The 25th Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie, or SIHH as it is called in the trade, opened its doors today with a huge flowery cake to celebrate its quarter of a century. Legend has it that the show was formed after Cartier couldn’t stand the smell from the German sausage seller behind its BaselWorld booth and decided to organize a show in Geneva.
The SIHH has presented a film to commemorate its 25 years of history if you fancy a little nostalgia (see below) and I draw your attention to the 1.55-minute mark, because I am actually in it!
But now let’s look at the hot watches from today’s adventures—So first up is A. Lange & Sohne, who is celebrating its 200th anniversary this year. There were some newly reworked Lange 1s with a new movement, a rose gold Datograph Up and Down in rose gold with a gorgeous black dial and new sizes for the Saxonia collection including a 35mm that my colleague Sharon fell in love with. The pièce de résistance was the Zeitwerk Minute Repeater—a modern interpretation of the minute repeater with a digital mechanical reading that chimes the hours, tens of minutes, and minutes.
I had a great meeting with Octavio Garcia, Chief Artistic Officer for Audemars Piguet, about the future of watch design. He had some fascinating insights into what we might be seeing at the 50th SIHH. More of this in the magazine soon!
IWC is also celebrating a birthday with the 75th anniversary of the Portuguese, which sees a number of exciting new models and references. Baume & Mercier are also blowing out candles with a 185th anniversary, but they are saving their celebrations for later in the year, and shared with the press how they are concentrating on winning over the younger generation with timepieces to commemorate that first diploma or first job.
Last but not least was Panerai who presented a vast selection of new pieces that touched on the core themes of the brand, such as its love for submersible watches with a Luminor Submersible 1950 4 Days Chrono Flyback timepieces in titanium as well as a stunning Luminor Submersible 1950 3 Days Automatic crafted out of a new super-light and anti-corrosive material called Carbotech. We also got to witness the return of Panerai’s legendary Mare Nostrum, and a new Radiomir Firenze 3 Days Acciaio, a timepiece made to honor Panerai’s historic Florence boutique.
The day ended with a trip to visit a new concept watch store in Geneva’s city center called the WAG, short for Watches Art Gallery. It is an exhibition space, not a boutique, and each month there will be a different theme with watches from some interesting niche brands such as Maîtres du Temps, Frederic Jouvenot, Vianney Halter, Julien Coudray 1518, Louis Moinet and A. Favre & Fils. The place was jam packed with people from all over the watch industry. I had a great chat with my old friend and boss, Steven Holtzman, CEO of Maîtres du Temps, who made me realize that it isn’t just the watches that make the Geneva watch fairs so special, but more the people who make it all happen.
Weather: Snowing like crazy