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Five top collectors’ pieces from SIHH
History & Masterpieces

Five top collectors’ pieces from SIHH

Tuesday, 16 February 2016
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Carol Besler
Journalist

“Watches are functional art.”

Carol Besler covers watches and jewelry worldwide.

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7 min read

A .Lange & Söhne, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Panerai, Cartier and Montblanc introduce pieces destined for the auction catalogs.

A. Lange & Söhne Richard Lange Jumping Seconds

The simplicity of this dial reflects the purist philosophy of the brand –nothing on the dial but pure functions, in a classic, legible style. The jumping seconds, driven directly by a one-second constant-force mechanism, ensures not only precision setting but makes it possible to display the time in strict one-second intervals. A five-point star attached to the escape wheel arbor converts the balance frequency of six semi-oscillations per second into one single step of the seconds hand. Because this is the outstanding feature, the seconds index is given prominence on the dial, in traditional regulator style. Also prominent and unique is the use of the small triangle formed where the smaller hour and minute circles meet, as a power reserve indicator. It indicates in red when it is time to rewind the watch. The constant force/jumping seconds mechanism compensates for the gradually waning force of the mainspring and also offsets any possible torque fluctuations during the seconds jump. Like all special pieces, the Richard Lange Jumping Seconds is made in platinum, and is limited to 100 pièces.

Richard Lange Jumping Seconds © A. Lange & Söhne
Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tribute Gyrotourbillon

The Reverso Tribute Gyrotourbillon combines Jaeger-LeCoultre’s two most important assets: the iconic, highly successful Reverso style, which accounts for a majority of Jaeger-LeCoultre’s business; and the gyrotourbillon escapement with its spherical balance spring and bi-axial tourbillon cage, the invention that most visibly represents the brand’s expertise as an innovator of high-watchmaking calibers. The new version of these combined assets contains the new Caliber 179, which has been scaled down by 30%, with a watch in the case measuring in at 12.4mm thick, 40% thinner than the previous model – the Reverso Gyrotourbillon 2 with Caliber 174, introduced in 2010 was 16mm thick. By comparison, the smallest version of the new Reverso Classic with a quartz movement is 7.40mm in the case. The Reverso Tribute Gyrotourbillon is the headliner in a collection of several new models that celebrate the 85th anniversary this year of the Reverso collection. It is a limited series of 75 pieces.

Reverso Tribute Gyrotourbillon © Jaeger-LeCoultre
Panerai Luminor 8 Days Box Set

Panerai’s signature blending of vintage elements with modern movements is at the heart of this boxed set of two Luminor 8 Days watches – with an added dash of pop culture. Both watches replicate pre-1996 models – a key date in Panerai history since it was acquired by the Richemont Group in 1997 – and both are replicas of watches commissioned in 1996 by actor Sylvester Stallone, who wore a Panerai in the film Daylight and fell in love with the brand.

The Luminor Black Seal Left-Handed 8 Days has a 44 mm stainless steel case coated in DLC. It has a left-handed crown – which differentiates it from the original – a feature few brands offer, but which Panerai has done since the 1940s when it produced watches for Italian Navy divers whose left wrists were occupied by a compass and depth gauge. The PAM650 Luminor Daylight 8 Days is a re-issue of a particular single edition of five watches commissioned by Stallone. They were Panerai’s only models to be issued with a white dial and blue markers. The blue alligator strap also replicates the original, complete with steel tongue buckle. The movements in both watches are new. They contain the Panerai in-house hand-wound Caliber P.5000, with two barrels for an 8-day power reserve.

Luminor 8 Days Set © Officine Panerai
Rotonde de Cartier Astromysterieux

In Cartier’s traditional mystery watches and clocks, the hands are suspended between two sapphire crystals, which makes them appear to float in air unattached to the mechanism that drives them. The Astromysterieux takes this one step further, upping the number of rotating crystals and suspending not just the hands but the entire movement, Caliber 9462 MC works by way of four crystals that, somewhat like a tourbillon cage, hold elements of the movement, including the balance, the gear train, the escapement and the barrel. The four crystals rotate in sync to drive the movement, with the caliber in full view. It completes a full turn of the dial in one hour. Cartier holds three patents on the mechanism. The Astromysterieux will be produced in a limited edition of 100 numbered pieces in a 43.5 mm platinum case.

Montre Rotonde de Cartier Astromystérieux calibre 9462 MC (Laziz Hamani © Cartier)
Montblanc Villeret Tourbillon Cylindrique Pocket Watch and Navigator Clock

When Montblanc acquired the 158-year-old, niche high-end watchmaker Minerva in Villeret, there was an expectation of continued great things, including unique pieces and innovations. The Montblanc Villeret Tourbillon Cylindrique Pocket Watch and Navigator 110 Years Edition is such a piece. They are a tribute to early 20th century marine chronometers – such as the ones made by Villeret at the time – used during the golden age of passenger ship travel across the Atlantic. Like the marine chronometers of the day, they are equipped with cylindrical balance springs, used for their gravity-defying reliability despite the rigours of raging seas. Villeret is one of the few manufactures that makes its own balance springs. There are two versions: a unique Pocket Watch & Navigator; and an eight-piece edition of a Pocket Watch. The Caliber MB M68.40 in the pocket watch features a triple time zone indication and dual-hemisphere world time indication. The pair of hard-to-miss globes that dominate the dial represent the 24 time zones in the Northern and Southern hemispheres. The one-of-a-kind Navigator/Pocket Watch, with Caliber MB 13.98, includes a nautical clock built into a compartment/stand where the pocket watch can also be displayed. The navigator clock is mounted on bearings so that it can function on a ship’s deck, just as a traditional marine chronometer mounted on gimbals would. It was developed in collaboration with the renowned Erwin Sattler clock manufacture. Like all Villeret pieces, the watches and movements have been spectacularly finished by hand. The globes are hand painted and engraved. Home time is indicated by a Fleur-de-Lys hand on a 12-hour compass rose at 12 o’clock. It has a hand polished tourbillon bridge (a two-week job), circular-grained main plate and movement components and bridges that are hand engraved in a unique wave pattern to emulate the waves of the ocean.

Le calibre MB M68.40 de la montre de poche anime de nombreuses fonctions : un triple affichage des fuseaux horaires et deux globes remarquables affichant les 24 fuseaux horaires du monde dans les hémisphères nord et sud. Quant à l’unique ensemble montre de poche/horloge de navigation, Calibre MB 13.98 développé en collaboration avec la célèbre manufacture de pendules Erwin Sattler, il inclut une horloge de marine montée sur un pesant socle de granit aux bras en carbone qui assure sa stabilité sur le pont d’un bateau, tout comme un chronomètre de marine traditionnel monté à la cardan. Notons que ce socle comprend une petite suspension à cardan supplémentaire où peut être placée la montre de poche.

Comme pour toutes les pièces de la Manufacture Villeret, les finitions des montres et de leurs mouvements sont magnifiquement exécutées à la main. Ainsi, sur les deux globes, des peintures et des gravures miniatures reproduisent les contours des continents et les océans qui les séparent. À douze heures se trouve l’indication de l’heure de référence sous la forme d’une rose des vents sculptée. L’aiguille qui la parcourt pour indiquer les heures est en forme de fleur de lys. Enfin, le pont de tourbillon est lui aussi poli à la main durant deux semaines par un maître horloger, tandis que les composants du mouvement et les ponts sont décorés d’un motif guilloché exceptionnel exécuté main formant des vagues rappelant l’océan.

Collection Villeret Tourbillon Cylindrique Pocket Watch & Navigator 110 Years © Montblanc
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