SIHH 2019 Impressions – Part 1

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Exactly one week ago, the 2019’s edition of Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie Genève was ending. According to the official numbers, 23 thousand visitors attended the 29th Edition of SIHH. Even if the Salon was shorted with one day. The “Open Day”, held on Thursday afternoon, attracted almost 3,000 public visitors. Even if many of the professionals have already left, the number of people present was overwhelming.  I was one of the 1,400 accredited journalists. Let’s dive in…

Swimming through snow and rain…

The story of 2019’s SIHH started at the ending of 2018. The Watch I Love Magazine was released in Septemeber 2018. After everything was running, the official registrations for SIHH were closed. Thanks to the support of some of the exhibiting brands and the people from Richemont, I received the press accreditation.

On the way to Geneva
On the way to Geneva

My journey started on Sunday, the 13th. I travelled from Stuttgart to Geneva by car, having as road companions heavy snow, heavy rain and sometimes – icy roads. Travelling alone 500km on unfriendly meteorological conditions is not my ideal type of Sunday fun. But here we go…

The first event was held at Franck’s Muller Watchland – World Presentation of Haute Horlogerie. This event is held by the renown independent watchmaker, in parallel to SIHH.

Franck Muller Watchland at Genthod
Franck Muller Watchland at Genthod

Franck Muller World Presentation of Haute Horlogerie

Franck Muller headquarters are located in an idyllic village, Genthod – a little piece of heaven on the hills around Geneva. There are two things that strike: the lovely scenery and the magnificent silence. I have visited Watchland several times. I always love to return here.

The afternoon started with a press conference for the latest news: watch novelties, the extension of the Watchland with new ateliers, new products for Franck Muller (perfumes, cigars), the opening of a new space in Geneva – the Franck Muller Tourbillon House. The newly opened ateliers could be visited afterwards. The brand produces an impressive amount of forty thousand watches per year.

Please enjoy a selection of images from the ateliers’ visit.

 

I had the pleasure to see how a crown is polished. It is interesting to see that this process does not take substance from the crown, keeping all the shapes without round them.

And the final product:

Here, you can admire other small components polished by hand:

The Watchland events ended Sunday with a cocktail. Leaving the rain and the poor weather aside, Franck Muller’s location at Genthod offers a spectacular view, clean, fresh air and lovely surroundings.

Unfortunately, I had to skip the cocktail for two reasons: I was driving, so alcohol was out of the question and I was eager to run to the second event of that day – “High Bubbly” DeBethune event at Salon De Bethune on the first floor of the Hotel Beau-Rivage, in Geneva.

 The “High Bubbly” DeBethune

Going to the second event proved to be tricky. Driving in Geneva, at any hour of the day, is not exactly the most pleasant experience. So what should be a 10-15 minute ride, transformed in a 50-minute experience of Geneva’s heavy traffic. And if driving through Geneva is difficult, finding an empty parking slot is even more hard to accomplish.

In the warm ambience of Hotel Beau-Rivage I got the chance to meet and greet the people from De Bethune and their latest creation  – De Bethune DB28GS Grand Blue. If you are not yet acquainted with this magnificent machinery, check my report here.

De Bethune DB28GS Grand Bleu 2
De Bethune DB28GS Grand Bleu

The De Bethune DB28GS Grand Bleu is, one could say, nothing really new. You got a magnificent modern design with De Bethune’s typically finishes. So a gorgeous watch. But besides that, there are no really new fundamental ideas. Let me explain why: a traditional mechanical movement, enriched with a mechanical generator (or dynamo) to produce energy to be used to light some LEDs (existing since the ’60s). What is a genius is the way all these “old” technologies are used into an ultra-modern piece. The way that everything was miniaturised and made to work together. Fabulous!  More about that in the hands-on review of the DB28GS Grand Bleu.

My rest of the evening passed by checking to the hotel, in France (much cheaper) and preparing for the next day – the first day of SIHH 2019. So stay tuned for my next stories.

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