Specialist Picks • 14 Mar 2018

Top Picks from LVMH “Geneva Days” 2018

by Victor Toth


“Geneva Days” is the event where LVMH watch brands Hublot, TAG Heuer and Zenith, exhibit their new launches to a select group of invited guests. Held during the week of SIHH but outside the fair and on a boat in downtown Geneva, year after year these three brands manage to catch ever more wind from the sails of the SIHH, and the 2018 occasion was no different.

Hublot launched a number of impressive novelties. And in terms of aesthetics the most noticeable of which might just be the Classic Fusion Aerofusion Chronograph Orlinski in either blue ceramic or titanium. The lengthy name refers to a beefed up version of the successful Classic Fusion, the choice of watch for those who love the Hublot design DNA but want to do with something a bit thinner and scaled back compared to the signature Big Bang. Hublot worked with “the world’s bestselling contemporary French artist” Richard Orlinski to extensively rework the Classic Fusion to create a shockingly awesome new iteration with a more angular, sculpted look replacing the flowing lines of the original Classic Fusion.

Available in two variants, both measuring 45mm but actually wearing a bit smaller than that, the Aerofusion Orlinski is either in highly polished titanium, or its very opposite, in matte, micro blasted blue ceramic. With just 13.4mm of thickness to go with the large diameter, this new version actually is highly wearable. The movement inside is not Hublot’s in-house Unico but rather the HUB1155, Sellita-based automatic chronograph that runs at 4 Hertz and has a power reserve of 42 hours.

Two other noteworthy novelties from Hublot include the Big Bang Meca-10 in Blue Ceramic. The Meca-10 is a real watch-lover’s watch with a complex, but not overly complicated, movement designed and made in-house by Hublot. Now in “forged blue ceramic,” this piece actually marks a new era with Hublot having mastered making colored ceramic that Hublot in-house, and is beginning to roll out in more high-end watches.

 

Along with the Meca-10 came the Big Bang Unico Golf, created in collaboration with World No. 1 golfer Dustin Johnson. The watch’s Unico-based MHUB1580  movement allows the earer to keep track of the total number of strokes during a game, as well as the strokes per hole. Clad in a 45mm by 18.1mm case of carbon fiber and grey Texalium, the Big Bang Unico Golf weighs just 98 grams. Running at 4 Hertz for 3 full days, this is arguably a niche, but very elaborately, executed piece from Hublot.

The most notably novelty from TAG Heuer last week must have been the new Connected Modular 41, which means that TAG Heuer’s hugely successful smartwatch now comes in a much more compact and hence much more wearable size. At just 41mm, this new version will look and feel much better on smaller wrists, allowing TAG Heuer to win over a larger clientele of ladies, younger people, as well as those of us with smaller wrists that simply couldn’t support the original 45mm Connected that, still remains in production.

 

TAG Heuer say that they have updated the screen so that it is a noticeably higher resolution than on the 45 – and we can attest to that fact, the screen on the Connected Modular 41 is very sharp – allowing the more compact variant to display the same amount of information as the larger version, without any considerable sacrifices in legibility. Further still, battery life reportedly remains unchanged when compared to the bigger brother.

The case modular functionality remains, meaning you can easily change the strap or bracelet without any tools and do the same even with the lugs. TAG Heuer will also offer a watch head fitted with a mechanical movement that you can swap onto the bracelets and straps that you have, turning the smartwatch into a traditional one. Priced very competitively on a rubber strap and considerably more expensive – but also very, very cool – in all black ceramic, the Connected Modular 41 is ready to bring the TAG Heuer smartwatch experience to a much wider audience, at last.

Zenith was also present on the LVMH boat docked just outside the Hotel Kempinski, presenting a few new versions of the Defy El Primero 21, the hugely impressive 1/100th of a second, double-balance wheel chronograph launched at Baselworld 2017. Now available with an ultra-modern blue-black skeletonized dial or a black-on-white “panda” dial fitted inside a titanium case matched with an all-titanium bracelet, the new Defy is as comfortable, light and modern as it gets. For a more luxe Defy, there also is a new, all-black ceramic, as well as a new, rose gold version, matching the timeless appeal of gold beautifully with the high-tech movement inside.

Last but n0t least, the Pilot Cronometro Tipo CP-2 now comes in an aged bronze case fitted with an oily nubuck leather strap for a new twist on the vintage pilot watch aesthetic inspired by the Cairelli chronograph Zenith made for the Italian air force.

Though SIHH has clearly been all the talk recently, Hublot, TAG Heuer and Zenith have taken out their fair share in advancing and fine-tuning their existing collections, as well as coming up with some impressively bold new pieces.


Victor Toth

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.


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