New Watch Wednesday: Looking Beyond SIHH
While all eyes were on SIHH last week, brands not showing at the fair were still releasing new watches—and some of them are very much worth noting. Blancpain introduced a new complication to its lineup, Hublot took an elegant turn with a new moonphase, and Girard-Perregaux updated it's 3D tourbillon. Let's take a look.
Blancpain Villeret Grand Date
It's hard to add bells and whistles to a classic dress watch without cluttering things up. Blancpain has done a nice job with the Villeret Grand Date, adding a large date complication at 6 o'clock while keeping the rest of the dial clean and open. The decision to go with a centered seconds hand instead of a subsidiary seconds dial was smart, leaving more breathing room around the logo and hands. The 40mm rose-gold case is a little bigger than I'd like to see for a true dress watch, but it's not oversize.
Powering the Villeret Grand Date is the in-house caliber 6950, which was built from the beginning with a true "big date" complication. This term doesn't describe the size of the date display, but rather the fact that the two digits are shown on two independent wheels instead of one. It's more difficult to engineer and uses a lot more power. Here the date switches instantaneously at midnight, and it's worth staying up to see it flip.
Price: Not yet set
Hublot Classic Fusion Aero Moon
Hublot gets a lot of attention for massive ceramic chronographs worn by NBA all-stars and neon-and-diamond creations you can see from space. But when the brand reins it in, really good things can happen. Classic Fusion is Hublot's most restrained line, and the new Aero Moon keeps that slim profile and uses it to frame an open-worked triple calendar with moonphase. This is a complicated watch, and you can see the mechanism at work right up front. This makes the calendar a little tough to read, but it's worth it for the view.
As you'd hope from a watch with "moon" in its name, the execution of the moonphase complication is awesome here. A translucent sapphire disc lets you see both of the textured moons rotate, even when they're meant to be hidden. This looks especially graphic considering how busy the rest of the dial is. The watch comes in titanium or Hublot's proprietary platinum-gold alloy "king gold." Go with titanium on this one; trust us.
Price: $17,600 (titanium), $34,800 (king gold)
Girard-Perregaux Tri-Axial Tourbillon
It's been almost a year since Girard-Perregaux previewed the Tri-Axial Tourbillon at Baselworld 2014, and now we're getting the second incarnation of the monster watch, this time in white gold. As the name implies, the heart of this watch is a tourbillon that rotates on three different axes instead of one. To make things more complicated, the rates of those three rotations are different (30 seconds, one minute, two minutes), meaning the tourbillon returns back to its original position only every two minutes. This watch is really no joke.
Even if we set the price aside (it's more than half a million dollars), this watch is more a show of force by Girard-Perregaux than something to wear out to dinner. But that's deliberate: Girard-Perregaux is a true manufacturer that doesn't get enough credit for its in-house movements. When the watchmakers in La Chaux-de-Fonds make watches like this, it shines a spotlight on what they are capable of.
Price: $511,940 (white gold)
Correction: A previous version of this story referred to king gold as Hublot's proprietary scratch-resistant gold alloy.