Lately there have been many watch exhibitions and fairs all around the world. I personally have traveled to quite a few, but however beautiful, impressive and big they may be there’s pretty much nothing like SIHH and Baselworld in terms of new watch releases; and the way this year has started was far from disappointing! Every day I saw something new, and not just new material variations but actual novelties, from almost all of the brands exhibiting.
To start of with I’m going to tell you what’s new at the ‘big boy’ booths. First up – Audemars Piguet and their new Concept watch that takes my vote for the ‘Most Awesome Watch’ award, which I just invented myself It features a tourbillon, a chronograph, and a minute repeater; with one of the loudest and beautiful chimes I’ve ever heard. It’s no secret that AP loves their complications as much as the more popular Royal Oaks and Offshores but with the peripheral rotor tourbillon presented earlier last year, and now a minute repeater they are taking it to a whole new level of high horology.
Two more brands that really got to me were Montblanc and Jaeger-LeCoultre, especially with their higher end complications. While JLC presents a new version of the spherotourbillon with their twist on a moon phase, Montblanc comes up with their latest addition to the Villeret family – the Tourbillon Cylindrique Geospheres Vasco da Gama. Long name and an even longer explanation of the complications, but in short – there is a beautiful tourbillon at 12 o’clock with a 3D spiral made in a cylindrical shape, and a world time indication displayed by the Northern and Southern hemispheres. Only 18 pieces will ever be made, all in rose gold 47 mm cases with a 6-figure price tag.
Of course there were more lower end novelties during SIHH 2015, but if you guys follow my posts you probably know I’m a sucker for all things complicated and watches out of your typical price range. Having said that here’s my favourite watch from SIHH with no high-end complications at all – it’s the Roger Dubuis Automatic Skeleton from their updated Excalibur collection. No fancy tourbillons or chronographs in this one, yet the look of it is so appealing and the finishing of the bridges so fine it’s hard not to fall in love with it if you are into big or skeletonized watches. The micro-rotor and the open balance wheel both add some dynamic to the piece and make the look complete.
Now to another one of the bigger brands exhibiting at the fair – Richard Mille has quite a unique novelty that everyone’s been talking about – it’s the RM19-02, otherwise known as the Tourbillon Fleur. Probably one of the most talked about watches this year – yet another one of Richard Mille’s complicated, exotic and bold time/art pieces that would cost you a fortune and have nothing alike in the whole world. The thing about this one is that apart from the running time in a small subdial and a diamond set case it has a tourbillon hidden in a flower sculpture that opens up every 5 minutes to reveal itself.
Another brand known for its artsy inventions presenting their new Tourbillon 24 Vision is Greubel Forsey. This young yet extremely credible and desirable brand among the biggest of collectors comes up with something extraordinary every year. This time they’ve created a new version of their most famous timepiece yet (the new black Titanium GMT) as well as revealed their latest novelty. It’s their simplest looking watch to date, as well as it is their least expensive one (somewhere around $325’000). However do not mistake it for a regular tourbillon three-hand. The dial is made of Palladium and if you turn the watch you’ll see why it’s really special. The tourbillon, inclined under 24 degrees is put so deep inside the watch that GF had to come up with a vertical asymmetry that looks like a bubble to keep it within the timepiece Surprisingly it sits quite comfortably on the wrist too.
Now before we get to the independent’s corner there’s one more watch I’d like to point out – it’s the Hublot Classic Fusion Calendar Moon phase. We usually see the big novelties from Hublot during Baselworld time, and of course I can’t wait to see what else they will surprise us with, but for the time being this is my new favourite model in the Classic Fusion line. A partially skeletonized annual calendar and moon phase fit this case perfectly, and unlike many other Hublot models that stand out from the design point of view this is actually something more technical, and that’s a good thing for the brand.
Now to the independents corner – we have quite a few novelties that I personally was waiting for. First up – new HYT Skull. Before our favourite (and only) liquid time watchmaker presents it’s next revolutionary and entirely new model (H3) at Baselworld they’ve decided to have some fun with the round cased liquid hour display by creating an hour-seconds-power reserve watch with the liquid tube contouring a skull within the dial. Definitely not your every day watch (unless you’re Tony Stark) as you wouldn’t even be able to see the minutes, but then again – I don’t think one would buy a piece like this to monitor time, it’s more of a mechanical wonder on the wrist, and even when you know how it works you’d still question yourself if it really was made by human hands.
Next up we have yet another unusual timepiece, but this one is from a renowned wrist instrument manufacturer – Breva. Their latest addition to the Genie family – the Genie 03 Speedmeter – is a real functioning speedometer for the wrist. All the wearer has to do is press on the pusher at 2 o’clock and see as the sub dial with the speed-reading lifts itself up from the case and reveals 3 little hemispherical cups that catch the air while you’re driving, cycling or moving with any other means of transportation at the speed of 20-200 km/h. Your current speed will instantly be displayed on the sub-dial with the small red hand, and it’s hard to believe that it’s an actual mechanical instrument that fits in a wristwatch. Speaking of the watch itself this is also the first time when Breva uses its own movement. Left side of the dial is all about time and I love the skeletonized barrel and the open balance wheel bring more life into the machine.
Some more independents showcased their novelties, such as the Urwerk UR110 Eastwood (that I have talked about in the previous article), De Bethune with their new sporty DB28GS, MB&F and a table clock they’ve displayed at the M.A.D Gallery, made by Frank Buchwald, or MCT and their new S200 with a touch of yellow. Overall – many novelties this year, no one is being lazy, and it’s nice to see more traditional brands get more creative while the independent watchmakers improve their technical features and quality. Hope you guys enjoyed the article and will stay tuned for more watch reviews coming soon.