Eight Watches You Need to Know About Right Now, From SIHH 2015
There are literally hundreds of watches unveiled at SIHH in a matter of days. It’s easy to feel like there are too many to sift through, and not all of them are worth paying attention to, either. Here are eight of our favorites that you want to check out before retailers’ waiting lists get too long.
Montblanc Heritage Spirit Orbis Terrarum
With ex Jaeger-LeCoultre CEO Jerome Lambert at the helm, Montblanc has been creating traditionally high-end complications at more affordable prices. Last year there was a steel perpetual calendar for under $13,000 and now we have a true world timer with a day/night map on the dial for under $6,000 in steel. The price point opens this complication up to an entirely new audience. We’ll always applaud that.
$5,800 (steel) and $16,100 (rose gold), montblanc.com
Greubel Forsey Tourbillon 24 Secondes Vision
Usually Greubel Forsey’s watches are all about depth, so we were surprised to see them slimming things down with the 24 Secondes Vision. The tourbillon still needs breathing room, so there’s a sapphire bubble coming out of the caseback; this looks awkward but was actually engineered with the bone structure of the wrist in mind so you don’t even feel it. This watch has all the finishing and know-how of its larger brothers, but in a more discrete package.
Price upon request, greubelforsey.com
Cartier Clé de Cartier
Non-round watches have been a big part of Cartier’s collection since the first Santos was made in 1904. The Clé is an entirely new shape that’s tough to describe. It’s sort of tonneau shaped, but with a round dial and a back that curves to fit the wrist snugly. The crown is actually rectangular like an old clock key. In short, it’s awesome, and with an in-house movement and 26 variations in white and rose gold, with and without diamonds, it’s going to make a lot of people happy.
From $19,700, cartier.com
Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Calendar with Meteorite Dial
This is a watch that could easily have slipped into gimmick territory. JLC has outfitted an existing triple calendar with a dial made of a sliver of meteorite taken from a stone in Sweden. Yes, it’s from an actual meteorite. The steel version has a natural-colored dial while the rose gold version is stained slightly darker. Both look great even if you don’t know the astral history, and you’re not suddenly going to become Captain Kirk to your co-workers.
$12,400 (steel) and $23,900 (rose gold), jaegerlecoultre.com
Piaget Altiplano Chronograph
Ultra-thin is Piaget’s bread and butter, but the flagship Altiplano line of slim watches has never contained a chronograph. This first attempt is one of those watches that you have to wear to truly understand. The case is insanely thin for a flyback chronograph that also includes a GMT function and the balanced proportions keep it from feeling like a dinner plate. My biggest complaint is that it’s only available in red gold unless you want a diamond bezel.
$28,000 (rose gold), piaget.com
IWC Portugieser Hand-Wound Eight Days Edition “75th Anniversary”
When you mess with a classic, the results are often disastrous. And, if we’re being honest, IWC’s gone that route before. But with the 75th anniversary limited edition of the Portugieser, IWC nailed it. By distilling out the best elements of the 1939 original while adding an updated modern movement, IWC has created a watch that had all the vintage collectors fighting to try it on. You’ll notice it’s also no longer called the Portuguese: it got it’s original name back in addition to the face lift.
$11,500 (steel, 750 pieces) and $22,000 (red gold, 175 pieces), iwc.com
Panerai Radiomir 1940 Equation of Time
Mechanical watches are entirely outdated technology, which is why I love it when a complication is less about utility and more about the romance associated with timekeeping. Days are not truly 24 hours long year round, and an equation of time measures the few minutes plus or minus between the time your watch reads and the actual time based on the Earth’s rotation. By putting it in a simple, understated package, Panerai’s created a (limited edition) thinking man’s sport watch.
$22,800 (steel, 100 pieces), panerai.com
This watch has been a long time coming. The hands telescope in and out to always be the same distance from the edge of the oval case, and this mechanism still required perfecting after Parmigiani first announced the model two years ago. It’s ready for customers now, though, and it’s fun to watch it work. Something tells me that if I owned one I might spend more time spinning the hands around the dial than actually using the watch to tell time.
$60,000 (white or rose gold), parmigiani.ch
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept RD#1
It’s hard to consider this a real “release” since it’s a concept watch not for sale. That said, Audemars Piguet has created a minute repeater that sounds better than any I’ve ever heard before. It’s loud, crisp, and sounds like a musical instrument not a broken alarm clock. When this technology finds its way into actual production pieces, AP is going to blow everyone away. If you’re ever lucky enough to get a chance to see the RD#1 in person, don’t pass it up. And invite me along.