Haute Horlogerie’s busiest week… SIHH 2018 was bigger, bolder and more connected than ever before.
HOT brings you a behind the scenes look at the highlights of SIHH 2018, what to look out for in the year ahead and a curated list of our editor’s top watch picks.
Keep reading to find out what’s HOT!
The Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH), which took place from January 15th to 19th in Geneva, Switzerland is the first major event of the year in the world of fine watchmaking. Industry moguls and aficionados alike, wait with bated breath to discover just what the time-keeping world has in store for the year ahead. With a list of 35 exhibitors (up from 30 in 2017), comprising both historical Maisons as well as Carré des Horlogers or independent watchmakers being represented, the 28th edition of SIHH has reached out to a wider audience of watch lovers everywhere.
After a notable lull in the global horological industry over the last few years, SIHH 2018 successfully lifted the mood. In addition to the 35 exhibitors, an increased media presence and the continuation of the ‘open day’ concept introduced last year, SIHH also staged two exclusive exhibitions. One, entitled ‘The Beauty of Time’ was designed to show visitors some of the most exceptional timepieces going back to the Middle Ages. The exhibition coincides with the release a book by the same name by the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie, in partnership with Flammarion.
The second exhibition features the first ever display of 19 mystery clocks by Cartier, giving enthusiasts a chance to discover those masterpieces featuring the technical sophistication and artistry that earns them the label of works of art.
What’s HOT at SIHH?
SIHH 2018 saw the introduction of complications specifically designed for women with the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak concept for women. Available in two models, haute horlogerie meets haute joaillerie in the stunning 38.5mm wristwatches set in 18K white-gold with either brilliant-cut or baguette-cut diamonds.
This year also saw the reinvention of the classic Cartier Santos, which features interchangeable straps, another trend that stood out at this year’s event.
Both the Panerai Oro Rosso and the Jaeger leCoultre Polaris introduce the concept of interchangeable bracelets or straps for the luxury watch market. This feels like one more step in the right direction towards making haute horlogerie appear more easily accessible. Buyers and collectors alike will relish the chance to change the straps on their timepieces with ease in the comfort of their own home.
The idea of drawing inspiration from the world around is not entirely new to the world of fine watchmaking. This year, we saw several maisons represent their own inspirations through masterpieces of workmanship and machinery.
While Van Cleef & Arpels’ Lady Arpels Planetarium is very clearly inspired by astrology and showcases the Sun as well as Mercury, Venus and Earth, the understated elegance of the Walter Lange 1815 limited edition by A.Lange and Söhne pays subtle homage to the watchmakers’ late chairman.
More inspired timepieces include the Richard Mille RM 53-01, which is a tribute to the sport of Polo, and one of its most prominent players, Pablo Mac Donough. This watch is a testament to fine engineering, using a patented laminated sapphire crystal, and shock resistant up to 5000 Gs. The rugged trend continues with the Baume & Mercier Clifton Club Burt Munro Tribute Limited Edition. The watch, crafted in collaboration with Indian Motorcycles, honours the record-breaking racing legend Burt Munro and features a bold ‘35’, Munro’s lucky number and the stylized ‘I’ of the motorcycle brand. Roger Dubuis also turns to the magnificence of the automotive industry with its Excalibur Aventador S Pink Gold, named for Lamborghini’s flagship high-performance roadster, a new addition to its recently launched Lamborghini collection.
Amongst the Carré des Horlogers as well, MB&F’s second collaboration with Finnish watchmaker Stepan Sarpaneva features a case inspired by automotive engineering and accented by the designer’s signature gold moon motif, with one large and two smaller moons.
Finally, colour makes its mark with the Hautlence Vortex Gamma, which is crafted in a unique HLLightColor material that can be intrinsically tinted with any colour on the Pantone spectrum. This feature allows the watch to be truly customized with any combination of over 1500 colours in the Pantone system.
SIHH 2018 definitely heralded an exciting time for the luxury watch industry, with the promise of innovation, creativity, artistry and mechanical excellence scaling new heights.