A Review of SIHH 2010 - Several Watches That Stood Out ¶
Although none of the companies that Matt Baily Watches carries are represented at the private Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie in Geneva, our passion for fine watches runs deep. Furthermore, chances are good that some of the models I will be mentioning in this post will eventually end up in our outstanding collection of certified pre-owned watches, which includes desirable pieces by Panerai, Audemars Piguet, Cartier, and more.
Since the economic slow-down took hold of the luxury market at the end of 2008, the novelties have become somewhat less extravagant and less numerous. This does not deter watch manufacturers from doing their best to astonish us with fantastic horological works. We can always find some great timepieces to talk about at important trade fairs such as the SIHH.
Since Montblanc decided to enter the world of ultra-high end, complicated timepieces, they have enlisted the talents of some world-leading watchmakers to produce some amazing models. This year the company released the Metamorphosis, a mechanical masterpiece that is able to transform its dial from a perpetual calendar to a chronograph. This mechanical Transformers-like change may come off as modern and new, but to me it is an homage to the great mechanical feats of the past, like the automatons built by Jaquet Droz in the 18th century. The best way to admire this mechanisms from home is to watch the company's YouTube video that I embedded below. It may be a little cheesy, but it is worth watching.
Of Course, IWC can always be counted on to present some interesting complicated watches, and this year they introduced one model that I found particularly beautiful. This watch is the new Portuguese Tourbillon Handwound, which plays on the fantastic simple elegance that the Portuguese watches are known for. For lovers of sporty watches, Audemars Piguet presented a 42mm diver version of their Royal Oak Offshore, which was a simple and functional juxtaposition to the ever-more intricate and colourful designs of their limited edition Offshore.
The IWC Portuguese Tourbillon Handwound
In recent years many of the major innovations have been related to the use of alternative materials. Ten to fifteen years ago titanium was considered exotic, but now there are dozens of futuristic materials to choose from. Tantalum, Ceramics, Tungsten Carbide, compressed carbon fiber are all examples, and more are surfacing every year. These materials may offer benefits such as light-weight or incredible resistance to shock and heat, but in the end the real purpose is to produce cool, modern, and rare watches. In other words: bad-ass.
Cartier is not a brand that I would figure would be in this category, but they have proved themselves worthy with the new ID One Concept watch based on the Ballon Blue. Clear carbon crystal is used on the movement, which is coated with extremely hard, black, diamond-like coating. The case is made of niobium-titanium, which I will not pretend to know anything about at this time, but seems to display a smoky grey colour for a nice overall look.
AP Offshore Diver and the Cartier ID One Concept
While not as outspoken on the subject as Hublot, Panerai has been experimenting with alternative materials for a long time. This year they presented a watch made of an exclusive dark brown composite material. The Radiomir Composite Marina Militare 8-Day uses a type of extremely hard ceramic, whose dark brown colour blends well with the vintage style of the Radiomir case and strap.
Two of Panerai' models presented at the SIHH
It was only a matter of time until they revived this cult classic. At the SIHH 2010 Panerai revealed a new limited edition piece replicating the style of the collectible Mare Nostrum. I'm guessing that in real life this watch is actually awesome. If you like large, military watches you will enjoy owning this monster. What I do not like about it are the same things that I do not like about the original. The flat bezel and the beady subsidiary dials. Besides, I had to put something in the "Ugly" section.
Montblanc video featuring some extremely expensive, and rare timepieces, not to be confused with the watches in their regular collection.
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