Geneva, Switzerland – Exclusive Elite Traveler Report of timepiece trends at SIHH (Salon International de Haute Horlogerie) and the GTE (Geneva Time Exhibition).
At last week’s SIHH and GTE in Geneva, watch brands unveiled their latest creations for 2010. With the current economic situation, many companies chose to add line extensions to the brand rather than totally new movements and models. However, there were a slew of innovative and interesting pieces for 2010, many of which are highlighted below.
Some of the notable trends permeating the collections included thin watches or a general trend toward smaller case sizes, convertible or double-faced watches, true high complications and an array of watches geared toward women.
Thin Is In:
After the over-saturation of bigger and bigger case sizes, this year many brands reverted to more classic-sized models and thin, elegant cases. With the launch of their new caliber in the Altiplano case, Piaget now claims the world record for the thinnest automatic movement at 2.35mm, and the thinnest automatic case. Meanwhile, Vacheron Constantin holds the distinction of producing the thinnest mechanical caliber at 2.5mm, housed in the new Historique Ultra-Fine 1968 model.
Others introduced the thinnest movements within their respective brands as well. Panerai’s new P999 movement is their thinnest yet, and is offered in the 42mm Radiomir case in a range of metals. FP Journe also unveiled the thinnest, as well as lightest, minute repeater ever, which also has a chronometer complication with a double barrel.
Watches with dual-faces or those that served dual purposes were also a trend at the shows. One of the most innovate creations was Montblanc’s Metamorphosis. The design was realized by an independent watch constructor and a watch engineer, but created by Montblanc. Housed in a case based on an existing model, the watch’s dial transforms like a butterfly—the date function recedes into the case as the chronograph function rises.
Antoine Preziuso, who showed at GTE, revealed a new watch with a dial that conveniently flips to reveal a second dial. And Bovet, who held individual appointments in its Geneva headquarters during the show, unveiled its new Amadeo concept, named for Owner Pascal Raffy’s son. The brand’s Fleurier collection is now called Fleurier Amadeo and is able to be easily converted from a wristwatch, to a table clock, to a pocket watch and vice versa.
Brands this year pulled out all the stops when it came to complications, presenting some of the most groundbreaking timepieces yet. DeLaCour revealed a spectacular double minute repeater, the Birepetition, in an impossibly large case. Featuring a movement designed by Christophe Claret, the timepiece has two minute repeaters, a big date and two time zones.
Audemars Piguet introduced its Royal Oak Offshore Equation of Time timepiece, which can be customized for location. It is the first time the brand is offering the high complication in its sportier Royal Oak case. Jaeger-LeCoultre added to its Master Grand Tradition line with this year’s Grand Complication timepiece, which features a minute repeater, floating tourbillon, month, day, date and zodiac functions.
Meanwhile, DeBethune came out with its new Moonphase watch with a unique blued titanium dial, polished to a high-finish and featuring gold rods depicting stars (which can be customized based upon specific star charts). The moon phase is indicated just below 12 o’clock.
Interestingly, Cartier unveiled several new timepieces, more than most brands, and many containing high complications. These included the new Astro Tourbillon, in which the tourbillon makes one revolution around the dial every minute acting as the seconds hand, and the new Rotund de Cartier Grand Complication, which boasts a tourbillon, perpetual calendar, single push chronograph and a skeletonized movement.
For Women Only:
Adding to its prized Poetic Complication collection, Van Cleef & Arpels introduced its Bridge of Lovers timepiece, which features an entirely new enameling technique on the dial. The watch has a split retrograde, with the hours and minutes indicated by a man and a woman standing on a bridge, who as the time progresses move closer and closer toward each other. At midnight, the two figures finally reach each other for a one-minute kiss before jumping back to opposite ends of the dial.
DeLaneau, the women-only watch brand, came out with some beautiful and ultra-feminine, high jewelry timepieces this year, including a variation on last year’s Magnolia collection, and additions to its Invisible Setting, Waves and Circle collections.
Richard Mille also turned his eye toward women. The usually masculine brand unveiled its first tourbillon for women, the RM19, or the Infinite Knot timepiece as it has been dubbed, which features an intricate skeletonized diamond knot in the case.
Old Faces, New Places:
Yvan Arpa, former CEO of Romain Jerome and creator of the Titantic DNA watch, has joined Volna as Creative Director and launched Artya, again bound to provide controversy with cases that have been treated and partially melted via high voltage electrical charges.