Like many of the traditions that return each holiday season, presentations in advance of the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) have become almost de rigueur, to the point that most of the exhibiting Maisons now lift the veil on some of the creations that will galvanise attention come January. Joining them are the growing number of brands that exhibit on the fringes of SIHH. Putting sparkle into the festive season, we offer a taste of what’s to come.
Audemars Piguet has the Midas touch
Audemars Piguet celebrates the timeless appeal of its Royal Oak by incorporating a classic complication inside a yellow gold case, the original metal of traditional watchmaking. The Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar is equipped with the new self-winding Calibre 5134, which is slightly larger than its predecessor (Calibre 2120) to fit the updated 41 mm case. Day, month, date, leap year and astronomical moon are displayed on the “Grand Tapisserie” dial. The week is shown on the flange. Given the choice of traditional or unconventional materials, the Le Brassus brand has this time opted for the “enduring lustre” of yellow gold.
Baume & Mercier celebrates the Golden Fifties
The Clifton collection from Baume & Mercier takes its cue from watches which the brand made in the 1950s. It is also a showcase for its horological expertise. No exception to the rule, this watch proposes two useful complications, namely a chronograph and a complete calendar. They are housed in a generous 43 mm case in polished and satin-finish steel whose curves recall the watches of our grandfathers’ day. Driven by a Valjoux 7751 movement, this Clifton Chronograph Complete Calendar indicates the date by a hand. Day and month are shown in an aperture, with a 24-hour day/night indication. Moon phases are on a disc which completes its rotation in 29½ days. The chronograph features 30-minute and 12-hour counters.
Cartier reveals all
Still in the bloom of youth, having previewed at the SIHH in 2015, the Clé watch returns with Cartier’s first automatic skeleton movement. As with the Santos 100, the skeleton bridges form Roman numerals, a feature which the brand has protected by patent. The difficulty lay in incorporating an oscillating weight into the new 9621 MC calibre – modelled on the 1904 MC base movement – in the most unobtrusive way possible while conserving its efficiency. Mission accomplished: the rotor is merely hinted at from the dial side while its winding power remains intact, with a minimum 48-hour power reserve. Housed inside a 41 mm palladium case, this new Clé de Cartier is a lesson in purity and transparency.
A mark of respect from Jaeger-LeCoultre
Jaeger-LeCoultre was determined that any changes introduced for the Reverso’s 85th anniversary would be wholly “respectful” of its iconic timepiece. Its greatest concern has been to clarify the collections and structure sizes. Henceforth, models will belong to the Reverso Classic, now with a new movement, Reverso One or Reverso Tribute ranges. All the Reverso Tribute watches are driven by a hand-wound mechanical movement and feature the Duoface concept with day/night indicator. The second time zone is set by a slider that sits flush with the case at 6 o’clock so as to preserve its curved shape.
Panerai all in white
True to form, Officine Panerai revises its classics with a Radiomir 1940 whose cushion case measures 42 mm in diameter and 10.93 mm in thickness. This slimline profile is reprised by the P.4000 self-winding calibre, whose 3.95 mm height is made possible by an off-centred oscillating weight that has been set in the movement. The bidirectional tungsten rotor winds two series-mounted barrels to deliver a three-day power reserve, the minimum requirement for any of the brand’s watches with an in-house movement. The real novelty of this watch, however, lies in the immaculate white dial, a first in the Radiomir 1940 collection.
Parmigiani in search of the ultimate blue
Introduced by Parmigiani Fleurier in 2014, the Métro line adopts the PF310 calibre for the Métropolitaine women’s watch range, and the PF315 for its masculine counterpart, the Métrographe: two in-house movements that mark an important stage in the brand’s industrial integration. Parmigiani has paid particular attention to the dial of this new model, not least the colour which is obtained by electroplating. Using a carefully controlled electrolysis process, the colour of the dial moves from bright orange to rust-brown, then purple shades, some the colour of aubergine, and finally abyss blue. This makes a striking contrast for the chronograph hour and minute counters, both of which are coated with SuperLuminova. The addition of small seconds at 3 o’clock ensures a pleasing balance.
Piaget reaches for the moon
Limelight Stella is the first complication watch for women to have been entirely developed and made inside the Piaget manufacture. Driven by the self-winding Calibre 584P with a 42-hour power reserve, it features an astronomical moon phase. Thus moon phases are shown on a disc adorned with stars and two moons that is driven by a 135-toothed wheel. This mechanism reproduces a lunar cycle of 29 days, 12 hours and 45 minutes…a difference of just 0.23 seconds a day with the actual cycle of the Moon. Its precision is such that it will require a one-day correction only after 122 years, compared with a traditional moon phase that falls behind by one day every two years.
Richard Mille on fine form
Ringing the changes, Richard Mille has endowed the latest version of its iconic RM 010 Automatic with an extra-slim format. Measuring 38.7 x 47.42 mm and 7.75 mm thick, the RM 67-01 is the thinnest Richard Mille watch to have the brand’s distinctive tonneau case. Inside beats the equally slender CRMA6 self-winding movement, just 3.6 mm high. Two rigid titanium rails, which are mounted on the skeleton calibre, carry the sculpted metal numerals which are filled with Luminova, a first for the brand. A function indicator takes up position between 1 and 2 o’clock, while the date is displayed in a vertical window at 5 o’clock.
Diva delights at Roger Dubuis
2016 is the year of Velvet for Roger Dubuis with five new “stories” to tell, including this Diva Blossom Velvet. The mother-of-pearl dial is adorned with a raised floral marquetry that is sculpted from Grand Feu enamel. Each blossom has a diamond set in its centre, with more diamonds accentuating the tonneau shape in the middle of the dial. The 36 mm pink gold case is also rimmed with diamonds which extend as far as the lugs. The self-winding Calibre RD821 has a 48-hour power reserve, beats at 28,880 vibrations/hour, and is Poinçon de Genève certified. The Blossom Velvet, says Roger Dubuis, will appeal to the feline side of a woman’s nature as it “conceals its innermost instincts beneath a demure and dainty exterior”.
Vacheron Constantin and the decorative arts
Vacheron Constantin gives further demonstration of its mastery of the métiers d’art with this second series of Fabuleux Ornements watches. Ten master artisans have together produced magnificent interpretations of the four themes in the collection: Ottoman architecture, Chinese embroidery, Indian manuscripts and French lacework. The Indian manuscript watch marries Grand Feu champlevé enamel with hand-engraving. It is brought to life by the hand-wound, skeleton Caliber 1003 in 18k gold. This extra-thin movement measures a mere 1.64 mm high, and is developed and manufactured by Vacheron Constantin. The decoration on the front side is precise to one-tenth of a millimetre, while on the back the brand has chosen the restrained beauty of an exclusively chamfered and hand-drawn finish.