SIHH 2012

The Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie took place between January 16th and 20th in Geneva. The very exclusive show organised by Richemont gave rise to many parallel events, especially the Geneva Time Exhibition, as well as the presentations held in hotels by some independent watchmakers.

For one week (or even longer), Geneva was the watchmaking capital of the world; everybody lived, breathed and ate at the rhythm of horology. The merest chocolate bar was labeled with watch logos, and it is with our heads full of dreams that we saw the SIHH close its doors. We are going to review in detail some of the finest pieces presented during the event.

To read the feature in full, please click here.
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Harry Winston – HdT3

The most explosive ‘highlight’ was not in a hotel, at the GTE or at the SIHH. It was presented directly at the Harry Winston manufactory. From a mechanical standpoint, the watch features 3 tourbillons (for 2 escapements). The design proposes something never seen before in the domain of rotary tourbillon with Grande complication. The layout and the volumes were intended to highlight the tourbillons’ spinning. While the technology of tourbillons exploded throughout the last 10 years, always pushing further the concepts of tri-dimensional architectures, the exterior designs never evolved enough to match these technological feats.

The creators from Harry Winston drew their inspiration from the lively New-Yorker culture, in order to exalt the complication by providing it with a Pop Art case. The TV screen shaped watchcase,
dear to some independents, makes for a good distribution of its almost 250 grams along the wrist (the watch is 65mm by 45.9mm), and the watch remains wearable. In all likelihood, if you can pay €500k for this watch, you will be able to afford a wardrobe
adapted to this machine.

As a matter of fact, when one sees the Triple Tourbillon, the hour display (at 12 and 1 o’clock) becomes totally peripheral. It is the ultimate avatar of luxury mechanical watchmaking!
Since the advent of quartz, the utilisation of mechanical solutions falls under aesthetics and/or dandyism. Here, more than ever, the precision time is no more than a pretext to erect a mechanical cathedral. With the HdT3, Harry Winston creates the sensation, with a watch that is far more than a ‘talking piece’. Nevertheless, regarding HW, it is first and foremost the moment when the exceptional Opus series fuses with the other collections. To be continued…

Beaume & Mercier – Capeland 100068

These last two years, Beaume & Mercier took a neo-vintage direction. The Capeland is the flagship of this renewal; and 2012 saw the presentation of the Capeland 10068 fitted with a chronograph movement modified by Lajoux-Perret. The watch’s design was influenced by the productions of Beaume & Mercier during the 40’s. It is of course a tribute to the artillery officers’ chronographs, whose telemetric scale on a black background is based on the speed of sound.

This scale, combined with the fly back functionality of the Capeland, allows for short periods of time and long distances
to be measured with maximum precision. The black dial with white secondary counters features maximum legibility, whereas the red scale and the big date with its offbeat font keep with the vintage codes while offering a touch of refreshing fancy. The size, 44mm (waterproof up to 50m) and the steel case can be surprising on a vintage inspired watch. However, very large wristwatches intended for professionals (railroad staff, manufacturing) already existed during the period 30s-40s and 50s, for example the legendary Rolex 4113.

Last but not least, the gold ‘Breguet shaped‘ hands splendidly contrast with the white steel of the case. Thus, this Beaume & Mercier Capeland 10068 manages to combine a large part of the most desirable military-vintage aesthetical codes, telemetric scale, black dial, central red scale, 44mm steel case & gold hands. For €6000, it is an unquestionable achievement by B&M.

Cartier – Tank Anglaise Grand Modele.

The rejuvenation initiated by Cartier a few years ago, especially with the superb Santos 100, continues with the ‘Cartier Tank Anglaise Grand modele’. If both of these watches seem to come from a sports club, the result is quite different: while the Santos 100 is bulky, with a hard work-out and steroids, the ‘Tank Anglaise Grand modele’ seems instead to have completed an intensive race course.

All the measurements increase, but keep to the ideal proportions of the golden ratio. Thus, the watch is less than 10mm thick, 36mm wide and 47mm long (including the lugs!). Its dimensions certainly increased, but they remain under 44mm, the norm for sports watches. The watch is already becoming a classic of the French horological elegance (despite its name).

This balance is achieved through the rounded bevelings of the lug-middles. The convex look of the watch and its built-in bezel contribute to the feeling of harmony and softness it conveys. On the wrist, it is heavier than it seems, because the watch and its wristband are for the moment only available in gold. Nonetheless, the watch remains comfortable as its mass is well balanced. Regarding the movement, it is one of the first models to feature the new homemade 1904MC caliber. It is an automatic movement; set at 28800v/h with a 48h power reserve, through a double barrel, this device optimises the torque and therefore the chronometric efficiency. With this ‘Tank Anglaise Grand modele’, Cartier once again demonstrates its ability to be fashionable without being a fad.

The SIHH was reviewed for the March edition of the magazine. You can read the full feature here, which also includes the Tag Heuer Mikrogirder, MB&F LM1 and the Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda Calendrier Annuel.

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