Best collections from SIHH 2018 — Day 3: Richard Mille, Panerai, Cartier, and Piaget

Best collections from SIHH 2018 — Day 3: Richard Mille, Panerai, Cartier, and Piaget

SIHH 2018

Text: Angelyn Kwek

Richard Mille ups the shock-proof factor; Panerai rocks trend shades; Cartier celebrates fierce femininity; Piaget goes West Coast glam

Collection theme: Showcasing reverse engineering at its finest, the Richard Mille RM 53-01 Tourbillon is the ultimate polo watch. Worked backwards with design input from polo legend Mac Donough, the watch is made of carbon TPT and cast in the signature tonneau shape (all the better to showcase its voluminous movement within a limited space), the timepiece has a hidden lining along the case frame to absorb shock, as well as a reinforced PVC-laminated sapphire glass cover to withstand all the stresses from the aggressive sport. And with 5,000 Gs of shock protection, this new novelty is comparable to the most apocalypse-proof watch in the maison's arsenal, the RM 27-03 Rafael Nadal.

Star watch: RM 53-01 Tourbillon Pablo Mac Donough 

X-factor: 10 pulley systems have been mounted on the movement, and they direct any impact shocks away from the calibre by transmitting the energy to the case frame.

Insider secret: Mac Donough has likened the RM 53-01 to expensive wrist armor. Falling from his horse and landing on his wrist on one occasion, the watch not only protected him from a nasty sprain, but also prevented injury-by-horse when said equine took a step back and ended up planting its hoof right on his wrist.

Richard Mille RM 53-01 Mac Donough

Collection theme: A few design firsts for the brand marks Officine Panerai's start to 2018, incorporated into the iconic Luminor Due collection. In a combination of their storied models with innovative twists, us press peeps were treated to the sight of the thinnest case for the Luminor Due, plus much-appreciated stylish shades for the 38mm-sized feminine versions — the mint green-coloured model is everything — and the first ever moon phase indicator novelty. The Luminor Logo series also gets an upgrade in the sartorial department, launching with new textile bracelets.

Star watch: Lo Scienziato Luminor 1950 Tourbillon GMT Titanio - 47mm

Cool specs: By combining high-tech materials with technical movements, the Lo Scienziato still retains the classic pillow-shaped case but is in fact crafted with a hollow casing made using a direct metal sintering process. A fibre optic laser builds up a 3D-printed titanium case an extremely light yet solid and robust form, and a skeletonised movement with tourbillon regulator further contributes to its overall lightweight mass.

Did you know: There's now a Quick Release System for swapping around straps in the Luminor Due collection, opening up a whole new wardrobe of options to play around with. And on the topic of customising your look, the Lo Scienziato can be personalised on request, specifically the transparent disk on which the indices are lasered.

Collection theme: Emblematic shapes were a familiar sight for sore eyes, with the Bagnoire, Santos de Cartier and Panthère collections pushing the maison's creative ethos for the year. Centred on creativity, femininity, and masculinity, it's everything you love about Cartier watches elevated with a graphic and contemporary edge. Jewellery timepieces scintillate with its diamonds and avant-garde shapes, like the Crash Radieuse rocking a crushed frame and the Panthère with its double or triple loop bracelet (yaasss). Men get an equally elegant treatment with the revamped Santos, featuring sleeker lines and architectural proportions.

Star watch: Revelation D'une Panthère

X-factor: Five years and two patents later did the maison finally achieve the watchmaking magic where tiny gold beads flow across the dial to form the magnificent stylised head of a panther. Inspired by the flow of sand in an hourglass, the mysterious suspension of the beads is made possible with an imperceptible network of tiny tubes in which the beads will drop through, carried by a clear liquid. With a flick of the wrist, the beads will map out the panther motif from both top and bottom directions.

New ways to wear: The new Santos comes with a 'one-click' interchangeable strap system patented by Cartier, and even has one model in stainless steel (a first for Cartier), so you can look dapper without breaking the bank too badly.

Collection theme: Just when you thought the Altiplano's 60th anniversary last year was the pinnacle of ultra-thin, Piaget proves the world wrong again with the launch of the thinnest automatic watch, the Altiplano Ultimate Automatic, measuring only 4.30mm thick from the side. And nabbing another world record with ease, the maison also debuted the Altiplano Ultimate Concept with a mind-boggling 2mm-thin profile — though it's only a prototype at this point. Not neglecting its jewellery watches of course, two big 2018 pushes for the brand include the fashionable Possession and Extremely Lady collections.

Star watch: Altiplano Ultimate Automatic

Cool specs: The ultra-thin treatment means disrupting a lot of the traditional placements of watch components. For instance, the crescent-shaped bridge is positioned above the 910P calibre to protect the mechanism against external pressures, which can deform the delicate pieces. The balance spring also has an inverted construction. There are 219 incredibly thin components in all, affixed to the case — which also serves as a mainplate — thereby forming a single object, cutting down the usual four layers (bezel, hands and dial, mainplate plus bridges, and caseback) to only three (bezel, three-in-one bridges, hands and dial, and caseback). 

The devil in the details: Tactility is imbued in the Possession watches, sporting turning bezels that'll have you playing with them endlessly. The same spinning element is translated onto the Altiplano Ultimate Automatic as well, which incorporates a peripheral oscillating weight along its frame. And if it's dazzling eye candy you're after, the high jewellery Extremely Lady collection has three new bracelet textures inspired by wood, fur and frost that are simply stunning.

For more coverage on SIHH 2018, click here.