The 29th edition of SIHH opened its doors Monday in Geneva, bringing together watch collectors and enthusiasts from all over the world, as well as respected industry members and press.
It is no secret that the watch market is going through some changes: watches are no longer purchased as statement items to flaunt, they are becoming more and more collection items (which increases the demand for heritage) or actual investments (justified by the fact that the prices sometimes range between a studio apartment in the centre of the city and a two story house in the countryside). This might explain the reason why this year’s SIHH is witnessing the participation of more than a few from the fashion and art world: collectors, of course, looking for new treasures, investors who understand the value of a Cartier, but also style-savvy individuals looking for iconic pieces in order to complete the perfect outfit or shoot.
Brands are trying to adapt, finding new ways to satisfy clients without dismantling the DNA of the maison. No particular novelties in terms of technology but quite a lot of research for what design is concerned. Grand complications will always be the pride of a watch brand and the passion of every true connoisseur, but design embraces larger crowds.
When trying to make a sophisticated product like an automatic watch somewhat less niche, elegance is of course on top of trends. Piaget, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Cartier… all the great names are polishing their designs, making them smaller, cleaner, but also more precious.
A.Lange & Söhne celebrates the 25th anniversary of its undisputed icon, the LANGE 1, with a special limited edition (250 pieces) in white gold. Its special features include a deep-blue printed argenté dial with a recess, blue date numerals, a hinged cuvette with an engraving of Lange’s headquarters and a hand-engraved balance cock with blued lines. The strap comes in colour-coordinated blue alligator leather (please note: today in the watch world, blue is the new black). The back, beautifully finished, shows the signature three-quarters silver plate, 43 jewels and the hand-engraved balance exhibiting a “25” that symbolises the 25th anniversary. The manually executed lines of the new engraving pattern are, for the first time, blued. Housing the Lange manufacture calibre L121.1 movement, the case measures 38.5 mm in diameter and 10.7 mm in height.
As we said, cleaner, more polished, but also more precious.
INSPIRED BY NATURE
Being originally not specifically a watch company but a luxury accessories design brand, the house of Montblanc has a unique capacity of spotting trends which go beyond the watch world. As a direct consequence their products are spot on for what trends and market requests are concerned. The 1858 collection, inspired by the adventurous world of mountain exploration, is a reinterpretation of the old Minerva pocket watches from the 20s and the 30s: it honours the spirit of the past (and the current interest for heritage) while embodying the modern “return to nature” trend. It combines a vintage-looking bronze case – a natural element that changes over time- and innovative, in-house complications. The case back is engraved with the emblematic Mont Blanc mountain, a compass and two crossed ice pick-axes, as a nod to the spirit of mountain exploration.
Robust, domed, sapphire crystal glass boxes highlight the vintage look of each watch. This year’s novelties in the 1858 collection are: two new 1858 Automatic models, a 1858 Chronograph and last, a 1858 Geosphere which is the most “complicated” item, featuring indications for hours, minutes, date, second time-zone, world time with turning northern and southern hemisphere globes (at 6 o’clock and at 12 o’clock) with a 24-hour scale and a day/night indication. The strap of the various items comes in khaki green leather or woven fabric.
THE YEAR OF THE PILOT
2019 is also the year of pilot watches. The fascination for aircraft is still going strong and celebrated pilot watch maisons are naturally riding the wave. It is the case for IWC Schaffhausen which, for this season, delivers novelties for its Top Gun, Le Petit Prince and Spitfire collections.
Within the Spitfire family, the most exciting newcomer is the Pilot’s Watch Timezoner Spitfire edition “The Longest Flight” (limited edition, 250 timepieces), combining the patented timezoner mechanism with an IWC-manufactured automatic movement. The watch can be set to a different time zone by means of a simple rotational movement of the bezel. The hour hand, the 24-hour display and the date rotate automatically at the same time. The black dial, stainless steel case and textile green strap take its technical look to the next level.
This special edition has been specially designed for pilots Steve Boultbee Brooks and Matt Jones, who will be making aviation history with the first round-the-world flight in a Spitfire in summer 2019 “The Longest Flight”.
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