January was a whirlwind in the world of watches as the annual Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) took over Geneva with the latest timepieces from some of the most established watchmakers of today.
From Cartier’s new Santos Dumont to IWC Schaffhausen’s Pilot range and the Montblanc Heritage Pulsograph, we round up 8 amazing creations showcased at SIHH 2019.
Montblanc Heritage Pulsograph Limited Edition 100
Inspired by ‘doctor’s watches’, the Montblanc Heritage Pulsograph Limited Edition 100 headlines SIHH 2019 for Montblanc by virtue of its appealing “salmon” dial, as well as distinctive decorative touches like sand-graining and bent hour, minute and seconds hands across a domed dial.
Physicians used this specially designed watches to time a patient’s heart rate in the past but of greater note is the historical throwback to the days of payphones with 3-minute intervals (3, 6 and 9-minute markings) – denoting the moment a quarter is needed for the payphone to extend your international IDD call.
The Montblanc Heritage Pulsograph Limited Edition 100 is a 40-mm steel cased timepiece powered by the Montblanc Manufacture monopusher chronograph calibre MB M13.21
Zenith El Primero A386 Revival
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of its definitive movement, Zenith is offering a 50-piece limited edition anniversary set with a trio of El Primero-based watches and the one that caught our attention is the Zenith El Primero A386 Revival – a tribute piece to the El Primero model of 1969.
Recreated as a replica of the last edition, the Zenith El Primero A386 Revival’s dimensions, as well as the original codes including the tricolour counters, tachymeter scale, font and leather strap, stayed true to the vintage A386 while the materials were switched up to give the new watch a new lease of life to the spirit of its predecessor.
Cartier Santos Dumont
Cased in gold, gold and steel or all steel, the new SIHH 2019 Cartier Santos Dumont takes the signature design codes like Roman numerals, visible screws on bezel (a major “faux pas” in luxury watchmaking of that era) , beaded winding crown sans crown guards and blue cabochon, and continues the legacy of the early watchmaking classic.
The basic geometry while greatly refined, remains unchanged. Promoting the pure and symmetrical mirroring the four corners of the Eiffel Tower, the Cartier Santos Dumont symbolised the design revolution of the early 1900s.
With an ultra-thin movement, the Santos Dumont operates on a high autonomy quartz movement that is able to operate twice as long as traditional quartz movements – a solid argument and standout at SIHH 2019.
Richard Mille RM 16-01 Automatic Fraise and Citron
Our favourites of the Richard Mille collection are the RM 16-01 Automatic Fraise and Citron, the original watch being a popular case from the brand. What has changed, besides the colour, is the inclusion of miniature sculptures on the dial, each painted in acrylics and lacquered by hand.
To make the miniatures even more realistic, Richard Mille “sugar-coated” the sculptures with powdered enamel and fine sand for the frosted look. Each sculpture, be it a tart jelly ribbon, a twisty lollipop or citrus candies are placed on the brand’s grade 5 titanium plates just above the movement.
While there hasn’t been much of a technical innovation per se, it’s an extremely vibrant way of presenting Richard Mille’s technical prowess in the art of horology. Read on to see some of the brand’s captures behind-the-scenes of making the watch.
Hermès Arceau L’heure de la Lune
Hermès Arceau L’heure de la lune is a moon phase watch with not one but two moons for the correct depiction of the earth’s only natural satellite, regardless of geographical locations, making this masterpiece a star in the world of watches this SIHH 2019.
Unlike conventional moon phases, this novelty takes a totally different approach. Two mother-of-pearl discs are affixed to the 12 and the six o’clock positions on either the black meteorite dial or the blue aventurine glass dial.
These are stationary and totally visible on the full moon day. Then, they would gradually become obscured by a pair of floating time and date dials which move in the clockwise direction at the pace of roughly six degrees per day, transforming the visible part of the mother-of-pearl discs into the waning gibbous, the third quarter, the waxing crescent, and so forth.
This latest novelty for SIHH 2019 is another illustrious example of how dedicated La Montre Hermès is to the art and science of watchmaking (or science and art, whichever you prefer).
IWC Pilot’s Watch Double Chronograph TOP GUN Ceratanium
While much of the fanfare at IWC’s SIHH booth has been about the seven-watch collection for the Pilot’s Watch Spitfire range, we’re going to have to give a mention to the Top Gun timepieces from this year.
With four pieces in total, the Pilot’s Watch Double Chronograph Top Gun Ceratanium leads the pack. The all-black stealth piece sees IWC’s titanium and ceramic alloy used in a 44mm case, as well as all case components, including the push-buttons and pin buckle. The 79420 calibre is an automatic double chronograph that lets its user record intermediate times.
Ulysse Nardin Freak X
At last year’s SIHH, Ulysse Nardin introduced the Freak Vision, a concept watch that incorporated 10 different innovations into a watch. This year, the brand goes on the offensive on the opposite end, choosing instead to unveil a new entry-level Freak, the Freak X.
As the brand puts it, the watch is the “little cousin of its Freak antecedents” maintaining many of the same aesthetic and functional elements as the rest of the family. What might stand out for Freak fans immediately is the crown on the watch.
While the Freak Vision and Freak Out models have been known for the crown-less system that uses the bezel to correct time, Ulysse Nardin has decided to go with the conventional crown this time round. The sizing of the watch as well is more conventional, at just 43mm instead of an imposing 45mm.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Grande Tradition Gyrotourbillon Westminster Perpétuel
The latest Gyrotourbillon Westminster Perpétuel exemplifies technical precision thanks to its three immense complications. Chiefly, the unique Jaeger LeCoultre innovation goes beyond a conventional tourbillon with modified axes.
Instead, the Grande Maison devised a system to ensure perfect equilibrium between its perpendicular, what results is a tourbillon of such chronometric precision that it deviates by a maximum of -1/+1 second a day against the average deviation of -4/+6 seconds a day for your traditional tourbillon.