The Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie, or SIHH for short, is about to open its doors for the 28th time on 15 January 2018. Mark the dates in your calendars, as there are more exhibiting brands than eve, promising an overwhelming selection of new launches. Many of its brands have embraced the practice of revealing a little bit just before the show, just to get pulses racing. Here we look at pre-SIHH highlights from Audemars Piguet, IWC, Cartier and Ulysse Nardin.
Last year, Audemars Piguet had a Royal Oak-only year – with just one sublimely complicated women’s watch to mix things up. SIHH 2018 is all the more exciting then, for those who had been hoping for a comeback of the oval Millenary: Audemars Piguet will introduce a few new references, all dedicated to ladies.
Two of the three new pieces, in white and rose gold, will come on a so-called polished bracelet that is much like an intricately detailed Milanese bracelet. More notable is the Frosted Gold Millenary, that has a case and dial flange finished in a rare jeweller’s technique that brand introduced last year in a select few Royal Oak models.
Also part of the preview was the Royal Oak Offshore Tourbillon Chronograph with a newly designed open-worked bezel and movement. In addition, another is dedicated to the Royal Oak Offshore’s 25th anniversary, which is a re-release of the first Royal Oak Offshore from 1993 – needless to say, it isn’t an exact copy, but it is extremely close, and will be a piece in high demand for sure.
IWC Schaffhausen has a lot to celebrate in the coming year as well, which makes its 150th year. The watchmaker has a whole line-up for the occasion but has already revealed several, including two of the top of the line models: the Portugieser Perpetual Calendar Tourbillon ‘150 Years’ and the Portugieser Constant-Force Tourbillon Edition ‘150 Years’ pieces. But the highlight is undoubtedly the Tribute to Pallweber, a wristwatch version of a double-digital display pocket watch of the late 1800s.
Cartier teases with the Rotonde de Cartier Mysterious Day & Night and Rotonde de Cartier Skeleton Mysterious Double Tourbillon, both immediately recognizable as members of the Cartier haute horlogerie family. They are remarkably complicated on the inside, and dressed in signature Cartier design elements on the outside. The Mysterious Day & Night in particular combines two signature Cartier complications, the mysterious display as well as the “Comet” clock. It is reassuring to see Cartier return with more ultra high-end pieces – let’s see what SIHH 2018 will bring.
Ulysse Nardin’s pre-SIHH 2018 highlights include the Marine Torpilleur Military, Classico Manufacture and Marine Tourbillon. The Marine Torpilleur Military is, as its name aptly suggests, a military inspired piece that merges excellent legibility with old-school military elements like as massive spade hands and high-contrast dials.
The Classico Manufacture was a refreshing piece in recent years from the brand, as it merged historical Ulysse Nardin looks with stellar proportions, a manufacture caliber, competitive pricing, and, as can be seen here, fired enamel dials. Enamel dials have an inimitable sheen and depth of colors and so we are looking forward to seeing these in the metal.
And lastly, the Marine Tourbillon is back with a textured enamel dial, a massive, openly displayed tourbillon crafted from high-tech materials, and a power reserve indicator at the 12 o’clock position. It’s a sporty, naval-inspired piece of high-end watchmaking, while being fairly priced, like only Ulysse Nardin can accomplish.
These “pre-SIHH” highlights from major players tell promise that we are in for fantastic fair in January, with an impressive variety of new watches from ultra high-end to competitively priced main collection models – a lot to look forward to indeed.
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Victor Toth – Czech Republic
Victor Toth is a Prague-based, professional photographer-turned-watch enthusiast and freelance journalist, whose journey into the complex world of fine watchmaking had begun a number of years ago. Over this time it has become his passion to share his understanding of the finer details of beautiful timepieces, all in an effort to encourage a more thorough appreciation of this wonderful and complex universe of fine mechanics.