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Luxury & Brands
February 16, 2016

Watches from Geneva’s SIHH 2016: Ticking Fast

Text by Sitanshi Talati-Parikh. Ambience images by Falguni Sheth-Kapadia, Sitanshi Talati-Parikh and courtesy SIHH. Post assistance by Simone Louis

One of the world’s most exclusive invitee-only watch fairs… find out what keeps it ticking

The Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH), Geneva, is considered the crème de la crème of watch fairs, with it’s invitee-only entry, extremely selective offerings and some of the world’s most exclusive watch brands in attendance.

Systematically designed with country-based media slots to watch the unveiling of the year’s novelties, even the bracing cold (rumoured to be the coldest SIHH ever) could not dispel the passion emanating from the warm recesses of the Palexpo fair area, even though the hallways held whispers of the fair being a milder version of it’s earlier glory.

The booths may have been cookie-cutter for most part, but the window displays were innovative and some were just breathtaking in their intricacy. The presentation that took the cake, however, was hands-down the Audemars Piguet virtual reality tour of their manufactory with the humour, wit and infectious enthusiasm of the CEO François-Henri Bennahmias, that made even the sleepiest journos wake up at the fag end of the day.

This year saw a new lot of 9 independent watchmakers presented in a separate Carre des Horlogers section, some with some standout pieces. After 25 years, this year, SIHH saw 24 exhibitors and a museum display ‘Square of Clocks’.

Meanwhile, our evenings remained busy with cocktails at the A Lange and Soehne booth, the Jaeger-LeCoultre gala affair to celebrate 85 years of the Reverso watch with a mesmerising live installation and a Christian Louboutin pop-up, and the ever-elegant Cartier dinner. Not to mention, an exclusive première of the exhibition Breguet, A Story Among the Greats, at Cité du Temps.

Check out a visual gallery of our picks from SIHH 2016, if you missed our exclusive live coverage on Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter. (Click on any of the thumbnails to toggle gallery view.)

NOVELTIES BY THE BRANDS (In alphabetical order)
(Click on any of the thumbnails to view larger and for more specs on the watches.)

A Lange & Soehne

Showstopper: Well, Walter Lange, actually! Seeing the charming and humble gentleman actually take you around and chat about the novelties was completely disarming. As always, A Lange and Soehne keeps the faith alive with meticulous and sophisticated timepieces – this time with Richard Lange Jumping Seconds (limited edition of 100 watches), and the Grand Lange 1 Moon Phase Lumen (limited edition of 200 watches) which combines a brilliant moon-phase display with a luminous outsize date.

Audemars Piguet


Showstopper: While Audemars Piguet, in their dynamic presentation, showcased a range of novelties, we have picked out the women’s range here including the Diamond Fury, the Millenary Hand-Wound and the Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph. (Though we couldn’t resist including the Royal Oak Offshore Diver Chronograph.)

Baume & Mercier

Showstopper: Their desire to celebrate unique moments with the keywords of expertise, passion and happiness. Besides their complications like the Capeland Shelby Cobra limited edition, their feminine offering comes in the form of the Petite Promesse in a 22-diameter case with a white mother-of-pearl dial, diamond bezel, following the mix-and-match trend with a calfskin leather strap in orange and blue or a polished steel wraparound bracelet. (Priced at approximately 2200-2900 CHF.)

Cartier

Showstopper: Practically everything! It sparkles, it shines and it’s a work of art. The one that stole our heart was the Parrot with approximately 100 real rose petals glued on the dial, using a secret technique. Limited edition of 20 pieces costing approximately 100,000 EUR.

Christophe Claret


Showstopper: In time for Valentine’s Day (hey, if you believe in that fluff, we are not judging!) the lovely Marguerite with the ‘He loves me, he loves me not’ flower petal game, where the answer keeps changing. Complications created for women, with limited editions of 20 pieces at nearly 200,000 CHF to start out. In the text version, feel free to personalise your own watch message with, ‘Marry Me!’

De Bethune

Greubel Forsey

Showstopper: With merely a 100 pieces/novelties a year (and a 100 people working for them), GF has kept it going strong with 20 calibres and 7 inventions in 12 years. Their Signature 1 (11 pieces in white gold, 11 in red gold, 11 in platinum, 33 in platinum) and the Double Balancier (33 pieces in white gold) are cool takeaways.

H Moser & Cie

Showstopper: As they say, they are ‘Very Rare’ believing in individualised, unique products; with 1000 watches a year worked on by a team of 50 people. Founded in 1828 by watchmaker, F Moser, their first boutique was in St Petersburg. All their movements in-house including the screws. Their perpetual calendar (limited edition 10 pieces at approximately 250,ooo CHF); their logo-less endeavour perpetual calendar (10 pieces at approximately 60,000 CHF and another version in 20 pieces at approximately 24,000 CHF) and their Swiss Alp Watch (which has an uncanny resemblance to the Apple watch) has a mechanical heart.

HYT

IWC

Showstopper: Celebrating 80 years of the pilot’s watches, their booth had a cool ‘Top Gun’ feel. Their historian, Dr David Seyffer oozed passion, as he gave Verve a personal tour of the novelties and vintage pieces, taking us back in time and making the timepieces come alive. We love that IWC has brought out a 36mm watch that’s perfect for women! (What we couldn’t believe is the size of the 55mm watch on display, limited to 100 pieces!)

Jaeger-LeCoultre

Showstopper: To celebrate the 85th anniversary of the iconic Reverso, Jaeger-LeCoultre has teamed up with Christian Louboutin to give their Reverso an unprecedented edge with a newer, younger market. You can choose your strap or customise it digitally. We love this clever move, because it expands the repertoire of the classy brand into a wider market; much required in the luxury space today. And for those who like it hardcore, their Gyrotourbillion is a piece to watch.

Laurent Ferrier


Showstopper: The Galet Traveller Globe night blue, which is an interpretation of the Earth seen by night.

Mont Blanc


Showstopper: The 4810 ExoTourbillon Slim with patented construction including quick stop mechanism, first-time micro rotor movement in a 42mm red gold case priced at approximately 34,500 EUR. Limited edition with hand painted dial with 3 options of maps (America, Europe and Asia) limited pieces of 38 at 43,500 EUR 42mm white gold. The 4810 Orbis Terrarum offers universal time indication with day/night indication and climate zones; and the beautiful Villaret Tourbillon Cylindrique with world time (handpainted with Grand feu enamel and hand engraving to depict the ocean) comes in a limited edition of 8 pieces priced at approximately 300,000 EUR.

Panerai

Showstopper: Introduction of the white dial is a visual change from before, particularly with the hands in blue with an alligator blue strap. Their Lo Scienziato is a statement piece, while they also have a Luminor special edition of 500 box sets in exclusive packaging (approximately 20,000 EUR) keeps the fans excited.

Parmigiani Fleuer 

Showstopper: At the 20th anniversary of the brand, they unveiled a range of striking timepieces, while taking us through their watchmaking history. The Kalpa Tourbillon Cyclone, 30-sec tourbillon with 215 baguettes, manually wound, one-week power reserve at approximately 495,000 CHF hit the high note.

Piaget

Showstopper: The sheer sparkle at the booth was beautiful, not to draw away from the lovely timepieces which included the Altapino with the engraved dial and their first complication watch for women, the Limelight Stella. Their Altiplano 900D has become the thinnest manually-wound mechanical watch with a case and dial covered in diamonds. And to celebrate the 40th anniversary of its first in-house quartz movement, the ultra-thin 7P calibre presented in 1976, Piaget unveils the Emperador Coussin XL 700P: featuring an unusual match between a mechanical calibre and a generator, issued in a 118-piece limited series.

Richard Mille


Showstopper: All the talk of an ‘erotic tourbillon’, RM 69 in a limited edition of 30 pieces which says, ‘I want to explore you tonight’. Outlandish pieces appeared in the form of the Evil Eye Tourbillon, and a new Pink Lady Sapphire. The Airbus Corporate Jets was their unique collaboration in a limited edition of 30 pieces with airbus corkscrews, corporate jet logo and cockpit colours. To move to writing instruments, the NTPT carbon and titanium fountain pen offers a mechanically retractable nib in red and white gold, with a self-winding pen calibre.

Roger Dubuis


Showstopper: Their Velvet range encompassing bejewelled, fashion, art, and materials. Their take-away theme: ‘When the essence of haute couture meets the creativity of haute Horlogerie’ with examples like the Massaro (subsidiary of Chanel) collaboration.

Vacheron Constantin

Showstopper: Besides the Overseas with the changing belts, Reference 57260 is showcased as the most complicated watch made by Vacheron Constantin. An entirely original creation exhibiting a total of 57 complications (several of which are unique and new), it sets a new benchmark in horology, with multiple calendars and double retrograde rattrapante chronograph. The watch is a benchmark in the 260th anniversary year of the brand.

Van Cleef and Arpels


Showstopper: By far the delicate and beautiful Poetic Complications collection. With the winged ballet of the Lady Arpels Ronde des Papillons to the water nymph fairies of Lady Arpels Jour Nuit Fee Ondine…it’s an artistic craftsmanship and detail at it’s best. And they do love their hidden/secret watches. So along comes the Rubis Secret watch — a cuff bracelet set with 115 Mozambique rubies weighing a total of 151.25 carats, not to mention diamonds. It took 1500 hours of work to create secret drawer!

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