This year’s SIHH watch fair saw some of the big brands set new records, reinterpret old classics, and push the limits of horology. We’ve rounded up the top eight you need to know about…
Piaget sets new records
Piaget’s Altiplano Ultimate Automatic 910P is the world’s thinnest automatic watch, coming in at a mere 4.3mm thick, beating the existing record from Bulgari’s Octo Finissimo Automatic. It’s a staggering achievement considering that the watch houses more than 200 components, with some of the wheels measuring just 0.12 mm in thickness. What this means is a very slim watch that’s ideal for men wearing long-sleeved shirts and suit jackets with a tighter fit who don’t want their watch to be a bulky addition.
Panerai’s tribute to Galileo
The Italian brand is a master of stylish diving watches but it also does some technically impressive pieces. This one, with the lengthy name of L’Astronomo Luminor 1950 Tourbillon Moon Phases Equation of Time GMT, is its first moon phase watch and is made to order. The skeletonized movement operates in accordance with your chosen geographical coordinates, and displays the date using polarized crystals. On the back is a day/night indicator showing the phases of the moon via two superimposed discs.
A. Lange & Söhne’s new Triple Split
The German watch brand can be relied upon to make something you’d actually want to wear, but here it’s created something that is technically impressive for a mechanical watch. Back in 2004, it added a split-minutes function, which allowed the watch to record elapsed time up to 30 minutes. This year, the Triple Split includes split hours, upping the recordable time to 12 hours. It’s the first time a mechanical watch has been created to do this but being an A. Lange & Söhne, it also looks clean and smart. It is, however, limited to just 100 pieces.
Richard Mille creates a technical marvel for Polo
The Richard Mille RM 53-01 Tourbillon Pablo Mac Donough was assembled in collaboration with polo player Mac Donough. The watch’s glass is composed of two sheets of sapphire crystal, sandwiching a thin polyvinyl sheet, so it’s perfectly transparent but offers substantial shock resistance. And in a brilliant piece of micro-engineering, the movement is suspended within the carbon TPT case via tiny cables to offer enhanced shock resistance of up to 5,000g.
Hermès brings back the Carré H
A reimagining of one of Hermès’ best watches, this design was originally a collaboration with furniture designer Marc Berthier back in 2010. Some people have pointed out a resemblance to the Apple Watch, but the design predates that by half a decade and illustrates that square and rectangular watches can be stylish. This issue has a new face design, is slightly larger, and comes in steel rather than platinum, making the price a bit more affordable. It’s also more attainable (only 1 973 were made of the original) and is available in two colors.
Baume & Mercier Clifton Baumatic
It wasn’t just a parade of ultra-expensive watches and grand complications at SIHH, there were also some fine mechanical watches that don’t cost vast amounts. Baume & Mercier has been going since 1830 and showcased its latest Clifton Baumatic that retails for under US$3,000 – but also gives you a solid piece of craftsmanship. To get the specs for a watch like this you’d normally have to pay a lot more, but this is a fine all-rounder.
IWC celebrates 150 years with a classic design
This year, IWC is celebrating its 150th anniversary and has created a watch based on one of its classic timepieces for the occasion. The IWC Tribute To Pallweber Edition “150 Years” is the first-ever IWC wristwatch with a jumping numeral module and, just like the historic Pallweber pocket watches, which were made in Schaffhausen in 1884, it displays the hours and minutes using large numerals on rotating discs. Available with a white or blue face, there’s a nice art deco feel to it and a clean, minimal look. If you’re interested in the works, they’re visible through a sapphire display caseback.
Greubel Forsey’s 3D design
Always worth a look and never afraid to be a bit out there, Robert Greubel and Stephen Forsey’s GMT Earth includes a 360-degree miniature rotating globe with universal time and day-and-night, a global view from northern to southern hemisphere, universal time on 24 time zones, summer and winter time, and a lateral window showing the equator. It’s a clever piece of engineering that comes in white gold for a limited edition of just 33 pieces.