By Frank Geelen
Taking place in the third week of January, the Geneva watch fair, the Salon International de la Haute Horologerie (SIHH) is about to open its door for the 2016 edition. Before all the novelties will be revealed to the world, here are 5 of the most interesting pre-SIHH watches.
Clé de Cartier Squelette Automatic
The Clé de Cartier was first launched at SIHH 2015, as the new classical watch of the grande maison. Pure lines, an interesting crown shaped like a key (clé in French), a new in-house movement – the Clé de Cartier has been applauded and very well received by the watch community. Now that the simpler versions are in stores, it’s time for Cartier to introduce the complicated versions.
Apart from the Heures Mysterieuses edition, Cartier is also about to introduce a splendid version, with an entirely skeletonized movement. It features the typical Cartier bridges that are shaped like Roman numerals and now it also come with a self-winding mechanism. The oscillating weight does not impede the transparency of the skeleton movement, as the rotor has been designed to leave as much light as possible pass through the movement.
IWC Big Pilot’s Heritage Watches
Most know about the IWC’s Pilot’s Watch collection, large aviator style watches inspired by antique military watches that were once used by German pilots during WWII. This year, the Schaffhausen brand will launched a number of re-designed models in the Pilot’s Watch collection. Since most editions are modern iteration of the vintage pilot watches, IWC will also introduce a pair of limited editions that faithfully mimic the vintage ones, including the military style with the typical indexes and hands as well as the massive cases of these antique watches. The IWC Big Pilot’s Heritage Watches will be available in 48mm and in 55mm sizes.
Montblanc Heritage Chronometrie Chronograph Quantième Annuel
For a few years now, the strength of Montblanc is to offer complex watches for very reasonable prices – something we’ve seen with the Heritage Spirit Perpetual Calendar already. Montblanc certainly isn’t stopping this strategy, as this year, the brand will introduce another complex watch at a very reasonable price: the Montblanc Heritage Chronometrie Chronograph Quantième Annuel, which combines the chronograph function with a highly practical annual calendar function that takes into account the months with 30 or 31 days and thus requires only one adjustment a year in February. All of that comes in an elegant 42mm case, offered in steel or in pink gold, with a classical and refined silver dial.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tribute Duo for the 85th Anniversary
The Reverso is an old icon, launched in 1921 and Jaeger-LeCoultre will celebrate its 85th anniversary this year. In order to pay tribute to the rich past of this watch, Jaeger-LeCoultre is about to introduce several new editions, including the striking Reverso Tribute Duo. It features two faces: one in white with blue accents displaying the time and a second one, in blue, displaying a second time zone and a day-and-night indicator. This edition keeps classical and historical look of the vintage-inspired editions while enhancing it with more complications and with a contemporary attitude.
Piaget Emperador Coussin XL 700P
The last of the pre-SIHH picks is the Piaget Emperador Coussin XL 700P that is powered by a new hybrid movement, featuring a traditional automatic winding-device and an electromechanical regulator. With this watch, Piaget marks the 40th anniversary of its first in-house quartz movement. But make no mistake, as this watch is far from being a simple battery driven watch. In fact, the calibre 700P has automatic winding, as well as a wheel train that drives the hands, but instead of a traditional Swiss lever escapement it is fitted with a hybrid oscillator, making it a hybrid of new and old.
The movement is rather complicated, featuring over 300 components, a micro-rotor to power a traditional barrel and a finishing worthy of the name haute horlogerie. In essence, it unites the best of two worlds: the beauty of a mechanical movement with the precision of a quartz regulator.
Frank Geelen – The Netherlands
Frank Geelen is an expert on Haute Horlogerie and beautiful hand-finished mechanical movements make his horological heart beats faster. He loves to explain all technical details of complications like tourbillons, minute repeaters, constant force escapements and column-wheel chronographs and he has been doing that for more than seven years. Besides publishing daily at Monochrome Watches (monochrome-watches.com) , Frank also writes for several other publications, both online and offline.