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Throwback Sundays: Six Watch Recommendations from SIHH 2017, from Our Archives

(Not so) Old is (Still) Gold
by Robin Lim on February 4, 2018

Over the last few weeks, we have seen quite a number of novelties from the recently concluded Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH). This year’s exhibition is the 28th edition, and it is said to have involved 35 exhibitors from a variety of brands.

Every year, as we usher the new edition of the exhibition, it is inevitable that we tend to forget about the novelties from the previous years. After all, most of us are focused on what are the new watches that the brands are launching. This is certainly a shame.

For this week’s Throwback Sundays, we take a trip down the memory lane to last year’s SIHH. The 2017 edition of the exhibition features some rather incredible and well-made pieces. Reviewing the list of highlights, we thought these have stood the test of time, and we would choose them again in our shortlist. What would you have kept in your list?

 

Parmigiani Toric Chronometre

 

The Parmigiani Toric Chronometre – a slightly more modestly priced timepiece from the Fleurier-based manufacturer.

 

First up, we have one of our favourite pieces from Parmigiani – the Toric Chronometre.

Parmigiani is one of the more prominent independently owned high-end watch manufacturers, and the Toric collection is known for producing haute horlogerie pieces that feature complications such as the minute repeaters and tourbillons. As our Chief Editor mentioned previously, it was a pleasant surprise that Parmigiani had launched a basic model for the collection, and a beautiful one at that.

Despite being a simple timepiece, Parmigiani have incorporated intricate touches to the timepiece. The bezel, for instance, comes with a coin edge design that was inspired by columns of Ancient Greece, with the patterns derived from gadroons and knurling. The end result is certainly stunning, and yet it still manages to maintain its elegance and classiness.

The Toric Chronometer is powered by the in-house calibre PF331. It is a self-winding movement boasts a date indicator, as well as a power reserve of around 55 hours. The 40.8mm watch is available in both red and white gold, with a retail price of CHF 18,500 (approximately S$26,213).

 

Jaeger LeCoultre Master Control Date

 

The JLC Master Control Date. The sector dial certainly makes this piece stands out.

 

One of the pieces that stood out from JLC in last year’s SIHH was the Master Control Date.

On paper, the Master Control Date seems like a simple watch. It isn’t wrong at all. The 39mm timepiece is a simple three-hand watch, with an additional date indicator at the 3 o’clock position of the dial. But what got us interested in this particular JLC (as well as the other two pieces in the Master Control collection) is its aesthetics. The watch was inspired by the designs of the yesteryear, which features an unusual sector dial. The two tone dial is clean, with an opaline centre and a matte silver outer ring. The contrasting sectors add a nice touch to the dial, and provides an interesting visual cue to the overall looks of the timepiece.

The Master Control Date is fitted with JLC’s Calibre 899/1. The self-winding movement is comprised of 219 components, and it has a power reserve of approximately 38 hours. The watch is priced at US$5,700 (approximately S$7,521), which we reckon is reasonable for a well-made timepiece from a watch manufacturer like Jaeger LeCoultre.

 

Girard-Perregaux Laureato 42mm

 

The Girard-Perregaux Laureato, in various case variants.

 

The 1970s is certainly an interesting time in horology. With the emergence of the quartz timepieces, traditional watch manufacturers have to come up with something to wrestle their position back from the disruptors. That was probably the reason behind the rise of unique and beautifully designed watches during this period.

The Laureato was one of the watches that was produced during the thick of the quartz crisis. Designed by an Italian architect, the watch was inspired by a Florentine cathedral called Santa Maria del Fiore. This had resulted in the iconic octagon shape nested in a circular bezel. It is also usually paired with an integrated bracelet, which provides a harmonious and complete look.

Back in SIHH 2017, Girard-Perregaux decided to relaunch the base model of the Laureato. The 42mm variant is meant to marry the classic aesthetics with a modern touch, and making it more relevant in today’s age. This includes the use of a new in-house movement (GP01800-0013), as well as an inclusion of an additional rubber strap for watches that are fitted with alligator strap (to allow the user to use the watch for sports activities).

The watch is available in a number of variants – with differences in either the case material, case size, strap options, or even in terms of complications. Our pick is the base Laureato 42mm, cased in stainless steel and fitted with an alligator strap, retails at S$15,300.

 

IWC Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar Chronograph

 

The IWC Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar Chronograph in red gold. The round case returns to the Da Vinci.

 

When it comes to IWC, the Da Vinci is probably one of the most underrated collections in its repertoire. Since its first introduction back in 1969, the Da Vinci was considered pretty much an odd child in the IWC family. Perhaps, until now.

The Da Vinci was relaunched in SIHH 2017, and IWC had decided to reintroduce the rounded cases back into the collection. This marks a new direction for the collection, considering that its design is follow its original roots – classy, with a touch of discreteness. This is pretty much unlike its predecessor, which is much more contemporary and striking in terms of its aesthetics.

Our favourite model from the collection is probably the Perpetual Calendar Chronograph. This particular model pays homage to the original Reference 3750 – with its classic round case, four sub-dials, as well as two semi-rounded pushers. The fancy lugs add a great touch too, although it is slightly different from the original model. The movement that powers the timepiece is the self-winding Calibre 89630. This movement features a fly-back chronograph, a perpetual calendar display, as well as a moonphase indicator that requires an adjustment once every 577.5 years.

Priced at S$ 43,500 for the stainless steel edition (Ref. 392103) and S$ 60,900 for the red gold model (Ref. 390101), we think that the Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar Chronograph offers a rather competitive price tag against its competitors. We would say that this is definitely one of the best looking Da Vinci in recent times, and it is certainly worth a double take if one is looking for a well-priced timepiece with such complications.

 

Richard Mille RM50-03 Tourbillon Split Seconds Chronograph Ultralight McLaren F1

 

The Richard Mille RM50 is the currently the world’s lightest split second chronograph, weighing in at 40g, including strap.

 

Richard Mille is definitely an interesting brand, most well-known for its enormous price tags and state of the art creations. The watch manufacturer is constantly going all out to improve and innovate, using cutting-edge materials to produce robust, yet ultra-lightweight watches. And we have not even talked about the different complications that the atelier had incorporated into their timepieces…

The new RM50-03 is certainly a spectacular timepiece. The watch is fitted with a skeleton dial, featuring a myriad of indicators. This includes the chronograph display, a power reserve indicator, a crown function display, as well as mainspring torque gauge. In addition, it has a split-second chronograph, as well as a tourbillon.

Richard Mille had used a combination of titanium and Graph TPT, to reduce the weight of the watch. The material is said to be six times lighter, and 200 times stronger than conventional steel. In addition, the watch is capable of withstanding shocks of up to 5,000G. Incredible!

The RM50-03 is a limited to a production of 75 pieces, and it is available with a retail price of CHF 980,000 (approximately S$1.34 million). Now, here’s the million-dollar question: would you prefer have the RM50-03, or the actual McLaren supercar instead?

 

Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers Celestia Astronomical Grand Complication 3600

 

The Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers Celestia Astronomical Grand Complication 3600. The most complicated wristwatch ever made.

 

Finally, we have one of the stars of SIHH 2017: the Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers Celestia Astronomical Grand Complication 3600.

This wristwatch is definitely not just a device that merely tells time. This is the most complicated wristwatch that Vacheron Constantin had ever produced, and it is also the most complicated wristwatch that is currently available in the market.

The 45mm timepiece houses the Caliber 3600 – a manual winding movement that boasts 514 components. It offers 23 different complications, which includes unusual ones such as the celestial charts, equation of time, and even a tide level indicator. What is also incredible is the fact that the watch has a staggering power reserve of around 21 days. This is achieved through the use of 6 mainspring barrels. It is still baffling that Vacheron Constantin had managed to incorporate so many complications and components into this watch, and yet maintaining a thickness of a mere 13.6mm for its movement.

Alas, this is a piece unique – which means that it is very much unlikely that anyone would get to see this masterpiece in person. However, if you do have a pocket that is deep enough, you might want to seek Vacheron Constantin to produce a timepiece that is even more complicated than this one.

 

So this concludes this episode of Throwback Sundays. What would you keep in the shortlist you drew up immediately after SIHH 2017? And what do you think you would keep when you review your 2018 list next year?

 

 

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