Watch manufacturers who present their new models at the annual Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) fair each January, in Geneva, set the stage for the year to come. These first timepieces out of the gate often represent years of work behind the scenes, but to the retailers visiting the fair these watches are the embodiment of the tastes and trends of the here and now. Westime, with four boutiques in Southern California, is the official retail partner for 10 watch manufacturers who participate in the prestigious SIHH fair. Here are some of my favorite new watches from these 10 top brands:
ROYAL OAK OFFSHORE DIVER CHRONOGRAPH
In vibrant new shades of tangerine, lime, citron or blue, the newest dive chronographs from Audemars Piguet are real eye-catchers on land and up to 300 meters below the waves. The 42mm stainless steel case with black ceramic pushers and crown contains an automatic movement, which is visible through a sapphire caseback. Its inner bezel rotates to help divers track their bottom time.
For SIHH, Christophe Claret issued a new eight-piece limited edition of his highly complicated Soprano musical tourbillon, presented in a red gold case with chocolate PVD titanium for the first time. The 45mm hand-wound watch is powered by a tourbillon regulator with parachute shock absorber. It also contains a minute repeater complication with a Westminster chime, and four patented gongs and hammers.
DB25 WORLD TRAVELLER
Frequent fliers will find De Bethune’s newest creation especially useful, and as beautiful as any of its previous hand-crafted timepieces. The new DB25 World Traveller, in a 45mm white gold case, is a hand-wound watch that presents local time, home time, day/ night and date. An innovative pink and blue “microsphere” seems to float on the dial at the home time city, and its own rotation reveals AM vs. PM.
Most famous for its tourbillon inventions, Greubel Forsey introduced its first time-only, hand-wound watch at SIHH. Relatively simple for this manufacturer at least, the Signature 1, available in steel, gold or platinum limited editions of 33 pieces, will appeal to collectors who have long admired Greubel Forsey’s sophisticated craftsmanship but longed for a more attainable timepiece.
H. MOSER & CIE
SWISS ALP WATCH
This traditional haute horlogerie watchmaker’s response to the rise of smartwatches is the Swiss Alp Watch, which is bound to cause Apple Watch followers to do a double-take. The similarly-shaped watch proudly does not connect to any electronic device. Rather, it contains a 100% Swiss made, hand-wound manufactured movement at its heart, and H. Moser’s iconic fume dial rather than a two-inch screen.
Designed in partnership with ex-footballer and art collector Eric Cantona, the Vortex Primary, an 18-piece limited edition, is a multi-colored mechanical piece of art. Its 52mm black PVD titanium case is inspired by mosaics and stained glass windows. The resulting 19 different colored glass and sapphire panels reveal its impressive patented automatic movement from all sides.
SKULL BAD BOY
A new black 50-piece limited edition of HYT’s menacing Skull utilizes an ink-black fluid to represent the time. Though it’s not visible in the dark, the black liquid suits the spirit of the new 51mm Skull perfectly. A combination of steel and carbon gives the dial itself a Damascus steel effect, and the eye sockets contain the power reserve indicator and the seconds disc.
HOROLOGICAL MACHINE NO. 6 SV
Two transparent sapphire crystal plates sandwiching a platinum or red gold caseband allow the fascinating movement of the HM6 “Space Pirate” to finally be on display. Previously available in metal cases only, the two new 10-piece limited editions of the Space Pirate in sapphire reveal an extra dimension. Sapphire domes enclose a flying tourbillon, hours and minutes, and the rotor’s spherical turbines.
RM 50-02 ACJ TOURBILLON SPLIT SECONDS CHRONOGRAPH
The constantly-evolving world of modern aircraft design has always inspired Richard Mille’s timepieces, especially in terms of new materials and engineering. The RM 50-02, a 30-piece limited edition made in partnership with Airbus Corporate Jets’ designers, embodies the values of both companies and features extreme skeletonization of the titanium movement, a ceramic bezel based on a jet window, and a case crafted from the same titanium-aluminum alloy found in turbine blades.
Urwerk’s iconic wandering satellite hour indicators receive a strong new suit of armor in the UR-105 T-Rex 22-piece limited edition. The automatic movement is housed inside a 53mm bronze case that features a raised, ribbed pattern evoking the scales of a reptile. The caseback bears a switch that controls the winding mode, allowing the wearer to select Full or Reduced winding of the mainspring, or to even stop the winding altogether and turn the timepiece into a hand-wound watch.