Archive for January, 2009

SIHH 2009: To Bling, or Not To Bling?

January 28, 2009

Last week I visited the annual Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) in Geneva, Switzerland.

The fair was in several aspects different to my expectations…

1. It was not as busy as the previous years, but it was busier than I expected.

2. I tought the brands would not present many novelties, since they only had 8 months since the last SIHH Fair. But I was wrong, each brand introduced at least one new movement and/or familie in its collection.

3. The current financial crisis hit the world hard in October of last year, but the first signs were showing up in April (when the pre-last SIHH took place). Therefore, I expected that this would be a ‘modest’ year (Read: no bling bling). I was wrong… It seemed the trend of last year only continued: big(ger) cases, even more diamonds and way more precious metals!

That is why I titled this blog: “To Bling, or Not To Bling?”

From my last comment, you probably can guess what the anwser will be, but I want to share the following images with you:

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak

Cartier Ballon Blue Full Diamonds

Cartier Jewelry Bracelet with watch

Cartier: Is it a watch or a bracelet?

Cartier: Not an alligator watch strap, but a diamond alligator on your watch!

Girrard-Perregaux: Two hand on a bracelet of diamonds…

Sooooo much bling, I couldn’t even photgraph it…

Parmigiani: Men’s of Ladies watch?

Roger Dubuis: Nice contast – Skeleton movement versus full diamond case, or is the next one better?

Roger Dubuis: Full Diamond Tourbillon

A. Lange & Sohne: Elegant Bling?

And the list goes on… Is this wishful thinking or will these brands really sell these watches in 2009? In any case, we advise whomever is going to wear one of these watches to purchase ‘protective’ sunglasses with these watches 😉

SIHH 2009 Trade Show Review

January 20, 2009

Yesterday, I visited the 19th Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) in Geneva, Switzerland. Two days ago we already posted a preview and hereby we want to present the snap shots I took. FYI: The next SIHH will again be in January.

This year the following brands were present at the SIHH:

+  Richemont brands:
– Cartier
– A. Lange & Sohne
– Jaeger –LeCoultre
– Mont Blanc
– Panerai
– Vacheron Constantin
– Van Cleef & Arpels
– Dunhill
– Baume & Mercier
– Piaget
– Ralph Lauren

+ Independent brands
– Audermars Piguet
– Girard Perregaux
– Jean Richard
– Parmigiani
– Roger Dubuis

Hereby a review of the fair with some snap shops. In advance I want to apologize for the poor quality of the photographs, this had two reasons: some window cases & the lighting were very poor and we were in huge rush.

The overall conclusion is that there are not spectacular novelties, most brands restyled a family, presented a new movement, but it still is mostly line extensions. The trends of previous years are contined: Black cases, Big is still the benchmark, Bling is NOT dead and pink gold is still leading in the precious metals followed by Platinum. The buzz on the fair was the new kid on the block: Ralph Lauren.

Ralph Lauren
The Ralph Lauren Watch & Jewelry Company did not present any watches on display, but solely by appointment. Hereby an impression of their window, presenting a ladies watch:

And, this is an impression of the Men’s collection of Ralph Lauren:

The brand from Schaffhausen restyled their Aquatimer collection and therefore their complete stand was like an underwater experience.

Fans of the Deep One finally can add a brother to their cult watch, the Deep Two:

Cousteau is history and IWC is sponsoring the Galapagos Foundation and therefore made an unique black Aquatimer with a Rubber coating:

IWC also ‘borrowed’ a patent strap exchange system from sister-company Cartier… For more info, please stay tuned.

Baume & Mercier
The ‘elegant’ watch company from Geneva did not launch many novelties this year, besides four magnificent William Baume Limited Editions, this is a watch we found striking:

Audemars Piguet
Flying in to Geneva I was reading my morning paper, IHT, and the newest AP model immediately coought my attention (yes, it reminds me too of a Breguet). Unfortunately, the watch was not on disply. Therefore, I want to share the following image with you that confirms two trends (black & big):

Vacheron Constantin
Since 1755 Vacheron Constantin keeps on innovating. Apparently the vintage fashion did not pass and therefore VC re-introduced a watch they manufactured in 1921 (my sincere apologies for the terrible picture):

Like IWC, does Jaeger-LeCoultre manufacture amazing divers watches. This year JLC focuses on the novelties in the Compressor series, but I like this model better:

Ferrari by Panerai
Panerai took the term “Ferrari Red” very litteraly:

Is Cartier the King of Bling? Or did they just manufacture this watch for the new First Lady, Michelle Obama?

GP little brother is growing up, it is now catering women who want it all, bling & tourbillon:

Mont Blanc
Minerva has been bought by Richemont/Mont Blanc a couple of years ago and they are making spectacular new movements:

I wish that Dunhill would make these keys again:

The Italian brand had a lot of news, but they did not present the prototypes in the showcases, but don’t we all love the watch presented horizontally?!

Roger Dubuis
We listed this brand as an independent brand, but this is since last year not completely true anymore. Richemont took a big stake in this innovative and young company. I loved the sight of this watch movement:

A. Lange & Sohne
The German Manufacture, A. Lange & Sohne, seems to learn from their colleague, PP… Patek recently presented classical moon phases watches (originally for men) in ‘bling’ versions for ladies… At AL&S, they have must thought the same:

The manufacture Piaget presented this watch during the Salon, but unfortunately I did not have time to visit the stand to ask them watch functions this watch/case lid had… Maybe one of our visitors can? I does look coo, doesn’t it?

Basically, my visit to this year’s SIHH was great fun as usual. It seemed a lot let busy. At first impression it seemed that the brands did not have much to present this year (they did only have 8 months since the last SIHH), but when you analyze it… They did develop quite a bit in these last 8 months! On top of that, I expected that the brands would be a bit more… What’s the word… ‘modest’?! The first indication of the current crisis did present itself already in April 2008… But, on the contrary… Bling was still alive and kickin’! Maybe a nice subject for the next post 😉

Preview SIHH 2009

January 18, 2009

As written here on April 11th, 2008, we predicted that SIHH 2009 will not be in the same month as BaselWorld, but in January… To be precise: tomorrow!

Therefore I am flying tomorrow morning, very early, to Geneva to visit the 19th SIHH, Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie. It is not clear why the Haute Horlogerie Association decided to move this exclusive event away from the shadow of BaselWorld, which usually takes place in April. We predict it will be way less busy, since visitor that come from other continents will be forced to choose and will choose to visit BaselWorld. But, now with the current economical situation, we expect that the numbers of visitor will be even lower.

But, the watch brands have not been sitting still and every brand present at SIHH have news. There is even a ‘new kid on the block’: Ralph Lauren (a joint venture of Richemont and Polo Ralph Lauren – The Polo Ralph Lauren Watch and Jewellery Company, S.A.R.L.). The creation of a new haute horlogerie company was announced in March 2007 and almost two years later products will be presented… We are very curious!

Unfortunately we did not find any pictures of Ralph Lauren watches yet, so we have to wait until tomorrow. We will try to post a new article WITH pictures tomorrow on this blog… Stay tuned!

What have we heard throught the grapevine up till today:

– IWC: Restyled the complete Aquatimer Family and is launching a successor to the infamous Deep One: The Deep Two. There will not be a Cousteau Limited Edtion anymore, but instead a Galapogos Limited Edtition version. There will be a St. Ex. Limited Edition, which will be a Big Pilot version. On top of that there are many new variations on the other collections: Big Ingenieur Chronograph, New calibre with month and date in a double digit format!

– Baume & Mercier: Focuses on the Hampton collection this year and is launching a Hampton Magnum Chronograph and a Magnum Ladies version.

– Vacheron Constantin: Launching the Historiques American 1921, an unique cushion shaped watch!

– A. Lange & Sohne: Is launching the second member of the ‘chronometer’ family, the Richard Lange ‘Pour le Merite’.

-Girard-Perregaux: The brand always tries to focuses equally to men as well as to men. Therefore this year they are launching the in a 43mm black ceramic case. For the ladies they developed the Cat’s Eey Annual Calendar and Signs of the Zodiac… It sounds interesting… We are curious.

– Parmigiani: The Tondagraph celebrates a new case and a brand new grande complication movement this year.

– Mont Blanc: The penmaker became a true watchmaker by the incorporation of Minerva and therefore are launching two new Villeret watches: The Villeret Grande Chronographe Regulator and The Grand Tourbillon Heueres Mysterieuses (sounds very interesting).

– Piaget: This brands is often percieved as a jewelry brand, but few people know that Piaget is a true manufacture watchmakers brand. This year Emperador Coussin Moon Phase.

– Van Cleef & Arpels: ‘Une Journee a Paris’ is a watch which is a tribute to the hometown of the brand: Paris.

– Panerai: The Italian brand transformed rapidly in the last couple of years and is aiming to become a true manufacture. Therefore this year they are presenting a new automatic movement, which will be presented in three variations: power reserve, GMT and GMT plus power reserve. On top of that the are introducing the Luminor Chrono Daylight 44mm-Titanium. We are very curious what the Paneristi will say… Please share with us 🙂

– JeanRichard: A brand that is part of the Girrad-Perregaux family follows it brother’s tradition, they will also launch a new watch for men (Chronoscope MV Agusta Brutale Nera Watch) and for women (Lady Juliette).

Tomorrow we hope that we will confirm these previews and present the news from: Cartier, Dunhill, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Audemars Piguet and Roger Dubuis.

My co-author on this blog, Boon, will be attending too and we planned a mid-day coffee brake to catch up and have a quick review of the fair… Boon will be running arond filming the novelties! I will use my pocket camera making snap shots for you to publish here… Hope to welcome you here tomorrow 🙂