Each year the Salon International De La Haute Horologerie (SIHH for short) takes place in Geneva, and gives those lucky enough to be invited a preview of watches to come during the year (and beyond). This year the exhibition ran from January 19 to 23 and celebrated ’25 years of magic’.
The first show took place back in 1992 and featured a mere five brands. The show was born out of a desire for brands to be able to show their forthcoming products ahead of BaselWorld, which is the original Swiss watchmaking exhibition. SIHH is primarily organised by The Richemont Group, though the group does also work with several independent brands.
This year’s exhibition featured more than 15 participating brands, and while every brand had something to show off, there were – as always – some truly exceptional timepieces. Here, we list our picks for the top five watches out of SIHH 2015. Well, actually, in this article we only list three watches – you’ll have to wait for part 2 of this article to find out about the remaining watches :).
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A. Lange & Söhne Zeitwerk Minute Repeater Ref. 147.025F
When it comes to fine watchmaking, one of our favourite brands is A. Lange & Söhne, and they had some truly inspired timepieces at SIHH this year. Our favourite is without doubt the Zeitwerk Minute Repeater, reference 147.025F.
The Zeitwerk has always fascinated us and while it isn’t a watch for everyone, it’s a watch that we think anyone can appreciate – it’s impossible not to fall in love with the way the numerals on the dial jump so precisely. By adding a decimal minute repeater to the Zeitwerk, Lange has taken the family to the next level – it is the only watch on the market to feature a jumping numerals display with a decimal minute repeater
The Zeitwerk Minute Repeater is Lange’s first timepiece with a striking complication that sounds the hours, ten-minute intervals, and minutes. The acoustic sequence reproduces the digitally displayed time whenever the striking mechanism is triggered via the pusher that’s found on the hour side of the case.
We can’t wait to see this piece in the metal. To learn more about the Zeitwerk Minute Repeater read our original report by clicking here. You can also watch Lange’s Anthony De Haas explain the timepiece on YouTube by clicking here.
A. Lange & Söhne Datograph Up/Down Ref. 405.031
Try as we might, we were unable to get away from giving Lange another spot on our list. Can you blame us though? Just look at that stunning Datograph Up/Down, now in pink gold with a black solid-silver dial. In our humble opinion, Lange’s Datograph is one of the finest high-end chronographs that money can buy and we’ve been fascinated with the watch family, ever since it first broke cover back in 1999.
The Datograph family has been updated by Lange fairly consistently, with the Up/Down reference first hitting the market in 2012. Up/Down is Lange speak for a visual power reserve indicator (visible at the 6 o’clock position) and this particular watch has only ever been offered in platinum, which gave the watch a more sporty feel. Now with a warmer pink gold case and bold black solid-silver dial, the Datograph Up/Down looks infinitely more dressy, though this is, obviously, not a proper dress watch. (For that, you’ll have to look at Lange’s Saxonia line, which also boasted updated models at SIHH.)
We should mention that this isn’t the first time the Datograph family has had a pink gold reference – a previous iteration of the Datograph – one that was released in 2003 – could be had in this case material and dial colour, however it did not offer the Up/Down power reserve indicator.
This watch sports a 41mm case, a height of 13.1mm and is powered by the in-house manually wound Lange L951.6 movement. You can learn more about this watch by visiting Lange’s site here.
Vacheron Constantin Harmony Chronograph Caliber 3300 Ref. 5300S/000R-B055
Vacheron Constantin was founded back in 1755 by master-watchmaker Jean-Marc Vacheron. The brand holds the distinction of being the oldest watchmaker to remain in continuous operation, and this year celebrates its 260th anniversary. You read that right, two hundred and sixty years in business.
To celebrate this monumental occasion, Vacheron Constantin unveiled an entirely new watch family at SIHH 2015 – the Harmony collection. The collection features seven different references, all of which are limited edition pieces commemorating the 260th anniversary. All of the watches feature a contemporary design boasting a cushion shape case, which came into being as a result of inspiration gleamed from the brand’s first wristwatch chronograph (introduced in 1928). The Harmony collection is also powered by new in-house calibers that are the result of seven years of research and development.
Each of the Harmony timepieces are stunning in their own right but we were particularly taken with two; the Harmony Chronograph Caliber 3300 and the Harmony Ultra-Thin Grande Complication Chronograph – the latter is the world’s thinnest self-winding monopusher split-seconds chronograph. Ultimately, we favoured the Harmony Chronograph Caliber 3300 because we’re suckers for vintage inspired monopusher watches with pulsation dials.
The Harmony Chronograph scores serious vintage appeal thanks to its cushion shaped case, monopusher design and, of course, those lovely red pulsation markers. The watch, reference 5300S/000R-B055, bears the Hallmark of Geneva and is just breathtaking to look at, boasting a 42mm pink gold case, silver opaline dial and blue painted Arabic numerals. Even the hour and minutes hands are suitably vintage and match the watch perfectly. The watch is presented on a brown hand-stitched alligator leather strap and measures 12.81mm in height.
As you may have gathered from the name, the watch is powered by the new in-house Caliber 3300 movement. The manual winding movement offers 65 hours of power reserve, beats at 21,600 vibrations/hour and measures 6.7mm thick. The movement’s balance cock is also hand-engraved with a dedicated 260th anniversary pattern. Only 260 Harmony Chronograph Caliber 3300 watches will ever be made.
Collectors who purchase this timepiece will receive a 260th anniversary presentation box, which will contain the watch, a magnifying glass, a brochure on the Harmony collection and a 260th anniversary celebration letter signed by Juan-Carlos Torres, CEO of Vacheron Constantin.
Vacheron will eventually grow the family beyond the seven limited edition pieces unveiled at SIHH this year, meaning the family is now a part of the brand’s permanent collection.
You can learn more about this watch and the rest of the Harmony collection by clicking here.
Stay tuned for part 2 of this article to find out the other watches that stole our attention at SIHH 2015.