Yesterday, we saw a number of very cool timepieces unveiled at the fair. (You can see our thoughts of the best of day 1 here.) Today, we found that inventiveness is in no short supply this year at SIHH, and watch brands are looking to invent as much as possible to attract consumers to their call. Here’s what we glimpsed on day 2.
It’s the first year that the nine independent brands of the Carré des Horlogers are participating in the fair, and not only are they out to prove that they definitely belong in the haute horlogerie segment of the business and at the fair, but also that they are inventive in their creation. Hautlence has managed this easily with the HL2.6 that’s released this year at the fair.
Though the HL series is in fact one of Hautlence’s first successes, it’s still timelessly avant-garde, which sounds like an oxymoron but isn’t, really. It still looks very cool and relevant, and the form of the case and design stems from a very classic look but a generous use of sapphire crystal and a modern jumping display using a belt rather than disc makes it very futuristic. While the HL2.6 has not veered very far from its origins, its set of patents are interesting, particularly in the power transfer from the main barrel to a second barrel which drives the complication for time display separate from the gear train. Clever? Yep. And the HL definitely looks like it could belong in 2011, 2016 or 2056.
Along with a refresh of the RM 011 that will be due in the summer, Richard Mille is working on expanding its maison into a complete lifestyle experience that’s influenced by mechanical watchmaking. This year, apart from a collaboration with Airbus Corporate and an ultra-thin tonneau timepiece in a few variations, there’s the RMS05 pen. It looks like a steampunk invention and acts like one, but clad in NTPT carbon and with a mechanical spring and gear train behind it that drives the nib out when the screwed on cap is loosened and opened. The spring is charged when the cap goes back on, and if loosely attached the nib does go back to the body until it’s once again needed. We’ve got a video of the creation for you to see.
The Vallee de Joux maison marks the 85th anniversary of its Reverso timepiece with a complete restructuring of the line. A women’s series, in a small and intermediate size, comes under the Reverso One and also the Atelier Reverso, where one can select from a series of more inventive designs in dial, strap or both. The Classic comes with standard complications and styles, but in a small, medium and large size. A Tribute series will bear interesting complications from dual time zones to more, but what’s exciting is the change in operation of the second time zone from now, with a control that’s hidden at 12 o’clock. The sliding bezel is a clever invention by the brand.
Our favourite piece is still the Master Compressor Chronograph in ceramic with a second time zone function. It looks very handsome and is incredibly durable.
A complete and comprehensive report for Vacheron Constantin is available here.
Baume & Mercier
Disrupting pricing and attracting a new and younger audience is part of the Baume & Mercier strategy. It’s doing that with a red gold Classima that’s sub $8,000. That’s meant to shock the system. Along with several other new introductions is the renewal of a collaboration with the Shelby Cobra, now in black and yellow. The Capeland-based model is definitely a hit with collectors, and Baume & Mercier has produced a video to show this. It’s not yet released, but watch out for it.
But what has been a creative interest at Baume & Mercier is the creation of inventive couture-style timepieces for the Promesse series. Here are some examples created by the creative team at Baume & Mericer to demonstrate their agility in making something beautiful.
Last for the day but not least is Roger Dubuis, with its Excalibur Automatic now clad in carbon fibre SMC for a rugged and stylish look. The Velvet collections are central to the brand’s new developments this year, but for gents, the Excalibur remains our staple in style and design.
You can also see more of the Velvet collection’s pieces in this video by the brand. Enjoy discovering this new feminine side to the brand.