Watches We Love From SIHH 2019

By Teo Van den Broeke and Bill Prince
16 January 2019
SIHH 2019, Watches
Geneva’s watch season-opener Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie is underway and the much-anticipated 29th edition is already shaping up to be a classic

The 29th annual Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie in Switzerland is up and running - and already the key trends are in. If you’re feeling kinda blue, you’re in good company, as the hue of the fair remains a highly polished indigo (thanks, in some cases, to some sweet enamelling). In macro terms, SIHH is all about brands going back to what they’re great at - manufactures displaying their metiers d’art, tool watch companies celebrating what made their pilot’s or dive watches special in the first place. And everyone at the fair, which closes on Thursday, is keeping an eye on sustainability.

A. Lange & Sohne Lange 1 25th anniversary

A. Lange & Sohne Lange 1 25th anniversary

German marque A. Lange & Sohne is well known for rarely breaking the mould with its ultra-complicated yet supremely elegant timepieces. For 2019, the big launch is the 25th anniversary of the Lange 1. Featuring a deep blue strap, matching indices and elegant blue hands, the watch has been re-released in honour of the resuscitation of the brand, which occurred some 25 years ago in 1994. On the back of the watch, an engraving of the name of the man responsible for said resuscitation, Walter Lange, can be found. Coming in at some $49,740, the piece is a pleasingly compact 38.5mm, and it has a vaguely retro appeal. What’s more it’s limited to 25 pieces, so get your name on the list now. alange-soehne.com

Richard Mille RM 07-03 ‘Litchi’

Richard Mille RM 07-03 ‘Litchi’

Diabetics look away now: watch design can be influenced by any number of things, so why not a sweet shop? But behind the new Bonbon collection’s lark-y evocation of our favourite sugar-rush is a serious attempt to foreground Mille’s metiers d’art, principally the extraordinary grand feu enamelling to bring the different confections to life. Each piece in the collection is a time-only watch, and given the skills on display, there’s no need to sugar-coat the pricing: from $145,200 to $187,600. Richardmille.com

IWC Pilot’s Watch Timezoner Spitfire Edition

IWC Pilot’s Watch Timezoner Spitfire Edition

The brand who brought you the ‘Top Gun’ is once again majoring on its Pilot’s models, and to underline its commitment to avian feats, it’s supporting ‘The Longest Flight’ a daredevil bid to fly a vintage Spitfire around the world. When they take off from Goodwood in August, both pilots will be wearing this: IWC’s first watch to match a world time function to an in-house movement. IWC.com

H. Moser & Cie. Swiss Alp Watch Concept Black

H. Moser & Cie. Swiss Alp Watch Concept Black

Foregoing numerals, indexes or any other means of reading time off the hands of a watch is nothing new to this Schaffhausen brand, and delivering an impish commentary on the watch business is one of it’s trademark moves, both of which are enshrined in the latest Alp watch (remind you of anything? The clue’s in the name) which features a one-minute flying tourbillon on its glossy black dial and nothing else. To tell the time, you must rely – as your foreberars might have done – on the chiming function that sounds rather than shows the time of day. Two high complications in an effortlessly minimalist smart watch-looking timepiece. Moser.com

Montblanc Star Legacy

Montblanc Star Legacy

Montblanc continues to stride forth with a fusillade of new models and a particular focus on 'vintage' styles: behold, the new Star Legacy collection, which takes inspiration from the company's Minerva manufacture, and in particular its pocket watches from the late 19th and early 20th century, with retro touches including ‘onion’ crowns and stepped lugs. Montblanc.com

Hermès Carré H

Hermès Carré H

Originally conceived in collaboration with French designer Marc Berthier, last year's re-edition of the Carré H featured an upsized stainless-steel case, guilloché dial and superbly balanced Arabic numerals and inner minutetrack. Now you can add a supple leather strap into the mix, thanks to a fresh 2019 update. Hermes.com

Cartier Privé Tonneau

Cartier Privé Tonneau

As usual, brands haven't held back in flagging up their big stories for 2019, chief among them Cartier, which has chosen this year to return in earnest to its Privé Collection, highlighting its timeless designs and high-end calibres, not least with the re-introduction of the classic Tonneau, which first appeared in 1906. Expect more models to expand the range of last year's big launch: an entirely new Santos collection, including an all-new Santos Dumont line. Cartier.co.uk

Vacheron Constantin Traditionelle Twin Beat Perpetual Calendar

Vacheron Constantin Traditionelle Twin Beat Perpetual Calendar

More recently, VC has been known for unveiling remarkable one-of-a-kind timepieces in its Les Cabinotiers collection, not least 2017’s remarkable Celestia Astronmical Grand Complication, which featured no less than 23 separate complications. This year it’s launched an entirely new movement which runs at two separate frequencies: 5hz while the watch is worn, reducing to 1.2hz when in ‘sleep mode – enabling the watch to maintain its timekeeping functions for up to 65 days. The single-barrel calibre uses an innovative regulating system which switches between two gear trains, gives new meaning to the term ‘perpetual’ calendar. All this will cost you £195,000, but on the bright side, it’s unlimited. Vacheron-constantin.com

Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin Moon Enamel

Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin Moon Enamel

The numbers assembled at this Vallée de Joux-based brand are impressive: 180 specialist skills and trades represented at its manufacture; nearly 1,250 calibres created in its history; a whacking 400 patents secured. No wonder then, that this year’s theme is its patrimony, and in particular the metier d’arts reflected in the 2019 Master collection which reflects many aspects of JLC’s ‘rare handcrafts’: in this case the fine guilloche work on its enamelled dial, a redesigned moon phase and engraved counters, and the ultra-slim (10.6mm) 39mm white gold case. Jaeger-leCoultre.com

Panerai Luna Rosa Challenger Submersible 47mm

Panerai Luna Rosa Challenger Submersible 47mm

Who says the current trend is for smaller, ‘simpler’ timepieces? Panerai announces its new partnership with the 36th America’s Cup challenger with a striking carbon-cased Subersible fitted with a dial made from Luna Rosa’s sailcloth. At 47mm, it’s no shrinking violet. But who ever won anything by shrinking? Fit to travel to 300m, it’s fitted with a two-barrel shock-resistant movement good for 70 hours. Panerai.com

Audemars Piguet CODE 11.59

Audemars Piguet CODE 11.59

Each edition of SIHH requires a talking point, and AP’s new CODE 11.59 collection has delivered just that. Starting from a blank page, the brand that brought you the era-defining Royal Oak has produced a 13-strong collection that runs from a ‘simple’ three hand with date automatic to a top of the line ‘super sonnerie’ minute-repeater. All bar an open worked tourbillon feature lacquered dials, galvanically grown Arabic numerals and indexes and both the automatic and new flyback chronograph boast new in house movements. Audemarspiguet.com