with a date display for the first time. In order to preserve the whole aesthetics of the digital display, the date indication is placed peripherally around the dial by a sophisticated mechanical technique. A disc with red markers turns underneath the date display and switches one step at midnight to show the current date.
- Vacheron Constantin Overseas Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin in Roségold
It is the well-balanced combination of all design elements that shape the appearance of this watch. The ‘Overseas’ collection became known to be a sporty travel watch, yet it is so variable. On this year’s watch fair, Vacheron Constantin presents a version in full roségold (18 carat 5N) that can not be put into one genre. The new Overseas Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin has a white dial and the typical bezel that reminds on the Malteser cross from the Maison’s logo. Having a perpetual calendar makes the watch technical impressive; however, it remains subtle and classy with its ultrathin calibre 1120 QP/1, staying true to aesthetic values.
- Hermès Arceau L’Heure De La Lune Double Moon Phase
Hermès provides us with an arty insight into the laws of astronomy. If you look at the moon from the northern hemisphere, you will, of course, see a different shape of the moon than from the southern hemisphere. As you are literally upside down, also the moon appears conversely. The Arceau L’Heure De La Lune Double Moon Phase shows the moon phase of the northern and southern hemisphere with two moon-discs that rotate underneath two discs for the time and date indication. The top discs rotations are programmed in order to show or cover the sections of the moon according to its real-time appearance. A moon indication for both hemispheres is quite unusual, and Hermès manages to make them look so simple by using a playful design.
- Roger Dubuis Excalibur Huracán Performante
The challenge to implement a car design into a watch is conceivably difficult. Roger Dubuis collection ‘Excalibur’ is a successful example. Especially the Excalibur Huracán Performante embodies the strident attitude of a Lamborghini sportscar. The yellow elements remind of the unique colour code of Lamborghini. Modelled air intakes are worked into the skeletonized dial. The winding rotor is inspired by the sportscars rims. The strap features the same rubber which is also used on the Pirelli car tires. The fusion of car and watch design is congenial and convincing. Eighty-eight pieces can now prove themselves on the wrists of watch enthusiasts.
- Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Grande Tradition Gyrotourbillon Westminster Perpetual
The new Grande Complication by Jaeger-LeCoultre has a case of a mere 43 millimetres in diameter. However, huge forces are being released inside, taking into account its comparable small body. The reasons for this great amount of energy consumption are the multi-axis tourbillon (Gyrotourbillon), a perpetual calendar and a Westminster minute repeater with jumping minute hand. To supply the necessary energy, the watch for the first time incorporates a one-minute constant force mechanism, a secondary energy source. An intermediary spring (remontoir d’égalité) that is re-armed by the mainspring provides the tourbillon continuously with the same energy.
- Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Twin Beat Perpetual Calendar
This new complication by Vacheron Constantin might just as well be called the innovation of the year. The Maison has taken on a century-long problem of power reserve and achieved a crucial improvement. If you don’t wear or manually wind a watch, it will usually stop after around eight days. It now needs to be reset, which is especially time-consuming for watches with date indications. The engineers at Vacheron Constantin for the first time breathe extended and independent life into a watch with the new ‘Twin Beat’. The trick: a second balance that was designed for the Standby mode and offered a power reserve of 65 days. For this, it needs to reduce its frequency to 1.2 Hz if not in use, which is enough to keep up all functions for 65 days. A clever mechanism and the saving of energy enables the balance to even master the energy-absorbing jumping of all three displays of the perpetual calendar at the turn of the year.
- Richard Mille RM 37-01 Automatic Kiwi
Richard Mille clearly belongs to the Avant-garde of the watch industry. Since their founding 20 years ago, they dedicate their efforts progressively in the innovation of technical and material aspects. They just underlined this position with their new ‘Candy’ collection. It radically opposes all contemporary trends – and still is irresistible. Design director Cécile Guenat has created ten sugar-sweet creations that turned the whole booth at the fair into a candy shop. Hence, also the watches are characterized by sweet fruits and candy. The models of the brand RM 07-03, RM 16-01 and RM 37-01 have been radically transformed. However, the brand’s savoir-faire has been preserved. The cases are made from coloured ceramic, carbon TPT and quartz TPT. The tiny components are partly made of enamel and were painted with acryl and hand lacquered. The plates are made of titanium grade 5 and were horologically machined and skeletonized. Our greatest temptation: the RM 37-01 Automatic Kiwi.
- Panerai Luminor Submersible Mike Horn Edition
It doesn’t always have to be pure mechanical progress; it is equally interesting to see resources being saved to benefit the environment. Panerai committed itself to support environmental projects some time ago and now dedicated two new watches (PAM00984 und PAM00985) to eco-activist Mike Horn, who has been a brand ambassador for 15 years. The case, the crown protection mechanism, the bezel and the case back are made from ‘Eco-Titanium’, which is solely obtained from recycled titanium. The strap is made of recycled PET material. PAM00985 is limited to 19 pieces and invites its owners to take part in a few days of intensive training with Mike Horn among the ice floes of the Arctic to learn more about the dangers to our ecosystem. By the way, the new Panerai manufacture (opened in 2017) is equipped with the latest energy-saving technologies.
- IWC Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar Spitfire
The Spitfire collection by IWC is inspired by the brand’s first pilot watches Mark XI. The watches are distinguished by a minimalistic design and a good legibility. They united Swiss craftsmanship with the art of engineering and were aesthetic and functional. Since 2003, the legacy lives on thanks to the Spitfire collection – for the first time, the new models have in-house IWC manufactured movements. However, their design remains authentic, just like they would have found them in scrapped warplanes and revived them with modern movements. The new Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar Spitfire especially underlines this functionality. With its 46.2 mm case, you can hardly miss the time indication. The retro look is enhanced by a green dial, a bronze case and a brown calf leather strap.
- Laurent Ferrier Galet Annual Calendar School Piece
Laurent Ferrier is a highly gifted watchmaker with classical approaches in terms of form and design. With the new Galet Annual Calendar School Piece, he seizes the annual calendars of the 1940s of which the date indication was attached on the outline of the dial. Vintage-hands and -numerals are placed on a white or black opaline dial. Opaline reminds of a French decorative glass-style from the 19th century. The result: pure retro without being out-dated.
Category: Trend colour
- A. Lange & Söhne Datograph Perpetual Tourbillon
Blue is still a trend colour within most brand’s collections, but another colour has established itself at the watch fair: ‘Salmon’. Whereas most brands call the shade ‘Roségold’ as the dial is eventually made of massive roségold, ‘Salmon’ somehow fits quite right. This hue is now also seen on the new A. Lange & Söhne Datograph Perpetual Tourbillon. The watch was first introduced in 2016 with a black dial – it has a jumping minute hands with flyback function, a perpetual calendar, a moon phase display, power reserve indication, big date and a tourbillon which is only visible through the case back. We confess to having a weakness for the new trend colour that by the way goes very well with a stainless steel (or white gold) case.
- Audemars Piguet Royal Oak ‚Jumbo‘ Extra-Thin
When the Royal Oak was first launched in 1972, it certainly didn’t seem to be a trendsetter. Design, material and size didn’t appeal to men at that time. Today, it is one of the most popular watches worldwide. The new Royal Oak ‘Jumbo’ Extra-Thin was one of the ‘hot pieces’ of this year’s fair. Audemars Piguet goes the extra mile and combines the ‘Salmon’-dial not only with a white-gold case but also with a strap made from this 18-carat noble metal. Yet, the dial isn’t really novel. Already in 1992, Audemars Piguet introduced the Royal Oak with a roségold dial and the distinctive ‘petite tapisserie’-motive on occasion of its 20th anniversary.