It’s almost time for the biggest watch exhibition of the year but many may not have noticed that one huge watch exhibition has already taken place this year. The Salon Internationals de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) took place in Geneva during January. This is likely to be the final time SIHH takes place in January as it is due to unite with Baselworld for a showcase in late April/May 2020.
With such a big combined showcase due to take place in 2020, you might expect this years SIHH to be a low key affair. Well, it turned out that this was anything but the case! SIHH had already changed the world of wristwatches by challenging the domination of the watch exhibition market by Baselworld. This has ended up inspiring the move towards a mega-watch exhibition in 2020 taking place across two separate cities. But SIHH 2019 has a wide range of industry changing watches which any watch lover worth his salt need to know about! With that in mind, lets take a look at the industry changing watches at SIHH 2019.
Exciting Levels of Research and Development
One of the most impressive aspects of the watches at SIHH 2019 was the wide array of new horological technology on display. Almost every watch manufacturer in attendance at SIHH 2019 had something new to shout about. It’s clear that the research and development departments of the top watchmakers have been putting in a lot of extra hours this year!
Some manufacturers have been developing cutting edge horological technology while others have been developing less high-tech but incredibly useful improvements. Montblanc are one of the firms who focused on the latter by adding a bronze variation of their 1858 chronograph. This exciting addition to the new watch variant is the way that the bronze will patina over time. This feature will end up creating a unique watch on the wrist of every single owner. The most stylish of these new bronze 1858 chronograph variants comes in khaki green, which compliments the bronze perfectly.
Panerai have perhaps took one of the most bold steps forward with their eco-friendly titanium production. The titanium used in the case and bezel of their EcoTitanium watch is produced from recycled aircraft titanium. This helps reduce CO2 emissions by four times during the process of manufacturing the watch casing. This is an impressive statistic and one which many other firms will hope to emulate. This watch also boasts a strap manufactured using recycled plastic meaning that the watch is almost as eco-friendly as it can possible to be!
IWC’s R&D team have almost certainly been putting in the extra hours this year with their new Double Chronograph Top Gun watch. This new pilot watch has a case made out of high-tech ceratanium to make sure they are as durable as can be. Ceratanium is made by baking a high purity titanium alloy in a furnace until the metal transforms into a ceramic. IWC explain that the ceratanium casing is “perfectly suited to daily use in a confined aircraft cockpit and can also withstand extreme G-forces.” If it works half as well as IWC’s advertising says it will then you can expect to see a lot of pilots switching to IWC watches this year!
Bringing Back The Bling!
The watches at SIHH 2018 didn’t exactly have much in the way of sparkle but this year there’s a lot for those who love their bling! One of the best examples of the eye-catching watches at SIHH 2019 was the HYT H20 “Time is Fluid” watch which features exactly 1206 diamonds. This watch looks pretty impressive and certainly has a very impressive philosophy behind it, according to the HYT website. HYT explain that the diamonds all over the dial are to give the impression of water droplets delivered by nature.
But it’s not just the diamonds which make this watch special, this independent watchmaker has also had its R&D department putting in overtime! The HYT H20 features their unique patented technology which tells you the time using water. Coloured fluid progresses along a tube on the outside of the watch face to indicate to you what time it is. This watch is undoubtedly eye catching, undeniably unique and unbelievably cool!
Cartier and Jaeger-LeCoultre are two big name manufacturers who decided to take different approaches to the bling in their watches. Jaeger-LeCoultre decided to take the restrained approach with its Rendez-Vous watch. It features two rows of diamonds set in the perfect positions to display the maximum amount of beauty. It’s elegant and understated, meaning that it is perfect for everyday wear. On the other hand, Cartier have gone to the extreme with their Révélation d’Une Panthère. This incredible watch features 1000 diamonds which are used to form the face of a panther on the watch dial. If you want to make sure that all eyes are on your wrist when you walk into the room then this is the watch for you!
Bringing the Fun!
Only a few short years ago these Swiss watch exhibitions were anything but fun. Although Swiss watchmakers were still doing well there was a big fear that smartwatches (specifically the Apple Watch) might decimate the industry. This led to most watches at SIHH and Baselworld being demonstrations of expensive (but useless) technology or homages to popular watches of years gone by. Then the Apple Watches came and went…and not much changed in the Swiss watch market. Now the Swiss watchmakers can relax and let their hair down – and this years watch exhibitions see them do just that!
One of the most fun watches at SIHH 2019 comes from the luxury brand Richard Mille. This firm usually produces beautiful classic timepieces, but this years Bonbon Collection is a refreshing change of pace. Richard Mille state that this collection is the “playful and sweet side of watchmaking” and includes watches designed around all sorts of confectioneries. This is certainly one for the luxury watch aficionado who is partial to a desert course or two!
But the award for the ultra fun brand of SIHH 2019 goes to Romain Jerome who announced an official partnership with DC Comics. Anyone who loves Batman and Superman should be very excited about the watches Romain Jerome are going to produce. They have already put together some fantastic watches which pay tribute to Namco’s Pac Man and Nintendo’s Super Mario Brothers. So if you’re a retro pop culture fan it’s about time you started keeping your eye on the watches from Romain Jerome!