The thing with how the luxury watch industry works is that “heritage” is a buzzword that gets thrown around. A lot. You know that there would always be encore pieces resurrected from the brands’ archives whenever the watch fairs swing around in the first half of each year.
That is not necessarily a bad thing. The term connotes something that sticks to the integrity and purity of its original source. Plus, the fact that a brand could stand behind an old piece suggests at the appeal — and popularity — of the timepiece. But if you are the kind who’s into really new and game-changing trends, then spotlighting specific themes is a challenge. The Geneva watch fair Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) which recently ended, underlines this.
Unlike last year’s edition which was a blockbuster year for ladies timepieces with hardcore traditional masculine brands like IWC, launching dedicated women’s series, this year’s push for the girls go a little quieter. Instead of bells and whistles, what catches our eyes with the timepieces at this year’s SIHH are incredible ladies and unisex watches that come with great design and function.
At Cartier, its flagship Santos model gets a major reboot in two new sizes of M and L and in gold or steel. Additionally, there is a beautifully sculpted skeleton model that gives the piece a more modern architectural slant to match the watch’s iconic roundish square case design.
Every watch also comes with interchangeable matching bracelet and straps. But the niftiest feature of it all is the patent-pending technology the brand dubs the “SmartLink” which lets you adjust your bracelet length without a screwdriver. Smart.
Audemars Piguet, meanwhile, debuts its first ladies concept watch — a term to describe truly outre timepieces that shows off a maison’s cutting-edge craft — using the Royal Oak model. Called the Royal Oak Concept Flying Tourbillon, the best way to describe its look is like a snowflake on crack.
The piece de resistance of this diamond-studded 38.5mm piece is definitely the flying tourbillon, situated at six o’clock. It’s the first time the AP manufacture has produced a flying tourbillon. But what’s an even bigger coup is that the maison chose a women’s timepiece to boast this innovation.
Over at Piaget, a sort of subtle but playful notion of feminine timepieces emerges. The brand’s popular Possession jewellery, which is characterised by its rotating ring design, now gets immortalised into a collection of watches.
The extensive collection, comprising over 50 permutations of dials, bezel, strap colours and embellishments, is an attractive proposition to the modern day woman who wants a pared down three-hand watch that perhaps can double as a fidget spinner? Like the jewellery line, the ring design (in this case the bezel) can rotate too.
The same sort of curiosity will pique those who opt for Van Cleef & Arpels’ Lady Arpels Planetarium Poetic Complications. Targeted for its female customers, the piece is a remake of the brand’s existing Midnight Planetarium timepiece for men.
Geek alert: As its name suggests, the automatic watch is akin to having a planetarium downsized to a miniature version on your wrist. The sun, Earth, Venus, Mercury and the moon are all represented on the dial in gold, turquoise, enamel, mother-of-pearl and white gold respectively. The impressive bit: Their real time orbit are represented on your watch dial as well. So you can expect to be looking a lot more at your timepiece.
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