Best collections from SIHH 2017 Day 4: Girard-Perregaux and RJ-Romain Jerome

Best collections from SIHH 2017 Day 4: Girard-Perregaux and RJ-Romain Jerome

Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie Genève

Text: Angelyn Kwek

The finale of SIHH 2017 whips up a battle of stark contrasts between the refined traditionalists and the avant-garde rule breakers with Girard-Perregaux and RJ-Romain Jerome going head to head

The collection: For a maison that is so strongly rooted in their heritage, the watch-faring throng expected no less than signature timepieces such as the Laureato and the award-winning Cat's Eye Tourbillon making a splash at Girard-Perregaux. And while the veteran horophiles have guesstimated it, a bid to capture the imagination of the younger market sees the watchmaker cottoning onto trends via a projection of their fundamentals refreshed with a touch of contemporary daring. Venturing out of their comfort zone, the Neo-Bridges novelty reconciles tradition with the technical, featuring a new tourbillon design secured by only two bridges while the Planetarium Tri-Axial took intricacy to a new level with a spectacular complication that's got a moon phase indicator fashioned as a hand-painted, three-dimensional globe. But just like 'an oldie but a goodie' that doesn't quit, the familiar profile of a 45mm Laureato — now updated with a tourbillon — became the takeaway that had every press member slipping it on for size. You just don't mess with tried and tested classism, folks.

Buro loves: The duo-toned titanium and pink gold model of the above-mentioned Laureato Tourbillon. Check out the bi-metal of the arrow-shaped bridge and that brushed finish on the caseband. Bingo: It's all about details, details, details.

What you might not know: The quartz 32.768-Hertz movement established by Girard-Perregaux in the '70s has since set the standard for the entire horology industry and is the calibre behind a grand total of 34 Laureato models you could choose from. Talk about making your head spin (in a good way).

The collection: Calling out to all the '80s kids and naturalists simultaneously, RJ-Romain Jerome launches a series of novelties that, well, are as novel as they come. One of a handful of independent maisons showing at SIHH 2017, the brand has carved out a niche for themselves as 'out there' haute horlogerie creators and this element was reflected in one of three highlight pieces, the Eyjafjallajökull-DNA Burnt Lava (an unpronounceable mouthful, we know). A watch dedicated to its namesake Icelandic volcano, a 46mm frame looking just like molten lava flowing beneath cracked rock — an effect made possible with an onyx baseplate hand painted over by an artisan in cold enamel — will have every head doing a double-take, possibly with some incredulously raised eyebrows thrown into the mix. There's no denying the drama factor, however, and in this similar vein, the manufacture has dropped two more eye-catching timepieces: The RJ x Donkey Kong and a colour pop version of the popular Space Invaders. Whether you mean to shock the world with what's on your wrist or go about inducing the envy of every old-school video gamer, you might just want to nab a piece of these mechanical self-winding marvels.

Worth the investment: Fans of both Super Mario and Donkey Kong will get a two-for-one deal, what with both iconic arcade game characters sharing the same dial space. Feel like breaking out your Nintendo yet?

I spy: Unique pod-like lugs that can be adjusted for the watch to curve comfortably around the wrist. Made interestingly of Teflon, they're completely scuff-proof and wards off dullness like you wouldn't believe.

Catch up on all our coverage of SIHH 2017