The third part in our SIHH report consists of a roundup of some of the highlight pieces the remaining six brands have exhibited at the fair, but we'll also take a look at the Geneva Time Exhibition next week as well as the satellite exhibition events that take place around the SIHH fair. The fair this year has been rather conservative in certain aspects though most brands have chosen to take their work to higher levels, with a number of high complications emerging in the collection alongside a broad range of fine classically styled timepieces which are highly commercially attractive.
1. Audemars Piguet (we're getting images of the Royal Oak Offshore Perpetual Calendar Chrono shortly)
It's the 20th anniversary of the Royal Oak Offshore, as most watch collectors and Audemars Piguet fans will know. This year, the company has chosen to deliver the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Grande Complication, which we detailed in the January issue of August Man. There's also the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Perpetual Calendar Chronograph (that's quite a mouthful even if we do say so ourselves) animated by the calibre 2839, in limited editions in titanium, pink gold and platinum. There are subtle enhancements to the watch design to make it even more legible than before, as Giulio Papi explains, with a new moonphase subdial that is indicated by a hand rather than the usual transversal moonphase design. The perpetual calendar and chronograph subdials are shared, offering a cleaner dial design on the timepiece.
It's Jaeger-LeCoultre's 180th anniversary, and the company is celebrating with, naturally, some fine timepieces from its collection. There are plenty that will cause jawdrops and sighs of content along with a reach for the credit card, but one piece that's dedicated to the anniversary is the Master Ultra Thin Jubilee, that recalls the incredible record set by Antoine LeCoultre and Edmond Jaeger in 1907 for the slimmest pocket watch created. This year, the Master Ultra Thin Jubilee has the record for the slimmest manually wound mechanical watch in the world today. With a case that measures only 4.05mm thick, the Master Ultra Thin Jubilee in platinum is an example of fine classic timekeeping - applied indices for the hour markers, polished hands for hours and minutes, and bearing the maison's name and year of establishment on the dial. The movement itself measures only 1.85mm thick. Incredible.
We were particularly impressed by several timepieces from Parmigiani, including the Toric Minute Repeater with a jade dial, but the Transforma CBF is the exciting piece that we have our eyes on. Now available with two watch heads rather than one, a chronograph in a carbon case and graphite dial with the colours of the CBF (green, yellow and blue) in accents on the dial. The second timepiece included bears an annual calendar complication based on the Tonda Quator 's movement. What's exciting about the Transforma is that it an be used in three different manners: as a wristwatch, a pocket watch and also a table clock.
4. Richard Mille
Embarking on a massive reorganisation of the Richard Mille portfolio of timepieces this year, allowing the ranges of his timepieces to be more defined and delineated, Mille also reworked the RM 027-01 Rafael Nadal timepiece, with a new suspension system for the movement within the watch case compared with the previous edition. The use of a cable suspension system is certainly highly unorthodox and according to the watchmaker, allows for greater room for the movement to dampen any shock received - considering Nadal's swings, it's likely to be a heavy shock indeed, and thus is better equipped than the previous edition to deliver a shock-proof timepiece. It's a first that a cable suspension is used in a watch movement.
5. Van Cleef & Arpels
Though Van Cleef & Arpels didn't offer its usual balance of male-skewed timepieces in its Poetic Complications, the retrograde timepieces continued to come along, with the Ballerine Enchantee, inspired by the ballerina clips that are a staple of the maison. The double retrograde movement with time on request, with the hands - the wings of the butterfly dancer - tracing an arc before returning to the retrograde display on either side of the dial. A pusher at eight o'clock enables one to reveal the time: the veils rise up to the current time, and return to their position. This particular design is based on an old Van Cleef & Arpels pocket watch in the past, the Magicien Chinois from 1927.
6. Vacheron Constantin
Last but not least, Vacheron Constantin demonstrated a focus on ladies' timepieces this year, but revealed that men's watches would also be introduced later in the year, during the Watches and Wonders fair. Meanwhile, floral art was aplenty on the dials of the Metiers d'Art collection, with the inspiration of these pieces from a botanical book, one of the most renowned in the world, Robert Thornton's The Temple of Flora. The two-century old bible of flora features many rare flowers, three of which are depicted on Vacheron Constantin's dials by enamelling, guillochage and gem-setting.