Check out this year’s stellar crop from the watchmaking maisons at the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH)
Bridges Cosmos, Girard-Perregaux
This year, Girard-Perregaux is pondering lofty concepts of earth and sky, as well as matter and space. These themes are all evident in this year’s new masterpiece, the Bridges Cosmos, which hosts a unique complication with a philosophical bent.
Within the 48mm titanium case is a display neatly divided into four symmetrical sectors, two of which are for telling time and the tourbillon. But the stars are no doubt the two laser-engraved titanium globes that glow a striking blue. To the right sits a model of the earth, and the left, a star map that tracks zodiac constellations.
The crown is also noticeably missing from the piece – instead, the watch is wound and set by four keys that fold flat on the caseback, so it’s unobtrusive during wear. A cut-out allows viewing of the globe indicators from the back as well, so that stargazers and world-watchers alike can fully observe our planet and its place in the universe.
Clifton Baumatic Perpetual Calendar, Baume & Mercier
Baume & Mercier’s high-tech Baumatic movement made an impact last year with its five-day power reserve and silicon parts. This year, an updated version, the BM13, has been introduced across the Clifton line of automatics and chronographs – and well as something a little more high-end in the Clifton Baumatic Perpetual Calendar. This sees the BM13 fitted with a perpetual calendar module to bring a classic high complication to the modern movement. In addition to keeping track of the date, month and year accurately until March 2100, it also has a moonphase indicator.
Alongside the advancements afforded by the self-winding Baumatic calibre – which includes the aforementioned five days of power reserve and a service interval of seven years – the watch has a more traditional aesthetic. The warm white dial, blued hands and 42mm red gold case are a classic blend of contrast and harmony, exuding an old-school sense of sophistication and refinement.
Code 11:59 Minute Repeater Supersonnerie, Audemars Piguet
Code 11:59 Minute Repeater Supersonnerie is an all-new collection with a distinctive case design as its primary impression. It looks simple at first glance, but has a layered construction that reveals its complexity under closer examination. It is round overall, but the middle section is octagonal and will undoubtedly remind watch enthusiasts of the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak. The openwork lugs add a dash of engineered airiness – in an unusual move, the bottoms of the lugs are not welded to the case like the tops are, and instead just rest against it.
The range is comprehensive, ranging from simple date-only automatics to chronographs and high complications. The Minute Repeater Supersonnerie is one of the latter and comes with an 18k white gold case. Beneath the smoked blue enamel dial is a striking mechanism designed for sonic power – the patented gongs are not fixed to the main plate, but to a new device that acts as a soundboard. The case construction, too, is designed to boost sound amplification. The volume is said to be comparable to that of a much larger pocket watch, and just to emphasise the dedication to audio, the caseback is adorned with a sound wave symbol.
Santos de Cartier Chronograph, Cartier
If the Cartier Tank is an enduring icon of traditionally styled, refined dress watches, then the Santos de Cartier is one for traditionally styled, refined tool watches. The collection dates back all the way to 1904, when a watch was made for the legendary aviator Alberto Santos-Dumont. The DNA of this watch – simple, pure, and the visible screws on the bezel – are very much part of the collection today.
This year, Cartier has added something to this range that Santos-Dumont may have found useful had it been available during his time: the Santos de Cartier Chronograph, available in steel, steel with yellow gold and pink gold. The 1904-CH MC Cartier Manufacture movement includes features such as a column wheel, vertical clutch and linear reset hammer. The single pusher control at 9 o’clock keeps the case design unadorned and symmetrical, and the silver-coloured dial maintains a sense of workmanlike efficiency. The patented strap-changing system means the watch can be dressed up or down with ease.
Virtuoso IX, Bovet
Bovet may be a SIHH newcomer, but the maison has a rich pocket-watch history that is still referenced in its ornate, complicated and classically-styled timepieces. It’s also referenced within Bovet’s patented Amadeo system – a case design that allows for quick and seamless conversions between wristwatch, pocket watch and table clock.
The Virtuoso IX is an expression of this tradition-fuelled philosophy. Its 46.3mm diameter fits an expansive blue finque-engraved dial, and houses several complications including a flying tourbillon. The time indication is split across a central minute hand and offset hours subdial. There is also a 24-hour second time zone subdial with city indicator, as well as a large date and meter to keep track of the 10-day power reserve. The watch can also be flipped over, exposing the lavishly decorated movement, including engraved, chiselled blue bridges, and another pair of hour-and-minute hands, so its owner can admire the movement while still keeping track of time.
Zeitwerk Date, A Lange & Sohne
A Lange & Sohne launched the Zeitwerk in 2009, captivating watch fans with a retro-futurist design and some impressive technical advancements. This year’s newest update, the Zeitwerk Date, features a completely redesigned movement, an additional date complication, and a three-day power reserve.
The date indication is a unique design, consisting of a glass ring of numerals on the outside of the dial and the current date filled in red – a clever, creative way to introduce a date indicator to the Zeitwerk Date. There is also a new pusher at 4 o’clock that advances the hour only. To accommodate this time-saving feature, the diameter has been upped by 2mm over the regular Zeitwerk to 44mm. Otherwise, it is still the Zeitwerk that the watch world knows well: a white gold case, two large windows for hours and minutes, a power reserve indicator at 12 and running seconds at 6.