Always on time: Rolling out the blue carpet at SIHH

The best releases and news from last month's SIHH exhibition
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For watch lovers, Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) held every January in Geneva, is a big deal. It’s where the stars come out to play and the industry unveils its latest creations/ Here are CEO’s picks of the new models that will arrive in store later this year.

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Baume & Mercier: Taking control

Baume & Mercier produces $3,000 automatic with its first in-house movement

If this doesn’t work for Baume & Mercier, nothing will. The company has worked with its parent organisation Richemont to produce its first in-house movement, encased it in a classic gents wristwatch, and slapped on a price tag of $3,000.

The Calibre BM12-1975A automatic is unremarkable in its functionality, but by working with Richemont’s R&D team and its ValFleurier Manufacture, the company has produced a highly accurate, COSC certified movement thanks to its silicon hairspring and escapement. Its construction is also so precise that it only needs servicing every five years, works for five days without winding, and has an extended warranty.

The movement was unveiled at SIHH in four Baume & Mercier Clifton Baumatic 3-hand designs or as a COSC-certified chronometer for a slightly higher price of $3,200. All are offered with black or white dials in steel or gold-coloured 40mm cases.

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Parmigiani Fleurier: Rebirth of the Kalpa

Parmigiani Fleurier persists with pricey haute horology for 2018 Kalpas

Parmigiani Fleurier produced a real showstopper at SIHH with the unveiling of an all gold tonneau-shaped automatic movement in a limited edition Kalpa Chronor.

The Kalpa was first on sale in 2001 and has been re-released in three editions for 2018, with the rose gold Chronor, limited to 50 pieces, at the top of the tree. Its PF365 inhouse automatic integrated chronograph is COSC certified and has 65 hours of power reserve. The black opaline dial has a central smooth circle and a guilloche outer ring. It is housed in a solid, polished, 18ct rose gold case on a black Hermes alligator strap, all for CHF 85,000 ($88,400).

More affordable is the blue-dialed Kalpagraphe Chronometre, which is housed in the same 48.2 x 40.4mm rose gold tonneau case, but its PF362 automatic chronograph movement, fully visible through a sapphire case back, is made from steel with a rose gold oscilating weight. This brings the price down to CHF 35,000 ($36,400), and the model’s production is not limited.

Parmigiani also created two limited edition ladies versions of its Kalparisma. The Nova Galaxy, made in runs of 50 for a rose gold model with 46 diamonds in the besel and lugs and eight of a white gold edition with 182 diamonds. They will sell for CHF 24,900 ($25,900) and CHF 34,900 ($36,300) respectively.

The Kalparisma is 10 years old in 2018, and the Nova Galaxy is a celebration of sparkles thanks to its diamonds and aventurine glass dial with a rotating star above 6 o’clock for small seconds. Inside is a PF332 automatic movement with a gold oscillating weight.

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Montblanc: Reflecting on the journey

Montblanc brings 1920s Minerva watches into the 21st century

Montblanc is building a back story dating back to 1858 around the Minerva Manufacture that Richemont acquired in 2006. That gives Montblanc the opportunity to adopt 2018 as a 160th anniversary year, and launch a range of vintage pieces that reflect this journey.

In the 1920s, Minerva invented one of the first manually wound monopusher chronograph wristwatches, taking advantage of a smaller movement, the caliber 13.20, that was used in a family of models that became favourites for military and mountain rescue personnel over two decades.

The 1920s and 30s watches provide inspiration for this year’s Montblanc 1858 collection, which comprises 40mm automatic watches, 42 mm chronographs, a 42mm Manufacture Worldtime Geosphere, a slender 40mm wristwatch with a 13-line monopusher chronograph movement, and a new multiple-purpose pocket watch with a 24-hour indication and equipped with a 16-line monopusher chronograph movement.

“The new Montblanc 1858 timepieces capture the spirit of the past in a modern way, expressing the trend of back to nature and adventure. Combining materials such as a special alloy of bronze that evolves over time with innovative and useful in-house complications, like the Worldtime Geosphere, these timepieces are designed for the modern-day explorer who likes to set his own challenges,” Montblanc says.

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Vacheron Constantin: Building on a legacy

Vacheron Constantin reaches out to fresh generation of watch connoisseurs

Vacheron Constantin is appealing to a new generation of watch connoisseurs with its Fiftysix family of watches that launched at SIHH.

In a presentation that might have been used to launch a modern speakeasy in Shoreditch or Brooklyn, the world’s oldest watch brand unveiled three models in the Fiftysix collection comprising a two hand automatic with date, a day date with power reserve and a complete calendar with moon phase that will only need correcting every 122 years.

The Fiftysix is described as a retro-contemporary style for an elegant masculine watch — a modern interpretation of the reference 6073 launched in 1956 and inspired by the Maltese sign.

The styling is certainly classical, and connoisseurs will appreciate details like each movement’s 22ct pink gold open-worked oscillating weight featuring the Maltese emblem. The entry level self-winder in a 40mm steel case costs around $14,500, so the next generation will need means as well as taste.

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Audemars Piguet: Thin but beautiful

Audemars Piguet squeezes into the record books with its ultra thin perpetual calendar

Audemars Piguet has revealed its ultra thin perpetual calendar timepiece, a creation which took five years to complete.

“The challenge has been to re-engineer a three-storey movement into a single level, making it ultra-thin while combining and re-arranging functions to boost ergonomy, efficiency and robustness. This patented system features a record-shattering 2.89mm central rotor. At just 6.30mm, the redesigned case shaves almost 2mm off the Royal Oak Extra-Thin Jumbo, making the Royal Oak RD#2 the thinnest self-winding perpetual calendar on the market today,” explained the company.

The slim Calibre 5133 movement within the platinum case allows for a 40 hour power reserve, a perpetual calendar with day date, astronomical moon function, a month function with leap years, a night and day indication and hours and minutes.

Along with the platinum case is the “Grande Tapisserie” pattern blue dial, white gold time indicators and a sapphire crystal back to expose the single-storey movement.

The watch, along with others in the collection, is scheduled for viewing in New York City in early February as well as during Watches & Wonders in Miami.

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IWC: A date to remember

IWC launches array of new pieces to celebrate 150th anniversary at SIHH

IWC Schaffhausen is turning 150 this year and to celebrate this milestone the company has unveiled five limited edition collections from its main families.

There are a total of 28 limited-edition models from the Portugieser, Portofino, Pilot’s Watch and Da Vinci families, plus a re-working of a Pallweber pocket watch, first created in 1884, as a wristwatch.

The company went on to unveil three limited-edition “IWC Tribute to Pallweber” wristwatches (pictured) with jumping numerals. The company is incorporating a digital hours and minutes display in a wristwatch for the very first time. IWC started using this form of time display in pocket watches back in 1884. The IWC Tribute to Pallweber Edition “150 Years”, limited to 50 pieces, is the first pocket watch from IWC with a digital hours and minutes display since the production of the historical Pallweber pocket watch was discontinued in 1890.

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Panerai: Going it alone

Panerai makes clean break with ETA movements

Panerai will not use ETA movements in any watches launching this year. The brand’s product director Alessandro Ficarelli told visitors to SIHH that the company’s entry level model, the 2018 44mm Luminor, will replace its ETA movement with a P6000 hand-wound in house calibre.  The price will remain the same at around $6,000 when it hits shops in July.

“This is a huge investment from the brand. There will be no more ETA movements in Panerai,” Mr Ficarelli said.

Panerai’s presentation at SIHH outlined incremental changes to its core Luminor Due and Luminor families. The 2018 45mm Luminor Due will be a little thinner when it hits stores this summer, but is otherwise largely unchanged. There are two automatic models, one with small seconds and a date price at around $12,500, the other with a power reserve and an extra hand for a second time zone.

A slightly smaller 43mm edition, the Acciaio 3 Days Automatic has the option of blue accents on an ivory dial that matches a striking blue leather strap.

The most radical departure for Panerai this year is a range of 38mm Luminor Due models, the smallest models the company has ever produced in any significant quantities. There is a risk that the size puts off men who like their chunky Panerais without attracting a new audience, women included, that like the wearability.

A range of quick change coloured straps are also female-friendly, particularly with the gold model. The steel editions will be priced at around $7,500.

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Cartier Returns: It’s time for men

Cartier returns to Santos name for a range of commercial men’s watches

Cartier’s most commercial launch this year is an extensive range of Santos models for men. The Santos name dates back to one of the world’s first wristwatches, which was designed by Louis Cartier in the early 20th century for his friend Alberto Santos-Dumont, a fearless Brazilian airman and inventor. The 2018 family is bang up-to-date with its 1847 MC automatic calibre using anti-magnetic nickel phosphorus components in the escapement and movement mechanisms, as well as a shield made from a paramagnetic alloy to prevent interference from magnetic fields.

In an era of pocket watches, a leather wristwatch strap was revolutionary on the first Santos in 1904, and Cartier says it has brought the same spirit of innovation to a large range of 17 coloured leather straps and metal bracelets for this year’s collection that can be swapped over in seconds.

The watch, which will hit stores in April, sticks closely to historic designs. Its square case with rounded corners and lugs that sweep into the strap are familiar, as are the eight screws on the bezel and the Roman numeral hours behind Cartier blue hands.

The commercial appeal comes from its price range. Medium and larger sized versions start at €5,000 ($6,200) for an all-steel model; €7300 ($9,050) for a gold an steel edition and €32.000 ($40,000) for an all-gold piece. There is also a steel or gold with a fully skeletonised movement at the top of the line.

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Piaget: Self possessed

Piaget encourages cross-selling of watches with jewellery as it introduces all-new Possession family.

Piaget is more tightly linking its jewellery and watch lines with the launch of the Possession line of ladies watches.

The all-new family uses bright coloured mother of pearl and stone dials complemented with vibrant straps in watches framed by rotating bezels studded with diamonds. They are designed to be worn with pendants and bangles from Piaget’s jewellery lines that use the same materials and styles. The entry level Possession models have a single diamond in the spinning bezel, and start at $3,700 for steel-cased editions.

The price multiplies to around $22,000 as you move into gold cases with single or even double rotating bezels crammed with diamonds. little wonder then that Hollywood star Jessica Chastain, Piaget’s international brand ambassador, is introduced in a new set of images wearing Piaget jewellery along with a new Extremely Lady timepiece, which has been given an upgrade with a range of sumptuous gold bracelets. And it looks fabulous.

Mon 12 Feb 2018 03:53 PM GST
Last Updated: Tue 13 Feb 2018 03:23 PM GST