By: Courtney Kenefick
SIHH is well underway, and with no shortage of noteworthy introductions. The energy is high thanks to the chiming of Sonneries, thoughtful design, forward-thinking movements, and even a few celebrity sightings (Ryan Reynolds and Hugh Jackman, who endorse watchmakers Piaget and Montblanc, respectively, stopped by). Trending currently are two-tone pieces, unisex models, and an attention to approachable pricing. Below, a few of the highlights from day two in Geneva.
As a follow up to the success of last year’s limited-edition Laureato watch, Girard-Perregaux introduced a full collection of the model, marked by its octagonal bezel, which first appeared in the mid ’70s. With four diameters and options in steel, gold, two-tone steel and gold, and titanium, the range is a meditation in unisex watch design, most notably through the 38 mm rose gold version. The piece de resistance of the lot is the Laureato Tourbillon. It’s the marque’s first tourbillon offered for less than $100,000—a reflection of a market trend towards more reasonable pricing.
Baume & Mercier
The ultra-femme double wrap Petite Promesse from Baume & Mercier first landed last year at SIHH, and this year it gets an update with sustainable straps made from a peculiar material: trout leather. The fish skin, died in jewel tones of emerald, sapphire, and deep red, evokes exotic alternatives such as python, but with a much milder impact on the environment and a price tag of less than $200. The brand also expands its Clifton line with the Clifton Club, a sporty, entry-level automatic meant to draw the attention of a new generation of watch wearers. It’s available in five versions, ranging from vulcanized rubber straps to a dressier stainless steel bracelet.
At Cartier, two new versions of the Drive de Cartier cushion-shaped watch have been realized. The first adds a moon phase complication at six o’clock. The other is the ultra thin Drive de Cartier Extra Flat—which is 40 percent thinner than the original Drive that was introduced last year. For women, the Panthere de Cartier makes a comeback. Its reintroduction keeps the exact design of the original 1983 version (aside from the 0.1 mm added to improve water resistance). It comes in small and medium sizes and in a variety of styles, including white and yellow gold, diamonds, and a limited yellow-and-black lacquer. Also of note is the Ronde Louis Cartier XL flamed gold watch, which shows off a new métier d’art, in which a panther dial is illustrated by heating gold at different temperatures to alter the color.
Panerai’s concept watch, the Lab-ID, is an exploration of materials innovation, most notably through its P.3001/C movement, made of carbon composites. It also touts the brand’s first silicon escapement, coated in a diamond-like carbon to make the piece self-lubricating. Combine that with the 49 mm Carbotech case (a scratch, shock, and corrosion-proof material), and it’s reliable enough to offer an unheard-of 50-year warranty. Design-wise, the watch is modeled after the Luminor 1950 case—a design icon known for its protruding crown protector. The Lab-ID is made modern with an application of carbon nanotubes on the dial, which absorb light to achieve a deep black color.