The best watches from SIHH 2017
Fresh from Geneva, here are the timepieces from the Salon International de Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) watch fair that perked our interest.
TimeWalker Chronograph UTC, Montblanc
Not only did the Swiss marque use SIHH to officially introduce its revamped 1858 collection, which we had a sneak peek of in December, but it also launched a bold new TimeWalker collection. Harking back to the golden days of 1960s and 1970s motor racing, the brand released several models at various price points, starting with the Automatic Date (approximately Dhs11,000) all the way to the limited-edition TimeWalker Chronograph 1.000 Titanium (Dhs650,000). While its design points may come from classic car dashboards, the dominance of oversized black DLC-coated cases give it a very contemporary feel. Powered by the calibre MB 25.03 the Chronograph UTC is able to display three time zones – one with the main hands, one with the UTC hand adjusted to the main dial, and one by aligning the bezel with the UTC hand for another offset – and comes with a 46-hour power reserve.
TimeWalker UTC Chronograph Approx. Dhs18,000. montblanc.com
Da Vinci Automatic, IWC
Every year IWC picks out one of its families to focus on for the next 12 months. The past couple of years has seen it focus on the manly Big Pilot and Portugieser collections, but in 2017 it is the turn of the female-focused Da Vinci collection. Yes, the Swiss watchmaker will spend this next year trying to re-establish itself in the female market, but that doesn’t mean that is has neglected us men either.
The entry-level Automatic has plenty of unisex appeal and, for men with thin wrists, the 40mm size solves the problem often found with larger watches. The addition of a leather alligator Santoni strap also helps makes it a very elegant option. If you’ve grown accustomed to the higher end of IWC’s output, fear not, the line also comes with a show-stopping Chronograph piece and a very swanky Perpetual Calendar.
Approx. Dhs20,000. iwc.com
Lab-ID PAM700, Panerai
If SIHH is the time to make big moves – look no further than Panerai. The Italian brand brought plenty to the table this year, not only announcing itself as the official watch of the America’s Cup, but also showing us a glimpse into its future with the launch of Lab-ID PAM700. Demonstrating its technological advancements, the limited edition piece is a whopping 49mm wide and made from Carbotech. This material is comprised of thin layers of carbon, squashed together under very high pressure with an organic polymer, making the watch hypoallergenic, lighter and more stress resistant than ceramic and titanium. The main talking point was that the watch requires no form of lubrication to keep it running. In fact, so confident is the watchmaker of the piece’s timekeeping ability that it has slapped on a 50-year guarantee to any piece sold. A bold move indeed.
Approx. Dhs200,000. panerai.com
Drive de Cartier Moonphase, Cartier
After the big launch of the Drive de Cartier men’s collection last year, it makes sense that the luxury French brand will spend the next 12 months predominately focusing on women (FYI, if you’re looking for a present for your wife, the new Panthère is pretty darn special). But rather than leaving us to go cold turkey, Cartier did add a couple of new additions to its Drive collection: an extra flat and a moonphase (pictured) option. We recommend either, depending on which way on the pricing scale you want to go. What was more interesting is that in May 2017 the brand will release a special edition model. It comes in steel, with green Roman numerals and an alligator strap, made specifically for the GCC. Limited to 200 pieces, it will be available ahead of Ramadan.
Approx. Dhs27,600. cartier.com
Clifton Club, Baume & Mercier
While there was plenty of fanfare around Baume & Mercier’s latest Shelby Cobra tie-in, our attention strayed to its male-focused range, the Clifton Club. Tapping further into its connection with the sporting world, the Swiss watchmaker has labelled its collection a ‘Tribute to the gentlesportsmen’. The brand is going to focus on five pieces that have a refined look, but are robust in build. Competitively priced at approximately Dhs7,500, these are bang on trend for what is currently a very popular aesthetic here in the Gulf.
Approx. Dhs7,500. baume-et-mercier.com
Excalibur Spider Pirelli, Roger Dubuis
Thanks to the advent of tech companies, the term disrupt has become very popular these days. A decade or so ago, the idea of disrupting the tradition-obsessed watch world would be frowned upon, but with the success of brands like Roger Dubuis it is now praised at the very highest levels. ‘Disruptive materials’ is theme of the Geneva-based watchmaker for 2017. Releasing 5 new models (all in its Excalibur range including 3 world exclusives) at SIHH it's been busy. If we had to pick one it would be brand's new partnership with tire-maker Pirelli. As the official tire provider of Formula 1, Pirelli is in a class of its own when it comes to rubber development and has worked with Roger Dubuis to create rubber straps for the Excalibur Spider Double Flying Tourbillon made from the exact tires used by Lewis Hamilton’s Monaco Grand Prix-winning Mercedes from 2016. Now if you are one of the 88 people to drop AED240,000 on one, then you will also be given private access to attend as many F1 races in 2017 as your heart desires.