Every year at the International Luxury Watchmakers’ Fair (Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie), held in Geneva at the end of January, the leading brands in watchmaking present their latest products, technological innovations and new design trends.
The event dates back to 1991, when there were just five brands on show: Baume & Mercier, Cartier, Piaget, Gérald Genta and Daniel Roth. Now in its 28th year, there are 35 brands in attendance and, since last year, the exhibition, initially just for industry members, has been opened to the general public. Enthusiasts eagerly await this event to find out about the latest updates in watchmaking technology and the cutting-edge inventions created to provide these devices with new features and preserve their eternal charm.
The craft of watchmakers is often combined with the expertise of goldsmiths who complement these technological marvels with wondrous glints of precious stones to create devices of extraordinary beauty and value for men and women. With gold mechanisms and titanium cases, this exclusive event saw some of the key trends which are sure to stand out in the year to come. This exclusive celebration of excellence attracted an abundance of international stars, including Cate Blanchett, Bradley Cooper, Ronan Keating, Dev Patel, Adriana Lima, Pierfrancesco Favino, Alessia Marcuzzi, Benedict Cumberbatch and Diego Luna. As usual, the exhibition showcased a blend of craftsmanship, exceptional skill and supernatural perfection.
The brand Panerai is commemorating Galileo Galilei who, thanks to the invention of the telescope, made revolutionary discoveries on the moon’s orbit and produced immensely beautiful sketches of its surface. Panerai marked his genius by creating a timepiece dedicated to him, the Astronomo – Luminor 1950, with an outstanding indicator of the phases of the moon and an innovative data display system using polarised crystals. Thanks to its iconic design and the technical personalisation of the mechanism which adapts to the geographic coordinates of the location chosen, this watch tells the fascinating story of Officine Panerai, with a wealth of technical solutions attesting to the Florence-based brand’s ability to overcome age-old technical challenges and bring innovation to the world of high-end sports watchmaking.
For Hermès, time can also be tangible – its Carré H, Arceau Casaque and Arceau Pocket Millefiori watches embody the tension present in a timepiece, offering as they do a moment of rest. The Arceau Casaque watch transforms the aesthetic style of the round watch, adding asymmetrical lugs inspired by the shape of stirrups. Its case evokes a horse race, and its frame the track bearing the curved imprints left by hooves in the sand. An opaque herringbone tone-on-tone decal pattern adds a finishing touch to this timepiece, in a range of vibrant colours reminiscent of the famous French game ‘Petits-Chevaux’: yellow, red, green or blue – which will be the quickest at whiling away the time?
Piaget, with its Altiplano Ultimate Automatic highlights a constant attention to the tiniest detail combined with the utmost elegance and refinement. 60 years of expertise go into manufacturing ultra-flat watches where case and mechanism, and the interplay between the two, form an indivisible unit, setting new records with tolerances pushed to their limits. The model developed by Piaget represents the pinnacle of contemporary elegance created by the brand, making it undisputedly the thinnest self-winding watch in the world. Pushed to their extremes, some of the parts are scarcely thicker than a strand of hair: in a sector where records are broken by tenths of a millimetre, this device, measuring just 4.30mm, sets a new benchmark in the world of the ultra-slim watch.
Vacheron-Constantin sought inspiration from dreams of summer holidays in designing the Overseas collection, made especially for travellers – in time and space – presenting two new models which embody the concept of casual elegance: the Overseas dual time watch, which allows you to read two time-zones simultaneously and the Overseas ultra-thin watch with a perpetual calendar and incredibly thin case (8.1mm) in rose gold.
With an 18-carat white gold case and frame, encrusted diamonds, and sapphire glass and backing with an anti-reflective coating, the iconic Royal Oak “Jumbo” Extra-flat model by Cartier, rewrites the rulebook on luxury sports watches thanks to its entirely gold appearance embellished by bright shiny-cut diamonds.