Recap: SIHH 2018: Day 1 Wrap-Up (15th of January)
With SIHH 2019 fast approaching, I thought it a good idea to rewind back to last year's releases and give you guys a bit of a recap as to who did what and why. For those of you that don't know, SIHH, or the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie Genève is one the most celebrated luxury watch events of the year. Carrying with it a bit more prestige than Baselworld, SIHH really does capture the hearts and the minds of watch enthusiasts from around the globe.
Scroll down to check out some of the coolest releases from SIHH 2018!
The first day of SIHH is always quite hectic. The arrangement of timepieces being released is like a wave of goodness that, for us horologically-inclined fellas, may seem like the best thing to ever happen to us. The Press Releases were really quite exciting, so we can only imagine how much more excitement is to come throughout the week.
H. Moser & Cie Venturer Concept Blue Lagoon ($24,400USD)
We looked at the Endeavour Tourbillon Concept a few weeks ago, and here we have the Venturer Concept Blue Lagoon. Available in a 39mm white gold or red gold case, this is pure Moser. Simple, elegant and with a minimalistic flow that is to die for. My only qualm is the lacking sweeping-seconds hand. I like a bit of movement on a dial. Besides that, the Venturer Concept Blue Lagoon is a wonderful little piece.
Greubel Forsey GMT Earth (610,000CHF)
Better than your ex. My apologies, yesteryear’s GMT, the GMT Earth looks absolutely spectacular. The notion of “if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it” really doesn’t sit well with Greubel Forsey. And I’m glad it doesn’t. the GMT Earth is a 45.50mm wide, white gold made piece that depicts the super iconic 24-hour rotating Earth globe in the bottom left of the dial. It’s all well and good slapping a massive price-tag on a watch and calling it a day. But Greubel Forsey justifies their pricing points to a degree of which we’ve not seen before. Stupendous.
Greubel Forsey Différentiel d’Égalité (265,000CHF)
The more affordable offering from Greubel Forsey at SIHH 2018 is the Différentiel d’Égalité. This utilises a constant force mechanism along with a deadbeat seconds complication to create a really rather intriguing mechanical package. It’s a very modern look, with all the finishings executed to the degree of which we’ve come to expect from Greubel Forsey. I for one prefer the Différentiel d’Égalité’s technical prowess rather than the GMT Earth, but I’m a sucker for deadbeat seconds mechanisms. Measuring in 44mm and made of white gold, the Différentiel d’Égalité is limited to only 33-pieces worldwide.
Montblanc 1858 Geosphere (From €5,190)
Montblanc are on a bit of a roll at the moment. The Geosphere, along with the TImeWalker Manufacture Chronograph and the Star Legacy Chronograph Rieussec were really quite impressive, and when I got word of this little beauty being released is was actually very excited. From the MB 29.25 automatic movement, the 1858 Geosphere gives you the date, a second time zone (depicted at 9 o’clock), as well as a dual hemisphere world-time display at 12 and 6 o’clock. Pretty cool. You’ve of course got the standard hours, minutes and seconds indicators, and what I found very fun was the North-South-East-West indicator on the bi-directional, ceramic insert bezel. Available in either stainless steel or bronze, with the bronze model costing a bit more and made in a limited run of 1858 pieces
Ulysse Nardin Freak Vision (95,000CHF)
Love them or hate them, Ulysse Nardin are a formidable, very forward-thinking brand. Sure, they make traditional timepieces like the Marine Torpilleur Military, the Classico Manufacture Grand Feu and the iconic Marine Tourbilon, but they also make crazy-ass, super complex watches like the InnoVision 2. The Freak Vision is a futuristic looking timepiece that looks like it got its artistic inspiration from the likes of Star Wars and Star Trek. It bleeds atypical Freak aesthetics, but in a far more refined and contemporary manner. It’s a sleek affair, with beautiful brushings on the 45mm platinum case. It houses the UN-250, a carrousel tourbillon movement that is distinctive of the Freak collection. From a visual point of view, there is little at SIHH 2018 that will be as abrupt, as in-your-face or as radical looking as the Freak Vision.
Vacheron Constantin Métiers d’ArtLes Aérostiers ($135,000USD)
Built to commemorate the earliest known history of hot-air ballooning, Vacheron Constantin have created these architectural masterpieces, aptly known as the Métiers d’ArtLes Aérostiers. I won’t go into the history of hot-air ballooning (it isn’t the most interesting, trust me), but what I will say is this. Ingenuity is certainly not dead. The unique way Vacheron have opted to depict the hours and minutes, as well as the day and date is really quite brilliant. They’ve utilised rotating discs located in the “corners” of the dial, from which you can view the passing time and day through opened windows. Available in 5 sets of 5, these are works of art in every sense of the word.
Vacheron Constantin Overseas Ultra-Thin Perpetual Calendar in Pink Gold ($74,500USD)
Super complicated and ultra-thin is the name of the game at the moment. I hate overly thick pieces. They reduce my thoughts on wearability and functionality, and in a way negatively impact the overall aesthetically pleasing aspects of a watch. At 41.50mm in diameter and 8.1mm in thickness, the Vacheron Constantin Overseas Ultra-Thin Perpetual Calendar in pink gold is thin. The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak RD#2 Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin sits at 6.3mm in thickness, so the added 1.8mm isn’t going to be a big deal. I don’t think, anyway. The movement is fairly thicker at 4.05mm and a bit smaller at 29.60mm in diameter. Not to worry – these minutiae measurements won’t deter a prospective buyer. This is a package that’s warm, inviting, highly technical and boasts one of horology’s most wonderful movements. Now if only there were a sweeping-seconds hand..
Vacheron Constantin FiftySix Day-Date (From $17,400USD)
I’ve long pondered on the thought of Vacheron Constantin creating something that’s dressy, casual, useable and, of course, good looking. The FiftySix Day-Date ticks all of those boxes. Useable: great functions, easy to read and a very wearable 40mm. Dressy and casual: available in stainless steel or pink gold; if you want the best of both worlds, get the stainless steel. Good looking: it’s a Vacheron Constantin. Need I say more?
NB: My sentiment towards the FiftySix has since changed...
Parmigiani Fleurier Kalpagraphe Chronometre ($35,000USD)
Parmigiani Fleurier appeal to me on so many different levels. Their pieces are obscurely appealing. Their movements are executed flawlessly. And I love the fact that the limelight is never really on them. They sit back, create wonderful timepieces, and let their watches do the talking. The Kalpagraphe Chronometre utilises the PF362 movement, which incorporates a chronograph complication, as well as the standard chronometry functions e.g. hours, minutes and seconds. It beats at a relatively fast 5 Hz (which I prefer), and is of course COSC certified.
TAG Heuer Link Chronograph (4,750CHF)
Perhaps the only TAG to be featured, but one that is actually quite impressive. I’ve never really liked the look of the Link’s integrated bracelet, but it seems to work quite well on the Chronograph. It looks a bit like the Piaget Polo S Chronograph, doesn’t it? Either way, I’m fairly happy with it. At 41mm and either a blue dial or a black dial, the Link Chronograph is a wonderful entry piece that uses TAG’s Calibre 17 automatic chronograph mechanism. Not at all bad. I’m expecting some good things from TAG Heuer this year.
Richard Mille RM 53-01 Tourbillon Pablo Mac Donough ($900,000USD)
Richard Mille’s latest attempt at reaching into your deep coffers is a mechanical triumph. Instead of speaking about its beautiful aesthetics, its high level of functionality and wearability, or its ability to cause a stadium full of watch enthusiasts to applaud. No. I’m just going to speak about the movement. The Caliber RM 53-01 incorporates a hell of a lot of tech. Hours, minutes and a tourbillon, check. 70-hour power reserve, check. Manually wound, check. Visible from the front and the back, yep. Suspended within the case by two braided cables made of steel tightly held by 10 pulleys and 4 tensioners, mhmm. Bridges made from grade-5 titanium, of course. If I had to choose between this and the RM 50-03, I’d still have to say the RM 50-03 wins, but by the smallest of margins.
Urwerk UR-210 Black Platinum (155,000CHF)
The kings of satellite indicators, Urwerk’s brilliant UR-210 is back with a vengeance. This dark and menacing piece is stealthy, aggressive and super inconspicuous. Seriously. I’ve had people ask if this was an unknown G-Shock. I love that you could wear this watch around and people wouldn’t even think twice about how much it costs, what it really is and what it actually represents. Oh, and black platinum? Come on!
A. Lange & Söhne Triple Split ($147,000USD)
Conventional rattrapante, meet your successor. This is less of a “good watch” and more of a big achievement for Lange. Making a rattrapante is hard enough. Creating a triple rattrapante while still keeping the same case dimensions is nigh impossible. But if anyone were to do it, it’d be Lange. Keep your eyes on our Instagram, because sometime tomorrow we’re going to show you something pretty spectacular.
Laurent Ferrier Galet Annual Calendar Montre École (TBA)
The Galet Annual Calendar Montre École is a completely new, very modern timepiece from an atelier we tend to associate with the more classical side of watchmaking. Within this avant-garde case sits Laurent Ferrier’s latest calibre, the LF126.01, a manually wound annual calendar movement that also depicts the passing hours, minutes and seconds. It will be available in 18k red gold, 18k pale yellow gold or stainless steel with either a two-toned silver dial or a slate-grey dial, with pricing yet to be concerned.
IWC Portugieser Chronograph Edition "150 Years" ($7,150USD)
Finally. Finally, finally finally. Finally, we have an in-house chronograph movement for the IWC Portugieser Chronograph. This has jumped straight to the top of my wish list. I’ve always wanted a Portugieser Chronograph, but just couldn’t wrap my head around paying thousands of dollars for an ébauche movement, but here is IWC’s answer to the naysayers (myself included). Thank you, IWC!
De Bethune DB28 Steel Wheels Open-Worked (83,000CHF)
And the last piece to wrap up Day 1’s highlight reel. This time from De Bethune in the form of the DB28 Steel Wheels Open-Worked. The skeletonisation done to De Bethune’s most iconic piece is impeccable. I love the chic, almost avant-garde look to this watch. The dial is trademark De Bethune. From the triangular centerpiece to the overall symmetrical layout, its stunning. The cutaways in the case and lugs are atypical of De Bethune’s aesthetic legacy, and the placement of the crown at 12 o’clock does wonders for the elegant flow of the piece. Love it. Can’t wait to see what De Bethune will do next under their new ownership.