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Ten timepieces we are most excited to see at SIHH

After a challenging year marked by declining sales and plenty of handwringing over what the future has in store for makers of luxury timepieces, the Swiss watch industry is in need of some good news.

The 27th annual Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH), which opens in Geneva on January 16, may be the answer. Scores of new watches from prestige brands, including A. Lange & Söhne, Jaeger-LeCoultre, and IWC, will be unveiled at the five-day event, considered the world’s finest showcase of high watchmaking.

Joining the fair’s power brands are 11 independent watchmakers (MB&F, Laurent Ferrier, and Christophe Claret chief among them), as well as two Kering-owned luxury brands, Girard-Perregaux and Ulysse Nardin. Is there strength in numbers? Judging by these 10 timepieces we're looking forward to seeing in 2017, the answer is a resounding yes. (sihh.org)

IWC Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar Chronograph

The big story at IWC Schaffhausen this year is the rebirth of the Da Vinci collection. Introduced in 1969 as a barrel-shaped watch bearing a Beta 23 quartz movement, the model became a best-seller in the 1980s when it was redesigned as a round timepiece with a rich-looking aesthetic that included movable lugs and a circular motif echoing the designs of its namesake, Leonardo Da Vinci. In 2007, the collection was transformed back into a tonneau-shaped style, and interest waned. “It became clear we needed to relaunch it,” says creative director Christian Knoop. The new Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar Chronograph in 18-karat rose gold with a white dial on a brown leather strap ($US40,200, above) is a haute example of the Da Vinci’s contemporary new look. (iwc.com)

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Baume & Mercier Promesse Moon Phase

Women’s watches with prominent moon-phase displays are ubiquitous; in fact, the complication tops the list of most common watch features for women. What makes the new Baume & Mercier Promesse Moon Phase ($US3790, price subject to change) so distinctive-looking is its juxtaposition of an oval-shaped bezel — set with two crescent-shaped rows of graduated diamonds — with a round 34mm polished steel case. The model’s blue lacquered dial, paired with a glossy blue alligator strap, completes the pretty picture. (baume-et-mercier.com)

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Christophe Claret Maestro

If you didn’t know that the new Maestro timepiece ($US67,000 in titanium and $US75,000 in 18-karat rose gold) came from the workshop of independent watchmaker Christophe Claret, your biggest clue would be its playful complication. Inspired by the concept of “tying a knot in your handkerchief,” an old trick to help people remember things, the “MEMO” complication — rendered in a 3D cone-shaped projection positioned on the dial between 3 and 4 o’clock — reminds wearers to perform a task, be it calling a loved one or taking a walk. Once complete, a simple push of a button returns the MEMO function to its original position. But the watch isn’t all fun and games. The glass-dome bezel offers a clear view of Claret’s handwound movement, whose skeletonised bridges are rendered in his signature Charles X style. The overall effect is grand as ever. (christopheclaret.com)

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Girard-Perregaux 1966 WW.TC

The Swiss watchmaker Girard-Perregaux, fresh off its 225th anniversary, returns to SIHH this year following a five-year absence (during which it exhibited at the rival Baselworld show). To mark the occasion, the brand has combined two of its most iconic models — the classic 1966 and the WW.TC (“World Wide Time Control”) lines — into one elegant, world time model, the new 1966 WW.TC, shown here in steel on an alligator-leather strap ($US12,300). (girard-perregaux.com)

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Jaeger-LeCoultre Atmos 568

For the third time, Jaeger-LeCoultre has teamed with the famed industrial designer Marc Newson on its iconic Atmos clock. Invented in 1928 by the Swiss engineer Jean-Léon Reutter, the pendulum clock is famously powered by perpetual motion. The newest edition, Atmos 568 ($US28,000), is housed in a rounded case of transparent Baccarat crystal. “I made the decision to inject a level of newness into the movement, which we achieved with the addition of uniquely designed decorative details such as the bolts that attach the movement and chamber to the glass, utilising smooth and brushed finishes to heighten shadow play and add depth,” Newson says. “The crystal, too, has been designed to play with light. I wanted to imbue the clock with an intriguingly new character from different points of view.” (jaeger-lecoultre.com)

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Panerai Radiomir 3 Days Acciaio

The idiosyncratic 12-sided bezel of the new Panerai Radiomir 3 Days Acciaio model ($US9800) harks back to the late 1930s, when the Italian watchmaker made a number of dodecagonal Radiomir watches for the authorities of the Royal Italian Navy. The 2017 reinterpretation bears the same engraving as the historic models, a similar sandwich case construction, the same classic size (47 mm) and the same minimalist dial, which is available in black (PAM00685) or shaded brown (PAM00687). The brand-new handwound mechanical movement (boasting a three-day power reserve) powering the watch is manufactured entirely in-house. (panerai.com)

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Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda Métrographe

Introduced three years ago, the Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda Métrographe ($US11,500 with a strap or $US12,000 with a steel bracelet) gets a crisp new (and very legible) look this year with a streamlined dial that combines rugged chronograph functionality with the refined elegance for which the watchmaker is known. Complete with subtle touches, such as a new date window at 12 o’clock that features a red No. 1, the model is likely to entice plenty of newcomers to the brand. Why? Because it is a sexy and (relatively) affordable chronograph from one of horology’s finest boutique makers. (parmigiani.ch)

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Richard Mille RM 07-01

Richard Mille’s new RM 07-01 model ($US110,000) comes in the watchmaker’s signature tonneau case, but its construction is anything but typical. Leave it to the king of experimental materials to create a women’s watch that features ultra-lightweight NTPT carbon set with diamonds. Boasting a remarkable degree of hardness and resistance, the material requires its own dedicated machinery, including diamond tools. A sister model, the fully set RM 037 in NTPT carbon, starts at $US150,000. (richardmille.com)

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Roger Dubuis Excalibur Spider Skeleton Automatic

Peer inside the blue PVD-coated innards of the new Roger Dubuis Excalibur Spider Skeleton Automatic (about $US67,800) and you will come to appreciate what sets the Geneva-based watchmaker apart from its peers in the world of haute horlogerie: The firm isn’t afraid to seize your attention with its use of avant-garde materials (in this case, cobalt chrome), and hold it with its meticulous, Geneva Seal–worthy craftsmanship. (rogerdubuis.com)

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Ulysse Nardin Diver Chronograph Artemis Racing

In honour of its partnership with Sweden’s Artemis Racing, a contender in the 2017 America’s Cup, Ulysse Nardin is rolling out a new edition of its iconic Diver Chronograph (price on request) featuring a distinctly maritime aesthetic, including an engraving of the team’s catamaran on the dial. Complete with all the requisite diving features, the chronograph comes in a sporty 45.8 mm case made of rubber-coated stainless steel. It is available in a limited edition of 250 pieces. (ulysse-nardin.com)

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