— Last January, the 28th edition of the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH), the first of the two major industry shows in Switzerland, marked an impressive start into the watchmaking year 2018 (make sure to check www.watchtime.com for our extensive coverage from the show, and expect an extensive SIHH special in the next issue). Some of the exhibiting houses introduced new, more accessible collections targeted at broader audiences, like the 1858 from Montblanc, the Polaris from Jaegerlecoultre or the Fiftysix from Vacheron Constantin, while other manufacturers used the show to highlight their expertise in complicated watches, like A. Lange and Söhne’s Triple Split, Greubel Forsey’s Mechanical Nano or the thinnest perpetual calendar from Audemarspiguet.
Speaking of thinnest: shortly before SIHH, Piaget had introduced the thinnest automatic wristwatch, reclaiming the title from Bulgari’s Octo Finissimo Automatic, which was presented only a couple of months earlier in Basel. You will find these two brands represented in omas Wanka’s selection of record-breaking watches in this issue of Watchtime. But they are also a great example showing that the apparent battle between the two Swiss watch fairs is heating up. SIHH, now boasting an impressive 35 brands, is not only continuing to attract new exhibitors, the show is also becoming more accessible to end consumers, thanks to the public day on Friday. e much larger Baselworld, on the other hand, most likely will continue to have a more imminent impact as a trendsetter with power brands, such as Rolex, Patek Philippe, LVMH and the Swatch Group, but it may have to find new ways to further elevate the event experience for both visitors and exhibitors.
For a lot of collectors, the vast number of novelties launched in Basel, Geneva or throughout the year often means that other watches have to be sold first in order to make room. In the early days of the web, this role was reserved for newsgroups and classified ads; today, the pre-owned segment has evolved into an organized, multibillion dollar business that could be “10 to 20 times the size of the market for new watches,” according to Audemars Piguet’s CEO François-henry Bennahmias. e secondary market also represents a chance for the industry to increase control over a product throughout its life cycle, and is a business opportunity for new players, as you will see in our article about the pre-owned watch market in the digital age.
Also in this issue, Justin Mastine-frost tells you everything there is to know about watches made for the Bronze Age, and Roberta Naas met with Patrick Pruniaux to talk about Ulysse Nardin’s latest innovations. Logan Baker interviewed Julien Tornare from Zenith, and Mark Bernardo introduces you to the extensive 150th Anniversary Jubilee Collection from IWC. We also tested watches from Oris, Longines and Tudor, and visited Bovet in Switzerland to learn more about what it means to build a watch manufacture (and buy a castle) in an impressively short time. Last but not least: meet Antoine and Florian Preziuso, the father and son duo behind creations like the “Tourbillon of Tourbillons,” a watch with three tourbillons interacting on a revolving plate. It’s definitely one of the showpieces that make every watch show worth attending, whether it’s SIHH, Baselworld or Watchtime’s own show in New York (Oct. 26-27, 2018).