The world’s most prestigious high-end watch trade show, the SIHH in Geneva, was quite different for 2017. It not only grew to represent even more watchmakers, but was also a lot more well-rounded, representing amazing and extremely exclusive ultra-luxury marques to more accessible timepieces meant for daily wear by regular people. Luxury watches by definition are still designed for people who experience at least a little privilege in their life, but for 2017 the brands at the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie cast a wide net with more people than ever in mind. The following watches demonstrate the best of what was displayed at SIHH 2017 in a range of men’s watch categories.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Geophysic Tourbillon Universal Time
Watches like this combine utility and high-end mechanical showmanship. It isn’t necessary, or even arguably useful, to include a tourbillon with an exclusive in-house balance wheel, into an otherwise practical world timer, but it sure feels good. At the top of Jaeger-LeCoultre’s re-made Geophysic collection is this beautifully impressive, precious metal-cased timepiece which shrouds an otherwise functional timepiece with craftsmanship allowing you to know the time all over the world with art and mechanical mastery. The tourbillon orbits the entire dial twice a day as it is linked to the movement of the world time disc. This is a timepiece for people who not only like traditional design values in fine timepieces, but also want to show off that they can afford to show their passion off in a very bold manner – an enduring cornerstone of what makes SIHH timepieces so exciting.
Panerai Luminor Submersible 1950 42mm
Typically 44mm in diameter, for 2017 Panerai has created a slightly smaller, 42mm version of its popular dive watch known as the Luminor Submersible. More wearable for more people, it demonstrates a trend by Panerai to maintain its historic DNA, but to also improve and refine its product line while appealing to more people. The good looks and durable design of the Submersible endure, but now in a few new flavors that will look good on more wrists. It’s also among the more affordable, relatively speaking, of the new sport watches at SIHH 2017.
The lifestyle sport watch that can do double duty as something more dressy is among the most popular type of timepieces for men –for good reason. Traditional dress watches tend to not fit jetsetting professionals who wear jeans more than they do a suit. Thus, an elegant sports watch which equally evokes sophistication and activity is typically preferred to those which are purely formal in nature. Girard-Perregaux has flirted in this segment many times before, but arguably their strongest entrant is the Laureato, first introduced in the 1970s, which officially comes back in 2017 in both 42mm and 38mm sizes, in a range of metal choices and equipped with an excellent, in-house movement. It’s masculine with a hint of design controversy, which means it isn’t boring – an important factor to consider when being aware that such watches should make bold statements about their wearers.
A. Lange & Söhne 1815 Annual Calendar
A. Lange & Söhne specializes in refined instrument watches so tasteful you almost forget they are utility first and style-second. The new 1815 Annual Calendar is a rare watch for the brand given that it contains an annual versus the more high-end perpetual calendar complication, which Lange already offers at a higher price point. Its purpose is to offer most of the functionality of a perpetual calendar at a lower price for people wanting a watch from the brand, being priced at the level of a Volkswagen versus that of an Audi. The value of an A. Lange & Sohne watch is really in the meticulous movement. Take one look at the lovely manually-wound, hand-assembled and decorated movement to agree this watch provokes desire in the heart of most all watch lovers.
Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotier Symphonia Grande Sonnerie 1860
Requiring about four full months to assemble each movement, the Symphonia is a lovely example of what the world’s most elite watch collectors can come to expect from Vacheron Constantin when ordering a timepiece from their lauded Les Cabinotier department that specializes in custom timepieces. Each watch from the department is considered a piece unique, which implies that it is at least somewhat original for the owner. The Symphonia 1860 combines a minute repeater with a grande and petite sonnerie that chimes the time as it passes, making for a uniquely complete chiming watch with a range of functionality. More so, it includes a series of safety features that help ensure its owner doesn’t accidentally break the watch. These are the types of benefits that often come with million dollar watches.
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Ariel Adams – United States
Ariel Adams started writing about watches in 2007, almost immediately after finishing law school. Since then he’s never looked back – combining his business skills with an enduring passion for timepieces and all things “well-made”. In addition to running the world’s highest-traffic online watch magazine, Adams also wrote a book, The World’s Most Expensive Watches, and also lends his voice to leading watch and thought publications around the world.