By Jonathan Bues
Our editors’ third and final day at Geneva’s premier watch show brought them into contact with several of SIHH’s most technically sophisticated watches.
Highlights of day three included a grand reveal from Greubel Forsey, which this year presented its first ever chiming watch. Best known for their complex tourbillon watch escapements, this is Greubel Forsey’s interpretation of watchmaking’s most difficult-to-make mechanism, the Grand Sonnerie. The Grand Sonnerie is a feature that chimes the time at the beginning of each hour, as well as each consecutive quarter-hour. In addition to providing this aural information, the Greubel Forsey Grand Sonnerie is also a minute repeater. This means that it will chime the complete time, right down to the minute, when its owner presses a small button integrated into the watch’s crown. Ever the perfectionist, company co founder Stephen Forsey has been wearing a prototype version of this watch surreptitiously in the field for more than two years, only now deciding it was ready to go to market. While presenting the new timepiece, one of Forsey’s colleagues told us that the watchmaker left the feature enabled during a long flight, telling his neighboring passengers that the sound they were hearing was emanating from his cell phone, lest his secret get out.
A. Lange & Sohne
Routinely one of the most exceptional exhibitors at SIHH, A. Lange & Sohne has a reputation as a watchmaker that appeals to the collecting cognoscenti. Lesser known among non watch collectors, Lange, as the brand is affectionately known by its patrons, is not even Swiss, but German, hailing from the small village of Glashutte, which some refer to as “Little Switzerland.”
This year, Lange presented an Annual Calendar watch in its 1815 range of dress watches. The annual calendar mechanism tracks the date through a complex series of gears that is programmed to understand that some months last for 30 days and others for 31. In practical terms, this means that the watch’s owner need only reset the date once per year, at the end of February. In addition to displaying the month and the date, the 1815 Annual Calendar also shows the day of the week and the moon phase via a meticulously hand-finished mechanical movement that makes this watch, available in white and pink gold versions, every bit as beautiful inside as out.
With its Innovision 2, Ulysse Nardin presents the latest developments from its industry-leading R&D department, which pioneered the use of silicon in watchmaking in 2001 with its provocatively named Freak. The Innovision 2 boasts a number of technical improvements over previous Ulysse Nardin watches in its escapement alone. These include a silicon constant force escapement which ensures that the watch runs just as accurately when it’s fully wound as when it’s nearing the end of its power reserve. The Innovision 2’s oddly shaped balance wheel features a number of paddle-like extensions that radiate from its center. These, the company says, are shaped in order to create positive air friction, which reduces turbulence and discrepancies in the watch’s precision.