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Thursday, January 30, 2014

Six More Stunning Watches From SIHH 2014

The reverse side of the A.Lange & Söhne Richard Lange Perpetual Calendar ‘Terraluna’

My first story from SIHH focused on seven watch brands that I thought were the most innovative at the recently concluded Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH). These next six timepieces could have easily been included with the first group. These watches from Jaeger-LeCoultre, A.Lange & Söhne, IWC, Cartier, Audemars Piguet and Roger Dubuis include several exceptional tourbillions, perpetual calendars and a couple timepieces where the watch back gets much needed attention.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Hybris Mechanica Eleven
The luxury watch brand says that at 7.9mm thick, it is the slimmest minute repeater in its category. There are seven Jaeger-LeCoultre patents associated with this watch, six of which created for this piece. The Master Ultra Thin Minute Repeater Flying Tourbillon includes an ultra-thin tourbillon, a new high-performance balance-spring, a peripheral automatic winding system, a retractable single-push button, and a minute repeater equipped with a silent, time-lapse reduction system. It is powered by the Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 362 and has a 45-hour power reserve.

The thin flying tourbillon at 6 o’clock is fitted with a flying balance-wheel, allowing full-view of the balance-wheel and spring. The watch has an automatic winding system that uses an oscillating peripheral weight with a platinum segment visible through narrow openings on the dial between the clock’s numerals. This mechanism serves as a space saving tool and it’s nice to view. The minute repeater strikes the hours, quarters and minutes on demand. When there are no quarters to be struck, it is mechanically programmed to be silent between the sounding of the hours and minutes. Two patented trebuchet hammers ensure stronger, cleaner striking on the two crystal gongs fixed to the sapphire crystal. As an effort to make the watch even slimmer while preserving an extremely pure aesthetic, the minute repeater is activated by a retractable single pushbutton. It is available in a 75-piece limited edition.

A. Lange & Söhne Richard Lange Perpetual Calendar ‘Terraluna’
The German watch brand set a difficult benchmark to surpass when it unveiled its Grand Complication at SIHH 2013 but many of the products they introduced this year have the same precision, inventiveness and design competence that the brand is known for. The most recent SIHH offerings were led by the Richard Lange Perpetual Calendar “Terraluna.” The 45.5mm watch available in pink or white gold has an orbital moon-phase display on the reverse side that depicts the earth, moon and sun and a day/night indicator. The watch front has three sub dials. The largest one at the top indicates the minutes while the two smaller ones represents the hours and seconds. Beneath the date, two smaller apertures show the day of the week on the left and the month on the right. The calendar is mechanically programmed to correctly display the different durations of the months in a year as well as those in leap years until 2100. The leap-year indication is located in a small round window on the right of the 15 in the minute circle subdial. The Lange manufacture caliber L096.1 has a twin mainspring barrel that delivers a power reserve of 14 days.

IWC Schaffhausen Aquatimer Perpetual Calendar Digital Date-Month
The Swiss watch brand dedicated SIHH 2014 to its Aquatimer diver watches. It considers the Aquatimer Perpetual Calendar Digital Date-Month (Ref. IW379401) as its flagship item. The dial has extra-large digitally displayed numerals for the perpetual calendar, which is mechanically programmed until 2100. The date and month discs have perforated covers. The design reflects the filter systems on submarine vehicles and also provides a view of the switching mechanism at work. The chronograph has a subdial at 12 o’clock that displays stop times between one minute and 12 hours, using minute and hour hands, while the central hand counts seconds. The integrated flyback function enables the user to reset the running stopwatch hands to zero and to start another timing sequence immediately. The display also helps divers monitor the speed of their ascents. The 49mm watch is water-resistant to 10 bar (334 feet) and has an external rotating bezel made of 18k red gold. The IWC SafeDive system ensures that the bezel can only be turned counterclockwise. The casing ring, push-buttons and crown are made of rubber-coated titanium. The IWC-manufactured 89801 automatic movement comprises 474 individual parts. Production is limited to 50 watches and available only in IWC boutiques.

Rotonde de Cartier Earth and Moon
The tourbillon of this watch has been incorporated into a moon phase complication available on demand in a way that at first has the appearance of a contraption but upon a closer look is quite innovative. By pressing the push-button situated at four o'clock, a panel descends and partially obscures the tourbillon carriage, which serves as the moon. The covering of the moon exactly reproduces the current moon phase. In addition, there’s a second time zone indicated by a 24-hour disc that was redeveloped by for the caliber 9440 MC due to the sophistication of its disc display. Polished lapis lazuli is used for the dial and the moon panel. The hours and the second time zone are surrounded by a polished grid in 18k white gold. A three-dimensional dial is one of the signature features of the Cartier Fine Watchmaking collection introduced at SIHH this year, alongside Roman numerals that are openworked and chamfered by the hand of a master decorator in a manner akin to a skeleton movement. The semi-skeletonized bridges on the back of the movement are structured in a star shape. The 47mm watch with platinum bezel is limited to 50 pieces.

Audemars Piguet Millenary Minute Repeater
The luxury watch brand was primarily promoting its Royal Oak timepieces in white ceramic but what really caught my eye was the oval-shaped, pink-gold Millenary Minute Repeater, which was first introduced in Hong Kong a few months earlier. The watch features Audemars Piguet’s own escapement, double balance spring designed to compensate for potential poising flaws and eliminates the need for the “overcoil” terminal curves. The repeater mechanism’s winding system has a sliding trigger at 9 o’clock and striking barrel clearly visible at 2 o’clock. The white-enamel dial contains an off-set hours and minute subdial and smaller seconds subdial. The watch is powered by the Audemars Piguet hand-wound Caliber 2928.

Roger Dubuis Hommage Double Flying Tourbillon
This is a serious mechanical watch with artistic flair inside and out. The dial of the 18k pink gold watch is finished with hand-crafted guilloché work that creates a delicate and precise sunburst effect. Powering the timepiece is a hand-wound RD 102 movement, also in pink gold. It has a power reserve of 50 hours. Production is limited to 88 pieces.

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