Each January, watch lovers look to Geneva and the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH), awaiting the latest timepiece launches from some of the world’s most fascinating watch luxury brands and independent watchmakers. The novelties introduced at SIHH define the horological trends for the year to come.
Stephen and Jared Silver make a pilgrimage to Switzerland every year to select new and rare timepieces for their high horology salon. Here are a few of the newest timepieces from Stephen Silver Fine Jewelry’s portfolio of featured watchmakers, launched this week to the world in Geneva, and coming soon to Silicon Valley.
The Historic Maisons corridor of SIHH houses some of the most storied brands in watchmaking history; however, their offerings for 2019 were anything but traditional. For 2019, these brands channeled the best of their heritage while pushing horology further with experimental new materials and clever complications.
BOVET Brainstorm® Chapter One
BOVET takes the inclined “writing slope” case design of the Brands GPHG award-winning Récital 22 timepiece, and translates the distinctive case shape in sapphire for its new Récital 26 Brainstorm® Chapter One. The inclined case crafted of light, ultra-transparent sapphire facilitates new perspectives and arrangements of its complex mechanisms and indicators, which include a flying tourbillon, three-dimensional moon phase, big date, and 10-day power reserve indicator.
Greubel Forsey Balancier Contemporain
Greubel Forsey unveiled the new Balancier Contemporain, the first timepiece by the brand that measures under 40mm. With 225 components, a 72 hour power reserve, and an unrivaled level of finishing, this is going to be one of the big winners from the show this year.
Hermès Arceau L’Heure De La Lune
The new Hermès Arceau L’Heure De La Lune retains the playful nature of Hermes’ flagship watch collection but introduces twin hemispheric moon phases. The dual moon phase indicators, beautifully crafted in mother-of-pearl, command full attention and rotate in an out of view behind lacquered date and time discs against a dial of meteorite or aventurine, all housed within a 43mm white gold case.
Carré des Horlogers and The Independents
The Carré des Horlogers and outlying independent brands, exhibiting elsewhere in Geneva during the show, did not disappoint in 2019. Their independent spirit and imagination were on full display this year, and these maverick watchmakers introduced some of the year’s most buzzworthy new timepieces, each more visually engaging and technically complex than the next.
MB&F HM6 Final Edition
MB&F announced its new HM6 Final Edition just before SIHH commenced, marking the latest and final chapter of one of the brand’s most successful and unconventional wristwatch series to date. The HM6 Final Edition has been updated with a rare stainless-steel case and a revised central dome, which allows an improved, panoramic view of its flying tourbillon.
HYT – H²0
HYT’s new H²0 bridges past and future with its mix of traditional elements like guilloche ornamented yellow gold and futuristic red fluid accents which transformed the brand’s signature production technique into an eye-catching design element.
Laurent Ferrier Galet Annual Calendar Montre Ecole
For 2019, independent watchmaker Laurent Ferrier updated his beloved Galet Annual Calendar Montre Ecole with a new movement, the LF126.01, and introduced a stunning blue dial. As always, Laurent Ferrier will issue this model in an extremely limited production.
Ressence Type 2
Ressence has set out to improve the mechanical watch in every way, and this year, the brand set out to design a smarter mechanical watch. The new Type 2 comes equipped with a unique power saving function, its e-Crown®, which will automatically hold the barrel of the mechanical movement if it sits idle for more than 12 hours. To resume timekeeping, the wearer need only double tap the sapphire e-Crown®. The e-Crown® can also register two time zones, set via a Bluetooth enabled smartphone app.
URWERK UR-105 CT Maverick
URWERK introduced the New UR-105 CT Maverick in a limited-edition of just 22 pieces. The brand designed the watch in honor of artists, eccentrics, inventors, and individualists who make their own colorful mark on the world. The hallmark of the UR-105 CT Maverick is its raw bronze bezel, whose rich patina will evolve and deepen the more it is worn.
Jaeger Lecoultre & Amanda Seyfried
Amanda has established herself as one of Hollywood’s most captivating young leading actresses. As a talented singer, she can be seen starring in musical adaptations of Mamma Mia!, Mamma Mia 2! and Les Miserables.
During her visit at the SIHH 2019, Amanda was particularly captivated by the gem-setting technique, one of the Rare Handcrafts taking centre stage on the new Dazzling Rendez-Vous Night & Day watch that she was wearing.
On the occasion of the Shanghai International Film Festival, Amanda Seyfried presented Jaeger‑LeCoultre’s Glory to the Filmmaker Award to filmmaker Tian Zhuangzhuang and attended a Watchmaking MasterClass where she was impressed by the unique savoir-faire of the Maison:
At the 76th International Venice Film Festival, Jaeger‑LeCoultre was pleased to welcome Amanda Seyfried.
On the occasion of the Jaeger‑LeCoultre Gala Dinner, she wore the Joaillerie 101 Feuille, entwinning refined luxury and feminity.
Heritage Wonders: Lucky 13 & Polaris Memodate
Throughout its history, Jaeger‑LeCoultre has been driven by the spirit of inventiveness, its expertise rewarded with more than 400 patents, and its watchmakers’ technical skills and creative imagination embodied in more than 1,200 different calibres.
As these two rare watches from the mid-20th Century demonstrate, every decade has brought fresh ideas and solutions, reflecting the spirit of the times. Among the many changes brought by the 1950s and 60s – represented by each of these watches – were, on one hand, tremendous advances in technology and aerospace, and on the other, the transformation of diving from a challenging pursuit to a widely practised leisure activity.
A rare LeCoultre Polaris Memodate (1967): to be sold at Phillips Geneva, November 2019:
In 1950, Jaeger‑LeCoultre introduced its first wristwatch featuring an alarm and called it the Memovox (‘voice of memory’). As the model become one of the most desirable and reliable on the market, the company introduced different variations, including a date display, a self-winding version and even an alarm designed to time parking meters.
In 1959, noting that diving had begun evolving from a specialist pursuit into a recreational sport enjoyed by thousands, Jaeger‑LeCoultre decided to adapt the Memovox to the sea. The company realised that it could offer both a visual timer (on the inner bezel) and an auditory alarm (which also caused vibration against the case) for ultimate diver safety.
To do so, Jaeger‑LeCoultre created a patented, multi-layer case-back that optimised the alarm’s sound transmission under water. The outer case, with its 16 holes, allowed for the alarm tone to be heard and also felt on the wrist, while the inner case sealed and protected the movement.
Known in the United States as the Polaris, and in Europe as the ‘Montre de plongeur E859’, the reference E859 featured three crowns, each with the cross-hatch pattern characteristic of SuperCompressor watches. The first crown is for time setting, the second rotates the inner bezel for dive timing, and the third rotates the central disc to align the arrow with the alarm time.
The example being offered by Phillips was made in 1967 for the American market and stands out from other models thanks to its very rare dial markings. While most of the dials were stamped Memovox or bore no inscription other than the LeCoultre name, this watch is stamped Memodate.
Perhaps the most fascinating thing about the Memodate Polaris is its combination of two apparently opposite aspects of watchmaking: the tradition of delicate aural complications and the needs of a practical sporting timepiece. In this respect, it epitomises the open-minded spirit of inventiveness that has created such a rich patrimony at Jaeger‑LeCoultre and continues to drive the Maison to this day.
The unique LeCoultre “Lucky 13” (1962): to be sold at Phillips New York, December 2019
The LeCoultre “Lucky 13” is a truly remarkable and unique watch presented by the Chicago Anti-Superstition Society alongside 13 U.S. Senators to an original Mercury Seven U.S. astronaut to commemorate his historic achievement of becoming the first American astronaut to orbit the Earth.
Featuring the number 13 at every hour marker, the watch celebrated the Friendship 7 spacecraft capsule used for the Mercury-Atlas 6 mission. Friendship 7 was the 13th space capsule produced by McDonnell Aircraft Corp, and the 13s on the dial were used to illustrate the society’s rejection of the number 13 as unlucky.
The ceremony, taking place on Friday, April 13th, 1962, was entered in the House Congressional Record on October 13th, 1962. The consignor intends to donate a portion of the proceeds of the sale of this watch to The John Glenn College of Public Affairs at The Ohio State University.
As well as demonstrating Jaeger‑LeCoultre’s technical expertise, the deep meaning and personal connections behind the story of these unique timepieces remind us that watches have always had social and emotional significance – which sometimes even overrides their practical purpose.
The Breitling Avenger Swiss Air Force Team Limited Edition
Breitling is celebrating the 55th anniversary of the Patrouille Suisse Swiss Air Force Team, admired around the world for its dazzling aerial performances, with the launch of the Avenger Swiss Air Force Team Limited Edition, produced in a series of 550 pieces.
In 1964, the Swiss Air Force created an aerobatics team, named Patrouille Suisse, made up of some of its most talented pilots. Today, 55 years later, the Patrouille Suisse squadron dazzles audiences with aerial displays in the skies above Switzerland and other European countries with precision performances in six supersonic jets. Breitling has created a new watch to honor these high-flying Swiss ambassadors: the Avenger Swiss Air Force Team Limited Edition.
Georges Kern, the CEO of Breitling, welcomes the opportunity to celebrate the Patrouille Suisse squadron’s anniversary with a limited-edition chronograph. He says: “The Patrouille Suisse Swiss Air Force Team and Breitling make ideal partners. Flying in tight formations in supersonic jets, the Patrouille Suisse squadron is the perfect modern expression of our long aviation tradition. We are excited about the watch we have created to celebrate their 55th anniversary.”
The Breitling Avenger Swiss Air Force Team Limited Edition has a 45 mm stainless-steel case with a ratcheted unidirectional rotating bezel. Its striking black dial features the logo of the Patrouille Suisse squadron on the subdial at 9 o’clock as well as distinctive yellow and red accents that reflect the colors of the Patrouille Suisse squadron’s logo. The yellow-tipped second hand adds another dash of color. The hands and the black indexes are coated with Super-LumiNova®, a luminescent material that makes them easily readable in all lighting conditions. The caseback is engraved with the Patrouille Suisse squadron’s 55th anniversary logo – a stylized 55 and six supersonic jets in flight – along with the words “ONE OF 550”, an indication of its special limited-edition status.
The Avenger Swiss Air Force Team Limited Edition is powered by a Breitling Caliber 13, a COSC-certified chronometer movement with a power reserve of approximately 48 hours. It is water-resistant to 30 bar (300 meters). The special limited-edition Avenger is presented on an anthracite leather military strap with a pin buckle.
The Campaign Revolving around the Patrouille Suisse Swiss Air Force Team
Breitling is proud to present three talented Patrouille Suisse jet pilots to support this anniversary edition. Major Gunnar Jansen joined the Patrouille Suisse Swiss Air Force Team in 2010 and has led the formation for the past three years. Captain Claudius Meier flies in the second position, on the right side of the leader. Captain Lukas Nannini, the second soloist, who flies in the fifth position on the outer left wing, completes the squad.
Since 1884, Breitling has established a global reputation for high-precision timepieces, its pioneering role in the development of the wrist chronograph, and its uncompromising commitment to design excellence. With the brand’s storied association with aviation, Breitling has shared the finest moments in humankind’s conquest of the skies. Renowned for its spirit of innovation, it has also earned a place of privilege in the worlds of science, sport, and technology. Breitling manufactures its own movements inhouse and the quality of every watch is confirmed by its status as a COSC-certified chronometer, made in Switzerland.
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