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New Trends in Watchmaking at SIHH 2010 Featured

The inspiration, story and emotion behind this year's brand new watch and jewellery collections
by 01 April 2010

There we were again at the Salon International de Haute Horlogerie in Geneva. This year, SIHH celebrated its 20th edition, and excitement was in the air. This was a well-organised event bringing together some of the finest watch manufacturers. For five days, the world’s best watchmakers, designers, and craftsmen gathered in the name of fine watchmaking. This year, there were more people and, fortunately, more business too. A positive sign in this economic climate, no doubt, but amidst all the activity, I felt the stories behind the watches and jewellery pieces got a bit lost. These brands are continuing a legacy of great craftsmanship and literally writing their own history in innovation. So let’s see some highlights from SIHH, and hear the amazing stories behind the products.

The Adventure

IWC – The Portuguese Collection
The spirit of navigation was the theme at IWC this year with the celebration of its Portuguese collection, which enters its eighth decade. The Portuguese Perpetual Calendar was a standout with its midnight blue dial – a pop of colour for the classic IWC Schauffhausen. Also, the display deviates only by a single day in 577 years, which means you can do a lot of precise navigation until then.

A favourite of Mario Klein, Group Product Manager at IWC, he said as he looked at the Perpetual Calendar on his wrist, “It’s modern. It’s fresh. With seven days of power reserve, which is a lot for an automatic movement.”

“Portuguese is our iconic collection. IWC is a rather masculine brand, but this collection is also worn by many women. Our brand new Portuguese Yacht Chronograph will successfully address watch lovers who want something sporty yet elegant at the same time,” added Michael Brouwer, Associate Director Project Management.

With the Portuguese collection, IWC pays ultimate homage to gallant navigators over 500 years ago. Now, you can brave the waves with the collection’s many new references.

Feature highlights:
Perpetual calendar
Perpetual moon phase display
Hemisphere lunar display
4-digit year display

Calibre 51614
Automatic movement
7-day power reserve
Water resistant to 3 bar

IWC boutiques worldwide

Jaeger-LeCoultre – Master Compressor Extreme Lab2
Among the many new collections, Jaeger-LeCoultre had die-hard sports in mind when creating Master Compressor Extreme Lab series. To test how the Master Compressor Extreme Lab2 would perform in the most challenging conditions, Jaeger-LeCoultre collaborated with renowned Swiss climber Stéphane Schaffter, who wore the Master Compressor Extreme Lab 2 during “Expedition Geophysic” in the Himalayas. Talking about extreme!

As Magali Métrailler, men’s and sports watch designer at Jaeger-LeCoultre, points out, “It is only with a solid tradition that we are able to keep inventing. And in order to continue our history, we need to create it.” Indeed, history was made as Schaffter christened the Mountain “Antoine Le Coultre’s Peak” with the Extreme Lab on his wrist.

Admitted as one of her biggest challenges, Ms. Métrailler said the Master Compressor series was successfully relaunched in 2005 as one of the most innovative sporty watch references to date. Today, the Master Compressor Extreme Lab 2 representats a whole new set of aesthetics, materials and groundbreaking functions.

This anti-magnetic mechanical chronograph, with a patented jumping digital minutes counter and a function selector regulated through the crown – has a semicircular radical power reserve indication, and a very rugged look fit for world explorers.

Feature highlights:
Mechanical chronograph with GMT function
Developed for use in extreme conditions
Radical power reserve display
Resistant to magnetic fields

Mechanical automatic Calibres 780 and 781
60 hours of power reserve with one barrel
Antimagnetic up to 240 Gauss
Tested for Jaeger-LeCoultre’s 1000-hour text
Jaeger-LeCoultre boutiques worldwide

 The Music

Audemars Piguet – Millenary Quincy Jones

Audemars Piguet, an exceptional brand in fine watchmaking; Quincy Jones, an icon in the music industry. What happens when they join forces? The result is the beautiful limited edition of Millenary Quincy Jones watch, launched at SIHH 2010.

With an off-center hour zone – a Millenary signature, and the minute circle designed like piano keys surrounding the hours, the free-spirited design pays homage to Jones’ music. The Millenary Quincy Jones watch will help raise funds for The Quincy Jones Foundation. Audemars Piguet will be presenting the Foundation’s international award, Q Prize, to an important figure or organisation that advocates self-expression among young people.

David von Gunten, CEO of Audemars Piguet, says, "People who truly love Audemars Piguet watches share the same vision as our company, they appreciate tradition. At the same time they are always looking for products with exceptional quality, and of course, dare to accept revolutionary ideas."

With only 500 pieces, this is an exceptional, and meaningful, reference to own especially if you love the Millenary collection.

Feature highlights:
Limited edition of 500
Oval case in blackened steel
Piano-key motif replacing the conventional minute circle
Case bearing Quincy Jones’ signature

Self-winding Calibre 3120
60-hour power reserve
Côtes de Genève bridges
Oscillating weight engraved with the AP monogram

Audemars Piguet boutiques worldwide

Piaget – Limelight Jazz Party Collection
Come join the club, as jazz is Piaget’s inspiration for this year’s collection. At SIHH, Limelight Jazz Party collection was presented with an exciting performance of live saxophone music as models showed off the dazzling watches and jewellery pieces. Dimitri Gouten, President of Asia Pacific, said, “At Piaget, we’ve never done things the easy way. It takes eight months to manufacture a single watch; our diamond settings, our jewellery design – everything is achieved in painstaking ways.”

This collection is proof of Piaget’s creativity and craftsmanship, whether it’s the Limelight “Secret” watches, the necklaces, the rings or the earrings. The one-off Polo Tourbillon Relatif was amazing. The tourbillon carriage spins around the dial once per minute on its own axis!

Mr. Gouten added, “I see a very bright, rich and positive future for Piaget. We keep increasing our presence in China, starting to go to fourth-tier cities very soon.”

Piaget boutiques worldwide

The Drama

Cartier – Calibre de Cartier
Outstanding, elegant, daring – this not only perfectly describes the modern gentleman, but also the new Calibre de Cartier collection launched at SIHH 2010. Cartier returns to its watchmaking roots, presenting its very first manufacture self-winding mechanical movement, Calibre 1904 MC.

Simple on the outside, complicated on the inside – Cartier once again takes us by surprise with this masculine, sophisticated watch. Don’t let the clean design fool you though, because you can see details like the Côtes de Genève on the upper bridges and oscillating weight through the case back.

1904 was the year when Louis Cartier made a watch for the aviator Alberto Santos-Dumont so that he could read the time while keeping his hands on the controls during flight. Today 1904 MC echoes this pioneering and innovative spirit.

Feature Highlights:
42-mm-diameter steel case
Black alligator strap
Double adjustable steel clasp

Calibre 1904 PS MC, Cartier Manufacture, mechanical self-winding
Power reserve of approx. 48 hours
Water resistance of 3 bar

Cartier boutiques worldwide

Roger Dubuis – KingSquare
Young, contemporary, with all the prestige of Poinçon de Genève quality hallmark – Roger Dubuis is a relatively newcomer in the world of fine watchmaking.

The KingSquare, subtle and feminine, brings on a little drama with its diamond-set square at the centre of the dial, white mother-of-pearl, and satin-finished leather strap featuring a titanium folding clasp.

“Roger Dubuis is a brand designed to appeal to the more refined consumers who are interested in leading, not following,” says Jean-Sébastien Berland, Managing Director Asia Pacific, explaining why Roger Dubuis is so appreciated in Asia Pacific. "We strive to continually surprise and impress with our creations. We aim to always push the boundaries of haute horlogerie."

Among innovations such as a straight-line instant jump perpetual calendar, a double tourbillon and skeleton tourbillon movements, Roger Dubuis is forging new grounds through complications.

Bold design is not just skin deep. The ladies’ jewellery KingSquare reference has a power reserve of 48 hours and is water-resistant to five bar. It’s tough as it is beautiful!

At SIHH, the 15-year-old brand revealed two new movements: a dazzling tourbillon movement with a micro-rotor self-winding system; and a self-winding mechanical movement with bi-retrograde date hand.

Feature highlights:
Square titanium case set with diamonds
Diamond-set square at the centre of the dial
White mother-of-pearl
Limited edition of 280 pieces

RD14 self-winding mechanical movement
Stamped with Poinçon de Genève quality hallmark
48 hours of power reserve
Water-resistance of 5 bar