The 26th Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie did not disappoint. This year brought an expanded lineup beyond the fifteen prestigious maisons that have historically exhibited at the annual show. The Carré des Horlogers was a gallery of nine insanely talented independent watchmakers whose presence brought a fresh vibe to the fair. But they also added an extra layer of difficulty to the task of choosing my top picks for the event.
Still, after four days of getting up close and personal with the new releases, I whittled down the impressive selection to a few of my favorites. Before we get to those specific models, let’s look at a few general show highlights.
An eagerly anticipated and well-received collection was the Cartier Drive for men. This sporty, cushion-shaped collection is outfitted with an in-house movement and slides right into the existing and famed Cartier collections.
Ladies timepieces were well represented throughout the fair, especially at Roger Dubuis, which emphasized women by outfitting its entire salon with a Cannes film festival décor that was dedicated to the elegant and sexy Velvet collection. Velvet, like all the company’s timepieces, carries the prestigious Poinçon de Geneva certificate and houses self-winding manufacture calibre RD821.
A noticeable trend was a resurgence of yellow and pink or red gold. This is highlighted by Audemars Piguet’s signature Royal Oak collection with six references in solid yellow gold. Vacheron Constantin added a red gold bracelet to the classy 40mm Patrimony.
Transparent cases showed off movements at several brands. MB&F’s wild three-dimensional movement inside the HM6-SV is now encased in clear sapphire and 5N red gold while Richard Mille introduced the RM 07-02 Pink Lady Sapphire with a case machined from a single block of pink sapphire.
Technical innovations were also announced and among the highlights is the new Senfine escapement from Parmigiani that promises to push the capabilities of the mechanical watch power reserve to an astonishing seventy days.
In posts to come, look for in-depth coverage on the striking design, genius engineering, or unique arts of each timepiece inside the salons at SIH
Now, here are my top six timepieces of SIHH 2106
Millenary Haute Joaillarie
This timepiece was designed with women in mind. It not only meets the strict codes of horology with the manufacture hand-wound movement but it fits the sophistication desired in a fine ladies watch. The pink gold oval-shaped case shines with brilliant cut diamonds while the dimensions perfectly compliment the wrist. The watch would be a welcomed addition to any ladies jewelry box or watch collection. The eye-catching and elegant dial, finished with the skilled work of a jeweler, includes black onyx, 1mm pearls, and diamonds.
Pilot’s Watch Chronograph TOP GUN Miramar
The revamp of the IWC Pilot’s collection makes this watch particularly appealing, and my own informal survey finds collectors applauding. The black ceramic case size has been reduced from 46mm to 44mm and in-house manufactured 89361 caliber features a fly back function and 68 hours of power reserve. The revised dial is clean and easily legible with striking military colors while the new totalizer at 12 o’clock makes reading the chronograph a breeze. An additional upgraded touch is the case back is now engraved rather than printed with the Top Gun logo.
Reverso Tribute Calendar
Honoring 85 years of the Reverso, Jaeger-Lecoultre is celebrating with an impressive and updated collection with the Reverso Tribute Calendar that grabs the center of attention. Featuring hand-wound movement 853 this duo-faced watch has a triple calendar function, second time zone and moon phase fitted into a 29.9mm by 49.4mm pink gold case. This watch will be forever timeless on a wrist and this year flawlessly marks a horological milestone.
Galet Traveller Boréal
Okay, the inner workings of this watch are top-notch.Calibre 229.01,incorporates a micro-rotor movement with natural escapement along with a dual-time zone feature that is easily adjusted by the pushers located on the left-hand side of the case. However, I’m not going to lie: I was initially struck by the dial and strap combination, making this watch a win-win in design and engineering. The black dial is finished with vertical satin-brush strips and Superluminova-filled chapter ring and arrow-shaped hands pair perfectly with the light brown calfskin hand-stitched strap.
Radiomir 1940 3 Days Automatic Acciai PAM00655
This gleaming white dial is a first in the Radiomir 1940 collection, which conjures up thoughts on why Panerai waited this long to make one. The result is fantastic. The white dial with Arabic numbers and a small-seconds hand at 9 o’clock provides a clean and crisp style to the 42mm stainless steel watch. An additional feature that I appreciate is the manufactured movement P.4000 with three-day power reserve.
Expanding the dressy Patrimony collection to include a 42mm case in 18-karat white gold, pink gold or platinum arrives is a welcomed addition. This classic, time-only watch upholds the stringent codes of horology and meets the requirements for the Hallmark of Geneva certificate with manufacture Calibre 4400AS. The Patrimony collection will stand the test of time with its contemporary and clean design.