SIHH never fails to be a whirlwind, and this year the Salon is seemingly playing host to more new watches than ever. Here’s The Jackal’s run-down on those releases we think are particularly special, with news from all the major watchmakers in tow. We’ll be updating this page each morning this week, so keep checking back for more bulletins.
1. Cartier Santos de Cartier Chronograph
While not strictly speaking a new model, Cartier’s reinvigorated Santos is a real beauty. Few watches are more storied; Louis Cartier created the original Santos in 1904, for keen aviator Alberto Santos-Dumont. Its sizeable proportions were designed so it could be easily read in the cockpit. Nowadays, its silhouette is true to the original, but for 2019, the Santos has taken on an extra-dressy edge. The new models come in a range of sophisticated finishes; either stainless steel, bi-colour stainless and darkened steel (see above), bi-colour stainless steel and yellow gold or full-on rose gold.
The new Santos de Cartier Chronograph is a highlight, elegant but sporty all at once. Cartier’s new (ish – it was introduced in 2013) in-house chronograph movement, the 1904-CH MC, powers this stunner, and it’s the kind of caliber that gets watch critics all a-fluster with its vertical coupling and linear zero resetting; features that enable the chronograph to reset regardless of how lightly you press the pusher.
2. Panerai’s Submersible collection
Dive watch news from Italy’s finest. Panerai’s SIHH centrepiece this year is a new Submersible collection, which is split into three segments; Diver’s Professional, Survival Instruments and Ocean Saving, each with its own limited edition release. This is our favourite, the Luminor Submersible Chrono “Guillaume Néry Edition”. Quite apart from its special edition status, invest in this and you’ll have a chance to meet the French free diving champion himself (he’s a friend of the brand) and the chance to dive with Nery himself in French Polynesia, in an experience arranged for you by Panerai.
Whether this is an incentive or not (I’d be terrified) this watch is a handsome thing – intriguing in its combination of two different blues (on the hands and ceramic bezel insert) and the softly textured grey face. It’s also technically robust; water-resistant to 300-metres, powered by Panerai’s ever-reliable P.9100 automatic mechanical movement with a 72-hour power-reserve. In short, it’s as aesthetically pleasing as it is fit for purpose.
3. Jaeger Le-Coultre Master Grande Tradition Gyrotourbillon Westminster Perpétuel
I’m no expert, but this could be just about the most complex piece of precision machinery I’ve ever seen, so let’s break down what’s going on here. Jaeger Le-Coultre has made multi-axis tourbillon movements for a number of years now (this is the fifth gyrotourbillon from JLC), but this watch adds two further complications to the mix; a minute repeater that’s been set to play the Westminster carillon (the same chime that Big Ben makes, hence the name) and also features a perpetual calendar mechanism with indications for the day, the date, the month and the year.
Whichever way you cut it, that’s a lot of watchmaking in a timepiece that somehow manages to remain refined, elegant and wearable; all this technical wizardry comes in a white gold case that’s only 43mm diameter, you’d think it’d be much bigger. I could bleat on about how brilliant this thing is all day, but let’s face it, you’re already sold. Only 18 have been produced in total, nine with a blue enamel dial and nine with silver grained dial. Got your piggy bank out? Well, for a cool €800,000, one of them could be yours.
4. Baume et Mercier Clifton Baumatic Perpetual Calendar
Regular readers may recall that Baume et Mercier launched its first in-house movement just a couple of months ago, updating the Baumatic line in the process. This new watch marks the next step in the collection’s evolution, adding a perpetual calendar function to its self-winding Baumatic BM13-1975AC-1 movement. It’s a lovely thing to take in; classic in its looks with a white dial, smooth rounded lines, satin-finished 18-carat pink gold case (42mm in diameter) and blue accents on the dial. Complications apart, it is technically solid too, with a five-day power reserve and a design that resists magnetic fields, reducing its maintenance requirements. The brand recommends this is serviced once every seven years, rather than the usual three to five.
5. Vacheron Constantin Overseas Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin
Vacheron Constantin’s unveiled a number of impressive timepieces over the past two days, but our pick – for its sheer beauty alone – goes to the new Overseas Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin. While it comes in three versions, this royal blue and pink gold design is as handsome as it gets with its blue-lacquered, sunburst satin-finished dial, and rose gold hands and markers. As you’d expect it showcases all the details expected of the Overseas line; six-sided bezel, the 22-carat pink gold Overseas oscillating weight and the choice of interchangeable straps (blue alligator or textured rubber).
At its heart? The Vacheron Constantin 1120 QP calibre, an ultra-thin mechanical self-winding movement with its aforementioned perpetual calendar and moon-phase functions. Representing a true feat of miniaturisation, the calibre houses no less than 276 components within a space only 4.05mm thick. The case itself is a mere 8.5mm thick. When they say its an ultra-thin watch, they mean it.
6. Lange & Sohne Zeitwerk Date
The Zeitwerk is a curious bit of kit. A. Lange & Söhne debuted the watch in 2008 and it the time it was an absolute revolution. The sizeable central hours and minutes displays change digitally, but are powered by a mechanical 512-part movement with a constant force escapement to ensure the whole thing works smoothly. There have been developments on the original since then, but this new Zeitwerk Date is the first of the breed that’s introducing an additional ‘small’ complication – a date window.
Like the original, it combines cutting edge timekeeping tech with old school luxury looks; the 42.2mm solid white gold case is pure and simple, and the silver sunray dial pays it the perfect compliment. The power reserve and seconds sub-dial add some traditional design poise to an otherwise thoroughly futuristic looking piece.
7. Montblanc 1858 Geosphere
Montblanc’s SIHH offering is noteworthy for its rakish looks. The Geosphere isn’t a new watch, but in rugged khaki green with a bronze case and nato strap, it stands apart from its dressy black and steel predecessor. It’s part of the new 1858 collection, which is bronze and green throughout, connecting the Montlbanc man to the brand’s long-held ‘spirit of exploration’ and the great-outdoors. The Geosphere will doubtless be a useful thing for any adventurers out there; world timer with a second time zone, plus day-and-night indicators for both hemispheres, it’ll keep pace with even the most adventurous Montblanc wearer’s movements. The 42mm case’s satin finish (which will patina over time) together with the dial’s retro cathedral shaped hands, train-track minutes and original 1930s logo link the watch back to Montblanc’s historic Minerva Manufacture, and help to elevate a design that feels robust and elegant.
The LVMH contingent
Now, the LVMH group doesn’t show at SIHH, but it has released a number of new novelties this week that are noteworthy. While not strictly SIHH watches, these are worth swotting up on.
1. Zenith Pilots’ Type 20s
Zenith’s Pilot’s watches are already much sought-after, but the manufacture’s new pumped-up designs in black and blue are especially sharp. Both benefit from sizeable 45mm cases and rugged, retro design features – devoid of unnecessary details. The Pilot Type 20 Ton-Up Black has an aged (patinated) stainless steel case and black oily nubuck strap, channeling its ‘Ton Up Boy’ cafe racer inspiration. The Pilot Type 20 Extra Special Blue is if anything even sharper with its bronze case and matte blue dial and strap. Both have especially engraved titanium case-backs, too. Whichever you choose, it’ll be powered by a Zenith Elite 679 Caliber, an in-house Zenith stalwart with a 50-hour power reserve.
2. TAG Heuer’s Carrera Calibre Heuer 02 Tourbillon Nanograph
The name might be a mouthful, but there’s a lot going on in this watch. Fundamentally, it houses a revolutionary hairspring (the part of a caliber that controls how a movement oscillates, and therefore the rate at which a watch’s hands move). Said hairspring is made with a featherweight carbon composite that’s unique to TAG, and is more over nanoscopic; that is to say its hexagonal cross-section measures one million times smaller than a millimetre in size. Thanks to this cutting-edge composition, it’s virtually unaffected by gravity and shock, improving the watch’s precision considerably.
Though that’s quite mind-bending enough, the new Carrera features other bells and whistles too, like the multilayer dial and tourbillon movement combination, which features sandblasted and fine-brushed hexagons on the movement plate, all visible through its open-worked dial. Yep, it’s a hum-dinger this thing.