Friday, January 29, 2010

My Picks from SIHH 2010

by [Onomatopia]

Disclaimer: the views on this post are solely that of [Onomatopia]'s and does not reflect the views of any of the other Sydney Tarts. 

So… SIHH 2010 has come and gone and I think it’s been a whoosy of a year. After a somewhat disappointmenting last year, this year we were treated to a bevy of exciting new products and innovations. I’m not going to try and feature every single new watch from every brand nor am I going to simply regurgitate the press releases. What I have done here is show you my personal picks from the show. You may agree/ disagree with them. Feel free to leave your comments, as I would love to heard from you all about your thoughts for SIHH 2010.

There are no scientific methods to my picks. Purely gut feeling. Of course, I’ve excluded what I refer to as range extensions, meaning watches that were introduced before, and were just given a fresh coat of paint, maybe new skins and new colour material combos. Wheels magazine don’t consider minor facelift a new model for their car of the year awards, and nor will I. Therefore, without further ado, and in no particular order, my picks from SIHH 2010!

Oh... before we go into the picks, you might notice there are a couple of brands missing from my pics. Some may even argue that they are important omissions. But really... as much as I appreciate the new stuff from A Lange & Sohne, and as amazing as they are, they just didn't strike a chord with me personally... So, apologies to all the Lange fans out there. Truly great watches, nothing wrong with them. I'm the one with issues.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph

It's good to see AP doing an Offshore that's NOT a limited edition. I think their limited edition Offshores have been done to death. Really, they're just different dial colours/material combos. Swatch has been doing that for years! However, this new one is very refreshing, and at a smallish (at today's standards) 37mm, it's definitely not flashy and could be a sleeper hit.

Cartier Rotonde de Cartier Flying Tourbillon Skeleton

Cartier has been doing amazing things with these skeleton watches, and using the bridge to double as a dial? Fantastic. They're truly moving away from just being a jewellery company that does some nice looking watches, to a fully fledge watchmaker with very interesting execution concepts.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Grande Tradition Grande Complication

Ok... I've read in-depth about how this watch works, and quite frankly, I still don't quite get it. All's I know is that I'm massively impressed by it. The tourbillon also rotates around the dial like a carousel as well as flying... Added to this a minute repeater featuring Trebuchet hammers (same concept as the Hybris Mechanica) and sidereal time makes it a major whoosy (to quote head tart).

Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Compressor Extreme Lab 2 Tribute To Geophysic

I think Jaeger-LeCoultre has caught the bug of the Japanese-habit-of-giving-their-cars-ridiculously-long-names somewhere along the line. If you've noticed lately, that some of their model names borders in length on a paragraph. Good thing they don't try to print it all on the dial. (like, *ahem* some other watch company we know...) Now to the watch itself, it features a large digital minute display at 12:00, making it very easy to read, and a 'switch' at 3:00. By pressing the crown you 'switch' the function of the crown between time setting, 2nd time zone setting/date and winding rather than pulling the crown out. Ingenious!

Montblanc Metamorphosis 

This is another watch I don't quite get (in terms of how it works and the mechanics that makes it so). I've watched the video here and read the detailed press release but I really still don't get it... I kind of do, but... nevertheless, it is phenomenal what they are able to do with some wheels and cogs and gears! This is what I love about watchmaking. It doesn't have to be always about making watches more accurate, but new ways of displaying and new interpretations on an old idea.  Montblanc is serious about shedding their image as just another pen maker trying to diversify their product range. I think they're on the right path.

Panerai Radiomir Composite Marina Militare P2002 47mm (PAM339)

The one watch where almost all the 'Ristis and collectors agree that will go up in price before anyone’s taken delivery. Such is the apparent popularity of this watch. And being limited to only 1000 pieces doesn’t help. Prediction? You’d be extremely lucky to pay retail for one. Don’t expect to see any discounts on this one, and the most likely case is that you’ll be paying a certain percentage over the retail for one. That is IF you can find one. Oh, it's called composite because of the case material: "The result of an electrochemical process of ceramization of the aluminium, this material is harder than the ceramics normally used for cases in watch-making (zirconia), and also harder than metals like steel and titanium, as well as being lighter".

Panerai Radiomir 42mm Titanium P.999 (PAM338)

I like the fact that Panerai who could possibly be credited with starting the recent “big watch” trend is downsizing… ok.. 42mm is still quite big, but compared to panerai’s usual offerings of 44mm and above watches, 42mm is quite refreshing and I’m sure will go well with suits and for those who appreciate Panerai but don’t want to shout about it to the world. Powered by a brand new inhouse manual wind movement.

Piaget Altiplano 43 mm with Calibre 1208P

Going off the picture count, you would think that I really like the Piaget. Well I do like it. Quite a lot. If only it wasn't out of my price range. No. It's not just out of my price range. It's not even in the same suburb. But I digress. The reason I like it so much is because it's such an elegant and understated watch. And at 43mm it's a very good size for mr wrist and that ultra thin automatic movement is really something else. I love watches because I really admire the craftsmenship that goes into every watch, but making an automatic movement this thin is an amazing achievement on itself. I love it! Dear Piaget, could you please please make one in stainless steel?? Pretty please??

Oh... Another thing about Piaget... Those of you outside Asia will probably think Piaget is only good for jewellery and jewellery watches, but they are actually a genuine, certified watchmaker with some pretty spectacular movements...

Here's a little bit from their press kit : For Piaget, 2010 will represent a tribute to its rich watchmaking heritage as well as a quantum leap towards the future. To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the introduction of its legendary Calibre 12P in 1960, the world’s thinnest mechanical self-winding movement at that time, the Manufacture de Haute Horlogerie Piaget is presenting Calibre 1208P. Because it stems from the expertise in ultra-thin movements that has become a hallmark of the Piaget style, this mechanism once again sets new limits by becoming the thinnest self-winding movement currently on the market, at 2.35 mm. A first record.

Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Traditionnelle Manual Wind White Gold

Like the Piaget, this is an excellent example of classic elegance. I have a soft spot for watches with a small seconds hand at 6:00, and just the perfect symmetry of the dial, this is love at first sight. There are nothing superfluous on the watch. Very clean and just elegant. The movement's not bad either!

Vacheron Constantin Metiers d'Art - La Symbolique des Laques

Aren't these amazing?? I really don't know enough to write about them, so... copy paste from their press kit: master watchmakers combined their talents with master enamellers – each working in their respective crafts as masters and lovers of their art – to combine ancient and modern techniques and give birth to watches that are exceptional for both their mechanics and their aesthetics. The patented movement combined an astonishing display of the time with a dial made even more beautiful by an ancient and complex art: grand feu enamelling. 

Van Cleef & Arpels Le Pont des Amoureux

I think this is really cute. Ok, VC&A aren't generally known for their watchmaking prowess. But this is just cute and very creative in a technical way. It's actually 2 retrograde hands disguised in the form of a guy and a gal (The gal's umbrella is pointing to the hours and the guy's rose(?) is pointing to the minutes.) They slowly advance towards the centre and presumably 'kiss' at midnight and midday, then bounces back to either side of the watch to make the journey once again. (well, ok, the guy needs to make the trip 12 times before getting the kiss... kinda mirrors real life anyways)  Awww.....



Joel said...

Nice review. Thank you for the effort.

Best wishes,
Joel /

Anonymous said...

Fun review, and I'd agree with you on some but not all :) I didn't know about the VC&A piece.


Anonymous said...

A most entertaining and enjoyable post, Onomatopia. Many thanks indeed for your efforts on this. I have to say that Piaget's movements have always been amongst the black sheep of the movement flock, and it is good to see them discussed here. I too love their watches and, like you, they are a few paddocks away from the paddock I live in in terms of cost :)

Best Regards,

thejemanigroup said...

A hopeless romantic's collector's piece. I LOVE IT