Today marks the last day of the SIHH fair per se, at least for us press persons. While the fair this year feels much more sedate, and in fact downright quiet today, it’s also because the fair this year is focused on communicating with its perceived audience, rather than diluting its message through an abundance of media. Brands are also a lot more focused on commercial interests, though that does not mean the fair is short on creativity; if anything, it’s the opposite.
In fact, 21st January is the birthday of Max Büsser, and so he gets a dream birthday present by inventing a new timepiece or Time Machine. It’s a brilliant way of celebrating a birthday and this year he’s introduced yet another co-created object with L’Epee 1839, the clock makers.
The MB&F clocks have done well, we’re sure. From Arachnophobia to Melchior, they are unexpected, inventive ways of interpreting the classic table or standing clock. This year comes Sherman, a new machine that’s inspired by the Sherman Tank of yesteryear. The guys at MB&F have taken that form, made it upright, added in the treads and given it a face and hands. They’ve also coated it with palladium or rose gold, and shrunk the clock to a small one with an 8-day power reserve. Cool? Yep, definitely so.
There’s plenty to discover at Cartier. We’ve covered some of it in our pre-SIHH story on the brand, and we still love the Panther & Colibri, its first automaton for fine watchmaking in Cartier. However the big draw of the year is the Astromysterieux, a powerful central tourbillon timepiece designed by Carole Forestier-Kasapi, Featuring a complete movement that’s driven by the carriage once per hour (everything, from the barrel to the gear train and finally the escapement sits on this carriage), which is incredibly complex to achieve according to the movement inventor of the company. The biggest challenge for her was the winding mechanism, as the barrel is not in the same position all the time, and also the time-setting system, particularly as it is a mystery movement, so the movement floats in air, or at least appears to do so. We have a more comprehensive coverage of the piece in the magazine in February. Watch out for it. In the meantime, check out the video here to discover what makes the watch so radical.
But the big launch for this year, according to the brand, is the Drive de Cartier, its latest men’s form. It’s been a decade since the Fine Watchmaking Department of Cartier started, and what’s most impressive about its legitimacy is that since 2006, Cartier has produced a new shape every year, and a total of 48 movements.
Drive de Cartier has a, we would call it a cushion shape but Cartier doesn’t have a definition for it. At 41mm in size, it’s a comfortable wear and really very elegant. The dials have guilloche and satin-brushed finishes, and the standard Cartier Roman numerals. A small seconds edition exists, as well as a GMT function with grande date and finally the tourbillon highlight piece. They come in white or anthracite dials, and steel or pink gold editions. It’s meant for the modern trendy dandy. It’s not an ultra-thin form but it will fit nicely under the jacket, or over it if you’re a Gianni Agnelli fan.
A. Lange & Söhne
Tony de Haas has been working hard on surprising us, and considering how popular the brand is among collectors, we’re surprised not more leaks are out on the brand before it started. The big talking piece for Lange this year is of course the Datograph Perpetual Calendar Tourbillon, which does exactly what it says. However, they had to completely redesign the movement because there’s not enough space to basically fit in everything in its original position, so the escapement and cage had to be set lower along with the gear train, and the stop seconds function implemented as well. It’s an impressive piece, truly amazing, especially when you realise that the perpetual calendar is instantaneously jumping.
The other piece we do love is the Richard Lange Jumping Seconds. In implementing a constant force remontoir system, he came up with the idea of releasing the energy from the barrel once every second instead of once every 10. The resulting bonus is a deadbeat function on the seconds hand, that’s incredibly precise and beautiful on the Richard Lange regulator dial. It looks simple, but because the remontoir is completely assimilated into the movement, it’s another new movement by the brand.
That sums up the majority of the fair for us, and yourselves. We’ll put together a final roundup when we are not so sleep deprived. Meanwhile don’t miss days 1, the second and third day highlights on the website.