Helping watch aficionados get through what can seem like an interminably long wait before the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie sets the year off to a magnificent start, the exhibiting brands have traditionally used the month of December to offer a taste of the new releases that will be revealed a few weeks later. While it’s impossible to detect any kind of trend from the selection shown here, these models will leave fans in no doubt as to the fabulous creativity they can expect from this year’s fair. Here’s your starter for ten.
Recent years have seen Cartier return to some of its most iconic styles and, after the Crash in 2015 and the Tank Cintrée in 2017, it’s now the Tonneau’s turn. Introduced in 1906, two years after the Santos, it too broke the mould in an era of pocket watches. The skeleton dual time model shown here is pure Cartier style.
Girard-Perregaux Laureato Perpetual Calendar
Designed by a Milanese architect, the Laureato certainly has pedigree. After imposing its mark on the 1970s, it launched a remarked-upon comeback, in 2016, as the trend for vintage-inspired designs raged. Since then, the Laureato has become a flagship collection which Girard-Perregaux is now expanding with a perpetual calendar in steel.
Hermès Cape Cod Chaine d’Ancre
Imagined by Henri d’Origny in 1991 as “a square inside a rectangle”, the Cape Cod is written into the Hermès watch story. After lending itself to double-wrap straps, to hardstone dials and to a mat black DLC case, this year sees the arrival of a fresh interpretation. The anchor chain link has been transposed to the dial where black spinels and aventurine interweave, highlighted by a diamond-set bezel.
IWC Pilot's Watch Timezoner Spitfire Edition "The Longest Flight"
2019 is the year of the Pilot’s watch at IWC, a field in which the brand excels since 1936. This Timezoner Spitfire Edition “The Longest Flight” — named after and dedicated to a project that will see a restored Spitfire complete a round-the-world flight — combines IWC’s patented Timezoner mechanism into a new in-house automatic movement. Time zones are set simply by rotating the bezel.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin Moon Enamel
A white gold case, a midnight blue guilloché enamel dial and the 925 automatic calibre with date and moon phases, a mere 4.90mm high: this 100-piece limited edition is the epitome of elegance. Pride of place goes to the hand-executed guillochage, a craft which Jaeger-LeCoultre has been keeping alive for decades. Enamelling is another technique that now thrives within the Manufacture, where it was reinstated in 1996.
Montblanc Star Legacy Nicolas Rieussec Chronograph
The Star Legacy Nicolas Rieussec Chronograph returns at Montblanc as two new versions, including this one in steel with an anthracite dial. In honour of the first inking chronograph, invented by the French watchmaker, Nicolas Rieussec, and patented in 1821, both watches display chronograph seconds and minutes on twin discs that rotate under a fixed hand.
Panerai Submersible Chrono Guillaume Néry
Deep-sea diving and exploration are the leitmotivs of 2019 at Panerai, as shown by this Submersible Chrono with flyback function; a professional dive watch in titanium, water-resistant to 300 metres and inspired by French free-diving champion Guillaume Néry. Performance, power and reliability define this ocean-defying watch, which features Panerai’s signature crown guard.
RJ Arraw Two-Face
Batman may be every kid’s hero, for adults it’s the villains that really appeal. Or so it would seem for RJ which is devoting its talents to bringing their twisted souls to life in new releases for 2019. This Two-Face watch is a fabulously convincing rendition of the DC Comics character’s dual nature.
Roger Dubuis Excalibur Huracán Performante
Since teaming up with Pirelli and Lamborghini Squadra Corse, Roger Dubuis watches have become race cars for the wrist, with movements inspired by the engine blocks of the legendary Italian automaker’s cars and cases styled like bodywork, mounted on Pirelli straps. This Excalibur Huracán Performante is a prime example, with its RD630 automatic skeleton movement revealing an inclined balance wheel.
Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers Mécaniques Sauvages Mysterious Animals Tiger
Every watch to come out of Vacheron Constantin’s Les Cabinotiers department is unique, the only one of its kind and a masterpiece of craftsmanship and technical skill. Fine line engraving brings stunning realism to the tiger that peers from the dial of this piece, which is powered by the famous 2460 G4 movement. Hours, minutes, day and date are shown on peripheral discs, leaving the dial wide-open to the artist’s expertise.