There are some watches that speak to you with their intelligence, beauty and heart. We list five such watches which were showcased at this year's Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie
By: Soumya Jain
Posted on: January 23, 2019
Before the flurry of watch showcases could start this year, Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) and Baselworld shook hands over a coordinated calendar from 2020, leading to some very satisfied sighs from watch enthusiasts who pilgrimaged to these shows every year.
Coming to SIHH 2019, the show saw Van Cleef & Arpels leaving, while Bovet joined the repertoire. As they recently announced, Richard Mille and Audemars Piguet will also be bowing out of the show for 2020.
The participants this year, however, had some remarkable luxury watches to show. With quite a few brands launching new lines, the show was exciting and brimming with expectations for a fruitful new year. We list five luxury watches, which we thought stood out from the rest.
1. MB&F HM6 Final Edition
The time machine brand MB&F’s Horological Machine N°6 has only been around since 2014, but as part of a strategic company decision to end the series, the futuristic company gives us the final edition of HM6, which comes in steel, and is available in a limited edition of 8 pieces. Only.
One of the most hi-tech luxury watches we have seen, the body of HM6 Final Edition is deeply grooved with polished lines, contrasting sharply with the usual satin-drawn main surfaces. The platinum oscillating weight, visible through a sapphire crystal pane on the underside of the case, has been given a blue PVD (physical vapour deposition) coating. The hour and minute spheres are also in this hue, with numerals and markings standing out in thickly applied Super-LumiNova that luminesces light blue.
The hour and minute spheres are oriented perpendicular to the rest of the engine to facilitate readability, and are driven by conical gears to ensure that this unusual configuration still provides the necessary precision in displaying the time. At the opposite end of the HM6 engine, twin turbines create air resistance that protects the automatic winding system – result of three years of R&D. Central to the design and construction of HM6 is the flying tourbillon, protected by a retractable shield.
The space-inspired HM6 line will surely be missed.
2. A. Lange & Sohne Datograph Perpetual Tourbillon
Watch aficionados are not unfamiliar with the Datograph Perpetual Tourbillon which was launched in 2016. What is new is its striking pink gold dial.
To break it down, Datograph is the flyback chronograph with a precisely jumping minute counter and the typical Lange outsize date. Perpetual stands for its perpetual calendar with precisely jumping displays combined with a moon-phase indication calculated to remain accurate for 122.6 years. The Tourbillon is the one-minute tourbillon with patented stop seconds that is visible on the caseback side; it eliminates the influence of gravity on the escapement inside its cage.
Available in only 100 pieces, the pink-gold dial enriches the A. Lange & Söhne piece with a warmer nuance, creating a contrast to the cool charisma of the 41.5-millimetre white-gold case and the rhodiumed gold hands and appliques. The L952.2 manufacture calibre powering the watch consists of 729 parts, finished manually down to the last detail.
Perfection is in their heritage.
3. Audemars Piguet CODE 11.59 Openworked Tourbillon
Bringing a whole new line of 13 luxury watches into existence, Audemars Piguet brings the usual and the fresh under a new umbrella: CODE 11:59. The term stands for ‘Challenge, Own, Dare, Evolve’.
There are a few features which are standard for the entire fleet of luxury watches. First, AP has embedded an octagonal middlecase within a round case, making the 41mm case easy to adjust to different wrist sizes, specially since the line is conceived for both genders.
Second, the brand has created a complex double curved glareproofed sapphire crystal. The glass’s internal surface is shaped like a dome, while its external surface is vertically curved from 6 to 12 o’clock. Playing with depth, perspective and light, this double curved sapphire crystal offers a unique visual experience.
Third, the raised 3-D logo of AP is made of thin layers of 24-carat gold, which is achieved through a chemical process akin to 3-D printing known as galvanic growth. Each letter is connected with links approximately the size of a hair and placed by hand on the dial with tiny legs almost invisible to the eye. The technique of galvanic growth has been used for the first time with 24-carat gold.
The Tourbillon Openworked is what stood out for us out of the entire collection. The watch houses a hand-wound tourbillon openworked movement, calibre 2948, which conveys complexity and depth.
The contrast created between the 18-carat pink gold case and the dark rhodium German silver mainplate and PVD bridges accentuates the movement’s artistry and 3-D effect. The gold-toned balance wheel adds a subtle touch.
With 70 hand-polished V angles, the hand finishing on this 4.97 mm thick movement pushes openworking art to new heights.
It is beautiful and powerful at the same time.
4. Bovet Amadeo Fleurier Koi Carp
It was extremely difficult for us to choose a watch from the portfolio of heritage maison Bovet. Each watch was complex and an innovation in its own way. But being a woman, I guess my heart was won by Bovet’s Koi Carp watch. A serene, decorative grand feu enamel dial surrounded by diamonds – what’s there not to adore in it?
Koi carp symbolizes love in Southeast Asia. Ilgiz Fazulzyanov, the brand’s Russian enamel artist and jeweler, has devoted hundreds of hours in creating these two carps who move in a lake scene in relief, accented with diamonds, whose radiance reproduces the shimmering reflections on the lake surface.
Each of these dials fits within the patented 39 mm-diameter Fleurier Amadeo case set with round diamonds, allowing the wearer to convert the timepiece into a bracelet watch, table watch or pendant without requiring the use of a single tool.
The exquisiteness is unsurpassed.
5. IWC Schaffhausen Big Pilot’s Watch Constant-Force Tourbillon Edition "Le Petit Prince"
Although the brand has created a new Spitfire line of luxury watches this year, we skipped it to admire the Big Pilot’s Watch Constant-Force Tourbillon Edition "Le Petit Prince", which is the first pilot's watch from IWC with a constant force tourbillon. The arresting watch is available with either a hard gold or platinum case, each of which is limited to 10 pieces only.
This is also the first time when IWC has produced a watch with hard gold, which is created by altering the microstructure of the alloy in a sophisticated manufacturing process. Hard gold is significantly harder and around 5 to 10 times more wear-resistant than conventional red gold.
The patented constant-force tourbillon is the IWC’s answer to a centuries-old challenge in the field of watchmaking: As the tension in the spring of a mechanical wrist watch slackens over time, less force is transferred to the escapement via the dial train, which in turn decreases the amplitude of the balance. This reduces the precision of the watch. The constant-force mechanism, however, separates the escapement from the direct flow of force from the dial train and with every second re-tensions a balance spring, which serves as temporary energy storage and transfers absolutely even force pulses to the escape wheel. Integrated into a tourbillon, which also eliminates the influence of gravity on the oscillating system, the result is extraordinary precision.
The watch also combines the constant-force tourbillon with a perpetual moon phase display, which takes 577.5 years to require adjustment by one day. The “Petit Prince” stands on the moon.