SIHH 2019: Bonbons from Richard Mille, eco-conscious efforts by Panerai, pseudo-smartwatches by Ressence and more
As the annual Salon de la Haute Horlogerie 2019 is underway in Geneva, we report the watches that have caught our attention in 2s, 4,s and 7s of surprising moments, favourite timepieces, and noteworthy launches
TWO MOST SURPRISING MOMENTS
1. Richard Mille never fails to introduce bombastic creations at the SIHH fair, and this year is no exception. The brand reinforces its focus on creations for women, and has launched the Bonbon collection, which is inspired by candies and sweets from our childhood. The collection features 10 variations, of which there are only 30 examples of each. While the inspiration is positively saccharine, the execution in anything but: each sweet is crafted in titanium, and coloured with enamel - a challenging metiers d'art technique to master. While the bezels are all in carbon fibre, the case middles are crafted in new colours of TPT carbon, including turquoise and fuchsia.
2. Following the launch of the Moser Nature watch made of real plants, Panerai's attempt at being eco-friendly is not as provocative, but perhaps a lot more practical. It has utilised EcoTitanium for the first time, seen on the Submersible Mike Horn. Essentially, the material is made from recycled titanium, while the strap too is manufactured from recycled PET. The timepiece honours intrepid explorer Mike Horn, who has pushed the boundaries of human exploration with feats including circumnavigating the earth at the equator; swimming solo in the Amazon and walking the North Pole in the dark season. The timepiece in his name honours his environmental conservation efforts, and is available in a 47mm case.
FOUR FAVOURITE WATCHES
1. The introduction of ultra-thin movements by Piaget in the 1950s gave the brand a chance to explore the use of exciting dial materials. Hard stones became part of the design lexicon in the 1960s, and the brand continues to innovate with out-of-the-norm dials. Case in point, the pink gold with a meteorite dial. Apart from the obvious bragging rights you'll get by wearing a piece of outer space on your wrist, the timepiece is handsome as well - the distinctive Widmanstätten patterns on the dial add texture and visual interest, and when paired with the rose gold case, the result is otherworldly.
2. We've seen some incredible innovations this year, and the Ressence Type 2 e-Crown timepiece truly exemplifies the fusion of tradition and technology in the best way possible. It features the e-Crown technology that's integrated with an electronic system that can be paired with your phone. What it does is that it can automatically detect a different time zone, and even allows you to set the time from your phone. If your watch is lying idle, you can even instantly wind it with a tap on the crystal. Is this the watchmaking industry's response to the smartwatch?
3. The mesmerising dance of the tourbillon is a familiar sight for those with a passion for horology, but in the hands of FP Journe, it now stands in a vertical position. The brand celebrates the 20th anniversary of its Tourbillon Souverain timepiece with this vertical iteration, which will replace its predecessor. Made to maximise performance, the tourbillon is visible through a cone-shaped, mirror-polished ring. The timepiece also features the brand's signature constant force mechanism, and a dead-beat second counter.
4. Is it a jewel, or is it a watch? In the hands of Cartier, the Sirius de Cartier High Jewellery Pendant Necklace is in effect, a masterpiece. Fashioned from yellow gold and studded with white and yellow diamonds, the pendant doubles as a time-telling device - although, to be fair, nobody is buying it to tell the time! Our favourite part is the mysterious double tourbillon that works its magic at the centre of the pendant, which derives its name from the brightest star in the night sky.
SEVEN NOTEWORTHY LAUNCHES