Each year the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie Genève (SIHH) provides a stunning showcase of some of the most desirable new luxury watches coming to market. Watches Of Switzerland is proud to be the official retailer in Australia for the best prestigious brands exhibiting.. As always, our expert team were on the ground to discover the latest models and put in orders for the hottest watches of 2019. We can’t cover everything we saw but we’ve put together a summary highlighting the best of this year’s stand-out watches (so far).
Cartier continues to focus on its popular Santos range this year, following last year’s successful reinvention of the collection. Joining the line-up is the new Cartier Santos Chronograph, in your choice of stainless steel with black ADLC bezel, stainless steel with yellow gold bezel, or rose gold. All three versions are powered by the brand’s 1904-CH MC caliber, which has been specially modified so that so that the chronograph start/stop pusher is on the left side of the case opposite the crown, while the reset function is integrated into the crown itself.
For those who prefer something slightly less sporty, consider instead the new steel Cartier Santos with striking graduated blue dial. Complete with stylised Roman numerals and classic minute track, it’s the perfect everywear watch for the stylish modern man. Or, if you really want to make a statement, it’s hard to go past the Tonneau collection launched under the Cartier Privé name. Based on an iconic model from 1906, this new version celebrates Cartier’s reputation for creating beautifully shaped watches. The name refers to the shape of the case (Tonneau means “barrel” in French), which as you can see is rather elongated and thin. Two models are available, one with a classic time-only dial in a platinum (limited to 100 pieces) or rose gold (non-limited) case. The second is a stunning Dual Time watch with an elaborately skeletonized dial.
For more than 80 years IWC has been manufacturing some of the best pilot’s watches on the market. This year, the brand has made them a point of focus, introducing a number of notable iterations on existing models. An early fan favourite is the Chronograph Spitfire, available in your choice of either a steel or bronze case, both measuring 41mm in diameter. Inspired by the iconic Mark 11 navigation watch, which was produced in Schaffhausen for the Royal Air Force (RAF) from 1948, these new models have a decidedly vintage feel to them.
At the other end of the spectrum is the modern, stealth-looking Double Chronograph Top Gun Ceratanium. IWC has been supplying watches to the elite pilots of the Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor Program in the U.S. Navy since 2007. As you can imagine, these models have to stand up to all sorts of punishment. The matte black case, made from the innovative new material Ceratanium®, can withstand extreme G-forces as well as humid, salty sea air, and is extremely corrosion-resistant. It’s also the first ever pilot’s watch from IWC to be completely jet black.
Jaeger-LeCoultre wowed at SIHH with the unveiling of the Master Grande Tradition Gyrotourbillon Westminster Perpétuel, the manufacturer’s latest generation of its legendary multi-axis tourbillon. Offering a tourbillon that is significantly smaller than those in the preceding Gyrotourbillon timepieces, it demonstrates Jaeger-LeCoultre’s continuing mastery of haute horology. Combined with the Westminster chime, which uses four sets of gongs and hammers to indicate the quarters when the minute repeater is activated, it is truly an exceptional piece of high watchmaking.
For the mere mortals among us, Jaeger-LeCoultre presents the slightly more accessible Master Ultra Thin Perpetual Enamel and Master Ultra Thin Moon Enamel. Both are offered in a 39mm white gold case and feature striking blue guilloché enamel dials, entirely hand-crafted in the Jaeger-LeCoultre workshops. The former is limited to just 100 pieces, whilst the latter will form a permanent part of the collection. For our female clients, the new Dazzling Rendez-Vous Moon in white gold and Dazzling Rendez-Vous Night & Day in pink gold, offer gorgeous, diamond-studded watches that are both elegant and sophisticated.
Vacheron Constantin was arguably the most talked about brand at SIHH this year and with good reason. Generating most of the buzz was the exceptional Traditionnelle Twin Beat Perpetual Calendar, which boasts a jaw-dropping 65-day power reserve. This means you can set all the functions on the perpetual calendar, put it in your safe for 2 months and then take it out and wear it straight away. No need to go through the laborious task of resetting all the indications, and so on. To make this possible, there are two separate gear trains connected to one large mainspring barrel. One operates at 5Hz (active mode), whilst the other moves at a significantly slower 1.2Hz (standby mode). A pusher on the case at 8 o’clock allows you to quickly and easily switch between the two. It really is an incredible piece of machinery but not one we can do justice to in the short space we have available here.
For the main collections, Vacheron Constantin is all about blue dials this year. Both the Fiftysix Self-Winding and Fiftysix Complete Calendar models now offer blue dials paired with steel cases. The Patrimony Retrograde Day-Date, Patrimony Self-Winding and Patrimony Manual-Winding also receive the blue dial treatment, which contrast superbly against their 18k 5N pink gold cases. And for the first time, Vacheron Constantin introduces a tourbillon to its popular Overseas collection. Presented in a 42.5mm steel case, the Overseas Toubillon features, you guessed it, a blue dial.
Panerai debuted a number of desirable new models in its Submersible collection this year. Known for its use of innovative materials, Panerai deployed its trademark Carbotech – a proprietary carbon composite that is stronger and more durable than most carbon fibres – on a new iteration of its Carbotech Marina Militare watch, as well as on two new Submersible Carbotech watches, available in 42mm and 47mm respectively. Meanwhile, the new Submersible BMG-TECH boasts a 47mm case made from BMG-TECH – an alloy characterised by high strength and corrosion resistance – and a bezel made from Carbotech.
Slightly more understated is the new Submersible 42mm, available with either your choice of a black dial with black ceramic bezel insert or shark grey dial with blue ceramic bezel insert. Both are offered in a 42mm steel case and come on rubber straps matching the colour of the bezel. All models in the Submersible collection are intended to be used as professional dive watches, and as such each is guaranteed waterproof to 300m/1000ft.
Piaget focused attention on its stunningly slim Altiplano collection this year, with the introduction of three new models, each highlighting iconic areas of Piaget’s expertise. Arguably the most accessible of the three is the 40mm Altiplano in Rose gold, paired with an out-of-this-world grey meteorite dial. The distinctive lines on the surface of the meteorite are known as Widmanstätten patterns, which are typical of the crystallised nickel-iron structures found within iron meteorites. No two dials look exactly the same, making this 300-piece limited edition even more desirable.
For something (significantly) more extravagant the 41mm Altiplano Tourbillon watch, limited to 28 pieces, offers a blue meteorite dial framed by diamonds. A cut-out in the dial at 2 o’clock makes room for the flying tourbillon, while the hours and minutes are shown on an opposing sub-dial at 8 o’clock. Last but not least is the 36mm Altiplano High Jewelry piece, designed for the lady who appreciates the finer things in life. Offering a gorgeous sunray-brushed dial in Piaget Blue, the 18k white gold case is baguette set with diamonds. Four baguette-cut diamonds also adorn the dial.
The big news from Baume & Mercier last year was the debut of the brand’s first ‘in-house’ movement. In 2019, the company continues to build on the initial success of the Baumatic collection with the introduction of 6 new models. Most notable among them is the new Clifton Baumatic Perpetual Calendar, which combines the BM13 version of the Baumatic movement with a perpetual calendar module.
Presented in an 18k red gold case boasting polished and satin-finished surfaces, it measures a comfortable 42mm x 12mm. In addition to telling the time, the white dial displays the date, day, month, leap year and moon phase. A sapphire crystal on the rear of the watch reveals the circular-grained bridges and the sandblasted baseplate of the movement. The gold-plated rotor is open-worked and decorated with Côtes de Genève decoration with snailing.
The above summary serves only as a very brief highlight of some the exciting new models coming to market this year. To find out more about these watches, as well as others from the brands listed, including availability, pricing and options for pre-ordering, please contact Watches of Switzerland today.