2019 begins with some absolutely stunning launches at SIHH 2019, one of the biggest events in the world of watchmaking. We bring you the first of our three-part series on outstanding watches introduced at this year’s event. So, let’s look at some of the technological marvels of the year so far.
JAEGER-LECOULTRE MASTER GRANDE TRADITION GYROTOURBILLON WESTMINSTER PERPETUEL
Well, that name certainly is a mouthful! But yet another piece of haute horologie by this highly vaunted brand, the Westminster features lots of complications. Firstly, this is not your regular ‘minute repeater,’ rather, as the name reflects, the minute repeater in this piece plays the Westminster carillon – the melody made famous by the Big Ben in London. But that’s not all, the Westminster also features the multi-axis Gyroturbillon the brand is famous for – a mechanism that in itself is fabulous in its complexity. And, to top things off, it features a perpetual calendar complication. One gorgeous design, three stunning complications and a brand name to be reckoned with, what’s not to love about this timepiece.
VACHERON CONSTANTIN TRADITIONNELLE TWIN BEAT PERPETUAL CALENDAR
The Traditonnelle Twin Beat from Vacheron Constantin solves one of the biggest problems that Perpetual Calendars – the most useful of all complications, according to the watchmaker, and I agree – face in the real world. If your Perpetual Calendar runs out of energy, resetting it to the correct time and date can be quite a ‘complicated’ process, so much so that it might even need to go for a service to be reset by the watchmaker. Now, as a solution to this rather frustrating problem, Vacheron Constantin has come up with a watch, for the first time in the world, with a standby mode that has a power reserve of 65 days. The watch features two oscillators running at different frequencies – 5Hz and 1.2Hz. This means that when you’re wearing the watch regularly, it runs on 5Hz, but when you know that the watch will not be in use for a few days, or maybe more, you can choose the 1.2Hz mode. So, yes, the Traditionnelle can be stored for over 2 months and will still run impeccably when you switch it back to the normal, 5Hz, mode. A true ground-breaking innovation in the world of watchmaking! And, yes – with its delightfully quirky looks and insane attention to detail – it’s a gorgeous watch.
HERMES ARCEAU L’HEURE DE LA LUNE
I wouldn’t be exaggerating if I were to admit that this is one of the most gorgeous and coolest watches that I’ve ever laid eyes on. The Arceau L’Heure De La Lune features two static mother of pearl moons, with two dials floating above them that rotate around the dial every 59 days – covering and uncovering the moons to show the exact moon phase in both the northern and southern hemisphere simultaneously. Additionally, one of the two dials shows the time, while the other shows the date. Needless to say, to achieve this complication, Hermès had to manufacture an additional module for which it has a patent pending. But, set against a starry background, those gorgeous moons and the lacquer dials make for a stunning overall design – making the Arceau L’Heure De La Lune already one of my favourite timepieces of the year.
A. LANGE & SOHNE RICHARD LANGE JUMPING SECONDS
Lange showed off a redesigned version of the Richard Lange Jumping Seconds, which has been in this German watchmaker’s range since 2016. The striking new dial of this Richard Lange Jumping Seconds sets it apart. The main aim of this watch is precision time keeping, and to ensure that it fulfils its quest perfectly it’s powered by a constant force escapement for the jumping seconds complication known as a remontoire d’égalité. But the highlight of this new timepiece is clearly the dial finished in black, red and white. The largest register features the jumping seconds function of course, while the hour and minutes registers are offset from the centre and smaller. Needless to say, from a brand deeply rooted in tradition, the Jumping Seconds, with this aggressive colour scheme, is quite a looker.
F. P. JOURNE TOURBILLON SOUVERAIN VERTICAL
A testament to the design and technical proficiency that the brand is capable of, the clue to the speciality of this new timepiece lies in the name ‘Tourbillon Souverain Vertical.’ F.P. Journe has, in this piece, changed the traditional horizontal positioning of the Tourbillon and made it vertical – so that the Tourbillon is in the vertical plane whether when your arm is flat on a desk or resting on your side. This increases the accuracy of the watch and allows the Tourbillon to function optimally. And, of course, the design of watch – with an impressive dial and a polished ring around the Tourbillon – is an additional highlight.