Visiting the annual SIHH (International De La Haute Horlogerie) in Geneva last week was one of the most interesting days ever. Learning the most fascinating stories, from erotic watches right through to a watch that costs just under CHF 1 million! Stories I just knew I had to share with you!
SIHH is considered the stage for emerging trends and a powerful voice for the watch sector. A show that has been running 27 years now. Around 16’000 visitors this year. Previously only for journalists and buyers, there is now one day dedicated to the public. If watches interest you at all I can really recommend you visit next year!
Keep reading for 4 Surprising Stories from the Geneva Luxury Watch Fair SIHH (International De La Haute Horlogerie).
4 Surprising Stories from the Geneva Luxury Watch Fair SIHH (International De La Haute Horlogerie)
1. Behind closed doors at Ulysee Nardin
It’s true 30 minutes into the SIHH exhibition I was ushered into a secret red room at Ulysee Nardin. 50 Shades of Grey eat your heart out. This is even better!
I learnt that erotic watches have a huge history but this year is the first that Ulysee Nardin opened up their doors and displayed them openly. Albeit behind closed doors in a charismatic red room.
While X-rated watch making has been a topic for other brands such as Breguet, Richard Mille and Blancpain, the scenes were featured on the backs of cases. Ulysse Nardin decided to place them on the front! Mind you CEO Pruniaux is quick to point out they are consenting adults.
This Classic Voyeur is just the latest example of a centuries-long heritage of X-rated timepieces from Swiss watchmakers. Only three-dozen Classic Voyeurs are planned on being produced so get in fast if this is your cup of coffee and you have $295k spare to invest in one.
More about the watch technicalities here.
2. Life after a hole in the head – Partnering with Richard Mille
Richard Mille has a history of partnering with sportsmen but this story tops them all. Imagine the picture above is a real x-ray depicting the damage done by a Polo stick. Yet Pablo Mac Donough survived, still plays Polo. In 2010, Pablo Mac Donough became Number One of the World Polo Tour Ranking.
Now partnering with Richard Mille to create a watch that should also sustain the worst of Polo injuries. The RM 053 tourbillon. A limited edition of 30 pieces in total with a price tag over CHF 900k.
3. A Magician Chimes – Cartier and Magical Clocks
Who would have thought that clocks featured in magical shows. This is what watchmaker named Jean Robert-Houdin did. The watches were considered magical as there seemed to be no way of telling how they actually work. The hands seem to work magically in free air…or do they?
The secret is that each hand is fixed to a clear crystal (or citrine) disk which rotates.
Interestingly Mr Cartier himself had a passion for Parisian antique shops and Asian artefacts. Perfect as in the 1920’s it was very fashionable to have exotic looking Asian objects in the home. Cartier would buy objects he liked and then bring them to his watchmaker. Getting him to make a watch around the object.
A special display of these fascinating pieces was at this years SIHH.
4. Baume & Mercier Unveils New Baumatic Caliber In Anti-Magnetic Watch
Did you know that it is the different magnetic fields around us that is normally responsible for our watches becoming less accurate in their time keeping?
This is true and this year Baume & Mercier unveiled its first in-house caliber. Creating their own in house movement that is both revolutionary and affordable.
Features of the new in-house movement:
- By turning to silicon for the hairspring and escapement, and by using new Duratherm alloys, the Baumatic caliber is 25 times more resistant to magnetic fields than in a “normal” timepiece.
- The high-power escapement developed for this watch give it with five days of power reserve (most only have 2 day).
- The stability of the watch throughout the duration of the power reserve ensures enhanced accuracy.
- Certified chronometer, attesting to its ability to function under extreme temperatures, pressures, climates and more
The best is yet to come – the price, you can buy a chronometer for around CHF 2’750.
I personally fell in love with their new CLIFTON CLUB INDIAN BURT MUNRO TRIBUTE – 1967-PIECE LIMITED EDITION (in case anyone wants to buy me a watch – smile).
Other fascinating Watch stories for this year:
160 years Minerva being celebrated by Montblanc – more here
150 Years of IWC – more here
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