SIHH 2012 Friday, February 17th 2012
SIHH presents a dazzling response to pent-up demand for feminine timepieces.
Cartier Tank Anglaise small model © Cartier / photo : Daniel Lindh, Vincent Wulveryck
Fans of ladies’ mechanical timepieces had very little to admire over the past three years as the meltdown in the watch industry and the global recession took most brands back to basics – men’s classic watches have been the main menu item recently. Now that the industry is back on track and the economy is in recovery, some of the industry’s top brands have emerged with full ladies’ collections, mostly with mechanical movements, particularly at the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie last month.
Cartier keeps the legacy of its Tank franchise going strong with a new introduction, the Tank Anglaise, which follows the Tank Francaise (the brand’s most successful launch ever) and the Tank Americaine. The Tank Anglaise has more rounded edges and a more squared case than its predecessors. A distinguishing feature is the crown’s seamless integration into the right brancard – the side element of the case. Pierre Rainero, Cartier’s style, image and heritage director, explains that that Jean-Jacques Cartier, son of Jacques Cartier and grandson of the brand’s founder, designed watches that were always rounded at the edges; the latest Tank is a tribute to that aesthetic. In three sizes and three gold colors, with diamond options, the Tank Anglais is a full collection.
Ralph Lauren’s square-shaped Slim Classic, set with diamonds, is similarly classic, but with a unique “California dial” – with a mix of both Roman and Arabic numerals, which adds a contemporary twist.
Montblanc pays tribute to Princess Grace of Monaco with the Grace Kelly collection, engraved on the caseback with her regal monogram. It is a full collection with everything from steel to gold and diamond options, including a haute joaillerie version with over carats of diamonds. It has a spectacularly paved flange, which is rare.
Parmigiani Fleurier’s elegant Kalparisma is slightly tonneau shaped, which is unique for a ladies’ model. The model was originally launched in gold and is now more accessible in steel, with the same self-winding calibre PF 331 movement. Parmigiani has kept the dial uncluttered by incorporating the date window within the small seconds dial at 6 o’clock, leaving the rest of the dial free to display a guilloché finish in a sunray pattern. It has diamond brancards and lugs (totaling 0.88 carat). The generous Delta-shaped hands are a standout feature.
Girard-Perregaux fills a gap in the ladies’ evening wear category with the 1966 Lady Moon-Phase. Not quite over-the-top enough for black tie gala, yet perhaps too dressy for the office, this elegant timepiece is somewhere in between, as many of life’s moments are. It is set with 54 diamonds, in pink (or white) gold with a mother-of-pearl dial and is driven by the ultra-thin automatic calibre GP 3300-0067. A fabulous detail is the sun-shaped counterweight on the small seconds hand.
Baume & Mercier extended its already extensive ladies’ line, the Linea, with more strap options that can be changed by the wearer. The brand vows to introduce new straps twice a year in line with current fashion trends. A trio of the new colors are described by brand president Alain Zimmerman as “the colors of living,” including a violet and pink strap representing the sky at dawn, a blue and white strap for the daytime sky and a sand and orange strap representing the sunset. Options also include leather, brown or black satin or a stainless-steel bracelet. The Linea is also newly available in an automatic version.
Audemars Piguet introduced several commemorative editions of the iconic Royal Oak to celebrate the model’s 40th anniversary, and didn’t leave out the ladies. It is a white gold ladies’ quartz piece, set with 40 diamonds and decorated with the model’s trademark tapisserie dial.
Van Cleef & Arpels, whose niche is elaborate metiers dials and poetic movements, added a five-minute repeater function to its bag of tricks this year. The. The movement of the timepiece, the Poetic Wish, was made by Aghenor and represents the boutique workshop’s first-ever repeater. It departs from the typical repeater mechanism in that instead of the gongs attaching to the inner case, where they reverberate against the metal, they coil outwards from the center of the movement, reverberating against the sapphire crystal. The pair of watches is part of an ongoing narrative about two lovers who rendezvous in Paris. The repeater gongs activate automatons on the dial: on the Lady Arpels Poetic Wish, a young woman and a cloud converge to indicate the hour, while a kite positions itself on a minute index; on the Midnight Poetic Wish, a man and a cloud converge to strike the hour, while a shooting star signals the minutes.
The two SIHH brands most associated with the high jewellery watch, Cartier and Piaget, continue to demonstrating their inimitable creative flair. Cartier’s new piece, the Promenade d’une Panthère, is getting as much buzz from men as woman. The rotor of the watch, placed on the dial side, is a black lacquer- and diamond-set panther, the brand’s iconic motif. It appears to be pacing the perimeter it glides back and forth with the wearer’s movements. The backdrop is a deep-purple mother-of-pearl on a dial without index or numerals.
Piaget delights us every year with a new creation in its Limelight Garden Party collection. This year’s dazzling, diamond-set Piaget Rose is a tribute to brand scion Yves Piaget, an avid gardener with a penchant for roses.
Roger Dubuis joins the realm of jewellery watch aficionados with its special brand of edgy glamour. The Velvet collection, set with amethyst and black spinel, combines gems with high-tech materials: the case is DLC-coated titanium. It contains the automatic calibre RD821, and is one of the few ladies’ watches that is Geneva Seal certified. ■