FASHION & WATCHES

Standouts From SIHH 2019

by Keef Wong
11 Mar 2019

Some highlights among the highlights from the SIHH 2019

A cursory glance at the exhibits at the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) 2019, the annual Geneva fair showcasing the most beautiful and intricate watches in the world, reveals some recurring elements in new models across various brands. While it’s quite impossible that the heads of the most important watch manufacturers in the world sat around a table discussing what collective direction to take, a discernible tendency and aesthetic flair that appears common to all was undeniably present at the fair. Here is a handful that look set to be the trend for 2019.

  • UNISEX WATCHES
  • SOMETHING BLUE
  • HIGH COMPLICATIONS
  • SALMON DIALS

Unisex Watches

Something was clearly going on when Hermès showcased the Arceau 78 and Cartier released an amazing updated version of the Cartier Tonneau collection, neither of which were specifically identified as a men’s or ladies watch.

Code 11.59 Perpetual Calendar by Audemars Piguet

However, when Audemars Piguet completely replaces a collection, one simply has to sit up and take notice. In this case, the Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet collection of 13 timepieces, carefully designed and curated to appeal to both the male and female watch aficionado without prejudice. No longer does the ladies’ model come in additional color options and paired with a simpler movement. Case in point, the Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet Perpetual Calendar.

The model features a uniquely recognizable case that cuts through the entire timeline of Audemars Piguet’s design history. By boldly embedding the famous octagonal middlecase within a round case, Audemars Piguet is embracing its most iconic designs and taking it to a new generation.

The upper part of the open-worked lugs is welded to the extra-thin bezel, while the lower part leans delicately against the case-back in perfect alignment. Measuring 41mm, the case is also designed with optimum curved ergonomics, making it supremely comfortable on the wrists of both genders.

The Audemars Piguet Perpetual Calendar also features a complex double curved glare-proofed sapphire crystal with a tense arched profile. The internal surface of the glass is shaped like a dome, while the external surface is vertically curved from 6 to 12 o’clock. This double curved sapphire crystal provides a unique visual experience and enhances the detailed work on the dial.

The dial on the Perpetual Calendar is where art meets science, featuring a dark blue aventurine dial and sub-dials with sparkling particles that resemble the starry sky. Taking inspiration from a 17th century Italian glass technique, the glass dial is obtained by introducing black copper oxide and cobalt to create the night skyscape. Paired with a pink gold case, pink gold hands and hour markers, the deep blue sparkling constellation of the aventurine dial is enhanced greatly. The effect achieved is magnificent and is akin to wearing the universe on your wrist.

Powered by the outstanding self-winding manufacture caliber 5134, the Audemars Piguet Perpetual Calendar has a power reserve of 40 hours and is made to such precision that any adjustment to the calendar is only required once every 122 years and 108 days.

  • UNISEX WATCHES
  • SOMETHING BLUE
  • HIGH COMPLICATIONS
  • SALMON DIALS

Something Blue

We have seen a growing number of blue dials over the past three to four years; this time, however, there seems to be a little explosion of blues with Baume et Mercier, Girard-Perregaux and Jaeger-LeCoultre releasing a slew of models with blue dials. Meanwhile, Vacheron Constantin has completely embraced the hue and showcased the Patrimony Collection celebrating ‘majestic blue’ dials, and, paired with blue alligator straps. One needs to look no further than the Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Retrograde Day-Date for the epitome of this trend.

Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Retrograde Day-Date

As original as it is technically complicated, the double retrograde display of the Patrimony retrograde day-date is a delight to observe during the transition from the 31st of one month to the 1st of the next, or from Sunday to Monday.

At 42.5 mm in diameter and just 9.7mm thick, this horological wonder bears the imprint of the talented watchmakers within the Manufacture. By entrusting the single crown with controlling all functions, they have eliminated additional unsightly protrusions and thus maintained the smooth lines of this historical case. The alligator strap fitted with a folding clasp ensures the continuity of the delightfully 1950s-tinged style.

The undeniably complex self-winding Calibre 2460 R31R7/2 is visible through the transparent sapphire crystal case-back. Its 276 components operate within a thickness of just 5.4 mm, while ensuring optimal reliability and power reserve.

  • UNISEX WATCHES
  • SOMETHING BLUE
  • HIGH COMPLICATIONS
  • SALMON DIALS

High Complications

What is a watch show without some horological complications? Although there’s no shortage of complications in recent releases this year, some have managed to stand out, such as the Hermès Arceau l’Heure de la Lune moonphase that features the time and date circling the two moons on the dial, rather than in the manner of a traditional moonphase watch.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Grande Tradition Gyrotourbillon Westminster Perpétuel

However, the complication that takes the proverbial cake is the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Grande Tradition Gyrotourbillon Westminster Perpétuel. The latest generation of multi-axis tourbillon to emerge from Jaeger-LeCoultre, this watch features a tourbillon that is significantly smaller than the previous models, yet one that retains a high level of error tolerance. This creates a truly wearable Gyrotourbillon, enabling one to enjoy a high complication on one’s wrist every day.

Apart from a world-class perpetual calendar, the watch, as the name suggests, boasts a minute-repeater that chimes the famous four-phrase Big Ben melody.

The Master Grande Tradition Gyrotourbillon Westminter Perpétuel is the result of 186 years of fine watchmaking expertise and a spirit of innovation that continues to this day. No surprise too, that it is available in two-dial color variations – white and blue.

  • UNISEX WATCHES
  • SOMETHING BLUE
  • HIGH COMPLICATIONS
  • SALMON DIALS

Salmon Dials

It seemed at first like the stirrings of an underground movement when Audemars Piguet put it on the Royal Oak Jumbo Extra Flat, but when it appeared on the A Lange & Sohne Datograph Perpetual Tourbillon, you know you have to start taking it seriously: Salmon Dials. When applied effectively, they look like a luxuriously well-aged vintage face. And for 2019, the single stand-out is the Mont Blanc Heritage Pulsograph Limited Edition 100.

Mont Blanc Heritage Pulsograph Limited Edition 100

The highlight of the new Heritage line, the Pulsograph Limited Edition 100 is inspired by what are known as ‘doctor’s watches’, those that were used by physicians in the past to check a patient’s heart rate. This 40mm steel case houses a Montblanc Manufacture monopusher chronograph caliber MB M13.21 and includes a doctor’s pulsograph indication graduated for 30 pulsations. Somewhat similar to the ubiquitous tachymeter on chronographs, this indication allows the physician to calculate a heart rate by only reading 30 heartbeats. Making a potentially life-saving situation faster and more efficient.

The elegant salmon-colored domed dial is uniquely warm in tone, with several design elements that throwback to classic Minerva wristwatches from the 1940’s and 50’s. This marriage of color and vintage styling is captured perfectly in this watch. The beautifully crafted manual wind chronograph movement is visible through the crystal case-back, and each watch is paired with matching anthracite Sfumata alligator leather straps from Richemont Pelletteria in Florence, Italy.

Limited to only 100 pieces around the world, these watches will definitely set a few hearts racing.