It was the 19th Salon International de la Haute Horologerie that saw 17 of the world’s most prestigious brands gather in Geneva, the home of fine watchmaking, to exhibit their latest models, take in the industry gossip and meet their major buyers.
While it is considered to be the second largest annual watch show next to Baselworld, it is more exclusive, playing host to a select crowd of invited guests. Rather than an expo it is a celebration of haute horologerie, of our love of luxury and the finer things in life.
For luxe brands like Cartier, Montblanc and Panerai, it was a chance to demonstrate the extraordinary expertise, technical innovation and unique craftsmanship that make up each and every timepiece. The glamorous guest list comprising of industry aficionados, wealthy clients and leading international press were among the first to catch a glimpse of this year’s new collections. Among the most hotly anticipated were IWC’s new ecologically-inspired range, Audemars Piguet’s Royal Oak series and the unusual styling of Girard-Perregaux’s latest creations.
With so much on display, Luxos has selected just a few favourites – the ones to watch out for in 2009.
Aquatimer Chronograph Edition Galapagos Island Inspired by the beauty of the Galapagos, the distinctive new Aquatimer family has been designed to be as impressive underwater as they are beautiful on land. The Aquatimer Chronograph Edition Galapagos Island represents the unique partnership between IWC and the Charles Darwin Foundation, who champion the conservation of the unique flora and fauna of the islands. The matte black stainless steel case is coated in vulcanized rubber with a black dial that is contrasted by the shock of white indications. Pressure resistant to 12 bar and the practical black rubber strap leave you in no doubt that this is serious diver’s kit.
Parmigiani. Pershing Zero Zero Two
In an exclusive partnership with the elite yacht builders Pershing, Parmigiani will set the hearts of the yachteratti aflutter with the launch of a new chronograph line. The Pershing chronograph “zero-zero-two” is compact, only 42mm in diameter, lending itself beautifully to both the male and female wrist. This very feminine piece, with a mother-of-pearl dial, also has a small stylised octopus placed on the end of the chronograph hand, a tiny starfish which turns to mark the seconds, as well as diamond and sapphire baguettes set in its bezel. The white Hermès Epson calfskin strap with blue stitching completes what can only be one of the most irresistible new must-haves of the season.
Girard-Perregaux. WW . TC . Shadow
Get out of the light and into the WW.TC Shadow, the devastating new timepiece by historic brand Girard-Perregaux. The imposing black 43mm ceramic case is lighter than steel, barely heavier than titanium, biocompatible, hypoallergenic and virtually indestructible. True to the brand’s principles, this dark knight stands out not just for its imposing good looks but also for its flawless mechanism. Designed especially for this model, the self-winding movement simultaneously displays the date, small seconds and the time in 24 different time zones. Turn it over and on the back is a tinted sapphire glass that beautifully showcases the internal mechanism.
Luminor 1950 Submersible 3 Days Automatic Originally a supplier of highly specialized watches to the Royal Italian Navy, you would expect this dashing, sporty timepiece to be all action. The automatic mechanical movement is visible through the sapphire back. The casing is thick, brushed titanium. It has a power reserve of three days and a built-in anti-shock device. Water-resistant to an incredible 300 meters, this is as functional as it is aesthetic. To add to the rugged appeal, the personalized rubber strap with large brushed titanium buckle is supplied with an interchangeable strap that comes with a handy little screwdriver to allow you to make the change yourself.
Royal Oak Offshore Ladies’ Chronograph Practical is not a word that usually incites a woman’s desire to buy. That’s why this particularly sensible ladies watch is also rather beautiful to behold. Made from ultra-light, highly resistant comprised carbon fibre and secured by a ceramic bezel and studs, the watch is durable up to a 50-meter depth. The drop-dead gorgeous looks are provided courtesy of a flash of diamond, the fashionable rubber strap and the “Mega Tapestry” dial motif. And just as you would expect from a watchmaker of this calibre, every tiny part of this chronograph is lovingly assembled by hand.