Perhaps no one noticed, but the watch column took an extended break over the holiday season. I would love to say that I used the time off to reflect on the year in horology but, in all honesty, I spent most of it rewatching Game of Thrones. All I can say is that there’s way more casual killings, incest and dragon play than I remember. Also, the key takeaway is: walls don’t work. Take the hint, Donald.
I’ve also spent the early part of January failing to keep my resolutions and struggling manfully to keep it dry. However, it wasn’t all a bust. I did spend time studying the slew of new releases that presage the first big watch fair of the year, the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie Genève (SIHH), which opens in Switzerland on January 14.
Brands showing at SIHH start teasing their new pieces in December, which include Girard-Perregaux’s latest iteration of the immense Laureato – the new Perpetual Calendar. I adore the Laureato, primarily because of that gorgeous silhouette, which is both retro and contemporary. It has all that Mad Men grace and elegance without the problematic misogynistic baggage.
The 1970s-designed 42mm steel case and the Clous de Paris engraved blue dial are the key selling points but this being a perpetual calendar it is chock-a-block with features, including a day indicator at the nine o’clock position, date at two o’clock, month at five o’clock and leap year at six o’clock. That’s a spicy meatball! Inside is an excellent GP01800-0033 movement that has 54 hours of power reserve.
Prices haven’t been released yet, but given the case is in steel it shouldn’t be cripplingly expensive.
SIHH is dominated by the Richemont brands and one of the luxury-goods conglomerate’s leading lights is IWC, which sucks up attention at the fair with its glitzy pavilion that often has Hollywood ambassadors milling about. For all the star power IWC can muster, the watches are the real centre of attraction and this year the brand is releasing the Pilot’s Watch Double Chronograph Top Gun Ceratanium. Yes, that’s Top Gun as in the famed United States Navy flight school featured in the 1986 film, and as such it is aggressively masculine in its design and the material used.
This is the first IWC pilot’s watch to come in jet black and to feature a ceratanium case. A mixture of ceramic and titanium, the material is hard-wearing and scratchproof as well as lightweight. Inside the 44mm case is a 79230 movement with 44 hours of power reserve. This, too, is a feature-rich watch, with a double chronograph (one that can measure splits simultaneously) accompanied by a day-and-date indicator.
The watch is priced at 15,000 Swiss francs (HK$119,000).
Finally, we have the 2019 editions of the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Chronographs. For its more youthful collection, the brand has gone all in on colour and camouflage in the vein of Japanese streetwear brands. You either love it or you hate it. As of now, I kinda love it, purely for having the gumption to try something different. Under all that camo is an icon, so there’s style and substance.
The watch is a typical Royal Oak Offshore, with a 44mm case that comes in steel or rose gold, and features the famed mega tapisserie dial and the octagonal screwed-down bezel. Inside the watch is a 3126/3840 movement that has 50 hours of power reserve. Prices haven’t been released yet.