Its here again, the first of two famed annual watch fairs has begun. SIHH now annually held in January of each year at Geneva- the other is BASEL FAIR which is usually held in April. Everyone commercially connected to the watch industry is expected to make the annual pilgrimage to these fairs. The SIHH fairs are essentially the fair for Richemont brands (save for independents like GP and AP) and Basel Fair is for the rest of the industry to showcase their latest watches for the year. Buyers from retailers, journalists from watch magazines, moderators from the watch forums all congregate to listen, to admire, to photograph all the latest pieces being presented.
Historically, there had been observable themes - who can forget the year where multi-tourbillons were launched. Double and Triple tourbillons were a common sight. This year there seems to be a continued theme from last year of remaking old designs. Regardless of the debate whether the brands are lacking inspiration for better designs, the reissuing of these designs with new materials have proven to be a winning formula. At least for the brands who had been around long enough to have their old designs remade.
Some worthy of mention are Lange, Cartier, JLC, AP and GP. Most are reissuing simple classic watches and returning to the theme of ultra thin. Something I had predicted two years ago that will happen to the industry. JLC has its new Grand Reverso Ultra Thin
(46mm x 27mm x 7.2mm high) and the remake of the Memovox Divers watches. AP has its AP Jules Audemars Extra Thin
(41mm x 6.7mm). Cartier has the new Ballon Bleu Extra Flat
- where the crown is actually thicker than the watch (46mm diameter - no height dimensions provided). Lange has its new Saxonia Ultra Thin
(40mm x 5.9mm). Check out the rest of the brands offerings at Perpetuelle WatchForum site
Unfortunately, quite a few brands appear to be launching new over 40mm case sized watches with much smaller calibre movements. In some cases, the use of the same calibre in different sized models of the same design. Just keep an eye out for placement of subdials and date windows. That usually results in the watch needed fillers to hold the calibres in place.
Its my personal opinion that JLC, Cartier and Lange deserve special mention for their new pieces. Cartier's new collection shows their pedigree for design and horology. JLC simple classics are still leading the way with their personality and character. Lange's Zeitwerk and Saxonias are beautiful to look at but the new Pour Le Merite is a new interesting take on a series that is considered as the most desirable tourbillon in the market.