SIHH 2018 was a spectacular show. It was my first time in Geneva, respectively, my first Salon International De La Haute Horlogerie. Having experience with Baselworld helped me to face more easily the overwhelming grandeur of the SIHH. Working side by side with our Editor in Chief meant not only a very tight schedule and running between the booths. It meant fun. As our goals were watches and the people behind them, I will talk about the most impressive ones. As a watch lover, it was difficult to decide to only five of them. This is my Top 5 picks from SIHH 2018 from Cartier, Greubel Forsey, De Bethune, Jaeger-LeCoultre and Girard Perregaux.
The all-time favourite: the Cartier Tank Cintrée
It might appear strange that from all the high complication, high joaillerie watches, the Cartier Tank will make such a powerful impression. But from the first moment, I was touched by the perfection and simplicity of this watch. Cartier introduced three noble versions of the Tank Cintrée this year: platinum, pink gold, and yellow gold. The Tank just celebrated 100 years. See this link for a lovely article about the history of this amazing watch, written by the Cartier expert George Cramer, can be read on Revolution.
This modern version of the vintage Tank Cintrée measures 46.3mm x 23mm x 7.2mm. The size might sound big on paper, but on the wrist, the curved shape of the Tank fits perfectly. The simple and ergonomic design wears breathlessly. It is one of those timeless designs that crosses the barrier between men and ladies watches. It stands effortlessly on a small lady’s wrist and fits well to a bigger sized, masculine wrist. It is a statement of elegance.
For an avid traveller: the Greubel Forsey GMT Earth
The GMT Earth is a spectacular watch, we announced it on the first day of SIHH. Meeting it in flesh is an outstanding experience. At 45.5mm diameter, with a Greubel Forsey specific case, the GMT Earth is wearing small. The multi-dimensional construction of the watch’s dial is a reason for losing yourself between lovely finishes and technical details. Each constituent element is made to impress. The Greubel Forsey GMT Earth is a complicated construction with a spectacular interpretation of a useful complication – the GMT.
The Earth globe is highly visible through the special sapphire crystals on the top and on the bottom, including a side view window with synthetic sapphire. We reviewed the previous versions of the GMT here. This year’s version is a maturity piece. From all versions, the GMT Earth shows an evolution and sophistication above the older pieces. Turning the watch will reveal another set of details: a 24 hours timezones indication displayed with the summer and winter time, complementing the universal time display realised by the terrestrial globe.
Evolution in Revolution: De Bethune DB28 Steel Wheels
De Bethune DB28 is now a classic among the watches of De Bethune. The 2018’s version comes with the most revealing interpretation of this horological beauty. The cutouts of the Calibre 2115V4 offers an impressive view to the open-worked barrels and ratchet wheels. The dramatic view is enhanced by the hour indication. A sapphire hour hand points out to a chapter ring decorated with twelve polished spheres.
Wearing the De Bethune DB28 Steel Wheels on the wrist is a game of beauty and pleasure. The watch feels great on the wrist due to the articulate lugs. The comfort is high, doubled by the pleasure of the refreshing dial. The dial offers a delightful light show. All the dial’s detail with highly polished surfaces and multi-depths catch the light in a game of “hide and seek”. The blued elements increase the charm of the dial and wear the signature of De Bethune.
The return of a classic: Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Memovox
If you are a fan of the Jaeger-LeCoultre, you will likely be well acquainted with the Polaris collection. Even though it was launched fifty years ago, and awaiting a refresh, the Momovox remains in the hearts and minds of many hard core collectors. So it is with great interest that we saw JLC introduce an entire range under the new Polaris line. Including the iconic Memovox, equipped with a patented triple case-back system designed and optimised to make the alarm sound audible under water. The collection comprises of six watches. And, needless to say, the Polaris Memovox won my heart. This watch is not only a JLC legend but also an affordable 1000 limited edition.
The iconic three crown design is unusual and lovely, completing nicely the vintage appearance of the case. The dial is also a warm reminder of the 1968 Momovox. The indexes wear a trapezoidal shape with vanilla Super-LumiNova filing. The central disk with a luminous triangle of the alarm is the main characteristic of the Memovox watches. The Polaris Memovox is a classic sports appearance on the wrist.
A complicated beauty: Girard Perregaux Minute Repeater Tri-Axial Tourbillon
This year’s most complicated piece from Girard Perregaux is an impressive watch with impressive complications. Coming in a 48mm titanium case, the watch features a tri-axial tourbillon mounted in an open work dial and a minute repeater. The unusual choice of case material offers a high-intensity sound for the repeater. The time is displayed using two sapphire chapter rings mounted on a Girard Perregaux specific shaped bridge. This openwork design undresses every element of mister and shows every detail.
The high domed sapphire crystal increases, even more, the multi-depth effect of the watch’s dial. The 48mm case features polished and brushed surfaces, completing the multitude of finishes visible on the dial side. The sound of the minute repeater is powerful enough with a clean strike and nice harmonics. Activating the repeater will launch the strick visible at 12 o’clock. Having all the main elements visible on the watch’s face increase the attractivity of the Minute Repeater Tri-Axial Tourbillon.
SIHH 2018 offered a multitude of choices. From vintage to modern, from simple to highly technical, the watches presented this year offer a little something to everyone. We witnessed the launch of some extraordinary pieces and most of the brands had plenty to offer. We will return with the deep hands-on reviews on each to expose as much as possible from the details that make these watches extraordinary. In between, maybe you can share with us, what were your preferred pieces.
Interesting question. I am no expert in the sound of repeaters, but my ear was not hurt by the sound of it. It was warm and nice – at least in the ocean of noise of the SIHH. We need to spend more time, in silence, to enjoy and deconstruct its sound. A review will follow.
A minute repeater in a TI case.. while volume is assured, is the richness and musicality compromised?