It has been but a month half since we got back from SIHH 2018. May this post address the top question that my fellow watch aficionado/collector friends have asked:
What were the more outstanding watches that have caught my attention this SIHH?
As the saying goes “in life, there will be many things that catch your eye, but only very few will catch your heart – pursue these….” – Michael Nolan.
Here are my top 5 picks (not in order of favour nor merit) from SIHH 2018 that caught my heart.
1. Piaget Altiplano Ultimate Automatic
The Piaget Altiplano Ultimate Automatic 910P is by far the most innovative and advanced in its category.
Measuring only 4.3mm thick (the thinnest automatic watch in the world), it is is a true technical masterpiece.
Highlights: The backing of the watch is actually the base-plate (main plate) on which all the other parts are mounted, with the bridges above. Wheels are only 0.12mm and the dial is moved to one corner.
Crucially, the rotor for this automatic watch is brilliantly placed circumferentially around the watch movement. The sapphire glass case is remarkably a mere 0.6mm. Notably, to prevent the glass from compressing on the hands, the dial and the hands are fitted below the bridges.
This watch has a definite place in my collection.
2. Vacheron Constantin FIFTYSIX®
The FIFTYSIX® is the iconic reference 6073, launched in 1956 and inspired by the Maltese cross.
The watch design expresses and reinforces the creativity of Vacheron Constantin during the 1950s, where the 6073 model was highly distinctive, distinguished by its shape and notably its lugs, each representing a branch of the Maltese cross emblem of the Manufacture.
The day, date with power reserve is my favourite in their new range, in a round 40mm distinctive shaped case of the box-type crystal rising well above the bezel.
The polished and satin-brushed 22 carats open worked rotor, bearing a Maltese Cross applique and a frosted-snailed finish, represents a signature feature of the FIFTYSIX® collection.
This watch is a true epitome of modern innovation in the 15th century heritage timepieces.
3. A. Lange & Söhne Triple Split
A. Lange & Söhne invented the Double Split Chronograph in 2004. Fourteen years on, 2018, A. Lange & Söhne has broken their house record, and distanced their lead in innovation again by introducing the one-of-its-kind, Triple Split Chronograph.
The Triple Split (limited to 100 pieces) is the only split-seconds chronograph in the world that can measure additive and comparative times.
Additional rattrapante hands on the minute and hour totalisers make it possible to stop lap and reference times of events that last as long as twelve hours. It is endowed with a flyback function that involves all three hand pairs as well. It has a power-reserve indicator based on Lange’s typical UP/DOWN display that shows how much of the 55-hour reserve remains available.
The meticulous grey dial in solid silver is colour-coordinated with the 18-carat white-gold case that has a diameter of 43.2 millimetres. The three rattrapante hands in blued steel clearly distinct from the rhodiumed chronograph hands. The hands that display the time and the applied baton hour markers are made of rhodiumed gold. With this addition into the Lange family, A. Lange & Söhne is certainly keeping in the forefront of innovation.
4. IWC Pallweber Edition Watch
To mark its anniversary, IWC is recognising the scale of this pioneering exploit by Schaffhausen’s watchmakers with the IWC Tribute to Pallweber Edition “150 Years”, comprising both wristwatch and pocket watch versions.
As a reference to the design of the historic Pallweber watches and a tribute to F. A. Jones – the American watchmaker who founded IWC – the windows of the digital display are labelled as “Hours” and “Minutes”.
These perfectly crafted timepieces have a perfectly white or blue lacquered finished dial.
A total of 25 watches (in 45mm diameter) will be made in platinum, 250 in red gold and 500 in stainless steel.
5. Santos de Cartier Skeleton Watch
The Santos de Cartier watch was first introduced in 1904, out of a great friendship between Louis Cartier and the aviation legend Alberto Santos-Dumont. Until this day, the Santos watches have evolved but kept its classic, distinctive and yet innovative style.
The intelligently aesthetic square face with the eight screws on the bezel iconic of the new Santos de Cartier timepiece remain unchanged. The new watch features an innovative strap change mechanism (the Cartier Quick Switch system) that allows the wearer to select and change easily from a choice of materials and colours (available in steel, gold, calfskin or alligator skin) to suit any occasion.
It also features another innovation – the SmartLink self-fitting technology – that allows the wearer to adjust the length of the metal bracelet to the nearest link without the use of a tool. At the touch of a button located on each SmartLink, the attachment bar is unlatched and one of the brushed metal links with screws can be added or removed from the Santos de Cartier watch.
The calibre 1847 MC of the watch is also worthy of mention, as it features anti-magnetic nickel phosphorus components in the escapement and movement mechanisms, as well as a shield made from a paramagnetic alloy. These render the calibre effectively resistant to the powerful magnetic fields a watch may be exposed to in everyday life, ensuring sustained functional accuracy and performance.
This is the perfect versatile, classic, innovative yet deeply immersed in history and heritage timepiece. More on the Cartier Design Philosophy, here.
Images courtesy of Dr Kenny Pang.