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Beyond time: 10 exceptional watches at SIHH
New Models

Beyond time: 10 exceptional watches at SIHH

Friday, 18 January 2019
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Fabrice Eschmann
Freelance journalist

“Don't believe all the quotes you read online!”

“In life as in watchmaking, it takes many encounters to make a story.”

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7 min read

Mechanical watchmaking is a world of unbridled creativity, as SIHH 2019 once again demonstrates. Whether in the field of traditional complications or in the “new horology” playground, after a quieter period these extraordinary creations again have an audience. Here is our selection of the ten most outstanding of all.

Armin Strom Masterpiece 1 Dual Time Resonance Sapphire

This is what it must feel like to wear a movement on the wrist: the Dual Time Resonance Sapphire has two separate movements, side by side in a transparent case. Each shows a different time but their oscillations are synchronised through resonance. These independent movements can indicate GMT and a second time zone, or function as a countdown or a timer. Power-reserve indicators and a 24-hour indicator complete the line-up. A limited edition of eight.

Masterpiece 1 Dual Time Resonance Sapphire © Armin Strom
Masterpiece 1 Dual Time Resonance Sapphire © Armin Strom
Christophe Claret Angelico

Christophe Claret celebrates the 30th anniversary of his Manufacture and the 10th anniversary of his brand with a tourbillon combined with a long detent escapement and a cable-type fusee, intended as a contemporary tribute to marine chronometers and their precision. The long detent escapement was originally devised to function in a perfectly stable position, hence the treasures of ingenuity required for the tourbillon, 16mm in diameter and making one rotation in six minutes, to correctly function in a wristwatch. Christophe Claret has chosen titanium for the cage and aluminium for the bridges. The Angelico is available as two limited editions of ten each, in rose gold or titanium.

Angelico © Christophe Claret
Angelico © Christophe Claret
Chronométrie Ferdinand Berthoud Chronomètre FB 1 Œuvre d’Or

The Œuvre d’Or collection is home to artistic interpretations of the original Chronomètre FB 1, previously available in white gold with titanium lugs or rose gold with black ceramic lugs. This year’s two new variations reprise their predecessors’ precious metals, adding hand-engraved dials and, for the white gold model, the brand’s first ever gem-set case. The mechanical construction is unchanged: the movement is placed in a watertight container and has a characteristic pillar-type structure. The suspended fusee-and-chain transmission delivers constant force to the escapement. There is also a direct-drive seconds tourbillon and a power-reserve indicator that rests on a mobile cone which measures the state of wind through a mobile arm or feeler.

Chronomètre FB1 Œuvre d’Or © Chronométrie Ferdinand Berthoud
Chronomètre FB1 Œuvre d’Or © Chronométrie Ferdinand Berthoud
Girard-Perregaux Bridges Cosmos

Luminescence and depth are inherent to this new timepiece from Girard-Perregaux, with its two impressive spheres. At 3 o’clock, the terrestrial globe tells us whether the local time zone is enjoying the light of day or the dark of night, while a 24-hour scale provides a GMT reading. At 9 o’clock, the celestial globe completes one rotation in 23 hours, 58 minutes and 4 seconds – the precise length of a sidereal day. Both globes are laser-engraved and enhanced with luminescent hydro-ceramic. Hours and minutes are shown at 12 o’clock, above a tourbillon under a large, black titanium bridge at 6 o’clock. The microblasted titanium case measures 48mm in diameter.

Bridges Cosmos © Girard-Perregaux
Bridges Cosmos © Girard-Perregaux
Greubel Forsey Art Piece Edition Historique

First came the Opus 6 for Harry Winston in 2006. Then the three Invention Pieces between 2007 and 2011 which explored new concepts for a mechanical tourbillon movement. Following on from this were the Art Pieces, beginning in 2013 with a micro-sculpture by the British artist Willard Wigan, visible thanks to a high-power optical system inside the crown, then a micro-engraved sketch of the Double Tourbillon 30° and lastly a Double Tourbillon 30° with an on-demand display of hours and minutes. In 2019, the Art Piece Edition Historique brings this series of artistic watches to a close. It houses, inside a 44mm case, small seconds between 10 and 11 o’clock, a power-reserve indicator at 4 o’clock, and hours and minutes on a dome at 2 o’clock. The minutes appear, on demand, in an aperture when the crown-fitted pusher is pressed. There is, of course, a 30° tourbillon. There will be 33 of this Art Piece, with the first 11 in platinum.

Art Piece Edition Historique © Greubel Forsey
Art Piece Edition Historique © Greubel Forsey
HYT H1.0

After the H0 comes the H1.0. Moving further in the direction set by the first watch in the collection, HYT delivers a softer aesthetic than that of the H1 to H4 models. The domed sapphire crystal protects the bellows that pump two immiscible liquids (one transparent, one coloured) through the capillary tube to show the hours. All the other mechanical components are hidden. A dome shape surrounds the bellows, giving the impression of an engine cylinder that’s been sliced open, with a mesh on each side. Seconds are counted on a wheel at 10 o’clock, without graduations, while the remaining power reserve is shown on a scale at 2 o’clock. An off-centre subdial at 12 o’clock indicates minutes. The HYT H1.0 comes as three versions, with brushed, black or anthracite cases combined with blue, green or red liquids.

H1.0 © HYT
H1.0 © HYT
Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Grande Tradition Gyrotourbillon Westminster Perpétuel

Six years of research and development, twelve patents, Westminster chimes, a perpetual calendar, a constant-force mechanism and a gyrotourbillon whose 92 components weigh a total 0.4 gram: the latest grande complication watch from Jaeger-LeCoultre is what journalists like to call a “heritage” piece. In fact, one of the most complex the brand has ever made. The reinvented minute repeater chimes on gongs with a variable square cross section. They play the famous Westminster chimes to sound the quarters. As for the perpetual calendar, it can be set forwards and backwards. The constant-force mechanism is a remontoir d’égalité spring that releases its energy – always the same amount – once every minute. Lastly, the gyrotourbillon is considerably smaller than before. A limited edition of 18.

Master Grande Tradition Gyrotourbillon Westminster Perpétuel © Jaeger-LeCoultre
Master Grande Tradition Gyrotourbillon Westminster Perpétuel © Jaeger-LeCoultre
MB&F HM6 Final Edition

Horological Machine N°6 has only been around since 2014 but is already destined to disappear. Inspired by Captain Future’s spaceship (a 1980s Japanese anime) and borrowing visual elements from Streamliner design, the HM6 has appeared as the Space Pirate (68 pieces), the HM6-SV (20) and the Alien Nation (4). The eight pieces in this Final Edition thus bring the total number in the collection to exactly 100. Its body is grooved with polished lines that stretch from the turbine pods to the hour and minute spheres, creating a marked contrast with the satin-drawn surfaces of the rest. In the centre, protected beneath a retractable shield, is the flying tourbillon. The sapphire crystal dome above it expands in all directions to more fully expose the beating regulator in its cage.

HM6 Final Edition © MB&F
HM6 Final Edition © MB&F
Urwerk UR-111C

This latest exercise in complex micromechanics certainly deserves its place among Urwerk’s “Special Projects”. Proudly descended from the UR-CC1 King Cobra, it displays minutes in two ways – linear on a cylinder and progressively on a cone –, jumping digital hours and openworked seconds. In a world-first, these seconds are brought into visual range, across a central window, by optical fibres. Another new experience lies with the crown, now a fluted cylinder integrated into the top of the case that’s rolled to wind the movement. The time is set by swinging a lever from the side of the case then turning the roller forwards or backwards.

UR-111C © Urwerk
UR-111C © Urwerk
Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Twin Beat Perpetual Calendar

Vacheron Constantin has caused a sensation with this classically styled grande complication. The movement has not one but two gear trains, each connected to its own balance. One vibrates at a high frequency of 5 Hz and the other at a much lower 1.2 Hz. Pressing the pusher at 8 o’clock switches between these high and low frequencies by blocking one or other of the balance wheels. This function serves two purposes. Switching to the 1.2 Hz frequency when the watch isn’t worn reduces precision but consumes significantly less energy, resulting in a power reserve that jumps from four to 65 days. The second advantage is that the perpetual calendar indications continue to run, thereby avoiding tricky resetting when the watch is worn again.

Traditionnelle Twin Beat Perpetual Calendar © Vacheron Constantin
Traditionnelle Twin Beat Perpetual Calendar © Vacheron Constantin
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