Best collections from SIHH 2017 Day 1: Cartier, Jaeger-LeCoultre and Van Cleef & Arpels

Best collections from SIHH 2017 Day 1: Cartier, Jaeger-LeCoultre and Van Cleef & Arpels

Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie Genève

Text: Angelyn Kwek

The opening volley of SIHH 2017 sees a cavalcade of rare crafts that merges the artistic with the technical as Cartier, Jaeger-LeCoultre and Van Cleef & Arpels parade an envy-inducing lineup of fine jewellery timepieces

The collection: Going back to their roots in a grand undertaking is everyone's favourite French house with opulent creations of the iconic Panthère that'll make jaws drop. The first inklings of this reinvention was teased to horophiles via the Ronde Louis Cartier XL Flamed Gold watch, and positively putting the prowl into each feline fabrication is an artisanal intricacy bolstered by brilliant stones and sleek contours. Multi-dimensional and playful gets a new spin — quite literally — with the Panthère Joueuse as the diamond-paved big cat rotates a three-sixty inside a 40mm-sized dial, hot on the tail of a moving ball. Turning just so due to a new movement, the panther's head and paws indicate the minutes while the ball denotes the hour.  In a similar vein that sees this emblematic animal given a glam refresh, Cartier also brings back another icon preserved in all its '80s glory: The Panthère de Cartier series. Virtually indistinguishable from the original, the 2017 edit sports the exact square-shaped case, though improved with a bracelet formed of more sinuous links that better hug the wrist.

Worth the investment: A great classic that never goes out of date, nab a piece of the Panthère de Cartier (from nine iterations in sizes medium and small) and rock vintage with panache.

Try this now: Give the stacking trend a 'more is more' aesthetic by wearing a Panthère alongside your Love bracelet and Juste un Clou, because you can never have too much Cartier.

The collection: The Métiers Rares of house Jaeger-LeCoultre is the leitmotif that traces every line of the new Rendez-Vous collection, effectively a triple threat where impeccable craftsmanship and stunning jewellery design meets precision timekeeping. And stealing the spotlight from its sister watches is undoubtedly the Sonatina version, touched with a petite star that controls a reminder chime function when it is set to the hour of choice. Sounding a single clear bell as opposed to ringing incessantly, the brevity of the chime resonates with the overall luxe elegance anchored at the heart of the Rendez-Vous identity. Fresh elements include a large dial diametre of 38.2mm and the introduction of a yellow gold case into the lineup, as well as a new function inaugurated in the Night & Day models. You have to hand it to them; sophisticated femininity never has never been more gorgeously embellished.

Keep an eye out: For the delicate detailing that makes the collection a winner, such as the hammered texture of the Rendez-Vous Moon Phase's crescent. A closer study will also reveal that the guilloché pattern within the aperture seamlessly matches the one on the dial.

Buro loves: The shifting shades of purple on the dial of the white gold Sonatina. The colour alone checks all the right boxes in the style stakes, plus you can't deny the allure a uniquely hued watch has in the visuals department.

The collection: Aptly christened 'The poetry of time' for their theme, Van Cleef & Arpels has pulled out all the stops to deliver aesthetically and technically astounding novelties that romanticises the science behind fine watchmaking. Taking pride of place in the maison's show and tell is the one-of-a-kind Automate Fée Ondine, the first Extraordinary Object from the brand that pushes the envelope of jewellery and watchmaking traditions. Like a windup toy of yore, inserting a 'key' at the side and giving it a couple of twists causes the automaton mechanism of this amazing table clock to undulate with a startling surrealism. The lush flora of the Butterflies and Fairies series is also translated onto the Lady Arpels Papillon Automate watch, where mother-of-pearl sculpting and the craft of enamelling immortalises a nature-inspired tableau, made exceptionally captivating by a delicately perched butterfly on the dial.

Van Cleef & Arpels SIHH 2017 extraordinary object

Something you might have missed: Blink and you could think it was a trick of the eye that the butterfly just flapped its wings. A reproduction of nature that comes alive due to an exclusive automaton movement, the butterfly could randomly be triggered up to 19 times in the span of an hour.

Options, options: Two more fine jewellery watches make up the collection — the Rose de Nuit and the Sakura watch — both touched with a pretty bedazzle in the form of a hanging charm that sways along to each flick of the wrist.

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