We have been very busy these past weeks with SIHH 2019 and I can’t wait to share our take on one of the best watches in the horology world. I think you would agree that we’ve seen a good amount of relative conservatism in the past years with SIHH but this time, there seems to be a sigh of relief with freshly designed timepieces and in the midst of a fair mix of technical updates and brand new creations, many enthusiasts, collectors, colleagues and yours truly were not disappointed this year. So here is our list of the top ten.
10. Audemars Piguet Royal Oak ‘Jumbo’ Extra-Thin Ref. 15202BC
The new limited edition Salmon dial Royal Oak Jumbo brings some interesting updates to the brands staple Royal Oak collection particularly the Salmon or pink gold colorway. We can still see familiar Royal Oak signatures such as applied white gold indices, a baton style handset, a beautiful Petite Tapisserie pattern and a color matched date window. The markers and handset have also been filled with luminous material to aid low light visibility. The Audemars Piguet’s in-house 2121 also gives the watch 40 hours of autonomy.
9. Hermès Arceau L’Heure De La Lune
This watch features the original interpretation of the moon phase complication in the light of the Hermès watchmaking expertise. It’s simply a beautiful watch framed by a white gold case with typical asymmetrical lugs. We also see lacquered satellite dials as they float above hemispherical moons and meteorite or aventurine backgrounds. Powering it is Hermès H1837 movement developed for Hermès by Chronode. Moreover, the Hermès Arceau L’heure de la lune timepiece is issued in two 100-piece limited editions and fitted with a matt alligator strap in graphite grey or abyss blue.
8. Panerai Submersible BMG-TECH PAM799
This professional diving watch exhibits the strength and resistance of BMG-TECH and the lightness of Carbotech developed by the Panerai Laboratorio di Idee. The bulky 47mm case made of metallic glass is beautifully enhanced by the lightweight unidirectional rotating bezel made of Carbotech with its unique finishing thanks to carbon fibres. The polished black dial uses two different types of Super-LumiNova that aids superb legibility. Finally, powering the watch is P.9010 automatic calibre featuring 3 days of power reserve.
7. Ulysse Nardin Freak X
Ulysse Nardin makes the Freak more accessible to the masses by employing simplified mechanics and adding a crown for time setting while still featuring the traditional design. For the fans though, the additional crown even though convenient simply takes away the key aspect of the visual distinctiveness of the Freak. Nevertheless, the 43mm in diameter watch looks quite stunning in style and the newly developed cal. UN–230 clearly makes up for its shortcomings. However, the shorter 72-hour power reserve begs to differ.
6. Girard-Perregaux Bridges Cosmos
A perfect example of a watch that gives new breathe of fresh air – the intriguing watch face is very striking. The buyer also gets to customize different constellations mapped on the laser engraved celestial sphere at 09:00. Moreover, the tourbillon is suspended from a classically styled bridge at the 06:00. Finally, the watch comes on a bead blasted 48mm titanium case with a fair 30m of water resistance. The size is quite large but definitely pleasant to look at.
5. Greubel Forsey Art Piece Edition Historique
The Art Piece Edition Historique watch is the flagship of the brand’s SIHH 2019 line-up. This is an incredible watch that highlights the two signature elements of the brand which are the double, inclined 30° tourbillon and the relief micro-engraving of the Greubel Forsey philosophy. The double axis inclined tourbillon features the same tourbillon carriages found in other Greubel Forsey double tourbillon movements and we also see the same raised dial being intricately engraved in relief with the brand’s values.
4. Armin Strom Dual Time Resonance Sapphire
The Armin Strom Dual Time Resonance Sapphire is the brand’s latest effort at Haute Horlogerie featuring two independent movements that power two separate displays with full view skeletonization, I like this watch! The in-house hand wound movement AFR17 has two movements built on the same main plate. Interestingly, they both have the same power reserve of 110 hours, very impressive indeed. The traditional displays temper the wild attitude of the watch which is a good thing as it balances elegance and function.
This is the watch that turned my attention to Lange specifically the Zeitwerk Striking Time which I am still fond of. To date, the retro digital display inspired Zeitwerk Date is a bit on the practical side with its additional date ring that encircles the dial. I have always liked an uncluttered dial so I can imagine that the date is easy to read. The large numerals are quite though. Love the white gold case, and of course the traditional exhibition caseback.
2. Jaeger-LeCoultre Hybris Mechanica Grande Tradition Gyrotourbillon Westminster Perpetual
This Jaeger-LeCoultre watch features an astounding array of complications including a minute repeater with Westminster chimes, a perpetual calendar and more. The dial is a mechanical smorgasbord comprised of two sections: for normal timekeeping functions along with the perpetual calendar and a large exhibition area for all things technical such as the minute repeater hammers, the patented crystal gongs and the spherical Gyrotourbillon. In my opinion, this JLC watch is a true masterpiece that exemplifies why the brand is called the “Watchmaker’s watchmaker”.
1. Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Twin Beat Perpetual Calendar
Topping our list is the splendid Traditionnelle Twin Beat Perpetual Calendar from Vacheron. This watch is a true marvel of watchmaking featuring the in-house caliber 3610 QP with two balance wheels: one operating at a high frequency of 5Hz and the other operating at a drastically low frequency of 1.2Hz and only one of them is active at any given time. This innovation practically allows you to play with the watch and switch to the correct time at a push of a button.
The SIHH 2019 was indeed very exciting and we enjoyed the watches with the Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Twin Beat Perpetual Calendar Watch taking most of my attention. I like its innovative movement or having the ability to switch between two frequencies that can be useful on boring days or when you want to show off what a high-end mechanical watch can truly accomplish. Its compact platinum case also allows it to be used on any occasion. To top it off, we found most of the watches at SIHH to be excellent, totally brand new or highly innovative.