As first major event of the year in fine watchmaking industry, the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie is a must-go for any luxury watch lover. It gives not only the opportunity to meet prestigious brands’ representatives, but that’s also the occasion to have a preview of world most amazing watch models. A true journey.
SIHH 2019 took place at Geneva Palexpo, just a 10-min ride by car from Geneva city centre and its luxury hotels. Together with the 29th promotion of Sup de Luxe MBA students, I had the privilege to be onsite during two days talking to brand managers, as well as trying some exciting new watch models.
Here below are my 5 favorite newnesses of the year, that really triggered a Wow effect when I looked at them for the first time.
1. Girard-Perregaux: Cosmos, a masterpiece of Haute-Horlogerie
The brand is currently in a space-odyssey mood. It proposes this year a new blue electric color for its Laureato’s ring, a new Celestial model for it’s Cat’s Eye with a stunning dial design, and the peak of the moment is certainly the latest Haute-Horlogerie creation of the house: Cosmos.
Cosmos belongs to the historic Bridge collection, but this one is actually a bridge to deep space! As they say: “Cosmos reveals the hidden portions of the night sky and glows with a black light. The centrepiece of the “Earth to Sky” theme, this watch with tourbillon, sky chart and world time complications is composed of mechanical particles and poetic paradoxes.”
2. Ulysse Nardin: the Freak X
Ulysse Nardin, since its creation back in 1846, has always been a brand of precision and innovation. The award-winning and recent Freak collection is a good example, with its stunning avant-garde design and unique silicium escapement movement.
This year, Ulysse Nardin makes it more accessible thanks to a revised movement with fewer wheels (but the design keeps the Freak spirit) and a carbon case. The result is light, impressive at the wrist and good for the wallet: the collection’s entry price is reduced from 48.000 EUR (Freak Out) to 21.000 EUR (Freak X).
3. Cartier: the Tonneau Extra-Large Skeleton Dual-Time
Inspired from a 1906’s model, the Tonneau collection relaunched in 2006 is now matching its finest piece (get ready, that’s a long name): the Cartier Privé Tonneau XL Skeleton Dual-Time watch. Let’s make it clear: its design is OUTSTANDING.
As a mix of old-school and new-school aesthetics, with an impressive in-house movement, this model represents what Cartier is able to provide: an elegant, modern high luxury watch with a touch of French classicism. This SIHH 2019 model is edited in rose gold and platinum, both limited to 100 pieces with a price starting at 68.500 USD.
4. Audemars Piguet: Code 11.59, an alternative to the Royal Oak
Certainly the most ambitious move of the house since years, the launch of the mysterious Code 11.59 watch is a bet for Audemars Piguet. To me, everything is gathered to make it successful on the “classical” watch market: a faultless round design, an eye-catching dial and a state-of-art movement – as usual.
I believe that’s a very smart choice for the brand. The Royal Oak being by far the model the most advertized by the brand, it was time to introduce a strong new model to steal the show and remind customers that AP is not only an octogonal watch maker… Oh, and why “Code 11.59” ? For Challenge, Own, Dare and Evolve, 11.59 being the last minute before a new day. A whole story! From 26.800 USD.
5. Vacheron Constantin: the revolutionary Twin Beat Perpetual Calendar
Let’s be honest: luxury watchmaking is a competition. Vacheron Constanting is one of the greatest players, and each new Haute Horlogerie model is usually blasting the game. The new Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Twin Beat Perpetual Calendar watch introduced at SIHH 2019 is no exception. Wondering what a masterpiece looks like? It looks like this.
It’s not actually in term of design that this watch is revolutionary, but in term of mechanism: the frequency of the movement can be adjusted if you wear the watch or not, stretching the power reserve from 4 days (worn) to 65 days (not worn) !!! Oh, and it keeps the perpetual calendar up to date… Brilliant. Revolution has a price though: 199.000 USD.
At first, SIHH watch fair can be seen as a place for luxury watch’s collectors only. But no, not only. That’s also a place for anyone wanting to see, to touch what the human intelligence is able to create in the most refined and precious way. SIHH 2019 was for me a gate to Heaven; God is certainly wearing one of these watches ;)