What fun is a look at pre-SIHH releases without some predictions of our own?
SIHH 2019 is just around the corner, and is due to run from 14 to 17 January 2019. This edition of SIHH is significant not just for being a day shorter owing to dwindling visitor numbers, it also marks the final time the fair is held in January – at least for the foreseeable future. From 2020, SIHH dates will be pushed back to late April, with Baselworld to follow in May, until 2024. This agreement between the organisers of both fairs to coordinate schedules seeks to attract a critical mass of both trade and media visitors to both fairs, for viability.
In the meantime, all eyes on the 2019 edition. And until we return to bring you the latest and greatest timepieces that are shown in Geneva, here are some previews and predictions to go.
Cartier: Back To Classics
For its pre-SIHH reveal, Cartier opted for four shaped and bejewelled timepieces: a Tank Chinoise, a Diagonale, and two Baignoire Allongée watches.
They reiterate Cartier’s claim as “the Jeweller of Kings and the King of Jewellers”, while reminding us of the Maison’s history and expertise with shaped watches. Indeed, Cartier has in recent years, moved away from its work in high watchmaking and crazy complications, and concentrated on icons that were its original claim to fame. It appears that this is the direction the Maison is taking for now, so expect more throwbacks to neglected classics, with a touch of bling to boot.
Audemars Piguet: Misdirection
Audemars Piguet has a series of three Royal Oak Offshore Selfwinding Chronographs garbed in military colours for its pre-SIHH release, complete with camouflage patterns on their rubber straps. These will, undoubtedly, be popular extensions to the Royal Oak Offshore collection.
Don’t let them distract you though – there’s a brand new collection that’s incoming. Codenamed “Code 11.59” for now, the new line appears to be a round watch with a round dial. We think this is part of the brand’s efforts to rebalance its product portfolio away from its main pillars of the Royal Oak and Royal Oak Offshore. Catch glimpses of the new collection on Audemars Piguet’s website, and sit tight for our updates.
Piaget: Dressy This Year
Following the technical marvels unveiled last year, we anticipate Piaget to concentrate more on dressy staples in 2019. That means more iterations of the ever-popular Altiplano timepiece for both men and women, from simple understated pieces to fancier ones combining métiers d’art and/or gem-setting work. The brand’s pre-SIHH pieces seem to confirm this, with three Altiplano timepieces for both sexes being released, two of them showcasing meteorite dials. Since we’re at it, here’s a side bet: new models of the Emperador Coussin should be inbound as well, for the more adventurous watch connoisseur.
Jaeger-LeCoultre: Rebalancing The Portfolio
In 2018, Jaeger-LeCoultre focused heavily on the Polaris with a fully-fledged collection of watches, from a simple time-only version sans date, to the iconic Memovox that comes with a mechanical alarm. The brand’s pre-SIHH releases this year were done in stages, beginning with the Master Ultra-Thin Moon Enamel featuring a flinqué enamel dial, before continuing with an updated Rendez-Vous Moon that features gem-setting, guilloche, and lacquer work. Will the brand present updated, and refreshed collections with new models simultaneously? We will see.
Hermès’ preview for SIHH 2019 is the Arceau 78, which marks the 40th anniversary of the Arceau model. The signature case-and-lug design that’s reminiscent of a stirrup remains, with the highlight here being the matte, grained bezel and dial. Finishing aside, this watch wouldn’t raise any eyebrows with its understated design, and certainly not indicative of what Hermès has in store at SIHH. Though judging by past years’ releases, expect some stunning works of métiers d’art – produced in very limited quantities, of course – balanced by highly wearable everyday classics.
Images courtesy of respective brands, artwork by Curatedition.