The third day of the annual Salon Internationale de la Haute Horlogerie saw a smaller crowd, with many of the invited retailers having made their way back home after closing sales with brands. Hopefully ensuring of course, that the timepieces you’ve spammed Instagram likes on will be in your local boutiques soon. On our end, we’re nursing a small hangover this morning after partying it up at IWC’s Gala Dinner last night but the timepieces we saw today (and the biting cold) were more than enough to cure us. Here are our picks for the third day of SIHH 2017.
We covered Montblanc’s new 1858 Chronograph Tachymeter Limited Edition in our pre-SIHH story here and we’re sticking by what we said about the watch going on to be a fan favourite this year. While that piece sends shivers down our spine, another model from that collection will probably be the next watch on our to-save-up-for list. The 1858 Dual Time is to us, what vintage should look like and feel. Nevermind the uniform bronze patina you’ll get further down the road. Nevermind the aged tan leather strap. What makes this a piece we want is the absolute functionality of it. It’s a simple dual time with a day/night indicator that doesn’t get complicated. Going back in time should mean a simpler time and Montblanc executed it perfectly.
Last year’s hugely successful Pilot campaign by IWC definitely spoilt us as fans of the brand. Like any spoilt child however, learning that IWC’s releases this year favoured women’s watches in the form of the revitalised Da Vinci collection had us throwing maybe just a little of a tantrum. That attitude disappeared in a split second after seeing the new IWC Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar Chronograph. At 43mm, the distinctive round case of the Da Vinci (that was first released in 1969) felt and looked more round than the usual round case thanks to the lugs that stick out slightly. IWC’s calibre 89630 powers the watch and sees an interesting first for watchmaking with the chronograph counters and moonphase display (correct up to 570 years) being meshed together. Enjoy the piece (and we apologise for the One Ring making an appearance.)
The recent years have shown that Panerai is far from a one-trick pony with a cool case. While the brand’s unique watches led the charge for larger-than-life timepieces years back, Panerai has proven that it can duke out with the big boys in horology and then some. This year’s new Lab-ID Luminor 1950 Carbotech is full proof of that claim. First off, the Lab-ID is a goddamned beauty. The black Carbotech case and carbon nanotubed dial make for a great contrast to the blue Super-LumiNova-ed numerals on the iconic sandwich dial, perfect for Mortal Kombat’s Sub-Zero really. Carbon can also be found on the silicium escapement that boasts a DLC (diamond-like carbon) coating for decreased friction. The rest of the movement is a masterwork of pushing the boundaries of friction with dry lubricated barrels, a lub-free anti-shock protection system and ONLY FOUR JEWELS to prove that friction is not going to found in this piece. Panerai guarantees 50 years of not needing to service the piece. Extra style points goes the way of Panerai for printing the logos on the sapphire instead of the dial.
As journalists, hyperbole is something we try to avoid as much as possible. We’re dead serious then when we say that Vacheron Constantin blew our mind today. The Les Cabinotiers Celestia Astronomica Grand Complication 3600 is the Sistine Chapel of horology right now and we mean that as dead seriously as we can. Before we explain what the watch does, it is necessary to understand that how we perceive time isn’t exactly accurate.
What we know as civil time (60 seconds in a minute, 60 minutes in an hour, 24 hours in a day, and 365 days in a year) is more of an estimation. We’re taught that there are 365.25 days in a year and after four years during a leap, we add an extra day to keep it nice and rounded. That is not quite the case in actual fact. If you look at solar time, a calculation of the passage of time based on the Sun’s position in the sky, the length of days vary. Just imagine you had a sundial and your watch with you side by side. If you compared both timings, the sundial’s time would vary, sometimes earlier and sometimes later than civil time.
That in essence is the beauty of the Celestia. Vacheron Constantin designed three gear trains in one watch to showcase these different timings. You have the civil time, the solar time as well as the sidereal time (which is in essence, time calculated by the motion of our planet relative to distant stars as opposed to the Sun). The sidereal time is shown on the celestial chart at the back of the watch that also showcases a 160° power reserve peripheral indicator. These gear trains help to facilitate other complications throughout the timepiece like the mareoscope (an indicator of tide levels), a sunset and sunrise gauge. The civil time gear train in turn, works on the perpetual calendar on the piece.
On top of 23 complications (we’ve barely covered half), the Les Cabinotiers Celestia Astronomica Grand Complication 3600 has a power reserve of close to three weeks, thanks to the six barrels that work in sequence to ensure a steady power supply. You’d think this amount of stacked barrels would contribute to a thick movement but the Celestia’s calibre’s thickness comes in at a crazy 8.7mm only. Oh, did we mention that there’s a tourbillon as well?