January is always an exciting time for watch lovers because of the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie show (SIHH). Like the years before, this year saw the brands showcase a bevy of new watches, including those by several independent brands new to the show. Honestly, it’s difficult for the casual watch lover to keep up with the number of new releases, but that’s what our bi-weekly round-ups are for. In this roundup, join us as we recap the highlights from SIHH 2016, as well as share our top 10 watches from this year’s show. Next, we take a closer look at what I think are the standout pieces of this year.
SIHH 2016 aside, we also explore the increasingly important role that typography plays in watch design, and also learn more about the earliest Rolex Submariners. Finally, we conclude by learning about the significance of the Breguet Classique Chronométrie 7727 and also revisiting the Apple Watch.
1. Top 10 Watches Of SIHH 2016 & Show Report
As a Frenchman, I was therefore extremely impatient to take care of the Slim, with high hopes and — let’s be fair — some anxieties of being disappointed. The very first question was clear: how thin just are we talking to your time-only Slim? I will allow the specs do the speaking here: whether the movement is only 2.6 mm thick, the watch case itself reaches 9 mm. That really is too thick to be eligible as a ultra-thin watch but to me personally, yet this elevation was actually an asset as it balances the overall proportions of this watch. Had the situation been too flat, with a 39.5 millimeter diameter you’d have faced the chance of it appearing like a plate on the wrist. The first time that I held the Slim, I was reassured. As surprising as it may seem, the lugs were the very first revelation of this Hermès. Short and angled, not only do they give some style to the case, but they also make the watch wear exceptionally well, even for somebody used to classic proportions (most of those watches I wear position between 33 mm and 36 mm). The form of this lugs does matter — this was the very first insight of this French test drive.Immediately after the dial captured my attention, it was rather difficult not to detect the odd numerals. The font was designed particularly for the Lean with a French graphic designer called Philippe Apeloig. While the name may not ring a bell for you, in case you’d lived in France you’d probably have come across the numerous typographies that he made for museum exhibitions, in addition to the horse jumping event Le Saut d’Hermès back in 2013. The vintage car enthusiasts among us may also remember his job for the exhibition of Ralph Lauren’s outstanding collection in 2011.
SIHH 2016 was the 26th edition of the show and saw the brands showcase their latest pieces alongside nine celebrated independent watchmakers, including Laurent Ferrier, De Bethune, HYT and more. Now that SIHH 2016 has concluded, here’s an overview of the show, as well as ten of the most important watches that we saw there.
2. A. Lange & Söhne Datograph Perpetual Tourbillon Watch Hands-On
Every year, A. Lange & Söhne releases a new hero watch – an outstanding piece that stands out amongst the rest of its new watches. For 2016, the hero watch was undoubtedly the new Datograph Perpetual Tourbillon. If you can’t already tell, it’s a Datograph with perpetual calendar complication and a tourbillon. Technically, it isn’t anything new, but what’s really outstanding about the watch is the movement itself. Already, the Datograph’s caliber L.951.6 is a visually arresting movement, but the new Datograph Perpetual Tourbillon’s L.952.2 takes things to another level. If looking at this new movement doesn’t get you interested in watches, then all hope is lost.
3. Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Double Balance Wheel Openworked Watches Hands-On
The most interesting watch from Audermars Piguet this year, is the new Royal Oak Double Balance Wheel Openworked watch. Royal Oaks with skeletonized dials are not new, but what’s intriguing about this watch is that it has two balance wheels that are mounted side-by-side. It is based on the theory of resonance, where it is thought that two balance wheels beating with each other will be keep able to keep more accurate time by regulating each other, and also be able to counteract outside disturbances more easily.I know of only two watchmakers, F.P. Journe and Haldimann, who have made watches based on this principle, which makes the Royal Oak Double Balance Wheel Openworked watch all the more unique.
4. New Panerai Radiomir 1940 3 Days GMT Automatic Watches For SIHH 2016 Hands-On
For 2016, there’s an emphasis from Panerai on growing its popular Radiomir 1940 collection, so they are releasing four new Radiomir 1940 watches featuring the GMT complication. There are two distinct versions – the Panerai Radiomir 1940 3 Days GMT Automatic Acciaio and the Panerai Radiomir 1940 3 Days GMT Power Reserve Automatic Acciaio – and each version will have two distinct types of dials. All four will also be powered by variants of Panerai’s new P.4000 movement which features a micro-rotor, which also means that they’ll be relatively thin (for a Panerai, at least). Have a good look at these new watches here.
5. Cartier Drive De Cartier Watch Hands-On
Personally, I think a lot of Cartier’s expertise with watch aesthetics really lies with its case designs. The Tank, Santos, and Ballon Bleu, are all iconic case designs in their own right. And last year, Cartier released the Clé de Cartier, which is a cushion-shaped case with a distinctive crown inspired by the key. This year, Cartier has introduced yet another new design and it is called the Drive de Cartier. Targeted at men, the new Cartier Drive is inspired by vintage automobiles (the name should already be a giveaway). The Drive is cushion-shaped like last year’s Clé de Cartier, but more masculine, and yet thin and quite elegant-looking all at the same time. Will this be a hit for Cartier?
6. Greubel Forsey Signature 1 Watch Hands-On
Greubel Forsey is known for its dedication to quality and the company prides itself on its single-minded approach to hand-finishing its watches to the highest standards. However, even they are not immune to the realities of the present economic climate. To appeal to a wider audience, Greubel Forsey released the Signature 1 at SIHH 2016. The Signature 1 is their “simplest” watch to date, but no effort has been spared in making the watch, and the Signature 1 possesses all of the high-end hand-finishing traits that long-time customers have come to expect from the brand. Don’t just take our word for it, we have the photos to prove it here.
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