Every One has their Story to Tell…
Our watch fanatic is beguiled once again as he picks out his top picks from this year’s SIHH
Article by John Galt
Once again the door shut on SIHH for another year, with all the horological delights placed back into the comfort of their boxes waiting to be let out again. Let me give you the rundown of the show and what I personally think was the best from it. From the perspective of a watch journalist, there was a lot to be excited about at this iteration of SIHH. Compared to the last few years – which seemed on the slow side – the brands displaying in Geneva this year had a far larger selection of impressive watches on show. There have been some watchmakers who have released totally updated collections, as well as reviving their classics from way back in their history. And SIHH just wouldn’t be SIHH without some truly stunning mind boggling pieces…
Before we get to the watches I digress slightly and would like to quickly mention the new expanded and revised SIHH this year. The trade fair has had a minor facelift which now includes a new area called the “Carre des Horology.” This new area for the first time features some of the best independent watchmakers in the world and not just from the Richemont group – a big step forward for SIHH and long may it continue.
So here are my personal favorites from this year’s show in no particular order.
Audemars Piquet Royal Oak Double Balance Wheel
The new Royal Oak Double Balance Wheel is a mesmerizing mix of mind boggling skeletonization and superb accuracy. It will be available in both steel and 18k pink gold. AP use a second balance on the same axis; the aptly named Double Balance Wheel system manages to increase accuracy and stability for this beautiful skeletonized piece, measuring 41mm. The Royal Oak Double Balance Wheel will cost £30,000 in steel and £50,000 in pink gold.
Greubel Forsey Signature 1 (new entry level piece)
When I mention that this is an entry piece I do mean for Greubel Forsey NOT for everyone’s wallet as this entry model is priced at £110,000!! But when your pieces can cost upwards of £600,000 then I suppose you are allowed to class it as entry… This is a new concept for the brand. Though it doesn’t feature a tourbillon as all their other pieces do, the Signature 1 still manages to exude the same appeal as all the other GF’s more complicated pieces. Featuring an in-house balance system with a large wheel and uber high-end finishing on the movement, coupled with a stainless steel case, the Signature 1 is nothing short of stunning.
Panerai Radiomir 1940 Acciaio PAM655
The new Radiomir 1940 3 Day Automatic Acciaio (PAM655) has shrunk a little to a nice, wearable, everyday size of 42mm with a cool polished steel case featuring a crisp white dial. The first Radiomir 1940 to feature a white dial, the PAM655 features black numerals coupled with faded-lume markers and hands, a combination that gives it a slight vintage feel especially with the tan nubuck leather strap. Fitted with Panerai’s P.4000 micro rotor movement, it weighs in at roughly around the £7,000 mark.
H Moser & Cie Swiss Alp
I’m sure most of you at first glance thought I had gone mad and included an Apple watch into this list, but no, this is the H Moser & Cie Swiss Alp watch and yes, you are right it looks near enough exactly like the Apple watch. The 18ct white gold case houses an in-house movement and the advisements say “100 per cent Swiss made” and “100 per cent mechanical” – both of which are true. Is this a dig by the Schaffhausen-based brand’s young CEO Edouard Meylan at Apple no one knows….
IWC Big Pilot
Over the last few years IWC choose to up-date one of their collections in turn and this year is no exception with the Big Pilot’s collection getting an over haul. And what an over haul….. Instead of just updating it they have gone back to the early days of aviation. IWC’s creative director Christian Knoop has been quoted as saying, “For us, it was vital from the start that the heritage watches were true to the original – from the design of the dial and the colour of the luminescent numerals to the shape of the propeller-like hands and the riveted calfskin straps. It’s like jumping back in time to the pioneering age of aviation, except that we’ve got state-of-the-art IWC watch technology.” How true he is, the heritage pilot is available in two sizes; a mammoth 55mm which is defiantly not for the faint hearted or a more modest 48mm which still is large as both house in-house pocket watch calibre movements.
HYT H2 Tradition
HYT makes its debut at SIHH being one of the chosen independents on show and bring with them the new H2 tradition, a timepiece the company describes as “a retro contemporary U-turn.” The reason behind that statement is clear when you look at the dial as this is the first piece from HYT to use hands for the time functions. Whilst the new piece continues with the distinctive hydro mechanical fluid round the outer edge to show the hours which sets HYT apart from any other watch, it now boasts two hands, one for the minutes and one for the seconds on traditional looking sub-dials. More on this when I visit Basel where I will be getting my hands on it.
Next up in the Horology calendar is the mammoth show that is BaselWorld in March and already the press releases are coming thick and fast, if any really catch my eye you will be the first to hear about them.