SIHH 2019 Impressions – Part 3

Reading Time: 8 minutes

After some unfriendly driving condition (bad weather, bad traffic), see Part 1  and the stress of the first days of SIHH, see Part 2, it is the time to get the stories straight for the last two days of SIHH  2019. Plus bonus… Attention, long post. For images, just scrool down.


The third day of SIHH

The third day of SIHH 2019 was split between independent brands outside the Salon, in the morning, and SIHH activities in the afternoon and evening.

The tour of the independents was organized a long time before the days of SIHH. Why? Two reasons: finding a suitable parking space and the price for it… For those unfamiliar with Geneva, I just want to say that finding a parking spot is not the highest issue, but the price one needs to pay for it. So long before, I have searched for a big parking house that will not empty my poor card. I decided to use the Mont-Blanc car park. It has this strange system: it starts with 3CHF per hour, continues at some point with 4 CHF, reaching a price tag of 69CHF for 24 hours. Knowing the prices in Geneva, I will say this is decent. BTW, I paid 26CHF for the morning.

If you ask yourself why I didn’t use public transportation, the answer is simple – possible, still expensive, it takes an eternity for routes I had to use…


Time to get Royal

The first brand I visited Wednesday was Manufacture Royale. My impression: they stay true to their signature elements, still offering a powerful bespoke option.

The combination of blue and black weight the collection. Modern materials and modern technologies, plus various innovations keep the brand interesting for the collectors.


The master of chronographs, the master of Cosmos

The second brand visited was Louis Moinet. The independent brand exhibited in the same location, the Beau-Rivage Hotel. Louis Moinet Collection is dedicated mostly to the outer space, the cosmos. The craziest thing about these watches is the small meteorite included in each piece – Moon or Mars. Wearing a piece of the Moon or another planet on the wrist is not just marvellous but also the start of a new era. The era when humanity is reaching for the Moon, Mars and the stars.

A cute detail is the watch box, inspired by the books of Jules Verne. I particularly loved the entire presentation package. The brand also released its first Hour Strike – the Ultravox.


The master of blue – De Bethune

The De Bethune Terrace also was situated in the Beau-Rivage Hotel. That made my life easier for the first hours of the morning.

De Bethune offers an impressive collection of watches featuring blue in one way or another. The latest piece, the DB28GS is madness. It uses technologies invented by decades in a way that makes it one of the most modern mechanical piece existing out there: a diver watch that uses a mechanical generator to light up LEDs. So, a watch working on principles established since some centuries that use a dynamo invented 200 years ago to provide energy to light-emitting-diodes, also in commercial use in the last 50 years. So old ideas and techniques used in a modern and fabulous way. I think this is, at least for me, the most impressive piece of technology from the Geneva days.

The tested piece was a prototype. The light function revealed some problems from time to time. Considering the level of miniaturization and the fact that the watch was molested by so many hands, it was a wonder that it was still in a functioning state. A review will follow soon.


Midnight in Geneva with Czapek

For the next brand, I had to pack everything and travel in another part of Geneva’s centre – the newly opened Czapek boutique. The boutique is warm and cosy. I like it.

Xavier introduced me the novelties, including the Midnight in Geneva watch – a special edition to honour the boutique’s opening. The watch has one of the largest bombe aventurine dials on the market.

The latest timepieces introduce nice colour scheme variations in the Faubourg de Cracovie. Just look above… Isn’t that adorable. Plus, the brand offers the bespoke option. Reviews will follow.


The history of watchmaking

For the next brand, I left Geneva’s centre for a location situated behind the Kempinski Hotel. I visited this location in the evening before for Krayon and Singer Reimagined.

The Claude Meylan brand, relatively unknown to the wide public, bears an important name in the Vallée de Joux’s history of watchmaking. The independent brand offers several collections having different thematics. From all the pieces, I adore the ladies’ collection.

Not only that Claude Meylan offers beautiful watches, but the brand is also able to customize them. For example, the piece above has Arabic numeral, but the outer side can be used to engrave a message. Plus, this watch, it is actually inspired by a ladies’ piece. A big plus for Claude Meylan.


Going green – Panerai

Panerai impressed me a lot this year. The first reason is the Panerai experience – for every watch from the special limited series, one will receive a special treatment: travelling to an interesting location, receiving the watch there and experiencing a once in the lifetime adventure.

The second impressive fact is the commitment to recycling. The brand uses recycled materials for its watches. The straps made of recycled PET bottles where fantastic. Good looking and with nice tactile feedback.


Baume et Mercier

Baume & Mercier presented at SIHH a perpetual calendar: Clifton Baumatic Perpetual Calendar. The watch combines an older Baumatic movement with a perpetual calendar module. Other interesting pieces came from the ladies collection.

The Classima Collection (as the example above) offers quartz and automatic movement options.


The Rake, the special IWC, the influencer night

The IWC booth from SIHH 2019 was one of the most spectacular environment. Forget the trees from other booths, all the green, or the seas, or the beaches – they had a plane inside…

The IWC booth hosted the announcement of IWC Pilot’s Watch Automatic 36mm Special Edition for The Rake. But don’t get excited, all 150 pieces were sold in 18 minutes after the official launch. You can still see some speeches in the video.

After all the agitation was over, it was time for the “influencer Night”. An event organized for all journalist to be able to see the novelties and photograph them. So I was lucky to have in my hands almost all the new pieces.

IWC watches are always nice, but the Little Prince Collection is the closest to my heart. Sweet, lovable, wearable.

So my third day of SIHH ended officially after 22:30. The cleaning teams were on the barricades, cleaning and making everything look good for the next day.


The official last day of SIHH 2019

The fourth and last day of SIHH should be, in theory, the easiest one. Most of the professionals already left. What was last year an entire day opened to the public (on Friday), this year was half of Thursday… But for me was one of the hardest SIHH days. Already tired from the first three days, Thursday offered me a lot of meetings.

For the love of classics – Cartier

Cartier is always impressive. The last collections brought the “woah” effect on everybody’s lips. The Santos de Cartier Chronograph was a nice surprise.

The ladies collection was well represented.


A horological marvel, in gold…

The marvel of Ferdinand Berthoud continued this year with a fabulous gold piece. This watch is amazing for so many reasons.

The craftsmanship, the finishes and the legacy make from Ferdinand Berthoud pieces some of the most interesting pieces of SIHH 2019.


Being impressive, being competitive – A. Lange & Sohne

Lange was celebrating 25 years of Lange 1: impressive booth, impressive watches. The Zeitwerk received the well-deserved date along with some cool improvements: smaller movement, more robust.

One of my favourite pieces is the Datograph Perpetual Tourbillon in white gold with pink gold dial, see below.

The gold dial has a very interesting shade, one might be convinced that this watch has a salmon dial. As usual, Lange goes by with exceptional finishes. What else?


A great comeback: Montblanc from fabulous to green and back

I was lucky to get a half hour in the Montblanc‘s media room and to photograph some of the novelties. Unfortunately, I didn’t get the chance to go to a press conference or to cover the press releases, so my knowledge is less than limited on the topic. The vintage-inspired piece have a strong presence: warm and pleasant.

The Montblanc 1858 Geosphere in green confirms the blue/green trend seen this year at SIHH.


AP conference in German

The Audemars Piguet conference was in German. It was in the only available time I had and I wanted to go. The conference was kind of sad. The presenters were tired and bored with no sparkling or enthusiasm. But it offered the chance to hear valuable information.


Parmigiani – shining for connoisseurs

If you don’t know Parmigiani, stay tuned for the reviews. It worth all the attention. Parmigiani is a brand for connoisseurs that knows a little something about haute horlogerie.

The Parmigiani Toric Hemispheres Retrograde is a hell of a watch: an automatic movement displays the time in any two locations – excellent executed!


When you think that nothing can impress you again – Urwerk

Urwerk is one of those independents that will leave a deep mark in the history of modern watchmaking. Not only the unusual designs, original and elaborate but also some intriguing and spectacular mechanical solutions.

Above, an excellent example – the UR-105 CT Maverick. Super technical, industrial design, exquisite – some of the words to describe it. A review will follow.


In the sky, on the land, under the sea

Another MB&F collaboration with L’Epée 1839? Yes, a great one – the Medusa. A bit over my budget, but definitively a clock that I will like to have. Surprise, available in green and blue… and pink. Great, the colours of this SIHH plus a joyful pink.

The picture does not reflect the real beauty of the Medusa. You should head for M.A.D. Gallery and see it in person. She is quite a character.


When ladies watches impressed heavy collectors

Romain Gauthier impressed me this year with one of the most beautiful ladies’ pieces of SIHH 2019: the Micro-Rotor Lady with a fabulous opaline dial.

I loved it from the first picture I saw in the press release. In reality is much more impressive.


Ulysse Nardin: getting the Freak to the masses (not quite)

Ulysse Nardin launched this year a more affordable version of the Freak. Even if some voice were not happy to see it, I consider it a good move. The Skeleton X is another interesting piece from SIHH 2019. Modern materials and cool design.

Ulysse Nardin continued the erotic line with the Manara Collection.


A big entrance of a fabulous Maison – Bovet at SIHH 2019

Bovet was a big surprise this year. It was the first time the brand participated in SIHH. A great brand with astounding pieces. As an example this Bovet Recital in sapphire.

I was surprised to find out that not all the watch journalist knew the brand. The brands official told me that the brand and the watches were well received, but not all visitor had knowledge about the brand. A bit sad…


The future offered on the silver plate, today…

The last meeting for SIHH 2019 was with Ressence. The brand came with redesigned cases and a new version of e-crown – the Type 2.

Other pieces presented were the Ressence Type 1 Slim and the Ressence Type 3 with a white dial.


Bonus day: two completely different brands and a long way home

The last day of SIHH ended with me making several trips to bring all the equipment back to the car and the happiness that it was over. It was a hard but successful SIHH. I was extremely tired and feeling kind of sick.

Friday was reserved for two last brands and the trip back home. I noticed, unhappy that I have a severe cold.


Bellevue: landscape, watches and diamonds

The first meeting was at Franck Muller. Visiting again the Watchland was a pleasure, as always.

I photographed the novelties, including this full set diamond tourbillon. Magnificent 1 million-plus piece.


Fifty years of greatness – El Primero

The next and the final meeting of the season was with Zenith, at Kempinski. On the way, from Genthod to Geneva’s centre, the car started to beep me about a flat tire. Great! Had to deal with that first and, of course, that meant to be late. Great! And this is how you grow a bad reputation.

Zenith celebrates 50 years of El Primero, so they have a spectacular anniversary edition. Just look at the gorgeous low light view…

The recreation of the original El Primero is an obvious decision for such an occasion.


The long way home

So that was it. Four full days, half a Sunday and half of Friday were enough. Tired and with a nasty cold I headed home. But it was Friday afternoon. I got all the major traffic between Geneva and Stuttgart. Instead of five hours, I was more than seven hours behind the wheel. I love to drive, but heavy traffic and sickness make terrible travelling companions.

What is next? Reviews… So stay tuned.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.