The new Santos de Cartier fuses its long history with a touch of modern functionality, maintaining its geometrical square, recalling Parisian geometry at the turn of the 20th century (eg the four angular corners of the Eiffel Tower). What has been reworked are sleeker lines on the bezel, and multi-purpose straps equipped with the Cartier Quickswitch system enabling users to swap steel or gold bracelets with calfskin or alligator. A Smartlink selffitting technology allows for further adjustment on strap length without the need for tools.
As a tribute to the Royal Oak Offshore’s silver anniversary this year, Audemars Piguet envisions the future of this collection with a noholds barred approach. The outcome is the Royal Oak Offshore Tourbillon Chronograph with its 45mm case – a first for this case size in the Offshore collection. Beneath the sapphire glass, an architectural re-imagination of timepiece mechanics is manifested through sandblasted titanium bridges, satin-brushed chamfered edges and a movement seemingly suspended from the bezel. The purposeful use of space also optimises the amount of light passing through the openworked movement. This model is available in a choice of stainless steel or 18-carat pink gold – each limited to 50 pieces. www.audemarspiguet.com
This year, the dreamlike world of Van Cleef & Arpels sees the debut of a pair of timepieces which fully displays the maison’s expertise in lapidary. In Lady Arpels Nuit Feerique and Lady Arpels Jour Feerique, the interwoven themes of day and night, and of a fairy figure questing for the heavens, are beautifully embellished. Bringing these artistic and fantastical notions to life are a combination of gems and precious metals; white, yellow and pink gold; diamonds; blue, pink, yellow and mauve sapphires; aventurine; onyx; garnets; turquoise; enamel and motherof-pearl. www.vancleefarpels.com
Vacheron Constantin rekindles that longing for the early days of exploration through its Metier d’art Les Aerostiers collection. A sumptuous rendition of five hot- air balloon flights undertaken in France between 1783 and 1785 are brought to life with engraving, pounced ornament and exquisite plique-a-jour enamel work in 40mm 18-carat gold pieces. Each hot-air balloon requires three weeks of crafting, while the translucent background of enamel recalls the techniques applied on stained glass windows to produce varying, subtle shades. This collection is produced in a limited run of five numbered pieces per reference.
The first Audemars Piguet watch with a flying tourbillon, this futuristic number is high-tech on the inside as well as out. Its sandblasted titanium case has a gently curved profile and faceted angles plus a vertically brushed black ceramic bezel completed with the Audemars Piguet signature hexagonal screws.
Proffering 237 hours of power reserve and a 3Hz frequency (21,600vph), the movement consists of sandblasted black titanium bridges highlighted by pink goldtoned polished angles. Calibre 2954’s stunning architecture occupies 9.9mm in height and features an HNR function selection indicator styled as a disc. Royal Oak Concept Flying Tourbillon GMT is a hefty timepiece but when you’re wearing an alpha male watch like this one, subtlety is the last thing on your mind. www.audemarspiguet.com
Remember the mind-bendingly thin Piaget Calibre 900P? It was the one that fused the bezel with the case, and then the case with the movement, so everything was just movement and sapphire crystal.
Currently the thinnest manualwinding watch in the world, it is just 3.65mm thin and now it is joined by the world’s thinnest automatic watch, the Calibre 910P. The new ultra-thin model sits a little higher at 4.3mm and is slightly wider at 41mm instead of 38mm, but it brings something new to the table: a peripheral
Barely thicker than the leather strap it’s fitted on, the Altiplano Ultimate 910P’s case doubles up as the main plate and all 219 components are assembled within those minute confines. Some of its gear wheels measure just 0.12mm thick where ordinary ones can go up to 0.20mm.
In addition the barrel is suspended by a single bridge on the dial side unlike customary barrels which are also fixed on the main plate, and it gets its 50-hour power reserve from the 22- carat gold black PVD coated peripheral oscillating weight. An impressive feat, no doubt. int.piaget.com
Amodern interpretation of two favourite classical complications, the Minute Repeater Tri-axial Tourbillon also keeps things interesting with a triple axis tourbillon as opposed to the standard bridged variety. Literally providing song and dance, the chimes of the repeater are met with the mesmerising rotations of the tourbillon as it completes one full turn every two minutes for the outermost carriage, one minute for the next and finally 30 seconds for the innermost one.
Everything that enables the watch to chime the time can be seen from the front as GirardPerregaux has dispensed with a conventional dial. Its generous 48mm titanium case allows for maximum acoustics, as do the two box-type sapphire crystals on front and back, machined with a bevel and glare-proofed for perfect clarity. Activate the chimes through the sliding lever on the side of the case and listen to the time in hours, quarters and minutes. Loud, clear and bright, the strikes also follow a steady cadence although they could reverberate a little longer, which could be the difference between a prototype and a finished piece.