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Jason Pitsch

SIHH 2017: Royal Oak Chronograph

Jason Pitsch

This year at SIHH, Audemars Piguet launched an entire refresh of their existing Royal Oak Chronograph line that includes new two-tone dials, inside the 41 mm diameter case. In total, there are eight new styles. Three stainless steel with steel bracelets, with a black on white, white and black and silver/gray on blue, four pink gold with either blue or brown dial on either gold bracelet or leather strap, and one titanium and platinum model with a blue on a gray dial. A Frederic Piguet 1185 caliber, referred to as AP caliber 2385 powers the line, as was the case in the past. The movement is an integrated vertical clutch actuated column wheel chronograph but it is made by Audemars Piguet’s Vallée de Joux neighbor, Frederic Piguet (which Blancpain bought out) because the phenomenal caliber 3120 with a chronograph module

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Jason Pitsch

SIHH 2017: Kari Voutilainen Vingt-8 ISO

Jason Pitsch

Kari Voutilainen is a highly respected Finnish-born master watchmaker who has a small workshop in Môtiers, Switzerland that produces between 25 to 50 timepieces per year. From the beautiful guilloché dials to the three-part open-tipped hands, that Voutilainen is famous for, to the movement plate and bridges, all finishing is done by hand. Components such as jewels, mainsprings, sapphire crystals, and cases are outsourced, but most parts are made in-house, including the Voutilainen direct impulse escapement with two escape wheels, made of steel (for strength). The ingenious design provides a net energy gain of about 30% power in comparison to a traditional lever escapement, and so the power reserve is 65-hours instead of 50. The look of Voutilainen’s German silver three-quarter main plate and bridges – which are hand-finished to the highest haute horology standard – is arguably one of

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Jason Pitsch

SIHH 2017: Panerai LAB-ID Luminor 1950 Carbotech 3 Days

Jason Pitsch

Created by Panerai’s Laboratorio di Idee, the LAB-ID Luminor 1950 Carbotech 3 Days features a carbon fiber composite case, a completely new deep black dial, and a movement needing no lubrication for 50 years. The 49 mm carbon fiber case, referred to as Carbotech, has already been in use on previous models, such as the Luminor Submersible 1959 Carbotech 3 Days Automatic that we reviewed in 2015. The 49 mm Luminor 1950 case has the same dense, uneven black surface, which is composed of very thin sheets of carbon fibre are pressed together at a controlled temperature under very high pressure. What is all new, is the dial which is covered in carbon nanotubes, and the movement which works perfectly without any lubrication for 50 years, according to Panerai. The dial has Panerai’s the classic sandwich construction, with a generous

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Jason Pitsch

SIHH 2017: Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar in Ceramic

Jason Pitsch

Thomas Mudge produced the oldest known perpetual calendar in 1762. Patek Philippe followed in 1925 with a perpetual calendar wristwatch based on a ladies’ pendant watch. Breguet created the first perpetual watch with a true wristwatch movement in 1929. However, it was not until 1955 that the leap year indication was brought to a wristwatch by Audemars Piguet in the reference 5516. Prior to that, all perpetual calendar mechanical wristwatches had the day, date, and month indications – not the leap year. Having said that, Audemars Piguet is clearly recognized as a leader and innovator in the Perpetual Chronograph field, however, it is not the perpetual calendar equipped caliber 5134 movement that is new. Although, it was in 2015, when the larger 41 mm perpetual calendars in steel and pink gold models were introduced, with the enlarged movement (based on

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SIHH 2017: Audemars Piguet Diamond Outrage

As the third and final part of the Audemars Piguet Haute Joaillerie ladies’ cuff timepiece trilogy – which started with the Dimond Punk in 2015, followed by the Dimond Fury in 2016 – the Diamond Outrage debuts today at SIHH in Geneva. The Diamond Outrage is available in two different one-of-kind pieces that are crafted in 18K white gold and include prominent spikes set with either diamonds or blue sapphires. Aptly described by Audemars Piguet, the “Diamond Outrage becomes an explosion of stalactites on the wrist.” The sparkling spikes vary in size from 29.30 mm to 40 mm in length, and are produced using the so-called “snow setting” technique, where the diamonds are set so close together that the jewel’s white gold frame appears almost invisible. The invisible setting, another rare technique, is used for each of the three distinctive

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Jason Pitsch

SIHH 2017: Les Cabinotiers Celestia Astronomical Grand Complication 3600

Jason Pitsch

After launching the most complicated pocket watch ever made in 2015, Swiss watchmaker Vacheron Constantin is at it again. Well, in this case, they have been at it for the past five years, which is the amount of time it took to develop their most complicated wristwatch ever – the Les Cabinotiers Celestia Astronomical Grand Complication 3600 – that debuted today at SIHH. Incredibly, the renowned Swiss manufacture was able to fit 23 functions inside a 36 mm x 8.7 mm movement, ultimately resulting in a case measuring just 45 mm x 13.6 mm. And best of all, thanks to the unique twin-dial configuration, where the front and back both act as dials, the legibility of all the distinctive functions is quite good. Furthermore, to put it in context, caliber 3600 has 514 total components, 64 jewels, 6 power barrels,

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Jason Pitsch

Royal Oak Extra-Thin in yellow gold

Jason Pitsch

The famous Royal Oak timepiece was first introduced by Audemars Piguet in 1972, exclusively in stainless steel. Following the now legendary model’s success, the first yellow gold version of the Royal Oak was produced in 1977. That model came in the same 39 mm “Jumbo” case as the original stainless steel reference 5402 “A series,” with the same Jaeger-LeCoultre 920 based automatic caliber 2121 movement inside. And like the stainless steel model is highly sought after on the vintage market. Fast forward to 2017, after a long hiatus – the classic yellow gold Royal Oak “Jumbo” has returned. And to mark the 40th Anniversary of the first precious metal version of Audemars Piguet’s most famous watch, the Le Brassus manufacture has created a new series of Royal Oak Extra-Thins in yellow gold. The 18K yellow gold “Jumbo” is available with

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Jason Pitsch

Grönefeld x Voutilainen 1941 Remontoire

Jason Pitsch

The Grönefeld brothers, Tim and Bart, have been friends with Kari Voutilainen since the early 1990s. According to Grönefeld, the two companies would often share booths at important watch fairs around the globe. And now they are officially collaborating together, by way of Voutilainen producing bespoke engine turned (guilloché) dials – two of which are shown here – for a limited number of Grönefeld 1941 Remontoire timepieces. Grönefeld is able to offer a wide array of color and pattern options for the dial, all featuring guilloché-work. And there is even an option to add enameling on top of the guilloché motif as well. The dials are made on a very old rose-engine that requires the expert skill of someone like Voutilainen, who is world renowned for producing this type of dial. Each dial can take up to two days to

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Jason Pitsch

Christophe Claret Maestro to be unveiled at SIHH

Jason Pitsch

Next week, at SIHH 2017, Swiss independent watchmaker Christophe Claret will officially unveil a new timepiece with a so-called “memo” function. Basically, a cone-shaped display made of aluminum, between 3 and 4 o’clock, which features a diamond and two natural rubies (red) or two natural sapphires (blue), depending on the version, pivots one way to remind you that you need to do a certain task each day, and the other way to show you that the task has been done. It is reset by pressing a pusher on the side of the case. The inspiration, according to Christophe Claret, comes from the expression “tie a knot in your handkerchief” to help remember something important. Additionally, there is a dual tier cone-shaped aluminum display at 5 o’clock that shows the date and is topped with a natural blue sapphire or natural

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Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie 2017 Exhibitors List

For the 27th annual Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie, otherwise known as SIHH 2017, there will be a total of 30 exhibitors. This is the most exhibitors the show has ever had. Last year, the SIHH show added the Carré des Horlogers, which consisted of nine high-end independent watchmakers – Hautlence, HYT, Kari Voutilainen, Laurent Ferrier, MB&F, Christophe Claret, Urwerk, De Bethune and H. Moser & Cie. This year, five more independent watchmakers were added – Romain Jerome, MCT, Speake-Marin, Gronefeld, and Ressence. And notably, De Bethune has decided not to show at SIHH 2017. The increase in the number of independent exhibitors is a good sign and surely helps the show by providing that many more products to see, which is especially important for the final day of the show when the general public will be able to

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