We spent the better part of last week at SIHH in Geneva, Switzerland. The Richemont-focused trade show featured new releases from the likes of Cartier to Montblanc, from Panerai to Hermes, and from Lange to Piaget. We covered the show extensively and after a few days of recovery we are giving you our end-of-show round-ups. Here are the watches that most surprised at SIHH 2018.
Cara Barrett – Ressence Type 2 e-Crown
Not to sound jaded, but once you’ve seen and handled over say, thousands of watches in your life you tend to get a bit jaded. Another flying tourbillon? Yawn. A perpetual calendar? Yawn again. When I first heard about the Ressence Type 2 e-Crown Concept I thought to myself, okay this is something new and different, but nothing less than I would expect from resident disruptors Ressence. But the moment when this watch truly surprised me was when I saw it in the metal. It is a fully mechanical watch with the ability to be set manually or by an app. When you put the watch down and let the power reserve run out and put it back on your wrist, you simply tap it and it sets to the current time. Tap it again and it goes to the second time zone. As explained by Tony Fadell (who co-designed this watch along with other notable objects such as the iPod), it essentially has a watch winder inside the movement allowing it to remain powered up even when it has been stationary for a while. I don’t necessarily think that watches should (or will) move in this direction, but it’s inevitable that there will be some technological advancements and who better to kick things off the Ressence and Tony Fadell?
This is a concept watch so is a non-commercial item; ressencewatches.com
Jack Forster – Urwerk AMC
The most unexpected introduction I saw at SIHH this year was definitely the Urwerk AMC (Atomic Master Clock). We know that Urwerk is interested in exploring unusual chronometric solutions – their EMC (Electro Mechanical Control) watch is one example; it’s a mechanical watch that uses an optical sensor to show the rate, and which also allows the user to adjust the rate if needed. The AMC uses an atomic clock to regulate a wristwatch via mechanical linkages – a super-high-tech, but also high mech, modern take on the Breguet Sympathiques.
Pricing TBD; urwerk.com
Jon Bues – Panerai Luminor Due 3 Days Automatic Acciaio 38mm
I never thought I’d see a 38mm Panerai wristwatch. But here we are. As I said when I went hands-on with this watch from SIHH, there is no company that rode the oversized trend of the aughts more famously than Panerai. Until very recently the Swiss watchmaker with Italian roots seemed to be deeply committed to an average case size in the 44mm range even at a time when consumer tastes called for more discreetly sized wristwear. I think it’s safe to say that Panerai expects to sell the vast majority of these watches to women, but if the comments left in that aforementioned Hands-On post are any indication, they should expect plenty of interest from guys as well.
$6,000 in stainless steel and $15,300 in rose gold (not pictured); panerai.com
Stephen Pulvirent – F.P. Journe Monopoussoir Rattrapante
Lately, I’ve been a time-only watch kind of guy. The simpler and subtler, the better. So, if you’d told me before SIHH that the watch I’d get most excited about in Geneva would be 44mm in diameter, have a platinum case with a matching platinum bracelet, feature a bright violet dial, and be not just a chronograph but a monopusher rattrapante chronograph with a big date for good measure, I’d have asked what you were smoking. But, here we are, and here is the new F.P. Journe Monopoussoir Rattrapante. Everything about this watch is enticing, from the offbeat styling to the insane movement inside to how it wears on the wrist (incredibly for something of its size). If you have a chance to see this one in the metal, do it – you won’t regret it.
CHF 58,000 in titanium, CHF 78,000 in red gold, and CHF 106,000 in platinum (approximately $60,284, $81,072, and $110,170 respectively at time of publishing); fpjourne.com
Ben Clymer – Montblanc 1858 Automatic Chronograph
So my choice is a little different than my colleagues’ – because I selected a watch that surprised me not by its existence, but by how much I liked it. A two-register, vintage-style pump pusher chronograph is hardly novel, and if looking at Montblanc, this makes a lot of sense. But for me, it’s typically the big boy chronographs from Montblanc that get me going – you know, the hand-wound, super expensive stuff like this. And that stuff is great, and arguably represents tremendous value versus the likes of a Patek, Vacheron, or Lange. But this year, the 1858 collection showed that you can have some vintage fun without breaking the bank. And of the lot, this chrono is my pick because of its oversized register and pump pushers. I’m not the biggest fan of the cathedral style hands, but overall, this watch really surprised me by just feeling and looking damn good on the wrist. Did I mention it uses an in-house chronograph? Tough to argue with, really, and not at all what I was expecting to fall for at the SIHH.
€3,990 in stainless steel, €4,690 in bronze (approximately $4,890 and $5,760 at the time of publishing); montblanc.com
You can read all of our SIHH 2018 coverage here in our complete guide to all the new releases.