Top 10 Watches At SIHH 2014

Top 10 Watches At SIHH 2014

Top 10 Watches At SIHH 2014   ablogtowatch editor top lists

The aBlogtoWatch team has just returned from the 2014 edition of the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie watch trade show in Geneva - otherwise known as the SIHH. If you aren't already aware of what this show is about; it is one of a few major watch trade events each year where new products are debuted. SIHH is operated by the Richemont Group and a few other participating brands. There are about 16 brands that show there. The other major Swiss watch trade show is Baselworld that happens later in the year around March - and a lot more brands present there. SIHH is an important event and helps us understand what some of the major luxury brands are doing, and what their focus will be for this year and beyond.

While we saw and photographed many new and amazing watches, there are a few that stood out as the top timepieces. These are watches that left the biggest impression on us, or that we feel are going to be successful sellers this year and beyond. A list of all the best watches would easily take up more than 10 spaces, but here are some that you should certainly know about.

It is also important to discuss overall themes and trends at the show. My colleagues in the fashion world especially are keen to know this information so I will try to break it down. From a business standpoint the brands are very much focusing on replicating what is already working. Aside from a few noteworthy brands such as Jaeger-LeCoultre, Richard Mille, Greubel Forsey, and A. Lange & Sohne, there is very little in the range of outrageous timepieces this year meant to act as "media bait." What does that mean? Well, I used the term "media bait" to refer to wildly designed or priced timepieces meant to attract media and consumer attention. They are highly engineered and low production, often focusing on interesting movements and bold presentations. It used to be that most all brands had a few of these almost "concept style" watches each year that offered a lot of talking points and helped show what the brand was all about. This was likely a tactic taken from the automotive world, which also has ceased as much focus on concept vehicles.

Instead, brands continue to consolidate their collections and gradually release models as line extensions or updates to existing pieces. These timepieces focus on maximum "retail-ability" but aren't always the most exciting for brand voyeurs. Nevertheless, there is plenty to discuss based on what we saw at SIHH 2014, and over the next few months aBlogtoWatch will gradually present you with a number of hands-on looks at the most interesting and beautiful watches of the show.

Before discussing our top 10 most interesting watches from SIHH 2014, I'd like to note that the existence of the new Hong Kong-based show called "Watches & Wonders" is forcing brands to split their new releases between two shows. Watches & Wonders debuted in 2013 and is another Richemont-produced trade show meant to focus on the Asian markets. Brands have indicated that they are going to share new releases between SIHH and Watch & Wonders (that will happen again 2014 in September) - so that is important to know.

Myself, and aBlogtoWatch Editor, James Lamdin, who also attended SIHH 2014, will each share five of our top timepieces from the show. These are our top watches of the show in no particular order. You can see the article we wrote about a watch by clicking on the titles:

Top 10 Watches At SIHH 2014   ablogtowatch editor top lists

IWC Aquatimer Automatic

For 2014, IWC revamped and re-launched an entire new collection of their historically significant Aquatimer diving watch line. A perennial favorite amongst IWC collectors and dive watch enthusiasts in general, no one would argue that the current collection is getting a little long in the tooth (available since 2009), and was primed and ready for a major overhaul. The new collection spans the range from the "base" 42mm Aquatimer Automatic Diver to the Deep Three and Perpetual Calendar Digital Date Month highest-end models. The Aquatimer for 2014 also includes a new collection of chronographs, as well as the requisite Galapagos and Cousteau Limited Editions.

The whole lot is spectacular, but the "base" model automatic version gets the nod for the best in show. With a nod to historical models, the sensibly sized diver gets treated to a new steel bezel with an internally rotating dive calculation ring, which is also now operable by rotating the bezel in both directions – IWC calls it "Safe Dive." Also improved over the previous generation is the strap system, which now has a quick release system that is much more appropriately suited for changing straps. My biggest complaint on the last generation was how poorly it wore on dry land. With the revised lugs and strap removal system, this is no longer an issue.

There is little doubt that this new generation of Aquatimers will be tremendously successful for IWC, and for good reason. And this, the most simple and straightforward of the collection, is a hands-down winner. Priced from $5,750~James Lamdin

Top 10 Watches At SIHH 2014   ablogtowatch editor top lists

A. Lange & Sohne Richard Lange Perpetual Calendar Terraluna

A. Lange & Söhne continues to blow minds and break hearts with each passing year, and their big reveal for SIHH 2014 was no exception – the Richard Lange Perpetual Calendar Terraluna, their latest highly complicated timepiece, which may very well have been the most talked about watch of the show.

Housed in a relatively austere 45.5mm case, and available in white or pink gold, the Terraluna features a perpetual calendar complication with day, date, and month displays, regulator-style time display with three separate hands registering hours, minutes, and seconds, leap year display, power reserve readout, and to top it all off? An orbital moonphase display is part of the movement, and is visible through the case back. The movement itself features a constant force escapement, and has a 14-day power reserve. In short, another masterpiece from Lange… let's hope they never stop coming.

Although not technically a limited edition, the Terraluna will see very limited production, and is priced around $230,000. ~James Lamdin

Top 10 Watches At SIHH 2014   ablogtowatch editor top lists

Parmigiani Tonda Metrographe

Something new from Parmigiani for 2014 was their "Metro" collection of timepieces. Parmigiani's language about the collection may be a bit lofty, but under the branding is what we feel is the most desirable basic Parmigiani chronograph we've seen to-date. What you need to know about Parmigiani is that they make so much of their watches in-house - including the cases, dials, and of course, the movement. The Metrographe is a perfect example of how one can combine all the strengths of the brand in a reasonably priced package.

What is more important, is that this is the first men's watch (not intensely priced) from the brand that we've been really excited about. Let's face it, Parmigiani makes a lovely looking timepiece but they often have a bit of a feminine twist. More recently, we've seen new models that still faithfully incorporate brand DNA in a package that we want to wear more casually. The Tonda Metrographe comes in a 40mm wide steel case that wears large due to the lugs, and has a few available dial colors. In black, the chronograph sub dials are framed entirely in SuperLumiNova (because they really want you to time things in the dark).

Inside the watch, is an in-house made caliber PF315 automatic chronograph movement - and we like how the pushers integrate with the large lug structures. A combination of legibility, utility, and sheer refinement from a prestigious brand makes the Metrographe collection rather desirable this year. ~Ariel Adams

Top 10 Watches At SIHH 2014   ablogtowatch editor top lists

Cartier Calibre Diver

When we wrote our hands-on post about the Cartier Calibre Diver, we mentioned the clear irony of a Cartier watch meant for diving. When we think about Cartier we tend to think about timeless watches on stately ladies, classic men's dress watches, and certainly not tools for underwater sport. Nevertheless, Cartier took their newer Calibre collection timepiece and turned it into a legit ISO certified 300 meter diving watch. While it sounds odd on paper, we love the resulting product.

At 42mm wide the Calibre Diver is available in a steel, two-tone, or full 18k rose gold case. Thankfully, no diamond-decorated models are available (yet). The case has a rotating diver's bezel that uses a durable DLC black coating which gives it just a little bit of "Cartier shine." Cartier didn't do much to the dial of the Diver over the normal Calibre - but the lines are a bit bolder.

Is there room in your collection for a refined dive watch that whispers in your ear with a Cousteau-like French accent? Maybe. If you find yourself split between wanting to show a little status but also wanting to stay causal with a sport watch, the Calibre Diver is a particularly satisfying addition to a range of high-end dive watches with in-house made movements such as the Rolex Submariner and Blancpain 50 Fathoms. Priced starting from $8,200. ~Ariel Adams

20 comments
Zeitblom
Zeitblom

One of the few blessings in my horological career is that I really just don't like 99% of watches costing over 15K.or so. 

Damn you, Piaget! Luckily this watch is currently only available in gold [not nice at all] and "white" gold, which is junk. But if they make a steel version, I am in trouble....

KwekJooChuan
KwekJooChuan

Whilst I love Panerai and indeed their watches imo are the most appealing of the lot, I simply cannot agree with paying $22k plus for a titanium watch.  Since I'm currently owning a titanium 351 which is wonderful, I really question the jump in price.  Yes it is bigger at 47mm.  Yes this is technically a more intricate movement with 8 days reserve and all but I feel the increase in price doesn't fully justify the increase in "advancement".  


End of the day, one would find it hard to distinguish between someone wearing a base panerai (say a 372) and this (579) not to mention being unable to reconcile the price difference.  Not that it matters to anyone else except maybe the owner of this.  I'm just saying.....

Fraser Petrick
Fraser Petrick

Montblanc: looks like some fearsome instrument gauge in an old fashioned doctor's office. I want one.

Greubel Forsey: "Got the time?" becomes a challenging question. I want one

Jaeger-LeCoultre: "Price upon request": One Million Austin Powers Dollars is my limit. Not a penny more. I want one.

Panerai: those little half-propeller thingies bother me. I want one.

Piaget: Thank you for parenthesizing "(20)" jewels for "Twenty". I want one.

Audemars Piguet: Pimp my ride ('92 Cavalier). I want one. Bad. Real Bad.

SuperStrapper
SuperStrapper

They are all with some measure of charm, but to be honest nothing really knocked me out of my seat. The PAM579 might be my favourite in this list, but I have zero interest in wearing that boorish crown guard on the inside of my wrist. 


While technically very appealing, I catch little aesthetic value from the JLC. Even with a tourbillon bolted onto the front it looks like wrist mayonnaise. The Piaget is 10x the dress watch. Your results may vary. 

LapYoda
LapYoda

Gorgeous watches all, but that Montblanc really pisses me off.  Not because of its design or movement (which I like), but because of its stratospheric price for, well, a Montblanc.  What really irritates me, though, is the pulsograph.  Just who the heck is the audience for this watch?  Because I can tell you, any doctor who routinely needs to take a pulse ain't gonna buy this watch, either because he can't afford it or because it is entirely impractical in a clinical setting.  The docs who make enough money to throw at a $35,000 Montblanc don't take pulses with their watch.


Show me a <$3000 pulsograph, and I'll show you a number of doctors who would be interested - myself included.

orientwatchsite
orientwatchsite

Perfect watches i have seen yet. Really interesting post. I am looking forward to read your posts further. Thanks

MarkCarson
MarkCarson

I had not seen the Piaget before. Lust, lust, lust. Even if it were thicker, is would still be a great watch. Lots to see and just a visual treat. And for only the price of a (crappy) new car.

Zzyzx
Zzyzx

Your last mini-review of the AP caused a surge of thankfulness to run through me. Downsizing! Finally! Is this the end of monster-sized watches? One (with scrawny wrists) can only hope. 

Although I beg to differ (style-wise) on at least two watches:

Parmigiani - The indices look oversized, which causes the chrono functions to look rather crammed together in the center. Add to that an open date window, and it just looks kind of a mess. Maybe it pulls it all together much better in the flesh?

Cartier - Oy. A mix of Roman numerals and indices. Another open date window (A diver technically doesn't even need any date, but I could live with a date window if need be. Just not an open one.) I actually like small seconds complications, even on divers. But this one, again, looks so crammed into the watch. Still, it is cool that Cartier made a real ISO diver AND managed to keep it rather thin. Another ray of hope in a world that has seemed to become over-dominated with monster watches. I'll still take a Santos over the diver though.

MarkCarson
MarkCarson

@LapYodaWorse, usually when I have my pulse taken at the doctor's office it is by the nurse, not my doctor. So now they have to market this man size, $35K watch to the female nurses of the world (or at least at my doctor's office). But it is a nice looking watch - at an eye watering price.

Fraser Petrick
Fraser Petrick

@MarkCarson Lust is a sin. It's in the Old Testament. Myself, I don't lust - drool, maybe - but, good heavens, never lust. However, there was this Patek Phillipe Calatrava for which I may have lusted, but after some prune juice and an ice bath I regained my decorum. But, I suppose, being from a tropical climate, you are lusting fairly frequently. Maybe some  James Michener missionaries would set you straight; morally straight , that is.

David  Bredan
David Bredan

@Zzyzx Hey there, concerning the Parmigiani piece we have a hands-on article coming up sometime soon with more "in-the-metal" images. I had the chance to handle that piece and its different variants (dial colors, etc.) on the launch event with Parmigiani and I can report that though it is true that the center of the dial is busy, it still looked really nice on the wrist and remained easily legible. More details in the article, so stay tuned!

LapYoda
LapYoda

@MarkCarson@LapYodaSometimes I see a patient in the clinic and would like to take a pulse without having to mentally calculate the heart rate over a whole minute.  But are there any pulsographs marketed to me?  Heck no!


Are you listening, watch companies?  There are doctors who would like a "doctor's watch," because... well, it should be obvious.

MarkCarson
MarkCarson

@Fraser Petrick In the words of James Earl Carter, "I have lusted in my heart after other..." So if its OK for him (and Rosyln) then it works for me! Besides, everything you want in life is a sin it seems. I like to eat (gluttony) and sleep (sloth), so there is no getting around my base instincts. And yes, I will lust without remorse after the Piaget. And as you put it, perhaps "it needs  a good home".

MarkCarson
MarkCarson

@David Bredan Thanks David. Looks great in the video. Heck, I've got leather straps thicker than that. But mostly I love that so much of the mechanism is visible and it still remains elegant looking (unlike some skeleton watches that are sort of crass and contrived looking). Cheers.

David  Bredan
David Bredan

@MarkCarsonYes, perhaps the most amazing thing - beyond its incredible thinness - is the "substance" it carries. Some much heftier watches look a lot more shallow and a lot less interesting, while Piaget has so much going on here.
Just one thing... Knowing that the Swatch watch is build around pretty much the same principle (i.e. movement parts held by and built onto the case back), I wonder why no one ever did this before?

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