After another cracking year of affordable releases at SIHH 2018, it appears my interest in the watch industry has returned to its former glory. It’s as if my word’s from 2016, that roused so many, have been answered exactly, with both Jaeger LeCoultre and Vacheron Constantin introducing brand new entry-level pieces to excite younger consumers, and Baume and Mercier, Cartier, Montblanc and Panerai all reinforcing their accessibility with solid value offerings, many featuring new in-house movements. Alongside watches aimed at the average joe, were a score of technically wonderful timepieces from Greubel Forsey, Lange, Richard Mille, Piaget and Audemars Piguet. Ultimately, it was the mix of entry-level and haute horology that got me so enthused! Here is my list of the 10 best watches from SIHH 2018.
Cartier has made a habit of creating iconic watches, and I’m convinced the Drive de Cartier will be among them. While I loved the 2018 Drive de Cartier Extra Flat, it’s the famous Santos I’ve included in this list, relaunching forty years after the model was introduced. The revamped sports watch will be offered in a medium and large format and pays an almost identical but thinner homage to the original (just how we like it) but with a new interchangeable strap system for ultimate versatility. The solid gold is hot! Head to Cartier.
Jaeger LeCoultre Polaris Memovox
I touched on the new entry-level Polaris collection briefly last week with the standout obviously being the highly collectable vintage Memovox re-issue. The whole family features in-house movements, refined dials, stunning cases and an unmatched sporty elegance.
Baume and Mercier Clifton Baumatic
In 2018 Baume & Mercier entered a new league by releasing the Clifton Baumatic. While I don’t consider it a particularly gorgeous creation, I can’t fault its technical ability, housing the brand’s first antimagnetic, COSC certified in-house movement offering a massive 120 hours power reserve. What makes this release even more important is the price, at US$2,790 the Clifton Baumatic makes you question how competing brands, including those within the Richemont group, can charge such extortionate amounts for ETA and Selitta based pieces. Head to Baume & Mercier.
Panerai Luminor Logo
This year Panerai unveiled the Panerai Luminor Due collection featuring a 38mm case, which is unheard of for the brand. Their sizing direction wasn’t the only thing to impress fans with the brand announcing new movements for there entry level Luminor Logo family. This marks a significant turning point for Panerai, now building movements for all of its products in-house. Check out all the Panerai releases here.
Montblanc 1858 Automatic Chronograph
After unveiling a stunning new Timewalker Chrono with an in-house movement, Montblanc impressed again at SIHH 2018 with their 1858 Collection serving up a stunning Monopusher Chronograph in stainless steel with a smoked green dial and this military/vintage-inspired Minerva chronograph in a 42mm steel or bronze case. Concerning beauty, quality and price, it’s hard to top Montblanc at the moment. I would have loved to see it a touch smaller, but she’s a looker regardless! Local pricing TBC.
Vacheron Constantin FIFTYSIX Selfwinding
Now, this is a watch I’m excited about! A Vacheron Constantin with a new in-house calibre, in a contemporary 40mm steel case, designed for everyday wear and priced below 10,000 Euro. Regarding pedigree, build quality and clout, it really doesn’t get any better than this. See all the FIFTYSIX family at VC.
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Ultra Thin ‘Jumbo’ Platinum and Titanium
Perhaps the most talked about timepiece of SIHH 2018, the Ultra Thin Royal Oak from Audemars Piguet in Platinum and Titanium which I covered here. A new smoked navy dial, an ironic combination of metals and a limited run for a ludicrous price. What’s not to love.
Laurent Ferrier Galet Annual Calendar School Piece
And the most beautiful release of SIHH 2018 goes to Laurent Ferrier with the Galet Annual Calendar School Piece. The Galet Annual Calendar School Piece takes the case design of last year’s SIHH release and adapts it to the pragmatic calendar complication that requires only one adjustment a year, at the end of February. The smoothly rounded 40mm case and vintage styled dial that looks like it could have been designed in the 1930s, complement the classic function to a tee. It is a perfect execution in my eyes. Read more here.
Piaget Altiplano Ultimate Concept
The Altiplano Ultimate Concept from Piaget’s “Research and Innovation” division is presented as the world’s thinnest mechanical hand-wound watch in the world at just 2.00 mm thick, heck my business cards are almost 2mm thick! This watch is a phenomenal piece of engineering, even if it has to sit on the wrist of a poorly styled Ryan Reynolds. Can’t wait to see it in the flesh! See the novelties here.
Lange Triple Split
When the Double Split Chronograph is already one of your favourite watches, and the brand introduces a world first watch with the ability to split time hours, minutes and seconds, it’s pretty clear how I’m going to feel about it. This watch is a mechanical marvel and will be limited to 100 pieces, in white gold only with a price tag of US$147,000. Check out the video on their website.