Hetty Chidwick picks her favourite time pieces from Geneva’s SIHH - Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie
Every year it is with great anticipation that I wait for the invitation to the smartest and sleekest watch fair on the circuit, kindly hosted by Richemont. The umbrella company owns venerable brands such as Cartier, Vacheron Constantin and IWC, amongst others. Each year their watch brands take stands at the fair and showcase their latest offerings to a select number of international media and distribution industries. It is an honour to be invited and I enjoy being in Geneva, soaking up knowledge from some of the finest watch brains in the business.
Each brand presents their latest collections to the different markets from around the globe in the hope that we will love them and either buy them, or in my case, write about them.
I saw so many fine pieces, but wanted to share a few with you that particularly caught my eye – some are very limited editions so you may need to move fast.
Rubis Secret watch bracelet from Van Cleef & Arpels
Harking back to the art deco era of the 1930s, this mind-blowing piece is less watch, more bracelet. Set in white gold, diamonds and pink gold, it is host to 115 oval-cut and flawless rubies. These disguide is a small quartz watch with a ‘pull-out’ drawer like mechanism, which can only be accessed when a specific selection of rubies is pressed. It is a magical piece, although we expect no less from the brand.
The Panthère et Colibri from Cartier
Cartier has yet again crafted a series of masterpieces: the Panthères et Colibri features a panther and its cub, which pops out as the crown is pressed to chase a hummingbird, which in turn moves to indicate the power reserve – I found this piece totally charming.
Endeavour Centre Seconds Concept Funky Blue from H Moser & Cie
H Moser & Cie have paired everything down with this piece with a sky-blue fumé dial. I love its simplicity in a world where things can look so complicated. Less is more, and I particularly liked it with the braided crocodile leather strap.
Overseas Ultra Thin automatic from Vacheron Constantin
Vacheron Constantin has created an elegant sports watch which is slim enough to wear with a suit, but high enough spec to wear when things turn active. It comes with three interchangeable straps: steel (or gold), leather and rubber, as well as a new strap changing device, making it easy to change straps yourself, without any tools – so this is really three watches in one.
Big Pilot’s Heritage Watch 55 from IWC
Harking back to the original Special Pilot’s watch of 1936, this Heritage Watch is the largest IWC have produced, at 55mm, which makes a statement, and is a very masculine piece.
Limelight Stella from Piaget
The first ever complication made for women is an elegant piece, with the oval shape they are known for. The moonphase and diamond dial keep it feminine and wearable.
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chronograph 41mm
The Audemars Piquet Royal Oak has always been the most popular from the brand. This year sees no change and I suspect these new pieces in yellow gold will be high flyers yet again. The yellow gold has such vibrancy and looks particularly good in the 41mm size with a navy dial.