SIHH: What Is It?
The turn of each New Year brings the release of new products at highly anticipated conferences around the globe. For the watch industry, that moment has arrived. Last week, the top watchmakers and watch enthusiasts gathered in Geneva for the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH).
The SIHH certainly isn’t the largest industry exhibition, but it’s perhaps the most carefully curated. And that’s precisely why the offerings unveiled at the annual trade show are so exciting. Last year, the SIHH decided to open the exhibition to the public for one day for the first time in the event’s history, and each year they’re welcoming more new brands—35 in total this time.
Considering the ever-shifting market over the past decade, from the financial crisis to the tech boom, the SIHH and the watch industry as a whole have had to grow and evolve. Historically, the SIHH’s is famous for wow-factor and its debut of horological masterpieces. Many of which showcase avant-garde designs, advanced techniques, and high complications. These watches feel more like pieces of art more rather than every day way. But this year, at least some of the offerings feel more down-to-earth and seem to speak to the younger, up and coming generation of watch collectors—a group the industry has struggled to reach.
SIHH: Market Trends
One notable offering seen at the SIHH that reflects the direction the market is trending is brands showcasing more models in stainless steel as opposed to precious metals. This allows the cost to balance out its technical capabilities with the materials used. Plus, stainless steel is more practical for everyday wear.
A great example of this is the Vacheron Constantin FiftySix. Vacheron is one of the oldest watchmakers in continuous production, and their designs tend to be on the more traditional side. The FiftySix collection features more graphic styling, the option for stainless steel in addition to rose gold, and a price point that comes in at nearly half the cost of most of the brand’s entry level watches—$11,700—all of which open the brand up to that next generation of younger consumers.
Another trend seen at the SIHH is brands offering features typically found in more high-end models at more accessible price points. Two great examples are the Panerai Luminor Logo Collection and the Baume & Mercier Clifton Baumatic. The Luminor Logo line is Panerai’s new entry-level collection, with prices starting at $4,750. The feature that makes this series of watches special is the brand’s first in-house movement, the P.6000 caliber. Baume & Mercier has always been considered one of the more accessible brands in the luxury market. The Clifton Baumatic has some impressive features, inlcuding a five-day power reserve and a COSC chronometer certification. However, it retains the brand’s price point, coming in at only $2,790.
Don’t fret—not all the watches debuted at this year’s SIHH were for newer, younger watch enthusiasts. And we’d be remiss if we didn’t share some of the showstoppers unveiled last week.
SIHH: This Year’s Showstoppers
First, the A. Lange & Sohne Triple Split. This mechanical chronograph is one of the most advanced models ever made. It has capabilities no other watch in the world can execute. It expands the split-seconds function, allowing you to record and compare two times simultaneously up to twelve hours—typically the split-seconds function only allows you to compare two times within seconds of each other. This watch comes at a whopping $147,000 price tag and is aimed at a seasoned collector.
Next, the IWC Tribute to Pallweber Edition 150 Years. One of the most important anniversaries in 2018 is the 150th of IWC. To celebrate, the brand has introduced the Jubilee Collection, consisting of 27 limited edition timepieces. The Pallweber Edition 150 Years is a standout in the collection. It’s the first wristwatch from IWC that features digital hour and minute displays. These pay homage to the brand’s late 19th century Pallweber pocket watches. The price for a rose gold variation is $36,600. The platinum version, however, will retail for approximately $57,800 and will be a limited run of 25 pieces.
Finally, the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak RD#2 Perpetual Calendar concept watch. This model features one of the thinnest cases, measuring an impressive 6.3mm thick, but to make matters more astounding this laser-thin case houses a perpetual calendar function. To accomplish this feat, the brand integrated the cam and gear into a single piece for the calendar function. The only downside to this watch is that it’s only a concept, at least for now.
Featured Image credit: SIHH