The Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie returns next week. This year there will be 17 displaying brands, some of which have teased news of the 2017 collections. Here is our preview of the ones to see Next week, the 27th version of SIHH yields to Geneva, and also for the merchants and journalists fortunate enough to be invited from around the world, the annual luxury watches fair is going to be a barometer for emerging trends in the broader sector during the next 12 months. Well, this year seven new manufacturers have been joining the fold, such as Ulysse Nardin, and about the last day the salon will be throwing open its doors to the general public for the very first time. As has been the standard, a handful of those brands represented have teased news of the forthcoming collections ahead of the fair. Here are the watches we’ll be keeping a look out for — in SIHH and into 2017 beyond. We’ll be reporting live from the fair during its first two days, and our CEO, Brian Duffy, and our purchasing team will be hosting a live panel discussion about the latest launches on Monday and Tuesday evening. Keep checking the Watches of Switzerland feed Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and please join the dialogue — we’d love to hear your ideas.
For the Patrimony Moonphase and Retrograde Date, Vacheron Constantin has created the newest Calibre 2460 R31L self-winding movement, which induces retrograde date and moon-phase complications. Despite appearances, this is a really user-friendly watch, as all of the indications, including the moon-phase display, can be adjusted from the crown. At the first place, the motion can be hand-wound; in the second, clockwise rotation sets the retrograde date while anti-clockwise sets the moon-phase; and also in the third position, the time can be set. Vacheron Constantin has also calibrated the moon-phase into the exact age of the moon, which means the screen at 6 o’clock requires a one-way correction only once every 122 years. At 12 o’clock, the retrograde date arc is a useful and refined complication, where a central hand moves forward from 1 to 31 before the month is completed. The Patrimony Moon Phase and Retrograde Date comes in 18-carat pink gold or white stone, with a pink or white stone lunar disk corresponding to this situation metal.
Audemars Piguet’s first Royal Oak made for girls marks its 40th anniversary this season, and to celebrate the Le Brassus brand has turned to Italian jewelry designer Carolina Bucci to create four anniversary timepieces with a dazzling frosted gold finish.
Gérald Genta first designed the iconic Royal Oak at 1972 — and four decades after Jacqueline Dimier reimagined the layout for ladies using the 29mm Ref 8638. This year’s Royal Oak Frosted Gold has been made in two sizes — a 33mm quartz model or a 37mm automatic version — each of which comes at a limited-edition shimmering pink or white gold. To make the glistening’frosted’ complete, Bucci applied a distinctive Florentine technique (Florence is her hometown and the positioning of her workshops) into the Royal Oak’s unique polished and brushed case and bracelet, according to an early gold-hammering practice. To accomplish this, she used a special diamond-tipped tool, slowly chipping away at the surface until she had achieved a diamond-like sparkle. It took seven tries to perfect the end. Our verdict?
‘Light at the Blue Sky’ is the assumption from Baume & Mercier this season — and at the forefront of its collection is the blue-dialled Clifton GMT Power Reserve. The Clifton is predicated on a record design in the 1950s, and it ticks all the boxes for a regular Swiss mechanical watches: contemporary, stylish, versatile and superbly made.
Baume & Mercier takes great pride in its haute horlogerie roots, and that explains the reason why it continues to add high-end complications into its own enduring Clifton collection. In 2017, it has included a dual time indicator, producing the perfect wrist companion for the experienced traveller. The new 43mm steel Clifton GMT Power Reserve includes a deep blue dial with a beautiful sun-satin finish. Design-wise, the brand has gone for subtle but powerful: the lugs are beautifully curved, and also the open dial is balanced using a half moon-shaped GMT operate at 12 o’clock and power reserve indicator at 6 o’clock, each highlighted with striking red accents. Inside ticks the automatic Soprod 9035 calibre with its circular-grained finished bridges and plate, blued steel screws and weight decorated with’Côtes de Genève’, all observable via a sapphire crystal case back. At #3,100, we think you’ll be receiving a great deal of bang for your buck.
When it comes to elegant, ultra-thin watches, arguably the first brand which springs to mind is Piaget. In 1957, the newest revolutionised the watchmaking world with the launch of its ultra-thin 9P manual-winding motion. At only 2mm thick, the 9P was lauded for its slim, handsome profile in addition to its true performance and dependability. Then, in 1960, came Piaget’s 12P, this time the ultra-thin self-winding movement that was still just 2.3mm thick. Things didn’t stop there, and in recent years Piaget has cemented its reputation with other record-breaking watches, including the planet’s thinnest watch (in the time of its debut ), the Piaget Altiplano 900P using its 3.65millimeter case, and thinnest chronograph, the Piaget Altiplano Chronograph Flyback, that housed a 4.65mm thick motion.
This season, Piaget is devoting itself to the 60th anniversary of the Altiplano with a limited-edition collection for ladies and gents. So far, the brand has unveiled two 18-carat white golden versions, the Altiplano Self-Winding 43mm and the Altiplano Manual-Winding 38mm. Both versions pick up on historical Piaget design characteristics, like a sunburst dial in a deep shade of blue, employed white gold hour markers and slim baton hands. The self-winding model houses Piaget’s Calibre 1200P, which measures a mere 2.35mm thick, while inside the hand-wound version beats Calibre 430P (2.1mm thick). We can not wait to see both in the flesh next week.
Every year, the Schaffhausen brand refreshes among its core collections, and this season it’s the turn of its own lesser-known Da Vinci collection. To give us a small taster of what is in store, IWC has already unveiled three brand new versions from the 2017 Da Vinci selection, including this IWC Da Vinci Automatic 36.
To understand the newest versions, let us cast our mind back to the first Da Vinci watch, which was launched in 1969, also housed the Beta 21 motion at a hexagonal case. In 1985, the brand picked up the Da Vinci again with the launching of a collection featuring classic curved cases with stepped lines, according to a Leonardo Da Vinci architectural sketch. The Da Vinci was the car for the world’s first perpetual calendar mechanism where each sign could be set using the crown.
The Da Vinci has had updates through time, but this year’s new collection for both men and women is perhaps the bravest yet. The 2017 versions unveiled so much have inherited the 1985 Da Vinci DNA, which will be evident in their round grooved cases. In the lower end of the purchase price spectrum is the Da Vinci Automatic 36, that is aimed at ladies. There will be four versions of the Automatic 36: 18-carat gold with diamonds, and three versions in stainless steel (like one with a diamond-set bezel), all with a selection of vibrant leather straps.