Van Cleef & Arpels
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At Van Cleef & Arpels, the focus this year is on three categories: Poetic Astronomy, Heuer d’ici et Heuer d’Ailleurs, and Le Jardins. For us, the highlight had to be the Lady Arpels Planetarium watch. It has a nifty display of the solar system, or at least the Sun, Mercury, Venus, Earth and Moon. The latter rotates around the Earth once every 29.5 days, mimicking the actual movement of the lunar body.
Another watch – or series of watches – that caught our eye was the Midnight Zodiac Lumineux. Comprising 12 different models, each one depicts a Zodiac sign and stars that illuminate at the push of a button. It reminds us of the Midnight Nuit Lumineuse watch from 2016 but is an entirely different animal.
Finally, there is the Jardin collection. These high jewellery confections – all secret watches – are all unique pieces, which make them all the more desirable.
Montblanc unveiled a huge collection, though much of the attention was centred on the 160th anniversary of the Minerva manufacture.
The 1858 collection is inspired by Minerva’s heritage. Key pieces for 2018 include the 1858 Geosphere North & South Hemisphere and the 1858 Mono Pusher Chronograph in an alluring green colourway.
We were also enamoured by a pocket watch exploration instrument with blue Dumortierite dial. The mineral is new to watchmaking. Other highlights: a titanium pocket watch with black obsidian dial; the Star Legacy Suspended Exo Tourbillon; the TimeWalker Manufacture Chronograph with panda dial; and the Rally Timer (view the 2016 version here) with reverse panda dial.
It is another technical year for Greubel Forsey. Key launches include the Differential d’Egalite Invention Piece 5. This deadbeat seconds watch was first unveiled in 2008 and its accuracy continuously improved upon since.
Elsewhere, the GMT Earth had a complete globe visible in 360 degrees and a unique patented summer time display. Also of note were the new Double Balancier model and the Mechanical Nano Foudroyante.
Hard to believe that Audemars Piguet’s Royal Oak Offshore is turning 25 this year. To celebrate, the manufacture unveiled the new, limited edition Royal Oak Offshore Tourbillon Chronograph in colourful variants.
For hardcore fans of the original, there is the Royal Oak Offshore Reedition from 1993. Those who like their watches big, bold and packed with functions can look to the Royal Oak Offshore Grande Complication in white or black ceramic.
In terms of technical innovation, the Royal Oak RD#2 breaks new ground as the world’s thinnest automatic perpetual calendar. Its profile is an ultra-svelte 6.3 mm in height. Meanwhile, the Royal Oak Concept Flying Tourbillon, a women’s piece, showcases a flying tourbillon – a first for Audemars Piguet. A GMT version of this watch was also shown.
The Royal Oak Double Balance Wheel Openworked shows off the manufacture’s skill in skeletonising, while a frosted variant exhibits its artistic side. Finally, the Millenary now sports a retro touch in the form of a polished mesh bracelet.
This year, for the first time ever, Ulysse Nardin releases an automatic version of its iconic Freak. The Freak Vision has a silicon balance wheel, silicon gear train wheels, the unique Grinder winding system, and Ulysse Anchor Constant Escapement.
Also new is the Diver Deep Dive which is waterproof to 1000 m and has an oversized crown protector. Lastly, there is a Classic Minute Repeater Voyeur. This, says Ulysse Nardin, is its most erotic creation ever – the automatons on the dial literally make love to time.
We’ll be posting daily roundups of SIHH throughout the week, along with in-depth analyses later on in the month, so stay tuned. In the mean time, follow us on Instagram and watch our InstaStories for the latest happenings at SIHH.