Somehow, the pressure is a bit off on the third day of the SIHH. But that doesn’t mean the schedule isn’t packed. However, I have the feeling we’ve seen it all already and now it is a matter of taking care all photoshoots and interviews take place. Besides those, we will have the ongoing brand presentations.
I attended a number of brand presentations today, and had three one-on-one appointments with brands, or interviews, as you wish. Sometimes you are planned for an interview but in the end, you will find a CEO, COO or designer showing you the novelties in a one-on-one session. It is all good with me, although some of these sessions make a group presentation a bit redundant. Anyway, let’s start with the first group presentation, by Bovet. Or better said, The House of Bovet.
It could be me, but I never get this talk about ‘the Maison’. Well, I do get it and understand what it means but it just sounds a bit strange to me that you talk about your brand and people as ‘the Maison’. It is like constantly talking in the third person. Anyway, the first group presentation was at ‘The House of Bovet’. The presentation consisted of 16 minutes (I timed it) of looking at Powerpoint slides and someone that was just reading the text that was on there. It wasn’t fun for us, it wasn’t fun for the person who held the presentation and I have my sincere doubts about this brand (or ‘maison’) to be honest. I have visited Bovet a few years ago, and it was the worst press trip you can ever imagine. I might elaborate on that in the future, but it simply was the most disappointing visit to a manufacture I ever had in the past 14 years. So, yes, my sentiments towards Bovet are a bit strong and if we get a presentation of 16 minutes where someone just reads the words from a 1998 looking Powerpoint presentation I wonder why I didn’t stay in bed for another hour this morning.
During our presentation of the new Vacheron Constantin watches, I luckily regained a lot of energy again. Where this brand disappointed me a bit last year with their Fifty-Six collection (I simply believe that watch just isn’t up to their standards), they now showed incredible pieces. I love their new pieces from the Patrimony collection, their new Overseas models and last but not least their new Twin Beat watch and pieces of their Les Cabinotiers. The latter is something really special and I will soon write more about those. Completely out-of-this-world watches that include real artwork by artisans. Just incredible.
That said, their Patrimony Manual Winding in rose gold with a diameter of 40mm and a thickness of just 6.79mm is just an instant classic. Just hours and minutes, indicated with gold hands on a blue dial. No seconds hand that is constantly moving or a date window that ‘breaks’ the dial, just a clean blue dial with applied gold indices and the Maltese cross at 12 o’clock.
Vacheron also showed a number of new Overseas models, and the perpetual calendar ultra-thin in 18-carat gold with an 18-carat gold bracelet simply rocked it. I am really in love with this watch, what a stunner! It is interesting that a brand that didn’t do much to me last year, is now able to be one of my favorites of this year’s SIHH.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to go to the photo shoot of IWC or the group presentation, but I took the time to go there on my own and have a look at their novelties. As Balazs already wrote last week, it is the year of the Pilot watches and he made a selection that he shared with you. The IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph TOP GUN Edition “Mojave Desert” was one of my favorites based on the press photos and it remains to be so as well after seeing it in the flesh. However, and I don’t have a photo ready yet of this watch, the IWC Pilot Spitfire with black dial is perhaps even more favorable. It is the IWC (IW326801) Pilot’s Watch Automatic Spitfire in steel. A relatively simple watch that has a diameter of 39mm, an IWC caliber 32110 movement. It is the first time there is an in-house movement in this Pilot watch, where it has been using different third-party movements in the past (a.o. JLC and ETA). I feel it is a simple but strong design and I actually like the faux-patina on the hands and some of the hour markers. To be honest I am not so keen on the Spitfire logo on the case back and the printing of ‘Spitfire’ in red on the dial. It looks good, but I don’t really get the concept behind this. IWC was one of the brands that delivered to the Luftwaffe, these guys didn’t particularly fly in Spitfires. I am not so much disturbed by the fact that they delivered watches to the Luftwaffe, but I find it a bit disturbing that they try to make it sound they were one of the guys who supplied to the RAF only. They didn’t. That said, I love that IWC Pilot Spitfire watch. It just looks stunning and it doesn’t need to be in a different case or have a different dial color (than black) for me. The most basic version is the one I’d pick and the price is 4800 Swiss Francs isn’t bad at all.
The IWC Pilot Chronograph “Mojave Desert” is pretty awesome as well, with its 44.5mm case made of ceramic and their in-house caliber 69380 chronograph movement. It will retail for 8900 Swiss Francs and is limited to 500 pieces. Based on the general opinion by journalists and retailers at the SIHH, it will probably be sold out soon (or perhaps it already is).
I also finally got the chance to see and try the new Baume et Mercier watches in the flesh. The perpetual calendar in gold was not available at first during our photoshoot, but later on during my interview with their COO they still managed to find one for us to shoot. That image will follow later in our in-depth article on that specific watch. It might be an interesting thing to do a show-down between the Clifton Baumatic Perpetual Calendar and the Montblanc Heritage Perpetual Calendar. I think they are more or less equally priced, so it really boils down to small details. Forgive me for my awfull wristshots, but it gives you an idea.
I also had the opportunity to try the new Clifton Baumatic models. Their Baumatic movement has now been on the market for a year and according to Baume et Mercier, it has been very successful so far. It is anti-magnetic, has a 5-day power reserve and its accuracy is within the -4/+6 seconds a day range (like COSC). Their steel watch with blue dial is simply great and if you want to knock yourself out, there’s the 18-carat red gold version.
The 4th day of the SIHH is also our last day. Although some of our guys will head out to the city to meet with some brands that are not part of the SIHH, I will head to the Palexpo venue one more time to see Richard Mille and join Bert for his photoshoot at Cartier. I will also take a look at some of the watches one more time, just to be sure. The last and final recap will also include some of the opinions of the other Fratelli.
Ever since he was a young child, Robert-Jan was drawn to watches, even though it were digital Casio and quartz Swatch models at the time. In the mid-1990s, his interest increased when he started to read about mechanical watches in... read more