Best collections from SIHH 2017 Day 2: A. Lange & Söhne, Ulysse Nardin and Piaget
Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie Genève
A. LANGE & SÖHNE: TO THE MOON AND BACK
The collection: Going to Mars may be happening in the next century but aiming for the moon doesn't take more than slipping on a piece of A. Lange & Söhne. In a parade of practicality endowed with that understated grandiose the brand is known for, swooning over a miniaturised night sky and a golden moon was the takeaway that had every horophile gravitating to the art of moon phase complications. Besides the technical mastery of compacting a slew of components — as many as 684 parts that make the new L133.1 Lange manufacture calibre — into a space that measures just a tad larger than your average five Swiss Franc coin, the maison has streamlined each function with an ease of use that belies the watch's immense complexity. From the 1815 Annual Calendar to the Lange 1 Moon Phase, you bet you'll be impressing the masses when you effortlessly rattle off the date, day and month with a flash of the wrist.
Favourite piece: You have classics, and then you have the Tourbograph Perpetual 'Pour le Mérite'. What's a gent without an ace up his sleeve that sports five complications including a tourbillon, a chronograph, a rattrapante function and a perpetual calendar?
Style factor: Polished frames in platinum and pink gold, paired with blue-steeled pointers and handsome black or red-brown alligator leather straps. Yasss.
ULYSSE NARDIN: DECKED OUT IN ATHLEISURE
The inspiration: When a catamaran racing skiff, replete with sails and all, becomes a showroom centrepiece at the world's premiere watch fair for a manufacture's first foray into SIHH, you know you'll be playing up marine sports like a pro.
The collection: Ever inspired by their committed association to the America's Cup race, Ulysse Nardin has approached haute horlogerie as a precision marine watchmaker that pushes the envelope in crafting innovative chronograph instruments you can take out to the seas. One highlight that had the press folks eagerly testing the waters (pun intended) was the revolutionary Marine Regatta that comes with a sweep countdown timer, which can be set anywhere from one to ten minutes, and equipped with bi-directional hands that first goes in an anti-clockwise direction ticking away the seconds but automatically resumes moving clockwise once the timer is up. Pretty nifty was the approving consensus, plus it even has the patent to back up this system. And if it's dress options you're eyeing, the water-traversing Marine Tourbillon and Marine Annual Calendar Chronometer packs a sleeker stylish edge without diluting the technical avant-garde of the brand.
I spy: Refined details like the rubber inserts laced along the bezel of the Marine Regatta to give it grip and grit, as well as the annual calendar chronometer cousin's rare Grand Feu enamelling pattern that seemingly mimics the roll of the tides when the dial shifts in the light.
PIAGET: COUTURE MADE COLOURFUL
The collection: Pulling out all the stops for the 60th anniversary of the maison's cult Altiplano series, Piaget pushes classism updated with colourways that inject an exciting twist to an otherwise timeless collection. Though it goes without saying, the aspects which made this ultra-thin watch so emblematic has been brought over to 2017's design — and that includes the clean minimalism, sleek contours and of course, the incredibly slim calibre that maxes out at only 3mm thick even for the larger models. With everyone from silver screen era icon Alain Delon to brand ambassador Ryan Reynolds cutting a suave figure outfitted in their Altiplanos, you'd want to get in on this exclusive club too. And as if that's not reason enough to add it to your haute horlogerie treasure trove, a unique one-of-a-kind Tourbillon High Jewellery piece with a gorgeous hand-guilloché blue-gray enamel dial and 48 baguette-cut diamonds will definitely tempt even the most conservative of purists.
Something you might have missed: The ombré-like effect on the sunburst dial, lending the Altiplano 60th anniversary collection a striking multi-dimensional appearance that cements this classic watch in a league of its own.
Buro loves: The stunning emerald rendition that doubles up being fresh and festive apropos. Plus it totally called the Pantone Colour of the Year, which is greenery. #FTW
Catch up on all our coverage of SIHH 2017.