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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Some of the Best Luxury Watches from SIHH

Montblanc Nicolas Rieussec Rising Hours

The recently concluded Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) tradeshow in Geneva, featured only 16 luxury brands but their output of quality timepieces provided a showcase for innovation, craftsmanship and design that remain the hallmarks of the Swiss watch industry. Below are a few examples of some of the timepieces that were on display.

Montblanc Nicolas Rieussec Calibre MB R220

Montblanc Nicolas Rieussec Rising Hours
The hour display of this watch (top and above photos) is made possible by Montblanc’s new Calibre MB R220, which has a patented mechanism consisting of two rotating discs positioned one atop the other, to show not only the individual 12 hours, but to also indicate whether its day or night. The Arabic numerals 1 to 12 are on the upper disc, which is situated above the bicolor day/night disc. The 12-hour disc rotates continually, while the day/night disc turns in intervals and at variable speeds to produce the desired color change (blue for the night, black for the day) in the cut-out numerals. This motion is controlled with the aid of a Maltese cross-shaped mechanism consisting of two cam-like wheels. In addition to this double-disc mechanism, four other disc displays rotate. The day of the week is shown in a window at the 9 o’clock and the date appears in an aperture at the 3 o’clock. This is the latest version of the collection named after the inventor of the chronograph.  

A. Lange & Söhne Grand Complication
The German watch brand has developed a timepiece with a host of complications that include chiming mechanism with grand and small strikes; minute repeater; a monopusher type split-seconds chronograph, with minute counter and rattrapante function and jumping seconds accurate to a fifth of a second; perpetual calendar with date, day of week, month in four-year cycle; and moon phases. The movement is a Lange manufacture Calibre L1902, manually wound. The white enamel dial reveals a railway-track minute scale and the four characteristic, symmetrically arranged subsidiary dials. This exclusive collectors' item is housed in a 50mm pink gold case comes. It is available in a limited edition of six watches.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Grand Complication
The mechanical heart of this 44mm timepiece is its three advanced functions, forming what is considered in the industry as the basis of a Grande Complication movement. Its traditional selfwinding movement combines minute repeater, split-second chronograph and perpetual calendar functions. It’s also equipped with a minute repeater mechanism, enabling it to sound the hours, quarters and minutes on demand. And it houses a perpetual calendar complication that also displays lunar cycles. It affords the possibility of performing timing operations and reading off intermediate or “split” times due to the split-second complication, which is an Audemars Piguet signature in its Grande Complication models. The selfwinding Calibre 2885 has 648 parts. It is available in a titanium case (pictured) or an 18K pink gold case. Both models are limited to three pieces each.

Richard Mille RM58-01 Tourbillon World Timer
The 12-year-old watch brand is an infant when it comes to the venerable world of the Swiss watch industry, but it has grown up at lightning speed with technical innovations and partnerships with athletes in sports ranging from track and field to soccer to auto racing. This manually winding movement has hours, minutes and a 10-day power reserve shown on an indicator at 2 o’clock. The caliber RM58-01, 34mm in diameter, is supported on a baseplate of grade 5 titanium, a material also utilized for the bridges. The tourbillon, positioned at 9 o’clock and oscillating at a frequency of 3Hz, is accommodated in a four-part case made from titanium and red gold. The shot-blasted, satin-brushed and polished rotating bezel bears the names of 24 world cities, symbols of the international 24 time zones on its brown upper flange. The RM 58-01 does not need any adjusting push-piece to change from one time zone to another. The time is set by rotating the bezel anticlockwise, making adjustment a quick operation. All the traveler needs to do is position the name of the city where he or she has just landed at 12 o’clock, which automatically sets local time and the time in the other 23 world cities due to the 24-hour scale engraved on the flange. The black and white disc distinguishes day from night for the user automatically, so there is no possibility of confusion. The timepiece, produced as a limited edition of 35 timepieces, was made in partnership with Jean Todt, a French motor sport executive, who wanted a watch to travel the world with. Profits from the sale of this watch will be transferred to two key initiatives close to Todt’s charities: the Global Campaign for Road Safety and the ICM Brain and Spine Institute, which he co-founded.

Roger Dubuis Excalibur Quatuor
This deep grey watch is made of silicon, chosen for its low weight and its incomparable hardness. It is half the weight of titanium, which is half the weight of steel, yet it is four times harder. Silicon has a similar atomic structure to diamond and working with it requires just as much skilled expertise. The brand also boasts a technological advancement in which four carefully positioned sprung balances work in pairs to compensate immediately for the rate variations caused by the changes in position of the watch when worn. “What the tourbillon achieves during the course of a minute, the Excalibur Quatuor achieves instantly,” the brand says. A classic watch operating at a frequency of 4 Hz is considered to be highly precise. But the Excalibur Quatuor operates at a frequency of 16 Hz. As each balance oscillates four times per second, the frequency of the watch is multiplied by four as the balances do not oscillate simultaneously. The ticking of a classic watch is replaced by what which the brand describes as “the gentler sound of truly high precision.” The timepiece is limited to a production of three pieces. There is a pink gold version of the watch that has a run of 88 pieces.

Cartier Montre Rotonde Double Mystery Tourbillon
Cartier unveiled its new movement at SIHH: the 9454 MC Double Mystery Tourbillon, certified by the Geneva Seal. The flying tourbillon, which turns once on its own axis every 60 seconds, appears to be floating completely free in space, with no visible connection to any gear train. The illusion is complete when the same tourbillon cage performs a second rotation at a rate of one turn every five minutes. The slate-colored dial is made of galvanised, guilloché, silvered open-work grill. The watch hands are sword-shaped in blued steel. It’s all contained in a 45mm platinum case with the crown set with a sapphire cabochon.

Baume & Mercier Clifton Complete Calendar – Moon Phase, Blue Dial
This is one of a series of Clifton watches released by the Swiss watch brand at SIHH This version of the line, the 43 mm Clifton Complete Calendar, has a blue, sun satin-finished dial. The case back has been opened up to allow lovers of fine mechanics to observe the components of its automatic movement (Dubois Dépraz 9000). Its calendar display is mounted upon an alligator strap, which is closed by a triple folding clasp with security push-pieces.

Parmigiani Tonda Woodstock
In order to project a colorful and musical dynamism, the Swiss watch brand turned for the first time to the refined and delicate art of marquetry. This ancient process consists of cutting out and assembling veneers—wooden veneers in this case—on a flat surface in order to create a decoration for the timepiece. The Tonda Woodstock’s special dial is designed with a Gibson guitar motif with an American flag in wood marquetry.

Piaget Emperador Coussin Ultra-Thin Minute Repeater
Thin is in at Piaget and Emperador Coussin unveiled at SIHH shows it continues to set standards in its development of ultra-thin complications housed in ultra-thin cases. This 48mm 18k pink gold watch boasts the Piaget 1290P, which the brand says is world’s thinnest mechanical self-winding minute repeater movement (4.8 mm). The case itself is also considered the world’s thinnest at 9.4 mm. Details of the movement finishes include sunburst guilloché bridges, bridges hand-beveled and hand-drawn with a file, blackened and polished screws.

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