Best of SIHH 2016
As the rest of the world sinks into a pit of post-Christmas pre-pay day despair, the watch industry is nothing short of elated – why’s that, I hear you ask. Well it’s SIHH 2016, obviously.
Switzerland’s elite manufactures flex their horological muscle at SIHH once again as the Richemont squadron go head-to-head – bigger exhibitions, bolder displays and of course, better watches than ever. Brands went in this year with displays going one step further (i.e: a functioning ice rink at Chopard complete with figure skater and a ceiling literally full of diamonds at Piaget) but the real accolade belonged to the wristwear – and of course, The Watch Gallery just had to take a look.
VACHERON CONSTANTIN OVERSEAS CHRONOGRAPH
Vacheron Constantin has made a rather delectable habit of producing ultra-beautiful, ultra-complicated timepieces for the serious horophile, and elegant craftsmanship has always taken centre stage. Imagine our surprise then when introduced to the brand new Overseas collection, a massive contrast to last year’s Harmony offering. As an undeniably sports-led offering, the Overseas watch is a perfect choice for an everyday automatic without forfeiting Vacheron Constantin’s trademark sophistication – you get casual stainless steel appeal with top level engineering. Enough said. Better yet, the Overseas presents an interchangeable strap feature (rubber, steel and leather) that is so easy, even your nan could get her head round it.
PANERAI RADIOMIR 1930 3 DAYS AUTOMATIC ACCIAIO PAM655
In the grand tradition of Swiss watches, the latest Panerai offering has a title longer than a home counter viscount that fought both world wars – however, the PAM655 is anything but typical. As the first Radiomir with an all-white dial, this crisp piece holds all the prestige of Panerai with a blank canvas; instead of deep dark contrasts paired with your boardroom threads, the PAM655 boasts ultimate versatility. A sub-dial at 9 o’clock leaves the watch largely uncluttered and the minimalist approach is a breath of fresh air for Panerai. Despite the toning down, this key piece still offers all the usual craftsmanship: double-series coupled barrels, open caseback, stainless steel case and plenty of gas in the tank with a 3 day power reserve. Spot on.
MONTBLANC COLLECTION VILLERET TOURBILLON CYLINDRIQUE POCKET WATCH 110 YEARS EDITION
Pocket watches, although seldom seen on the modern man, are often used by manufactures to show just how far clockwork can push the boundaries: case in point, the (deep breath now, team) Collection Villeret Tourbillon Cylindrique Pocket Watch 110 Years Edition from Montblanc. The SIHH novelty is a wonderully perplexing example of the maison’s craftsmanship with a world-renowned Calibre MB M68.40 movement, north and south hemisphere globe details and a Grand Feu enameled dial. Furthermore, this little beauty comes complete in a 60mm white gold case and a limited production run.
DRIVE DE CARTIER
Cartier has been on fire the past couple of years. After releasing the Cle de Cartier last year (a brand new line being a rarity for the maison), the game has been changed once more with the incredible Drive de Cartier. Available in pink gold or steel, this sharp choice has a focus on versatility wtih two different movements available: the 1904-PS MC for hours, minutes, small seconds and date, and the 1904-FU MC for a second time zone, day/night indicator and large date display and small seconds feature. Whilst the inside may be mighty, the exterior is extraordinary: Roman numerals, guilloché dial and an incredibly polished aesthetic.
BAUME & MERCIER CLIFTON CHRONOGRAPH COMPLETE CALENDAR
With a name utterly ill-suited to a stammerer, the Baume & Mercier Clifton Chronograph Complete Calendar is the manufacture’s most complicated piece to date. A clear 1950s-inspired aesthetic is complimented by a tricompax dial, iconic blue hands and sizeable 43mm stainless steel casing with a satin and polished finish. Not to be sniffed at in the slightest. Better yet, the classic approach and black alligator luxury leather strap make for a boardroom-friendly timepiece and this ideal watch can easily double up for dress occasions.