The Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH), held in January in Geneva, Switzerland, officially starts the new watch year. This year, there were many great timepieces introduced from classic companies to nine independent brands being included at the SIHH for the first time.
Despite success in the luxury market, established brands like Cartier, Panerai and Jaeger-LeCoultre still have to balance new designs with the traditional expectations of clients. Independent brands face other issues, like awareness and limited distribution, but when it comes to design they can be as bold as they want to be because that’s what their customers expect.
This year, however, both camps impressed with new designs, bright ideas and true innovation.
Cartier Drive de Cartier:
Drive de Cartier is a completely new collection inspired by fine automobiles and the old-fashioned notion of motoring. Available as a tourbillon, retrograde second time zone and a simple automatic, Drive de Cartier is a classic and sporty offering from this venerable brand. Stainless steel automatic, $6,250, Cartier.com
Parmigiani Fleurier Bugatti Super Sport Sapphire:
The result of a 10-year partnership with supercar maker Bugatti, the Super Sport Sapphire features a movement made entirely of gold (a real watchmaking challenge), and the case is sapphire crystal on all sides to showcase this “engine.” The Super Sport Sapphire is a unique piece that is linked to the Bugatti Veyron.
Hautlence Vortex Primary:
Developed in cooperation with famous soccer player Eric Cantona, who is a collector and lover of art, the Vortex Primary from Hautlence uses bold primary colors to decorate this stunning watch. The movement is a reinterpreted and redesigned version of the brand’s groundbreaking HL2.0 movement. $199,500, Hautlence.com
MB&F HM 6 SV:
The Horological Machine 6 Sapphire Vision has a sapphire top and bottom case sandwiching a precious metal “streamliner” case band (inspired by American Greyhound “Streamliner” buses of the 1950s and ’60s) that puts the entire movement on display. The HM6 SV comes in two limited editions—10 pieces in platinum/sapphire crystal and 10 pieces in red gold/sapphire crystal, $398,000, Mb&f.com
Van Cleef & Arpels Midnight Nuit Lumineuse:
The real novelty of this Van Cleef timepiece is the fact that six of the diamonds light up at the press of a pusher on the left side of the case. This mechanical system stresses a strip of piezo-electric ceramic, and the resulting deformation produces an electrical current, illuminating LED lights under the diamonds. Price unavaiable as yet, vancleefarpels.com
Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso One:
The iconic Reverso is 85 years old this year. The company has redesigned the Reverso specifically for women, and the Reverso One Duetto Moon is just one of the models in the collection. $38,200, Jaeger-Lecoultre.com
HYT H1 Iceberg2:
The first watchmaker to ever combine liquid in the movement to display the time, HYT has been turning heads ever since its introduction in 2012. The latest offering is the H1 Iceberg2, which uses blue liquid in the hour display along with a beautiful blue minute dial. The bellows on the bottom half of the watch push the liquid through the glass capillary. $62,000, Hytwatches.com
Vacheron Constantin Overseas Perpetual Calendar:
Vacheron Constantin’s Overseas collection timepiece keeps innovating: The brand is working with renowned photographer Steve McCurry to create imagery with photographs shot in 12 iconic, global locations. The Overseas Ultra-Thin Perpetual in white gold (includes bracelet, leather strap, rubber strap) $91,400, Vacheron-Constantin.com
Christophe Claret Marguerite:
Following the introduction of the brand’s first woman’s watch, the Margot, the Marguerite continues the movement maestro’s poetic view of love. Two butterflies show the time—the one perched on the flower petals shows the hours, while the other butterfly flies around the dial, indicating the minutes. Turn the watch over and you can play a game of “He loves me, he loves me not” with the watch’s rotor. $73,000, Claret.com