With Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) 2018 having wrapped up in Geneva last month, STYLE now weighs in with its pick of the 11 most impressive new watches we saw at the fair – not only for their extraordinary complications (those functions in addition to telling the time), but also their magnificent craftsmanship.
1. Van Cleef & Arpels Lady Arpels Planetarium
Following the successful launch of the Planetarium in 2014, Van Cleef & Arpels created a version for women who were keen collectors, too.
The piece captures the Sun, Mercury, Venus, Earth and the Moon on the dial and has a diamond-studded oscillating weight visible from the transparent sapphire crystal case back.
The 38 millimetre (1.49 inch)-diameter watch is rendered in white gold and comes with a diamond-set bezel. The stunning piece is priced at US$245,000 on a strap, or US$330,000 on a diamond-set bracelet.
2. Cartier Révélation D’une Panthère
Cartier has patented the special movement that reveals the panther motif rendered in gold beads on the black lacquer dial by the movements of the wrist.
The development took five years. The 37 millimetre (1.45 inch)-diameter pink gold watch features a manually wound Calibre 430 MC.
The piece comes in three dial colours – red, green and black. Versions of the green and red watches will be limited to 100.
3. Vacheron Constantin Metiers d’Art Les Aerostiers
Vacheron Constantin looks up to the sky for the inspiration for its Les Aerostiers collection. Each of the beautifully crafted timepieces in the series features a hot-air balloon on the dial.
The balloons were painstakingly engraved and contrasted with a dial featuring plique-à-jour enamel – a technique used for the first time by Vacheron.
The series pays tribute to French aerostiers who flew the hot-air balloons in about the 18th century. The Calibre 2460 G4/1 is an automatic movement manufactured by Vacheron Constantin.
4. Panerai L’Astronomo Luminor 1950 Tourbillon Moon Phases Equation of Time GMT Titanio
Before the retirement of Panerai’s long-time chief executive Angelo Bonati, he has prepared a surprise for fans – the L’Astronomo Luminor 1950, the brand’s first timepiece with the moonphases indication.
The hand-wound P.2005/GLS calibre features a tourbillon escapement visible from the front, as well as the back of the watch, thanks to the skeletonised dial.
5. Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Tourbillon Chronograph
Celebrating the 25th anniversary of its iconic Royal Oak Offshore collection, Audemars Piguet unveiled two limited edition hand-wound timepieces, rendered in either stainless steel (50 pieces ) or 18-carat pink gold (also 50 pieces).
The movement has been redesigned to adopt a more avant-garde look.
6. Richard Mille 53-01 Tourbillon Pablo Mac Donough
As far as durability can go, the RM 53-01 is probably the crown jewel.
Limited to 30 pieces, the watch features an innovative case rendered in laminated sapphire crystal and Carbon TPT.
The sapphire crystal, designed to endure harsh conditions of polo games, is basically bulletproof as a thin sheet of vinyl is placed between two layers of the sapphire crystal.
7. A Lange & Söhne Triple Split
When A Lange & Söhne launches a chronograph, it’s never just another chronograph.
Its new launch, unveiled at SIHH is called The Triple Split – the first mechanical split-seconds chronograph in the world that allows multi-hour comparative time measurements.
The additional rattrapante hands on the minute and hour totalisers make it possible to stop lap and reference times of events that last as long as 12 hours.
The new L132.1 calibre boasts 567 movement parts. The power reserve lasts up to 55 hours when fully wound.
8. Greubel Forsey Différentiel d’Egalité
The piece, available in a limited edition of 33 pieces, is a collector’s dream. The timepiece, which features dead-beat seconds, enables steady distribution of power from the mainspring barrel to the regulating organ. This maintains a constant balance amplitude during the 60 hours of the power reserve.
9. Ulysse Nardin Freak Vision
The Freak Vision is Ulysse Nardin’s first watch to mix silicium with solid nickel elements for an ultra-light balance wheel.
The timepiece boasts astounding visual aesthetics, which echo its name the “Freak Vision”.
The 3D carved upper bridge, inspired by a boat’s hull as well as the “flying carousel” rotating around its own axis, create a statement dial design that is unmistakably Ulysse Nardin.
The watch, which comes in a 45mm (1.7 inch)-diameter platinum case, is priced at 95,000 Swiss francs (HK$780,000).
10. IWC Tribute to Pallweber Edition ‘150 Years’
The Pallweber Edition 150 Years wristwatch is a rare IWC reference, which features digital hours and minute display as shown on the Pallweber pocket watch in about 1884.
The timepiece is IWC’s first wristwatch to feature jumping numerals in a digital display.
The watch comes in a 45mm (1.7 inch)-diameter red gold case, with lacquer-finished white dial and a blued seconds hand. Limited to 250 pieces, the watch retails for HK$290,000.
11. The Hermès Carré H Designed By Marc Berthier
At the house of Hermès, it has long been a tradition for the brand to collaborate with artists. And its Carré H timepiece is no exception, having been designed in collaboration with French architect and designer Marc Berthier.
The elegant piece features a square case with curved edges echoing Hermès’ famous Carré H scarves. The timepiece, first unveiled in 2010, is now updated with a new dial design.
The piece is available in steel with either the dark grey or black dial, and is priced at US$7,725.