The Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie, or SIHH for short, took place for the 25th time this past January on the shores of Lake Geneva, with a record number of 24 watch manufacturers showcasing their latest creations. This intimate gathering, much smaller than Baselworld in March, is the first showcase providing consumers, dealers, and watch collectors with an exclusive preview of the direction the watch world is heading for the next twelve months. These six examples personify the technical and financial health of the industry in 2016.
“Royal Oak Double Balance Wheel Openworked” by Audemars Piguet
One of the most recognizable brands in the world is continuing their focus on technical wizardry matched with subtle design features. The Royal Oak case is an easily recognizable mainstay of the brand but the fully skeletonized movement with red gold accents instantly sets this model apart. The engineers at Audemars Piguet were able to stack a second balance wheel on the movement, providing significant improvement in the precision of the timekeeping. The brushed stainless steel case with a matte finish provides enough subtlety to balance out the visually impressive openwork movement. This version of the Royal Oak line is sure to stand out just enough in the boardroom.
“Reverso Tribute Gyrotourbillon” by Jaeger-LeCoultre
To celebrate the 85th anniversary of the brand’s most iconic design, The Reverso, the engineers at JLC have released a technical masterpiece. This entirely skeletonized, 385-piece movement is highlighted by a rotating tourbillon mechanism that appears to be free floating inside the watch. A second time zone is highlighted on the reverse face of the watch which rotates within the solid platinum case. The modest thickness of the 12.4 mm case reinforces the technical expertise required to design this timepiece. The Reverso is the brand’s most recognizable design and this timepiece is certain to enhance its longstanding reputation.
Polacheck’s Jewelers, Calabasas
“Heritage Chronometrie Chronograph Annual Calendar” by Montblanc
A relative newcomer in the world of fine watchmaking, this brand’s latest design emanates from an incredible pedigree. Montblanc purchased the Minerva movement factory, arguably one of the finest in the world, and with that an archive of timepieces with historical significance. This year Montblanc has used this treasure trove to release their first annual calendar with a chronograph function, modeled after a Minerva design from the 1920s. The four sub-dials are symmetrically placed on the face of the watch, which enables a clear display of more than eight individual complications. The stainless steel case, plated in gold, reflects the company’s desire to make the focus of the piece its technical gravitas but not at the expense of its precious beauty.
Available July 2016
Feldmar Watch Company, Los Angeles
“Tondo Chronor Anniversaire” by Parmigiani
Known for cutting edge and sometimes flamboyant designs, the watchmaker has presented a more traditional manual winding chronograph to highlight their anniversary. Clasped in a rose gold case with a large date window display, the split second chronograph contains more than 317 parts with a clean white enamel face accented in black and gold. The dark brown alligator strap completes the elegant look of a piece that exudes complicated watchmaking with a classic design. A more modest case size belies the technical savvy of a movement displaying some of the finest hand finishing in the world of luxury timekeeping.
David Orgell, Beverly Hills
“RM 50-02 ACJ” by Richard Mille
Known for exclusive and distinctive collaborations, the watch manufacturer’s latest with Airbus Corporate Jets does not disappoint. A limited edition of only thirty pieces is available exclusively at the brand’s boutique stores and offers a visual display that rivals any cockpit. The watch case is secured by 12 Torq Set screws with a distinct slot pattern that are used in jet engine applications to provide maximum security. The detailing displayed on the dial contains an indicator that alerts the operator if the movement is in the proper position to receive adjustments to the various complications. There is also a distinct indicator that displays the amount of pressure applied to the chronometer’s power barrel, insuring optimal timekeeping.
Richard Mille, Beverly Hills
“Overseas Ultra Thin” by Vacheron Constantin
The oldest watchmaker in Geneva has presented a new line of ultra-thin movements that continue the company’s push to offer many variations of the same model. Available with three different levels of complications, and thus three different movements, all of the watches contain a 22 carat gold rotor with a sunburst design meant to embody the spirit of overseas travel. The 40 mm cases contain a soft inner iron ring designed to stop magnetic forces from disturbing the accuracy of the movement. Three different band materials are offered along with several color variations on the face. The final step is choosing which configuration suits your personality best.
Vacheron Constantin Boutique, Beverly Hills