SIHH Preview - Part 1
The year starts off quick in the watch and fashion industries, with the fall season menswear collections being presented in New York, London, Milan and Paris throughout this month (check out our style section for more updates). In Geneva next week, 24 watch brands will be presenting their new creations for the year at the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH).
But of course, since we're impatient, nosy writers, they aim to satisfy a bit of our curiosities and tease us with little details of what's impending. It's our turn to inform you, over the next couple of days, of what you can expect. (Update: more here)
Yellow gold is the centre of Audemars Piguet's attention this year. The entire Royal Oak series makes a return to this old-school and precious material, in part to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar high complication timepiece. It's also to create a different perspective of the Royal Oak. Apart from the perpetual calendar piece in yellow gold, they've also announced a basic model, chronograph and we look forward to seeing what else will take on a glowing, yellow sheen this year.
A. Lange & Söhne
The 1815 Tourbillon Handwerkskunst was shown at the end of 2015, both as a commemorative hommage to the 200th anniversary of Ferdinand Adolph Lange, and to welcome the new year. It's the first in the company to bear both the zero reset mechanism and the stop seconds function on the tourbillon. The dial is decorated with tremblage engraving to give it a grainy texture. The movement, of course, bears all the hallmarks of Lange's workmanship, from the black polishing of the tourbillon to the engraved balance cock.
Baume & Mercier
We often think of Baume & Mercier as a first buyer's entry into the world of watchmaking but we also forget that it has numerous accolades to its name, including holding records for one of the most precise tourbillon timepieces in the past. This year, which is focused on the Clifton collection, expands on the already comprehensive range of complications available in the market with the Clifton Chronograph Complete Calendar, which is not only well designed but also comprehensively laid out. Suffice to say, we find it easy to use and read.
We've been receiving hints from Cartier that we'll be seeing a new form appear this year, something that will speak very closely to the heart of AUGUSTMAN. In the meantime, another timepiece that we really do admire is the Clé de Cartier Skeleton. The skeleton watches of Cartier have always possessed an architectural flair but never more so in this edition. The oscillating weight, a first for Cartier's skeleton pieces, means this watch is automatic winding, but it's designed so well that when the watch is resting in the position shown, it's invisible. Even then, the winding efficiency is in the ideal range of the watch and the case and movement are made to fit, thus there's no space for a peripheral winding system instead.
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H. Moser & Cie
Edouard Meylan, the head of H. Moser & Cie, has been having plenty of fun taking jabs at the Apple Watch and smart watches in general. Last year, the company created an ad campaign that was similar in style, taunting smart watches in their performance, and this year is no different. The "Swiss Alp" watch is styled similarly to the Apple Watch in design, but fitted with a mechanical movement that offers 100 hours of power reserve. Wire lugs and a leather strap complete the look. Of course, we're not forgetting its fumé dial. A stunning piece as usual from Moser.
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We're used to seeing the avant-garde from HYT. After all, they're the ones using liquid luminiscence as a time indicator, so we constantly expect the wildest. Our surprise was at seeing the H2 Tradition, which bears a main dial for the minute display and a smaller counter for the seconds at four o'clock. A liquid holding pipe still indicates the time as usual. It adds a strange contrast to the watch, but a comfortingly familiar one. We'd have preferred a jumping display or something similar, but it corrects a problem Vincent Perriard had encountered: a clear method of indicating the time, apart from a luminous hour display.
It's a year of Pilot timepieces from IWC, and that's not exactly a surprise to many of us, but we're definitely liking the Heritage timepieces that have been revealed. The Big Pilot's Heritage 48 and 55 watches are sized accordingly, designed to replicate the old watches that pilots used to don. These were sized so due to the need for accuracy and thus often used stop watch movements. To keep them from being overly heavy, titanium cases are amply used, and these timepieces bear the latest IWC calibres. In the 55mm edition, limited to 100 pieces, these were styled like the original timepieces crafted for the Luftwaffe. We've yet to visually discover the rest, but definitely are looking forward to looking so.
It's the 85th anniversary of our favourite rectangular, reversible timepiece and the wonderful artisans at Jaeger-LeCoultre have also coloured it in our favourite tone of blue as well. The Reverso has borne a heralded history, with incredible editions, stunning dials bearing artistic crafts as well as high complications. While the first piece we're seeing bears the standard Reverso Duo with a day and night dial, in white and blue, and the evening dial in reverse tone, we have to point out that this is truly a looker. In addition the entire range is being reorganised into three lines, in small, medium and large sizes for a total of nine. We'll have more information at the fair for you.
Prior to the fair, Max Büsser, the charming gentleman who's introduced his collectors to numerous otherwise unknown names in watchmaking, has presented the LM101 timepiece in platinum. The Legacy Machine series is his most classic, with a central escapement exposed on the dial, and two avant-garde bridges supporting it (we can't escape his love of the modern, even in a classic environment). A power reserve display at six o'clock and time display at two are presented on the front, while a hand-wound movement powers the watch. What we're looking forward to seeing, however, is a new creative machine from the man.
We'll have the second part of this preview up tomorrow. Don't miss this.