It’s almost over. This year’s Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie closes its doors this evening after a week of stunning new watches and star-studded events. If you keep up to date with our blog and read our Calibre newsletter, you’ll know we partnered with GQ Magazine to bring you live broadcasts from the event, including round-up panel discussions with our CEO Brian Duffy and resident watch experts on Monday and Tuesday evening. Don’t worry if you missed our highlights as you can watch them back on the GQ website, or on our Facebook feed. In the meantime, read on to discover our pick of the finest offerings for the year ahead.
IWC Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar
Every year, IWC refreshes one of its core collections, and this year it turned to its lesser-spotted Da Vinci collection. The Schaffhausen brand first created the Da Vinci in 1969, when it housed the Beta 21 movement in a hexagonal case. In 1985, IWC revived the model with a collection featuring classic round cases with stepped lines, based on a Leonardo da Vinci architectural sketch. Thanks to the world’s first perpetual calendar in which every indication could be set using the crown, the Da Vinci made its mark on the luxury watch industry.
In 2017, IWC pays tribute to this pioneering model in its new Da Vinci collection for ladies and gents. The Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar Chronograph houses IWC’s in-house 89630 calibre, making it the first IWC watch to combine the double chronograph counter with a perpetual moon-phase display on a subdial at 12 o’clock. The perpetual calendar is incredibly accurate: in 577.5 years, it will diverge by just one day from the moon’s actual course. With their round grooved case design, the latest models inherit the 1985 Da Vinci DNA. This handsome 43mm stainless steel model features a rhodium-coated slate-grey dial giving it a cool, silvery appearance, and a black leather strap by luxury Italian leather company Santoni.
This year, Piaget is dedicating itself to the 60th anniversary of the Altiplano with a limited-edition collection for ladies and gents. Ever since it revolutionised the watchmaking world with the launch of its ultra-thin 9P manual-winding movement in 1957, the brand has been renowned for producing elegant ultra-thin watches. At just 2mm thick, the 9P made waves with its slim, handsome profile as well as its highly accurate performance and reliability. This ladies’ Altiplano particularly caught our eye thanks to its stunning skeletonised dial. At 38mm, it appeals to ladies who prefer a more substantially sized wristwatch, while inside its ultra-thin 900P hand-wound movement keeps things elegantly slim. The watch’s 18-carat pink gold case is complemented with a white alligator leather strap.
Panerai Luminor Submersible 1950 BMG-Tech 3 Days Automatic
This year, one of Panerai’s themes was ‘Innovation’, and it certainly didn’t let us down. The brand’s portfolio of rugged tool watches have always resonated with our customers, and now it has bolstered its Submersible collection with the Luminor Submersible 1950 BMG-Tech 3 Days Automatic, a watch cast in the brand’s new high-tech material, BMG-Tech – a bulk metallic glass remarkable for its resistance to external shocks and corrosion. The watch’s case, bezel, winding crown and protection device are all made from this special glass-like alloy developed by the Panerai Laboratorio di Idee. To achieve its special strength and durability, the alloy is subjected to a high-pressure injection process at extremely hot temperatures and then quickly cooled so the atoms cannot arrange themselves in an ordered way. The material’s ‘chaotic’ structure explains its extreme corrosion resistance, and its resistance to external shocks and magnetic fields. Inside ticks Panerai’s new in-house P.9010 calibre, which has a whopping 3-day power reserve. As we have come to expect from the brand, the beefy 47mm watch is designed with the adventurous in mind. Its unidirectional rotating bezel has a graduated scale for calculating dive times, while the markers on the blue dial are filled with highly visible Super-LumiNova for excellent visibility.
Baume & Mercier Clifton Club Shelby Cobra Limited Edition
Over at Baume & Mercier, we’re huge fans of the new Clifton Club Shelby Cobra Limited Edition. The brand partnered with the Carroll Shelby Company in 2015, and this year it looked to one of the finest designs in American motorsport, the Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe – joining forces with Peter Brock, the legendary car designer behind the Cobra’s curved body, flat roof and chopped tail.
The Clifton Club Shelby Cobra Limited Edition houses an automatic chronograph movement in a 44mm satin-finished steel case. Its functions include a tachymeter scale as well as useful day and date indications. The watch’s sun satin-finished Daytona blue dial is right on trend, and is enhanced by the silver chronograph counters, vivid red detailing and sophisticated black calfskin leather strap. Keep an eye out – the watch lands in our Watches of Switzerland showrooms in April and will be limited to 1,964 pieces.
A.Lange and Söhne 1815 Annual Calendar
On the Tuesday of the fair, news broke that A. Lange and Söhne’s honorary chairman, Walter Lange, had sadly passed away. Despite seeing his family’s watchmaking business get torn apart in the aftermath of World War II, Lange revived his legacy after the fall of the Berlin Wall, launching a new generation of elegant Lange watches in 1994.
His vision continues today, and we predict big things for this year’s 1815 Annual Calendar – the latest addition to the brand’s quintessential collection. The handsome watch houses a slim new hand-wound movement, which powers an analogue date, a moon-phase display and, as the watch name suggests, an annual calendar mechanism. To adjust the annual calendar’s two subdials (day on the left, month on the right), you simply push the button at 2 o’clock – a clever innovation that makes this watch functional as well as easy on the eye. Meanwhile, at 6 o’clock, the beautiful moon-phase display is calculated to remain accurate for 122.6 years – and for the first time in a Lange calendar watch, the date can also be separately adjusted with an additional push-piece. This 40mm watch comes in either 18-carat pink or white gold with a beautiful argenté-coloured dial and blued-steel hands. No word on the price yet, but it should be revealed next week.