This year’s Sa­lon In­ter­na­tional de la Haute Hor­logerie (SIHH) pre­sented an im­pres­sive mix of tech­ni­cal and aes­thetic mas­ter­pieces—in­clud­ing a good num­ber that won’t break the bank. Kar­ishma Tul­si­das high­lights time­pieces that were the talk of the town, th

Hong Kong Tatler - - Sihh 2017 Review -


Two years ago, IWC Schaffhausen de­fied its motto “En­gi­neered for Men” by boldly woo­ing fe­male col­lec­tors. Now it’s turn­ing out a host of ex­quis­ite time­pieces for ladies with the re­launch of the uni­sex Da Vinci fam­ily. Ver­sa­tile enough to en­case a host of com­pli­ca­tions such as the Per­pet­ual Cal­en­dar Chrono­graph, and yet so­phis­ti­cated enough to ap­peal to the mod­ern woman, the Da Vinci is in­her­ently el­e­gant, with its re­cessed in­ner dial, slim hands, rounded crown, ap­plied Ara­bic nu­mer­als and move­able lugs. The Au­to­matic Moon Phase 36 fea­tures a gold-and-blue lu­nar dis­play. On the back you’ll find the in­spi­ra­tion for this col­lec­tion—the Flower of Life mo­tif, a ren­der­ing that Leonardo da Vinci stud­ied.


Stronger than di­a­mond, more con­duc­tive than cop­per and more flex­i­ble than rub­ber, graphene is a “won­der ma­te­rial” mainly used in elec­tron­ics, but Richard Mille is ex­plor­ing its use. Graphene de­buts in its lat­est col­lab­o­ra­tion with Mclaren-honda—the RM 50-03 Tour­bil­lon Split Sec­onds Chrono­graph Ul­tra­light Mclaren F1—in the form of Graph TPT. Formed from lay­ers of graphene and TPT Car­bon, it’s six times lighter than stain­less steel and 200 times stronger. The RM 50-03 weighs a mere 40g, and the move­ment 7g. Though it has a tour­bil­lon and a split-sec­onds chrono­graph, it can with­stand shocks of 5,000g.


The Mont­blanc Time­walker Chrono­graph 1000 Lim­ited Edi­tion 18 can mea­sure in­ter­vals to a thou­sandth of a se­cond. It’s not an un­prece­dented record, but it’s a feat that can’t be scoffed at, es­pe­cially when you con­sider the high level of me­chan­i­cal mastery re­quired to en­gi­neer a “sim­pler” chrono­graph that records times of a sixth of a se­cond. Hark­ing back to the hey­day of mo­tor rac­ing, the Time­walker fea­tures a pal­ette of black with red ac­cents, while the power re­serve in­di­ca­tor at 3 o’clock and the se­cond in­di­ca­tion at 6 o’clock ref­er­ence old-school fuel gauges and dash­boards. The black al­li­ga­tor strap comes with red per­fo­ra­tions rem­i­nis­cent of the driv­ing gloves of yore.


Cartier’s sig­na­ture Mys­te­ri­ous dis­play ap­peared in the mai­son’s lex­i­con in 1912. It was in­spired by 19th-cen­tury clock­maker Jean Eugène Robert-houdin’s mys­tery clocks, in which the hands ap­pear to be float­ing in mid-air. The con­cept only ap­peared on a wrist­watch in 2013, a feat of en­gi­neer­ing that deep­ened Cartier’s watch­mak­ing rep­u­ta­tion. This year, the com­pli­ca­tion emerges again in the Ro­tonde de Cartier Minute Re­peater Mys­te­ri­ous Dou­ble Tour­bil­lon, whose three bar­rels prom­ise three-and-a-half days of au­ton­omy. The time­piece cap­ti­vates the imag­i­na­tion with its air of mys­tery, em­bod­ied by the Mys­te­ri­ous Dou­ble Tour­bil­lon aper­ture and the dark Geneva Seal-fin­ished com­po­nents. This horo­log­i­cal won­der, four-and-a-half years in the mak­ing, is lim­ited to 50 pieces.

ALL a FLUT­TER VAN Cleef & Ar­pels

If Van Cleef & Ar­pels had a spirit an­i­mal, it would be the but­ter­fly, which per­fectly em­bod­ies the whim­si­cal and po­etic na­ture of the mai­son. On the Lady Ar­pels Papil­lon Au­to­mate, the winged crea­ture is seen flut­ter­ing in the out­doors, its wings flap­ping as you move your wrist. The wings can also be ac­ti­vated by the push but­ton at 7 o’clock. This de­light­ful per­for­mance is the re­sult of a com­plex mech­a­nism in which two crank wheels trans­fer en­ergy to the wings. Since the wings re­quire space to move, there is a gap be­tween the dial and the sap­phire crys­tal, cre­at­ing a mul­ti­di­men­sional dis­play that high­lights Van Cleef & Ar­pels’ artis­tic skills. The but­ter­fly is ren­dered in plique-à-jour enamel, while the reeds are in cham­plevé and pail­lon enamel. The flow­ers are en­graved on mother-of-pearl, while di­a­monds and mul­ti­coloured sap­phires in­ject scin­til­lat­ing hues into the panorama.


Roger Dubuis has used the rub­ber from the Pirelli tyres of the 2016 Monaco Grand Prix win­ner on its Ex­cal­ibur Spi­der Pirelli watch. Of course, the rub­ber has to be worked on, as in its nat­u­ral state it could singe your skin. It is com­bined with Rub­bertech, and the in­side of the strap has a tread im­i­tat­ing that of the Pirelli Cin­tu­rato tyre. The strap is fin­ished with blue stitch­ing, a ref­er­ence to the colour of the tyres on the win­ning car at the 2016 Monaco Grand Prix. The eight col­lec­tors who man­age to lay their hands on the Dou­ble Fly­ing Tour­bil­lon ver­sion will also be in­vited by Pirelli to a two-day VIP pro­gramme at a mo­tor­sport event.


In­ven­tive and in­ge­nious mech­a­nisms are Jaegerlecoultre’s call­ing card, but its trim­mings aren’t too shabby ei­ther. Un­der its revered Hy­bris Ar­tis­tica ban­ner, it com­bines its tech­ni­cal and aes­thetic know-how with time­pieces that blur the line be­tween form and func­tion. This year, the ladies ver­sion of the Mys­térieuse takes the term “jew­ellery watch” to a whole new level. Re­cur­ring ivy mo­tifs adorn the case and mother-of-pearl dial, their leaves snow-set with di­a­monds, a tech­nique that cov­ers the en­tire sur­face with pre­cious stones so the metal can­not be seen. You will also no­tice there are no hands. The fly­ing tour­bil­lon dou­bles as the hour in­di­ca­tor, as it ro­tates around the dial ev­ery 12 hours, while a pe­riph­eral ro­tat­ing flange stud­ded with a ruby (pic­tured) or sap­phire dis­plays the min­utes. There are only three Hy­bris Ar­tis­tica Mys­térieuse ladies time­pieces, one white, one blue and one red.


When Gi­rard-per­re­gaux re­launched the Lau­re­ato col­lec­tion last year with two lim­ited edi­tion pieces in trib­ute to the 1975 orig­i­nal, con­nois­seurs were ex­cited—did this mean the col­lec­tion was back for good? This year, Gi­rard-per­re­gaux marks the Lau­re­ato as a main­stay in its port­fo­lio with a num­ber of ref­er­ences span­ning four sizes—34, 38, 42 and 45mm. The quartz-pow­ered 34mm ver­sion suits women, while the 38mm piece suits both gen­ders. Not many sporty chic time­pieces look good with di­a­monds, but the Lau­re­ato pulls it off with panache, thanks in part to the curved edges of the eight-sided bezel.


This year is the 60th an­niver­sary of the Alti­plano line and Pi­aget is cel­e­brat­ing with a bang. Hard stone dials of turquoise and opal honour the col­lec­tion’s pop­u­lar­ity in the 1970s, while the ul­tra-thin Tour­bil­lon High Jew­ellery, fea­tur­ing a 4.6mm move­ment, shows the watch­maker is re­lent­less in its quest for slim­ness. The Dou­ble Jeu Lace­work (pic­tured) is a deca­dent cel­e­bra­tion of the di­a­mond an­niver­sary and show­cases the brand’s ex­per­tise in jew­ellery-mak­ing. A hinged lid with a fil­i­gree gold pat­tern cov­ers the mother-of-pearl dial, the pure white can­vas peek­ing from un­der the skele­tonised lid. Nine mar­quise-cut di­a­monds adorn the cover, while the bezel and lugs are lav­ishly ac­cented with bril­liant cuts.


Panerai’s LAB-ID Lu­mi­nor 1950 Car­botech 3 Days comes with a 50-year guar­an­tee. How can Panerai be so con­fi­dent? Be­cause it has re­placed ev­ery sin­gle com­po­nent with var­i­ous it­er­a­tions of car­bon. The case is made from Car­botech, a pro­pri­etary ma­te­rial that re­in­forces very thin sheets of car­bon fi­bre with the or­ganic poly­mer PEEK, mak­ing it more re­sis­tant to knocks and cor­ro­sion. The dial has been re­in­forced with car­bon nan­otubes, a coat­ing that ab­sorbs light, mak­ing it look blacker. Cru­cial com­po­nents have been re­placed by car­bon, and the main bridges and plates are made from a Tan­ta­lum based ce­ramic, thus mak­ing the watch im­mune to fric­tion dam­age, elim­i­nat­ing the need for lu­bri­ca­tion.


Vacheron Con­stantin’s Les Cabinotiers Ce­les­tia As­tro­nom­i­cal Grand Com­pli­ca­tion 3600, or the Ce­les­tia, is one of two com­pli­cated pieces it in­tro­duced this year in its Cabinotiers line. It has 23 com­pli­ca­tions but is a scant 8.7mm thick—and that in­cludes six bar­rels pro­vid­ing three weeks of au­ton­omy. How did the brand man­age to keep it so svelte? It took five years of de­vel­op­ment and the in­tro­duc­tion of a Bioflex al­loy for the bar­rel springs, en­abling them to store more en­ergy in less space. An as­tro­nom­i­cal time­piece, it re­veals the time based on, first, the sun’s po­si­tion in the sky, and se­cond, the po­si­tion of dis­tant stars. Turn it over and you will be trans­ported to the ce­les­tial skies with a ren­der­ing of the galaxy. Here, the side­real in­di­ca­tion fea­tures the con­stel­la­tion viewed from the north­ern hemi­sphere.


The Diver Chrono­graph Artemis Rac­ing is the third watch out of the col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween Ulysse Nardin and sailing team Artemis Rac­ing, the other two be­ing the Marine Diver Artemis Rac­ing and the Freak Wing. The time­piece fea­tures a uni­di­rec­tional bezel, ex­tra-large lu­mi­nes­cent hands, and wa­ter re­sis­tance to 200 me­tres. The crown, pusher and case are all coated in rub­ber, mak­ing them easy for gloved hands to ma­nip­u­late. The watch bears Artemis Rac­ing el­e­ments, in­clud­ing the team logo on the dial and bracelet, and it’s adorned en­tirely in the team’s colours of navy blue with ac­cents of yel­low on the tachymeter scale, chrono­graph coun­ters and hand. The whim­si­cal ad­di­tion of a re­lief of cata­ma­rans on the dial adds nau­ti­cal panache.


A Lange & Söhne’s Tour­bo­graph Per­pet­ual “Pour le Mérite” is a watch­mak­ing tour de force. It con­tains 684 com­po­nents, 206 of which are re­served for the per­pet­ual cal­en­dar, which ac­counts for leap years and needs no cor­rec­tion un­til 2100. Its moon phase dis­play is ac­cu­rate for 122 years. The com­bi­na­tion of a per­pet­ual cal­en­dar with a rat­tra­pante, or split-sec­onds, chrono­graph is rarely seen in time­pieces. De­spite the piece’s com­plex­ity, the dial is Teu­tonic in its prac­ti­cal­ity and so­phis­ti­ca­tion. A reg­u­la­torstyle dis­play for the per­pet­ual cal­en­dar presents the moon phase and date at 12 o’clock, the months and leap year at 3 o’clock, and the day and 30min chrono­graph counter at 9 o’clock. At 6 o’clock, the one­minute tour­bil­lon per­forms its dance. The watch is lim­ited to 50 pieces in platinum.


When it comes to rare su­per­cars, noth­ing quite beats the ap­peal of a Bu­gatti, but did you know there’s one even more ex­quis­ite than the Vey­ron? The Aérolithe was seen once, and once only, and re­mains an enig­matic ref­er­ence in the car­maker’s his­tory. Parmigiani Fleurier pays trib­ute to this car with the Bu­gatti Aérolithe Per­for­mance time­piece. The Aérolithe, de­signed by Jean Bu­gatti, was ex­tremely light, thanks to a body made of Elek­tro, a com­bi­na­tion of mag­ne­sium and alu­minium. Parmigiani used ti­ta­nium for the case, as it is one of the light­est and most durable ma­te­ri­als to­day. The 41mm time­piece fea­tures the in-house PF335 chrono­graph move­ment with a fly back mod­ule, and of­fers 50 hours of au­ton­omy.

20 AND COUNT­ING Aude­mars Piguet

The Aude­mars Piguet Royal Oak has made count­less break­throughs, in­clud­ing be­ing the first lux­ury time­piece in stain­less steel. This year, the Royal Oak Chrono­graph cel­e­brates its 20th an­niver­sary with a spe­cial edi­tion given an up­dated aes­thetic and a range of met­als, colours and fin­ish­ings. The se­ries of­fers var­i­ous two-tone dials, with the brand’s sig­na­ture Grande Tapis­serie mo­tif serv­ing as the back­ground for chrono­graph coun­ters of con­trast­ing hues. The pink-gold ver­sion comes with brown or blue dials with pink-gold coun­ters; the stain­less-steel ver­sions come with black, white or blue dials with con­trast­ing sub­di­als. The new ti­ta­nium and platinum ref­er­ence high­lights a grey dial and blue coun­ters.

Ham­mer Time gruebel forsey

Why is the Greubel Forsey Grande Son­nerie such a spe­cial time­piece? In terms of num­bers, it com­prises 935 parts, 11 safety fea­tures and two patents, and it took the watch­mak­ers 11 years to con­cep­tu­alise and de­velop the move­ment. The Grande Son­nerie chimes out the hours and quar­ters. The user can also se­lect a petite son­nerie mode, where only the full hours are chimed; or silent, with the chimes muted. The watch also has a minute re­peater func­tion. To in­ten­sify the acous­tics, Greubel Forsey used cathe­dral gongs that cir­cle the move­ment twice, thus pro­duc­ing a richer sound than singular gongs. The Tour­bil­lon 24 Se­con­des is just the cherry on top of this im­pres­sive me­chan­i­cal mas­ter­piece, bring­ing the brand’s sig­na­ture tour­bil­lon move­ment at a 25-de­gree in­cline to the mix.

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