Best collections from SIHH 2018 — Day 4: A. Lange & Söhne, Parmigiani Fleurier, IWC Schaffhausen, and Girard-Perregaux
A. LANGE & SÖHNE: THE ESSENCE OF SAXON
Collection theme: Rooted in a storied heritage brought to the fore by founder Walter Lange's passing last year, the maison has dedicated 2018's novelties to their patriarch, with the 1815 collection leading the way. Parading an exhibition of Saxon watchmaking at its finest, the 1815 is further diversified into tribute editions — with a one-off stainless steel model meant to be auctioned off in the name of charity — and two chronographs, on top of brand icons like the Saxonia and the feminine Little Lange rounding off the new novelties. But the real tour de force is the rattrapante Triple Split, which is pure technicity only A. Lange & Söhne is capable of engineering.
Star watch: Triple Split
Cool specs: Despite measuring nearly millimetre for millimetre as the Double Split, the triple rattrapante mechanism on the inside fits two more hands than before: Two seconds hands and another pair for each of the minute and hour counters. The extended functionality means the watchmakers require the ultimate in dexterity and patience in order to configure the movement within the same amount of space. The technical challenge includes shifting down the power-reserve indicator to make more room for the rattrapante hour counter in the upper part of the dial.
Insider secret: The Triple Split's manually wound calibre L132.1 is so complex; the watchmakers affectionately call it 'microcity'.
PARMIGIANI FLEURIER: YEAR OF THE KALPA
Collection theme: The maison may only be 22 years young as of this year but the richness of its signature Kalpa family certainly stretches beyond Parmigiani Fleurier's surprisingly short tenure (it feels like they've been around for longer, no?). Entering what they call the renaissance age for this house icon, the Kalpa is today reborn with new novelties that add to the continuity of the brand, harnessing even more exceptional technicalities and craftsmanship with three unique Kalpa models for the gents and one glittering piece for the ladies.
Star watch: Kalpa Chronor (it was a hard fight with the Kalprisma Nova Galaxy)
Did you know: Containing the world's first solid-gold, self-winding, fully integrated chronograph movement, the exclusive calibre is developed and manufactured entirely in-house. Designated as PF365, it took six years to create and the end result is a COSC-certified, 65-hour power reserve core. Centred by a column wheel and vertical clutch, which acts as the brain that ensures every component runs smoothly, the intricacy behind this mechanism is further reinforced by the fact even the skeleton work on the bridge and its decorations are all made of gold — a material that's hard to work with due to its extremely malleable nature.
Throwback tidbit: The Kalpa is the one that housed the first watch movement, the PF110, created by founder Michel Parmigiani over 20 years ago. In slightly more recent news, the maison charted another first by being the 2017 recipient of two Grand Prix de l'Horlogerie de Genève prizes, awarded to the Tonda Chronor Anniversaire and the Toric Hémisphères Rétrograde.
IWC SCHAFFHAUSEN: THREE CHEERS FOR JUBILEE
Collection theme: Going from strength to strength with the trajectory of a supernova, IWC celebrates 150 years with 28 timepieces aptly christened the Jubilee collection. A curated lineup of four core families in their history, there's the Portugieser, Da Vinci, Portofino, and the Pilot's Watches representing the brand, updated with design codes that reflect not only the distinct aesthetic of each collection, but ties them into the maison's sesquicentennial colour palette of white and blue. The special highlight? A pocket watch inspired by a vintage piece that was discontinued in 1890, and is the first such piece to be produced by IWC since then.
Star watch: IWC Tribute to Pallweber Edition '150 Years'
X-factor: The original Pallweber pocket watches were ahead of its time with a rotating disc display in an era where train track indexes were the norm. Retaining this element for the new re-issues, the IWC-manufactured 94200 calibre is updated with a technically sophisticated digital display that utilises a wheel train with a barrel of its own to rotate the numerals — a big leap from the old-school style toothed cogs that previously moved the discs. This calibre was four years in the making, and is now pending patent.
Insider secret: Straight from the design round table sharing session with IWC museum curator Dr David Seyffer, the Tribute to Pallweber timepiece was not intended to be a vintage watch for all that most folks might mistake it as one. Its aesthetics reflect a clean cut, graphic minimalism meant to fit modern-day design codes, and even the typography cycled through many options in order to nail down a look that's at once classic yet contemporary.
GIRARD-PERREGAUX: REWRITING HISTORY
Collection theme: 2018 sees the brand putting an emphasis on its history by way of a grand overhaul based on the trifecta of technology, audacity and modernity. Girard-Perregaux icons such as the Laureato and the Classic Bridges feature new materials for a more stylish edge — that's the modernity and audacity factors fulfilled — while a Tri-Axial Tourbillon novelty covers the tech aspect by combining two challenging complications (a minute repeater and a tourbillon) in one. It's even skeletonised to boot, magnifying the horological complexity adopted by the maison.
Star watch: Minute Repeater Tri-Axial Tourbillon
Did you know: Titanium is the best metal for minute repeaters as it produces the best chime. For this very acoustic clarity and quality of sound, the Tri-Axial Tourbillon is crafted from grade 5 titanium, where its mechanical manual-winding calibre gravitates around three axes to optimise the construction within the 48mm-sized space so as to eliminate the need for a solid connection between the striking gong and the watch's exterior. Concave sapphire crystals sandwich this remarkable mechanism, thereby enabling a view right into the heart of the movement, giving the watch an almost three-dimensional effect from all angles.
Same same but different: It's the first time ceramic has been introduced in the brand, and in the Laureato collection. Though it looks much like the other permutations that came before, the entirety of the case is now made of the lightweight yet super hard and scratch-resistant material, bestowing a different feel to this classic even for those who are long-time Laureato wearers.
For more coverage on SIHH 2018, click here.