SIHH 2018 Round Table: What We Liked, What We Didn’t Like, And What We Would Buy For Ourselves. Warning: Photo-Heavy Modem Burner!
Please join our Quill & Pad round table discussion where we discuss what we did and didn’t like at the 2018 SIHH (Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie).
Our panelists are:
IS Ian Skellern, co-founder of Quill & Pad
ED Elizabeth Doerr, co-founder of Quill & Pad
JM Joshua Munchow, resident nerd at Quill & Pad
GG GaryG, resident collector at Quill & Pad
AG Alex Ghotbi, contributor to Quill & Pad and expert at Phillips auction house
MG Martin Green, resident gentleman at Quill & Pad
GC George Cramer, contributor to Quill & Pad
MG: The overall vibe at the SIHH was very good. Nearly every brand seemed to have taken the recent dip in sales as an indication that it was time to do some soul searching. Most of the new introductions were very in touch with the “DNA” of the brands, and pricing was in general clever: more affordable, yet never desperately cheap. Also, where Baselworld is seemingly struggling (see Breaking News: Baselworld 2018 Will Be Up To 50% Smaller! Up To Half The Exhibitors Gone And 3+ Halls Closed), SIHH seems to be on the rise, now also joined by brands such as Ferdinand Berthoud and Hermès.
It will be interesting to see if the SIHH will continue to grow – if that is even the strategy – as it is of course mainly a Richemont show.
IS: I think that the management and organizers of the 2018 SIHH deserve a tip of the hat as the new press center, auditorium, and YouTube-friendly booths and meeting spaces were all very well appreciated.
GG: It seems that for the past several years including this one, all I’ve heard from people is how bad the new pieces are at the current version of SIHH and its surrounding events; but I for one found a large number of highly desirable watches on display this year from both independents and major brands and left Geneva feeling good about the industry’s prospects for continued recovery and ongoing innovation.
ED: While this wasn’t the SIHH’s finest “WOW” year with world firsts and new records, I came away with a positive impression and more than enough complicated and interesting timepieces to keep me happy and talking (see Video: Elizabeth And Ian Interviewed By The Watches TV At SIHH 2018).
Piaget upped its game; A. Lange & Söhne and Greubel Forsey continued to wow with incredible quality and ingenuity; and I felt there were enough beautiful and complicated ladies’ watches (Romain Gauthier, Van Cleef & Arpels. Parmigiani) as well as base collections for the everyday wearer (Jaeger-LeCoultre and Vacheron Constantin among others). All in all a good, solid year.
IS: The same goes for me. I particularly liked the Urwerk UR-AMC (Atomic Mechanical Control) movement presented at the SIHH. It is a Breguet Sympathique-inspired creation consisting of a fully mechanical wristwatch that docks with an atomic clock to regulate the balance, set the time, and wind the watch. Mind blown? The atomic master clock sits in a briefcase-sized aluminum case weighing a surprisingly hefty 30+ kilograms (70 pounds), and I’m very much looking forward to seeing the complete ensemble.
And the polo-resistant Richard Mille RM 053-01 for ten-goal Argentinean player and multiple world champion Pablo Mac Donough has both an incredible shock-resistant movement supported by tensioning cables, plus, in a world-first for wristwatches, a laminated sapphire crystal that can withstand heavy blows. A video of Mac Donough playing polo and highlighting a few of the injuries he has sustained was shown at the presentation that made every other high-impact sport look like child’s play in comparison.
JM: The awe of the SIHH seemed to be a bit dimmed this year as brands focused on building core collections or fine-tuning existing lines. “Big” releases were fewer and far between, and it felt like the brands were saving something for next time. The SIHH often sees brands “putting it all out there,” if you will, showing watches that are the biggest and best they have ever done. For whatever reason, I did not feel that this year everywhere. Some brands definitely showed their ultimate pieces, however the zest was a little lacking. I’m sure market forces, management changes, and other factors played into this reality, but the 2018 edition of the SIHH felt restrained.
The new fair layout also feels like it is moving in the right direction to make the SIHH the ultimate show for watchmaking with a new auditorium for tech talks and the inclusion of even more independent brands as well as the Time Aeon foundation, which promotes traditional watchmaking training.
MG: I’d like to ask whether brands are finally going to make prototypes/concept watches part of the way they approach the market just as car brands do? (See What Watch Brands Can And Should Learn From The Automotive Industry for more on this.)
I sure hope so because two of the most talked-about watches of the show, the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak RD#2 and the Piaget Altiplano Ultimate Concept, were indeed concept watches: one is destined to enter production (the Royal Oak), while the other will have parts of its innovative technology power future generations of Piaget watches. I hope that more brands will follow suit!
ED: And, of course, there were more technologies without watches introduced at the SIHH: the incredible Ressence e-crown (can’t wait to see this in the end!), the Urwerk AMC (I certainly hope this gets added to a wristwatch), and the Greubel Forsey Nano Technology – which the company keeps offering sneak previews of, but nothing concrete as of yet.
MG: And excluding the dozens of new Royal Oak Offshore models, a line that celebrates its thirtieth anniversary in 2018, case sizes seem to now have a new equilibrium. Oversized is out, and for men even smaller sizes seem to be back on the table. Great news in my opinion, as this allows for far more refined designs.
GC: Additionally, there are more steel models than previous years and better value for money; it seems to me that some brands are offering interesting watches for very reasonable prices.
AG: Hey guys, I realize it’s not new for many of you, but I discovered Akrivia in Geneva this year: superb craftsmanship, immensely talented team. Could this be the next Dufour or Voutilainen?
ED: Good find, Alex! And Gary has already hypothesized that in his op-ed A Collector’s View: Is Akrivia Bound For Glory?
Best of show
GG: The bad news in this category for me is that the watch I saw this week at the show that I would like to pick apparently won’t be formally introduced until Baselworld, so I’ll have to wait until then to sing its glories!
As a result, the piece that I’ll put forward as my top watch of SIHH week is the Triple Split from A. Lange & Söhne. While the dial-side cosmetics aren’t 100 percent to my taste and I’m left to ponder whether as a Double Split owner (see Why I Bought It: A. Lange & Söhne Double Split) I really need one, there’s no denying the technical virtuosity and thought behind this splendid watch. I expect that the 100 available pieces will be gone in a flash.
IS: While the 2018 SIHH had a great many excellent watches, I felt that there were very few real standouts that had me thinking, “WOW!” In fact, there were only two for me: the Urwerk AMC, which I’ll eliminate because it was “just” a movement, not a watch, and the A. Lange & Söhne Triple Split.
What makes the Triple Split stand out for me isn’t just the technical achievement of the complex mechanism, but how wearable and legible it is. With a case diameter of 43.2 millimeters, the watch sits very comfortably on the wrist, and the indications are very neat and logically laid out.
ED: You took the words right out of my mouth, Ian. This is the watch that took my breath away for the whole week . . . though there were a few other contenders: the Ressence e-crown concept, the Van Cleef & Arpels Planétarium, Girard-Perregaux’s new Neo-Tourbillon, and Romain Gauthier’s Insight Micro Rotor Lady.
MG: I was convinced that this would be the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak RD#2 when I had that watch on my wrist. The way the brand has redesigned the perpetual calendar is brilliant! Not only is it ultra-slim, but it also uses even less energy while fewer parts increase reliability.
However, 15 minutes after I took off the Royal Oak RD#2, I got my hands on Piaget’s Altiplano Ultimate Concept . . . at first glance, it looks like they printed the image of a movement on a piece of paper, yet then you notice that it’s moving! And then one of the movement engineers responsible for the creation of this watch starts explaining how they ensured that despite being only 2 mm high (case included!) reliability was at the top of their minds, making my admiration and desirability increase tenfold. My hope for owning this was, however, shattered by the PR manager, who announced that it would not be for sale.
AG: For me the best in show was not just one watch, and I know it was officially outside the fair, but I would nominate the whole new De Bethune lineup. Amazing watches and designs and fantastic energy from the team. The DB28 Steel Wheels was the watch of the show for me both technically and aesthetically.
GC: The Ressence e-crown because I find it so exciting that a small independent like Ressence presented a watch that, in connection with an app on the iPhone, sets the exact time by tapping twice on the glass. It is able to store different time zones, which makes it ideal for the frequent traveler.
GG: If I’m allowed to sneak in a runner-up, I’ll give some love to the GMT Earth from Greubel Forsey. The GMT was a splendid achievement when it was first introduced, and this year’s additions of a peripheral drive mechanism that allows both the top and bottom of the globe to be viewed and a sapphire bezel that opens up the appearance of the watch take it to another level.
This watch was also the subject of one of my favorite quotes of the week, from Stephen Forsey: “We had thousands of complaint letters from penguins, so we redesigned the watch to add Antarctica!”
IS: I’ll sneak one in then, too, Gary. Although it has taken a few days for me to appreciate fully, another SIHH standout for me was the Ferdinand Berthoud Chronomètre FB 1R.6-1. While the FB 1R.6-1 is not likely to please everybody, it’s technically superb, visually eye-catching thanks to its unusual minimalist dial design, beautifully executed, and I found myself liking it more and more during the week.
JM: The best watch of the show is always a tough call, especially in years where there is no clearly ridiculous concept or extravagant mechanical release. But those years also make clear where the value and honesty of the industry lie. This year I propose two for the title of “Best Watch of the Fair,” and they are the A. Lange & Söhne 1815 Homage to Walter Lange and the Piaget Altiplano Ultimate Concept.
The Altiplano Ultimate Concept clearly shows that Piaget is committed to making the thinnest watches in the world, and the brand is willing to reimagine watchmaking methods to achieve it. Historically, thin watches have had issues with wearability largely due to materials and construction methods. One of the biggest problems is strapping the watch too tightly to your wrist and stopping it. Piaget has taken that clearly into consideration in its attempt to make the thinnest mechanical watch in the world, and at a mere 2 millimeters in height it is something amazing to behold.
The A. Lange & Söhne 1815 Homage to Walter Lange is probably the purest watch of the fair, and while perhaps not the most technically complicated, it is definitely one of the most special pieces we found this year. Walter Lange, a major force in bringing high watchmaking back to Glashütte after German reunification, built a company that stands clearly as one of the best in the world. He always pushed Lange’s engineers to build a jumping seconds watch, and after his passing in 2017 the engineers decided that a separate jumping seconds watch was the best way to pay tribute to a humble man who accomplished great things. This watch is amazing and simple at the same time, and given that the people behind it weren’t fans of the mechanism this is also the only jumping seconds watch of this type A. Lange & Söhne will ever make. Now if that isn’t something special, I don’t know what is.
IS: I so much wanted to like the Parmigiani Fleurier Bugatti Type 390 Chiron because it was so well thought out technically, and I thought that separate modules for the movement and display was a clever idea. But for the watch as a whole turned out to be less than the sum of its parts. The Bugatti Type 390 Chiron may well grow on me as there is so much to appreciate, but for now at least it’s lacking that je ne sais quoi.
GG: This category has become harder for me to call in recent years as I simply don’t visit places where I know that I’ll be disappointed. I do have a couple of thoughts, though. One watch that many people seemed to like but I didn’t get at all was the IWC Tribute to Pallweber 150 Years with its digital indications seemingly lost in a sea of bathroom-like whiteness.
IS: I thought that the IWC Pallweber looked even better in the “flesh” than it did in photos, and I already liked it from the images, Gary. But then living though Swiss winters may have me more used to vast expanses of white than you in California.
AG: I was expecting the big brands in this post-crisis year to be more creative and innovative but instead saw many of the same uninspired designs but at lower price points! I don’t think the issue is price, but mostly desirability.
MG: I felt that the introductions of Jaeger-LeCoultre – which was only about the new Polaris line – were somewhat bland and didn’t show off the technical and design prowess of one of the most important brands in haute horlogerie as it should.
These new Polaris watches strengthened its (commercial) lineup, but I was missing something with a wow factor that most of the other brands provided and that Jaeger-LeCoultre generally provides.
GG: I hear you, Martin: the new Polaris line offered way too many slight variants on a theme that itself wasn’t visually up to the striking beauty of its legendary namesake. Several times during our viewing session, I thought I’d already seen a watch that was passed my way, only to find that this was the one with the dark blue ring rather than black or the dive watch vs. the time only.
I wasn’t among those who hated the Vacheron Constantin FiftySix; while I’m not yet sure what I think about the line from the perspective of brand strategy, I thought the watches themselves were pretty attractive.
ED: While I generally very much liked the FiftySix line in its entirety – especially the younger design and steel cases – I was quite disappointed in the most basic model, called the “Self-Winding,” which is powered by a Richemont group ValFleurier movement without Geneva Seal that is based on the Cartier 1904 MC from 2012 and was used in 2016’s Piaget Polo S.
While that in itself is not necessarily a problem – even though Vacheron Constantin is a staunch defender of the Seal and offers it on every other watch – aficionados of this brand were probably rather disappointed to find out the same movement has been introduced in other, less prestigious timepieces. I’m not sure about that brand strategy either, Gary.
JM: The most disappointing watch of the show is something I don’t like to bring a lot of attention to, mainly because I dislike speaking negatively about people making cool things. I know it’s difficult to create new watches and so effort shouldn’t be discouraged. But if we have to pick a watch that is a disappointment, it would have to be the same Vacheron Constantin FiftySix model.
The watch itself looks great, and the entire FiftySix collection is a good direction for those looking to get into this prestigious brand but have slightly different tastes. This shared base movement lacks the Geneva Seal, as Elizabeth pointed out, which is one of the only things that is the same across the entire Vacheron Constantin collection. Buying a Vacheron is supposed to mean getting a top-quality movement with the Geneva Seal, the oldest quality stamp in watchmaking, but this watch adds an asterisk to that statement. And that, frankly, sticks in our craws a bit.
GG: Among our traveling collector group, the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore with the green bezel and camouflage look took a pretty severe drubbing, and I can’t say that I disagree!
IS: I’m with you on that Gary, though usually when I don’t like a watch it sells out quickly!
GC: Romain Jerome’s Spider-man because I wonder how long this 48 mm watch with a price tag of about $20,000 will be interesting to wear . . .
IS: I was also disappointed that F.P. Journe decided not to exhibit its full collection at the SIHH rather than just the ladies’ Elégante (quartz) models. The booth was understandable if only an experiment for this year with no intention to repeat next year, but I found it frustrating to see F.P. Journe at a stand at the SIHH, but with none of the superb mechanical watches the brand is known for.
What you would buy with your own money ?
ED: I was personally enamored with the A. Lange & Söhne Saxonia Thin with aventurine dial and the Romain Gauthier Insight Micro Rotor Lady, both of which are easy sizes to wear on a feminine wrist and offer beautiful mechanics along with attractive looks. I am always drawn to aventurine, and the use of it here is a first for the German maker.
AG: If I had that kind of cash it would be the Vacheron Constantin Métiers d’Art Les Aérostiers – Paris 1783, which is an invitation to dream and travel. Such a poetically inspiring collection: this is Vacheron Constantin at its best.
GG: The watch at the show that I did place an order for this past week was the Grönefeld 1941 Remontoire; having raved about it since its 2016 Basel introduction, it was finally time to get off the mark and buy one! It should be incoming later this year and I’m really looking forward to it.
I’m also seriously tempted by the A. Lange & Söhne Homage to Walter Lange tribute watch, and for me it would be one of the 27 examples to be made in yellow gold, the color of the Pour le Mérite Tourbillon I bought to match the one worn by Herr Lange himself (see Why I Bought It: A. Lange & Söhne Pour Le Mérite Tourbillon).
IS: While I am still a long way off my saving target, I long for a Kari Voutilainen Vingt-8 as to my eyes this watch is absolutely perfect when viewed from any angle.
More realistically affordable for me is the superb new Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Automatic, which looks to me to be an ideal daily wearer. While my heart yearns for a new Memovox, the white date disk ruins the black dial for me (see 6 New Watches In Jaeger-LeCoultre 2018 Polaris Collection Including A New Memovox Model).
JM: This one is actually pretty easy for me because, as someone on a very small budget, I am always realistic about what I can afford. Big pieces over $20,000 are out automatically, and the remaining pieces need to have something very unique that is hard to find across the industry. That is why the Jaeger LeCoultre Polaris Memovox with mechanical alarm is a no-brainer. It is the most complicated and only striking watch you can get for just over $12,000, and it looks fantastic as a solid re-interpretation of a historical piece. And it’s from Jaeger LeCoultre, one of my favorite big brands, so you know it’s backed by a fantastic company. And, finally, the new alarm sounds better than any I’ve heard before, and nearly sounds like a chiming watch. Simply put, it’s awesome.
GC: I would buy the Cartier Tank Cintrée instantly because this is the best Tank Cartier ever created, a watch that has not been on the market since 2006.
MG: While I think that Cartier hit the sweet spot with the new Santos regarding sizes, pricing, and providing both the bracelet and the strap when you purchase one, Geo, it would be Piaget processing my payment for a white gold Altiplano Ultimate 910P.
IS: I also thought that Cartier got the new Santos design spot-on Martin.
What watch would you buy if money were no object?
GG: If I’m spending your money, it’s going to be on the Chronograph Monopoussoir Rattrapante from F.P. Journe in platinum. I’m not spending my money because it’s unclear to me why the platinum-encased version should cost twice what the titanium variant of this watch does; that said, the positive-yet-buttery feel of the chronograph pushers was a revelation and I thought the platinum piece looked great on the wrist.
GC: The IWC Tribute to Pallweber Edition 150 Years. I always thought that the Pallweber jumping hour pocket watch was ingenious, and this transformation from pocket to wristwatch is done in an excellent and attractive way.
IS: If money was no object, I’d happily buy a Greubel Forsey GMT Earth. While Greubel Forsey’s hand finishing is never short of superlative, the frosted plates and concealed mechanisms ensure that what is visible really pops. It’s truly an incredible watch.
I’d also like to highlight the Armin Strom Pure Resonance as the more minimalistic dial of this model is both more to my taste than the original Resonance and technically it should deliver better chronometric performance, which is really the whole point of resonance in the first place (see Armin Strom Pure Resonance: Less Really Is More And That Resonates).
AG: The De Bethune DB25 Deadbeat Seconds Tourbillon Milky Way: the dial side is zen and pure with just a hint of action with the jumping seconds. Turn the watch over and the movement smacks you in the face with its glorious complexity. A bit like having a 1930s Bugatti with a Formula 1 engine.
ED: The Van Cleef & Arpels Midnight Planétarium, without hesitation. This is more than a shrunk-down version of the previous men’s Planetarium; this watch showing three planets as they make their way around the sun has been re-engineered to fit into the beautiful 38 mm case. I was absolutely enchanted by the disks in aventurine and the planets in precious stones and metals.
JM: This one is always more of a fantasy, and makes me think “Which watch made me say wow the loudest or would make me want to talk about it the longest?” For me, that narrows it down to two different watches for two very different reasons.
First, I would get the Cartier Révélation d’une Panthére because it is probably the coolest thing I saw this year. Of all the mechanical masterpieces and technical achievements, this is the one that I wanted to play with the longest for the sheer joy of seeing it work. It borders on magic (a favorite feature for me) and artistically is a triumph. I love the technical engineering behind it, but even more I love how that engineering ends up making me feel like a child watching fireflies dance across the meadow. The serenity that emanates from the Révélation d’une Panthére and its cascading display and transformation is sublime.
Second, moving in an entirely new direction, I would get the Ulysse Nardin Freak Vision because it is the most technically jam-packed watch I saw this year. Featuring three new innovations from 2017’s InnoVision 2, the Freak Vision is an engineering marvel providing hours of technical discussion for anyone that might be so inclined. I would want to wear this piece simply to consider all of it and allow it to inspire my own creation as it pushes the boundaries of what is possible, all while looking extremely cool!
MG: Things get a bit repetitive with me, I’m afraid, but if money were no object, I would buy a controlling stake in Richemont and have Piaget hand me over an Altiplano Ultimate concept watch. Overkill? Of course! But how great is it when your concept watches, which are not for sale to the public, invoke such desire?
An investment watch
GG: In this category, I include pieces that can serve as long-term foundational watches within a collection. With that in mind, my pick this year is the blue-dialed Reverso from Jaeger-LeCoultre. It’s so affordable that some might question whether it truly fits here, but for me the value offered and the rock-solid quality of this beautiful watch make it a worthy selection.
JM: As anyone will tell you buying watches as investments is a tricky matter, and so most watches are not going to hold up as good investments. This rule usually does not apply to A. Lange & Söhne, and so I would pick up the new Triple Split as my investment. I have heard that many Lange pieces hold their value, and some increase in value as well. Even if this one isn’t the most expensive Lange model ever, I feel rather secure knowing it is a pretty important piece that will retain collector desirability for years to come. Plus, it is just so dang awesome and has a magnificent movement!
MG: Never, ever buy a watch for any other reason than personal enjoyment! Of course, you can buy smart, but as a pure investment, I think that there are better options to explore. However, if you want to buy a watch as an investment, make sure you get a hold of the A. Lange & Söhne Triple Split, lock it up in a safe, and put it up for auction a couple of years from now.
AG: I can’t really see any contemporary piece from the 2018 SIHH as an investment in such a short period.
ED: However, Alex, if there was a standout piece that could be considered the investment piece of the show, it was certainly the Triple Split. Right alongside A. Lange & Söhne’s Homage to Walter Lange – especially the one-off stainless steel piece going up for auction in May.
GC: The Vacheron Constantin Historiques Triple Calendrier 1942 in steel could be one of those watches to keep its value.
IS: I’d be very surprised if any watch presented at the SIHH actually appreciated in value because the brands make as many of each model as they think they can sell. I suggest investing your money elsewhere where you are likely to at least keep your capital if not make a profit and buy watches for pleasure.
A patronage watch
MG: The achievements of Walter Lange will forever be a prominent part of the annals of haute horlogerie, so the ultimate patronage watch is the tribute collection that A. Lange & Söhne crafted in his honor: the Homage to Walter Lange.
AG: The Ressence e-crown. I’m not usually a fan of Ressence’s designs, but it’s refreshing to see such a technically advanced and audacious piece. I would definitely want to see it go from concept to reality!
GG: In this category, it’s the new retrograde date piece from Kari Voutilainen for me. I liked both the red gold and platinum versions, and I’m sure that if I had one I’d sneak the date indicator forward far more than once per month to see the ultra-smooth retrograde mechanism in action.
GC: I vote for the Cartier Tank Cintrée again, since the model is built and designed like it was in the 1930s. This is not Cartier’s most famous Tank, but certainly the best looking and the father of the famous Tank Americain.
IS: I disliked the design of the Ferdinand Berthoud Chronomètre FB 1.1 when it launched and then went on to win the prestigious Aiguille d’Or at the 2016 Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève just to remind me that my tastes are far from universal. But after spending more time handling the piece, I came to appreciate the watch much more.
The same thing has happened to me with the new Ferdinand Berthoud Chronomètre FB 1R.6-1: I disliked it at first sight but came to appreciate then like it more with each day at the SIHH until by the end of the week I was in love.
While I very much doubt that Ferdinand Berthoud president Karl-Friedrich Scheufele needs any patronage from me, it’s a brand I am happy to support and I find the watches intriguing.
JM: A “patronage watch” usually means you will be buying from an independent maker or brand, oftentimes a company that has one or two models and produces new things slowly (as budget and time allows). This year, many were excellent choices, but the one that stood out to me was the Ferdinand Berthoud 1R.6-1, a very cool regulator-style watch with an incredible movement, new super-hardened steel case, and a look that won’t be confused with any other watch out there. It really is a great piece and I want to see the brand continue its path!
ED: I would also nominate the Ressence e-crown in this category along with the Romain Gauthier Insight Micro Rotor Lady.
A fun watch
JM: When it comes to fun watches, this category can include cheeky watches that poke fun of the industry, odd things that just make you smile, or anything that is just off the beaten path. But this year, the watch that stood out to me as the most fun timepiece is actually pretty groundbreaking as well. The Ressence Type 2 e-Crown is the only mechanical watch that also features micro-electronics that will set the time, wind the watch, and adjust for any loss or gain of time. It is quite possibly the future of tech-oriented mechanical watches and it is truly fun to use. Keep an eye out for this one!
AG: The Hermès Carré H, I loved the design!
ED: In fact, I felt that Hermès added a fun component altogether to the fair with its “Let’s Play” year theme and the amazing booth with its games and astounding magician. Welcome to the SIHH, Hermès!
IS: It was the first year for Hermès at the SIHH, and the brand did not disappoint with a fun-filled playtime-themed stand. The new Hermès Carré H was very well received, and I’m wondering if there might be a renaissance in bold, squarish watches (see Hermès Carré H: The Perfect Square To Round Out A Hip Homme).
GC: The Hermès Carré H. I can’t take this watch as seriously as I do when it comes to the Slim d’Hermès, for example, but the design of the watch is so good that I hardly even notice the larger size.
MG: Never in a million years did I think I would write that I would like, and even wear, a watch with a hot air balloon on the dial! However, the execution of Vacheron Constantin’s new Métiers d’Art Les Aérostiers – Paris 1783 set is so high, so beautiful, and so detailed that I was sold the moment I saw it in front of me. Despite the incredible craftsmanship, the four timepieces in this set have a playfulness to them that makes them simply delightful!
GG: Like F.P. Journe, Singer Reimagined wasn’t physically at the fair held at the Palexpo, but the micro brand did introduce its new gold-cased “Geneva Edition” AgenGraphe-based chronograph this past week, and since I “saved” so much money in the investment category with the Reverso I’ll apply my virtual savings to nominate the Singer here.
IS: For a watch that has a fairly nondescript (though happily mechanical) movement and indicates just hours and minutes with standard central hands, the Cartier Révélation d’une Panthère might at first appear to be a strange choice here, though for many it was the star of the fair. It is hypnotizing to watch the micro balls fall into position to form the panther’s head and mind blowing to try to work out how the effect is done.
ED: Ian, I completely agree with everything you’ve said regarding the Révélation d’une Panthère: I could not stop playing with it. Watching 900 little gold balls drop through the liquid trapped between the sapphire crystal and the dial to create a panther head before continuing to the bottom was beyond fascinating – like a horological magic trick.
And because I’m such a huge comic nerd, I also need to nominate Romain Jerome’s Skylab Spider-man as one of my fun watches of the fair – but perhaps it was the booth that attracted me so much. Stepping inside it was just like entering a New York frame from one of Marvel’s comics. I was impressed with its design and had fun at the same time!
MG: SIHH is all about watches, of course, but perhaps even more so about the people. United by a common passion, different backgrounds, religions, walks of life, all come together. How awesome a place would the world be if everybody loved watches!