It’s less than three days to a freezing Geneva, and we’re attempting to soak up the heat in Singapore while prepping for lots of fondue. Meanwhile, we’re still getting lots of news about what we can soon expect. If you caught our SIHH update earlier, here’s additional info for you to consider.
Montblanc has had lots of news for us this year, apart from the fact that it will be seeing some new faces (we hear a gentleman from Tudor will soon be joining them). There’s a new execution of the TimeWalker ExoTourbillon Chronograph that was in fact first launched in Singapore, and this is just after we saw the beautiful 1858 collection. There are more commercial pieces, but the very well-priced TimeWalker ExoTourbillon Minute Chronograph, limited to 100 pieces, in titanium and just under €40,000, has us constantly refreshing our bank account statements hoping we have enough. It’s a thoroughly different execution of the ExoTourbillon, showing its versatility and the brand’s, by extension. We’ve seen more, but we’ve vowed not to say more till the fair.
It looks like Panerai is all set to refresh its essential timepieces and excite collectors once more with its pre-SIHH hint. A Radiomir 1940, certainly one of our favoured cases, the PAM 00655 will feature a 3-day automatic movement, that’s shrunk a little to 42mm, designed to attract slim-wristed peeps like myself. It also comes in a bright white dial and bears the P.4000 movement within, that contains Panerai’s first micro-rotor. You might recall seeing it on the PAM 00572 as well, and the red gold edition of that watch. It’s definitely a handsome piece. We’ll have to see how well it wears before we decide.
Focusing on its signatures, Parmigiani presented the Tonda Métrographe Abyss Blue, a chronograph timepiece that’s fitted with the PF315 movement, assembled and designed by Vaucher for the brand. The slim 40mm watch is one of its stylishly elegant sports watches and holds its classic key styles, form the figure-of-eight counters to a subdued date counter at six. Hopefully we’ll also see new editions of the Bugatti timepieces, and perhaps a new partnership?
This has got to be our favourite pre-SIHH release and certainly one of the boldest we’ve seen from Piaget. For those of us who’ve constantly debated the value of precision, the significance of quartz its usefulness as well as the steady elegance of the mechanical watch, Piaget has found a way to combine all of that into one single electromechanical timepiece, the Emperador Coussin XL 700P. Hiding an IC into the beautifully crafted movement of the watch, it’s essentially a quartz-adjusted, mechanically geared watch. Not unlike the construction of the Hi-Beat systems by Seiko, but done with far more precision. In fact, Piaget estimates the precision level of the 700P is probably a second a day at the very most, more likely it’s a second a month. That, we can live by. We’ve got an interview scheduled with Eric Klein, the man who designed the movement, during the fair, and will have more information on how it works.
Richard Mille seems to view 2016 as a year to provoke, while everyone else is staying in the solid middle ground. At Watches & Wonders, he presented the RM 69 Erotic timepiece, which wasn’t as provocative as we had expected but still a fun and playful invention. But the RM 67-01 is his early release for 2016, and it’s provocative because even though he’s made ultra-thin timepieces before, he’s best known for his thick tonneau watches, bold and fearlessly Richard Mille in style. Ultra-thin tonneau timepieces are tough to manufacture due to the machining needed, and then the indices are mounted directly on the movement, which means there’s very little room for adjustments.
We’re told that this year is a women-centric year for Roger Dubuis, with the focus on the Velvet collection. But they’ve not completely abandoned the gents. A new Excalibur Automatic Skeleton in a carbon case, that is manufactured by a method known as carbon fibre sheet moulding. What it means, is that layers of carbon fibre are compressed with resin and steel, heated to extremely high temperatures and then reworked and compounded with resin again. The result is an extremely durable timepiece, with an irregular texture and style. The price tag is a tad intimidating, but nevertheless beautiful.
Continuing on the 2014 Métiers d’Art range of Fabuleux Ornaments pieces, which feature its ultra-thin 1003 SQ movement, a hair’s breadth thick and gorgeously decorated with handworked details and engraving, they’ve released new versions of the four arts that were introduced then on the watches. A new French lace case has enamel on a guilloché à main dial. The Chinese embroidery piece uses jade as the dial, pieced with the gold wire setting. The Ottoman architecture design has pink mother-of-pearl as the dial under an openworked gold plate, while the Indian manuscript piece has champléve enamelling. Although we’ve heard rumours of another significant line that will be refreshed, we have to keep mum on the subject for now. Darn those NDAs.
Van Cleef & Arpels
The French jewellery house is known for its high jewellery creations but also for its Poetic Complications, an inventive way of crafting time through a unique perspective and in partnership with watch makers from outside the group. This year, it’s showing the Ronde des Papillons Poetic Complication before the fair kicks off. Like all of its Poetic Complications, the idea of movement is significant, and retrograde displays and automatons are often used to differentiate it. Multi-layered dials with decorative techniques (in this case, coloured mother-of-pearl) are paired with moving butterflies to indicate the minutes, but an automaton function can also be activated on demand.
And that’s all of it. We’re seeing lots of inventiveness this year, that will surely surprise collectors but also a lot of military-styled timepieces that’s definitely going to be popular with the regular buyer. Follow us on Instagram and Facebook to keep up with what’s happening, and we’ll be tweeting from time to time as well. Meanwhile, have a great weekend!