29th Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie 2019
This is perhaps the most luxurious fair of all, when in January each year, Geneva’s Palexpo Convention Center turns into a Mecca for watch collectors and aficionados, who come to see wearable beauties. Handcrafted by master watchmakers who spend years fine tuning a complication, they are the most technically advanced and expensive timepieces in the world. The by-invitation-only event, Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie 2019, wrapped up its 29th edition successfully, with over 23,000 visitors over the four days from 14-17 January. This is three months ahead of the Baselworld, a much larger six day fair for watches and jewellery readying to unfold from 21-26 March 2019 in Basel,Switzerland. However, from next year SIHH has decided to shift its dates to coincide with Baselworld for the convenience of the watch retailers, distributors et al. The SIHH 2020 is scheduled to be held from April 26-29 in Geneva, to be followed by Baselword 2020 from April 30 – May 5. This arrangement will continue until 2024.
The SIHH 2019 offers the ultimate opportunity for luxury watch designers and collectors to learn about new collections, latest innovations, meet professionals, interact with the brand’s designers and know about future trends, attend brand presentations, and keynotes by eminent personalities. The 18 Historic Maisons and the 17-independent artisan-creators inside the Carré des Horlogers showed their stunning limited edition timepieces with exclusive designs creating a widely shared immersive experience for the visitors. The live streaming of the 30 presentations in the auditorium, reached the huge audience outside of the venue. The glamour quotient was high with many a celebrities, brand ambassadors of the watches including actors, athletes, sports persons, and more.
The 18 ultra-luxury Historic Maisons at SIHH 2019 were A. Lange & Söhne, Audemars Piguet, Baume & Mercier, BOVET, Cartier, Girard-Perregaux, Greubel Forsey, Hermès, IWC, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Montblanc, Panerai, Parmigiani Fleurier, Piaget, Richard Mille, Roger Dubuis, Ulysse Nardin, Vacheron Constantin. The 17 independent watch makers, in the Carré des Horlogers were Armin Strom, Christophe Claret, Chronométrie Ferdinand Berthoud, DeWitt, élégante by F.P.Journe, Grönefeld, H. Moser & Cie, Hautlence, HYT, Kari Voutilainen, Laurent Ferrier, MB&F, Ressence, Romain Gauthier, RJ, Speake-Marin, Urwerk. Here’s our brief report.
FUTURISTIC – INNOVATION
RESSENCE – This Belgian independent watch brand, owned and managed by Benoît Mintiens,introduced the Type 2 E-Crown , a revolutionary watch that combines mechanical movement and technology developed by Ressence. Packed in a curved 45mm case – 12mm thick and made of anthracite PVD titanium, the Ressence e-crown is activated and controlled by tapping the crystal. The no-hands watch can be programmed manually by using the lever on the case back or via the special app using Bluetooth connection. The time is automatically set and adjusted, as required. Energy is provided to the module by triple-junction photo-voltaic cells hidden behind the dial, use the outside light as fuel. When not worn, the watch goes into ‘sleep mode’. One only has to double tap to get the watch going again.
Price: $48,800; Availability: April 2019
URWERK – The co-founders of Urwerk, Felix Baumgartner and Martin Frei unveiled their decade long project, the very limited edition portable desk clock Atomic Master Clock (AMC), which is paired with a mechanical wristwatch, with indications visible for the thousandth seconds, minutes, hours, day, month and year. The AMC weighs at 55 pounds, with a high-precision rubidium clock inside AMC, which powers the display. It cradles its partner wristwatch, which when paired, adjusts, winds and regulates the balance rate (taking into account humidity and air pressure). The wristwatch has an 80-hour power reserve independently. The AMC uses both a GPS and the vibrations of two ions to tell and maintain the time. The error margin is one second in 317 years. A mechanical oscillator within the wristwatch absorbs this information and implements it.
Price: $2.7 Million allegedly; Availability: Sometime end of 2019
VACHERON CONSTANTIN – The new complications in the new Traditionelle collection aim to take away the pain of winding and resetting the watch frequently. The Traditionnelle Twin Beat Perpetual Calendar comes with a normal power reserve of 4 days. But when put in “Standby Mode,” the movement switches to a lower frequency, and the power reserve lasts 65 days. It comes in a polished 950 platinum case that measures 42mm in diameter and 12.3mm in height. The upper part of the watch’s face features a half dial and the lower part of the face shows the movement, plates and some gears. This is fitted within an outer rim of sapphire crystal with applied gold hour indexes. The movement’s plates, visible on the lower side of the face, are sandblasted and NAC treated.
Price: $ 238450; Availability: limited 5 pieces 2019.
BAUME & MERCIER– The new watch from Baume & Mercier, the Clifton Baumatic Perpetual Calendar reveals a new watch interpretation that combines the BM13 version of the Baumatic movement with a perpetual calendar. In addition to a five-day power reserve, the Clifton Baumatic Perpetual Calendar resists to the main magnetic fields of daily life. This model requires maintenance service once every seven years. By indicating the date, the day of the week, the month and the phases of the moon while automatically taking into account the variable lengths of months and the leap year cycle, the Clifton Baumatic Perpetual Calendar deserves its place among the most complex watches with this complication. It requires no date correction before March 1st, 2100, a non-leap year.Set against an off-white dial with a porcelain finish, the watch is very much a contemporary classic.
Price: $24,500; Availability: September 2019
HERMÈS – There are two versions of the new Hermès ArceauL’heure de la Lune watch, one with an aventurine dial and one with a meteorite dial, and only 100 pieces of each limited edition is going to be available. The new complications of the watch are two lacquer dials that rotate around the central axis, and pass over the pair of mother of pearl moons. It enables you to see the moon phases demonstrated simultaneously for the northern and the southern hemispheres. The dials rotate once every 59 days, one showing the hours and minutes, and the other displaying the date.
VINTAGE TONNEAU SHAPE
CARTIER – The curvy and elegant barrelish Tonneau shape is back. Cartier revisited its old case designs for the new Privé Tonneau time-only watch and Tonneau Skeleton Dual Time Zone timepieces. Cartier had debuted the first tonneau model back in 1906. The Tonneau Watch Large Model single-time is powered by a small, in-house calibre that was developed primarily for ladies’ watches. The hand-wound calibre offers a power reserve of 38 hours. The limited 100 pieces only line is available in either platinum or pink gold.The Cartier Privé Tonneau Skeleton Dual Time boast two independent time displays. But unlike the original which had two movements, this watch is powered by a single in-house 9919 MC, which has a 60-hour power reserve. The crown at two o’clock is for winding and setting, while the crown at four o’clock is actually a pusher that advances the second time zone on the lower dial in one-hour steps. The Privé Skeleton Dual Time Zone watch is also available in rose gold and platinum versions, but both are limited to 100 pieces each. An additional 20 numbered pieces will be available in baguette-cut diamond-set platinum.
Cartier Tonneau – Price: $22,400 (pink gold), $26,200 (platinum); subject to change Cartier Tonneau XL Skeleton Dual Time – Price: $68,500 (pink gold), $78,500 (platinum); subject to change
BLUE ENAMEL DIALS
JAEGER-LE-COULTRE– Jaeger-LeCoultre presents their Master Ultra Thin Moon Enamel, where it combines two of the brand’s Rare Handcrafts, guilloché and enamel. Inside the 39-mm white gold case is the automatic Calibre 925/2 that offers up a 70-hour power reserve. Limited to 100 pieces only, this watch features a dial that is completely executed by hand by a few artisans trained in Le Sentier. A 100-piece limited edition.
Price: at $35,800
BOVET – At its first outing at the SIHH 2019, Bovet debuted with its beautiful convertible Virtuoso IX, which doubles as a pocket watch. It is a double time zone, 24-city, 10-day power reserve, big date, two reversible faces and flying tourbillon extravaganza equipped with a brand new in-house calibre. Housed in the brand’s iconic convertible Amadeo® case, which enables the wristwatch to be transformed into a pocket watch, and a table clock by flipping over the dial to reveal the reverse side. The mechanism does not require any tools and can be opened by simply applying pressure to the crown. The 18k red gold (also available in white gold and platinum) case measures 46.30mm and has a height of 16mm. Limited edition 100 pieces. Prices on request.
RICHARD MILLE–The Bonbon collection by Richard Mille stood on its head all that the elite watch club raves about. Inspired by Dylan’s Candy Bar in New York, the brand has introduced just 30 examples of each of the ten models. There is also the Fruit line with six flavors, Lemon and Strawberry-RM 16-01 Citron et Fraise, Blueberry and Litchi-RM 07-03 Myrtille et Litchi, Kiwi and Cherry-RM 37-01 Kiwi et Cerise. The Sweets collection comprises four models, all with two-tone ceramic cases. Fun apart, each of the watches is about all the elements of haute horological components, using advance technology in coloured ceramics, grade 5 titanium plates,
Price : $122,500-Litchi and Myrtille, $132,500-Fraise and Citron, $138,000-Kiwi, Cerise and Réglisse, $153,000-Marshmallow and Cake; $158,000-Sucette; Marshmallow: $153,000; Fraise: $132,500
Limited Edition: 30 pieces of each