Man’s World

The finest watches at SIHH 2019

A. Lange & Söhne Zeitwerk Date caseback - SIHH 2019

SIHH in Geneva, running from 14 to 17 January 2019, is the first watch show of the year, presenting timepieces by about 35 of the most prestigious brands. As usual the exhibition comprised many fascinating and innovative timepieces. Recurrent themes include dark blue, which continues to be an important colour option in addition to the ever-dominant white, black and silver. There are many perpetual calendars and GMT watches, and quite a lot of retrograde displays. Power reserves are increasing, now often around 70 hours, in contrast to the 38-40 hours that has been standard for years. Here is a selection of our top 20 watches.

A. Lange & Söhne Zeitwerk Date

Lange’s mechanical watch with digital display has reached its tenth anniversary, and for the occasion, an additional function has been added, the date display around the edge of the dial. The date is shown by the rotation of a small red-coloured segment that moves exactly at midnight, and it can be adjusted using the pusher at 8 o’clock. An unusual design approach, perfect for the originality of Zeitwerk’s digital concept.

A. Lange & Söhne Zeitwerk Date - SIHH 2019

A. Lange & Söhne Zeitwerk Date caseback - SIHH 2019

Audemars Piguet Code 11.59 Automatic Chronograph

Audemars Piguet have introduced a complete new collection, comprising 13 new watches, 6 models and 3 new movements, a massive investment. The watches are distinctive for their case architecture, with slim circular bezel to which the skeletonized lugs are attached, and an octagonal mid-case. The result is modern and very cool. The automatic chronograph has a fully integrated movement, with column wheel, jumping date, and 70 hours power reserve.

Audemars Piguet Code 11.59 Automatic Chronograph - SIHH 2019

Baume & Mercier Clifton Baumatic Perpetual Calendar

Baumatic, introduced at SIHH 2018, featured Baume & Mercier’s first in-house movement. This year, the new Baumatic models comprise a Perpetual Calendar complication with traditional design. The 42-mm red gold case has a display caseback revealing the movement with its oscillating weight.

Baume & Mercier Clifton Baumatic Perpetual Calendar - SIHH 2019

Bovet Virtuoso IX

This watch features the brand’s Amadéo case, which enables the timepiece to be a reversible wristwatch, a pocket watch, or a table clock, transformable without the use of any tools. On the main dial, there is a central minute hand, an hour hand on a subdial at 2 o’clock, and another hour hand for a second time zone at 10 o’clock, with a window showing the respective city. At the bottom of the dial, a 10-day power reserve indicator, the tourbillon, and the big date. When you turn the watch over, you discover a completely different face with centred hour and minute hands.

Bovet Virtuoso IX - SIHH 2019

Cartier Privé Tonneau XL Skeleton Dual Time

A large watch with a spectacular skeletonized movement, powering the double display for two time zones, each of which can be adjusted by a crown. Cartier have a brilliant capacity for creating watches that look totally different, and this is a perfect example. It’s large, 52.4 mm from top to bottom, 29.8 mm wide and 11.9 mm thick, in the tonneau shape that has a long history at the brand, going back to 1906.

Cartier Privé Tonneau XL Skeleton Dual Time - SIHH 2019

Christophe Claret Angelico

This complex watch combines a 6-minute tourbillon with a cable and fusée transmission that evens out energy transmission as the mainspring winds down. The Dyneema cable is just 0.18 mm thick – equivalent to approximately three hair breadths – but it is so strong that a 10kg weight could be suspended from it without it breaking. The minute hand is a small arrow, while hours are shown in two windows, one for local time and one for a second time zone.

Christophe Claret Angelico - SIHH 2019

Girard-Perregaux Laureato Absolute

The Laureato was designed back in 1975 and relaunched in 2016: the new Absolute models have a tough and modern aesthetic, with a case in black PVD-treated titanium, 300 metres water resistance, and an integrated rubber strap. The dark blue graded dial provides a distinctive appearance that is enhanced by the white inner bezel ring and the red seconds hand. Powered by an in-house automatic movement.

Girard-Perregaux Laureato Absolute - SIHH 2019

Greubel Forsey Balancier Contemporain

This white-gold 33-piece limited edition showcases a large balance wheel, carefully designed to optimize regulation, with recessed adjustment screws that reduce air resistance. The compact watch, 39.6 mm in diameter, has a very architectural structure, with offset dial for hours and minutes, a power reserve indicator at 10 o’clock, and the small seconds subdial at 8.30. The caseback side includes engravings of Greubel Forsey’s brand values.

Greubel Forsey Balancier Contemporain - SIHH 2019

Grönefeld 1941 Principia

Bart and Tim Grönefeld, the horological brothers from Holland, present their first automatic watch, featuring some beautiful dial colours, a classic watch face, and a stunning caseback view, with bridges that recall the façades of Dutch houses.

Grönefeld 1941 Principia - SIHH 2019

Grönefeld 1941 Principia caseback - SIHH 2019

Hermès Arceau L’Heure de la Lune

A touch of genius from Hermès. Many watch brands have introduced new moon phase displays in this 50th anniversary year of the first moon landing, but this watch is truly original. The two mother-of-pearl moons remain fixed, the two subdials – time and date – rotate, making one complete rotation every 59 days. The upper moon corresponds to the view of our satellite from the southern hemisphere, the lower moon as seen from the northern hemisphere. On the top moon, there is a tiny emblematic detail, Pegasus, the winged horse, subtly integrated so that it seems part of the natural mother-of-pearl texture.

Hermès Arceau L’Heure de la Lune - SIHH 2019

Hermès Arceau L’Heure de la Lune, photo courtesy of Kenji Aoki

IWC Pilot’s Watch Automatic Spitfire

IWC focuses on one watch family every year, and 2019 is dedicated to pilot’s watches. The Automatic Spitfire shown here is an absolute classic, based on a model dating back to 1948, but with an olive green dial and a bronze case. The effect is superb. The watch has an in-house automatic movement with a 72-hour power reserve, a soft-iron inner case providing protection against magnetic fields, and a Spitfire engraving on the caseback.

IWC Pilot’s Watch Automatic Spitfire - SIHH 2019

Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Grande Tradition Gyrotourbillon Westminster Perpétuel

Jaeger-LeCoultre have some characteristics that make an important difference. 186 years of uninterrupted history, and 180 watchmaking skills under one roof, including some age-old techniques that the brand is helping to preserve, such as guillochage and grand feu enamel. The Master Grande Tradition Gyrotourbillon uses a large number of these skills, but above all it is a masterpiece of micro-engineering. The multi-axis tourbillon is accompanied by a constant force mechanism, Westminster chimes and a perpetual calendar, which includes the date shown by a third hand on the dial. A lot of the mechanism is visible dial-side, with hammers and gongs. The overall design style is modern and compact – a grand complication made to be worn. A true masterpiece.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Grande Tradition Gyrotourbillon Westminster Perpétuel - SIHH 2019

Montblanc Heritage Pulsograph Limited Edition 100

Montblanc looks back to the watches made by Minerva in the 1940s and ‘50s, finding inspiration for some of its latest pieces. This pulsograph – based on a classic chronograph design, used by doctors to take patients’ pulse – has a lovely salmon-coloured dial, and a magnificent in-house movement, the MB M13.21 which can be viewed through the sapphire caseback.

Montblanc Heritage Pulsograph Limited Edition 100 - SIHH 2019

Panerai Submersible Mike Horn Edition PAM00984

Mike Horn is an explorer who dedicates his life to environment protection, and this watch continues the theme. It is made in recycled titanium, with a strap in recycled PET. Even the presentation box is made of recycled materials. PAM00984 is an unlimited edition, and it has a distinctive sculptural bezel. The dial features Panerai’s multi-layer technology, with the luminescent material at the core, revealed by cut-out numerals. Panerai are skilled at creating designs that look simple but that in actual fact are brilliant examples of contemporary design.

Panerai Submersible Mike Horn Edition PAM00984 - SIHH 2019

Parmigiani Fleurier Toric Hémisphères Rétrograde Slate

This watch for travellers was first introduced in 2010 and it won an award for its innovative movement, with two time zones displayed, each adjustable to the nearest minute so that all time zones can be displayed, including those with half-hour or quarter-hour differences. The dial shows a lot of information, local time on the central hands, with its respective day/night indicator at 6 o’clock; second time zone at the top of the dial, with its own day/night indicator; and retrograde date. When the watch reaches midnight of the last day of the month, a spring returns it to number 1 with such speed it cannot be seen with the naked eye. This 2019 version of the watch has a beautiful slate dial with hand guilloché decoration, a concentric pattern that develops the geometry of the Golden Mean.

Parmigiani Fleurier Toric Hémisphères Rétrograde Slate - SIHH 2019

Piaget Altiplano G0A44051

Piaget’s super-thin Altiplano has been given a dial in grey meteorite, a perfect combination with the pink gold used for the case and indices. A 300-piece limited edition.

Piaget Altiplano G0A44051 - SIHH 2019

Richard Mille Bonbon collection

Richard Mille generally makes super-technological watches, but the Bonbon collection is completely different, with dials that look like a bowl of liquorice allsorts and candied fruit. These details are crafted in titanium and hand-painted. Each of the 6 models is a limited edition of 30 pieces.

Richard Mille Bonbon collection - SIHH 2019

Roger Dubuis Excalibur Huracán Performante

This watch was inspired by Lamborghini Squadra Corse, and it has an inclined balance wheel within the in-house movement, along with visual references to the world of motor sports. For example, hexagonal-mesh air intakes, a crown that recalls the racing nuts on the wheels, and a strap with a Pirelli-style tyre tread pattern.

Roger Dubuis Excalibur Huracán Performante - SIHH 2019

Ulysse Nardin Freak X

When Freak was introduced back in 2001, it was an incredible innovation, a watch with the movement forming part of the minute hand so that it made a complete rotation every hour. The design has been developed ever since, and Freak X is the latest version, with hour and minute hands that resemble boats in plan form. It is simpler than its ancestors, with an entry-level price ($21,000), and it differs in that it has a conventional crown for setting the time. Central to the movement is a super-light balance wheel in silicium, with nickel flyweights, placing the heart of the watch in full view.

Ulysse Nardin Freak X - SIHH 2019

Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Retrograde Day-Date

Vacheron Constantin’s minimalist classic Patrimony gains a smart blue dial, and a dual retrograde day-date, an unusual version of this complication. All adjustments are performed from the crown, so that there are no pushers disturbing the case’s slender elegance. The automatic movement provides 40 hours power reserve.

Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Retrograde Day-Date - SIHH 2019