SIHH 2019: The latest from Audemars Piguet, Jaeger-LeCoultre, IWC, 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. It's the launch that almost broke the internet this weekend (okay fine, for watch nerds). Think Audemars Piguet, and the watch that'll come to your mind is the Royal Oak, for good reason. Released in 1972, it has remained a core pillar for the brand, and hasn't been joined by any new family since. That is, until 2019, when Audemars Piguet finally heard the rallying cries of watch lovers and released the Code 11.59 collection. "Code" stands for challenge, own, dare and evolve, and 11.59 for that minute before a new day starts. The collection features 13 new references, including three completely new in-house movements. The level of attention lavished upon the collection is truly noteworthy, from the octagonal mid-case sandwiched between the round caseback and the bezel, to the optical sapphire crystal and ultra-thin bezel. The collection has been panned for its high entry level price, which starts at CHF25,000 for the self-winding pink or white gold version, and others decry the collection as too "conventional" for Audemars Piguet. Wherever you stand on the debate, there's no denying that we love the fact that it's been launched in 41mm, making it gender-neutral; the in-house chronograph movement; and the slim bezel that really allows the aventurine dial of the perpetual calendar to stand out.
2. From the brand that brought us a watch made of cheese, and a mechanical dead ringer for the Apple, H Moser & Cie once again seeks to awe and astound with the Moser Nature Watch. The provocative piece is a statement on sustainability, and seeks to start a conversation on what being eco-friendly in the horological context means. The piece unique features plants grown in H Moser's hometown of Schaffhausen, cultivated by the brand's personnel. It's adorned with the likes of succulents, moss, mini Echeveria, cress, spiderwort and onion sets, and completed with a strap made of grass. No word yet on how the fresh greens will be preserved, but the brand recommends to "water twice a day" in its press release. It's cheeky and irreverent, but in line with H Moser's desire to provoke.
FOUR FAVOURITE WATCHES
1. Jaeger-LeCoultre strikes again with the Master Grande Tradition Gyrotourbillon Westminster Perpétuel. This haute horlogerie feat comes packed with the watchmaker's signature Gyrotourbillon function (essentially, a reworked, more precise iteration of the tourbillon), a minute repeater that chimes to the tune of Big Ben's melody, and a perpetual calendar. If that weren't enough, the timepiece is also equipped with a constant force mechanism to supply energy to the tourbillon. Oh, and did we mention that all this goodness is packaged in a stunning white gold case, lavished with blue accents, and measures only 43mm with a 14.08mm?
2. We can always rely on Hermès to inject a healthy dose of idiosyncrasy to horology, and it certainly hasn't disappointed this year. The Arceau L'Heure de la Lune represents Hermès' take on the moonphase, with two stationary mother-of-pearls moon sitting on a dial made of aventurine or meteorite. Two floating sub-dials, one indicating the hours and minutes, and the other the date, rotate around the dial to indicate the phase of the moon. This is Hermès at its horological best, as it melds both function and design beautifully in one package, elevated only by the incredible attention to detail.
3. The successful partnership between MB&F and L'Epée 1839 once again bears fruit for fans of the outre. This time, the duo dives underwater to derive inspiration from the jellyfish. The result is the MB&F Medusa, whereby a hand-blow Murano glass dome emulates the form of the jellyfish. Within, two rings rotate to display the hours and minutes. It took L'Epée two years to develop the movement, as it had to be hardy enough to be adjusted with one hand, so that the other hand is free to stabilise the fragile Murano glass contraption. Medusa comes in blue, green or pink.
4. Imagine a timepiece that runs on a 65-day power reserve, so that you don't have to wind it when you pick it up. That's the premise of the. We won't bore you with the technical dets (essentially, it features a dual frequency system, whereby one runs at a standard 5Hz, and the other at 1.2Hz for when the watch is idle). This being a perpetual calendar, this function is ultra practical so you don't have to set the entire shebang again. The mechanics are stellar, and impressively, Vacheron Constantin has managed to keep the timepiece at 42mm and 12.3mm thick, and hefty in platinum.
SEVEN NOTEWORTHY LAUNCHES